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The Legal 500 Hall of Fame Icon The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession. In the United Kingdon, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for eight years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.
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United Kingdom > Scotland > Private client > Family > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Index of tables

  1. Family
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1
    • John West - SKO

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Brodies LLP’s β€˜excellent’ practice is singled out for its ability to handle high-value financial provision on divorce and complex jurisdictional issues. Covering the full remit of family law, the team is well equipped to assist clients with pre-nuptial, post-nuptial, cohabitation and separation agreements, and international child abduction cases, alongside civil partnership dissolutions, and adoption and domestic abuse issues. Lisa Girdwood, who β€˜deals with clients sensitively and with compassion without losing focus on difficult legal issues’, advised a client on financial matters arising from a separation. The β€˜very experienced and pragmatic’ Scott Cochrane, who is noted for his β€˜straightforward advice’, defended a client in a Court of Session divorce action, where the claimant sought the payment of a large sum alongside the payment of long-term spousal maintenance. β€˜Effective and well-organised litigator’ Richard Smith is praised for his β€˜thorough and focused approach, which inspires confidence’. β€˜Experienced and patient’ team head Shaun George is β€˜extremely good at explaining legal terminology in an easily understandable way’.

The β€˜utterly professional and brilliant’ team at SKO has β€˜significant international expertise and exceptionally skilled lawyers’, who are β€˜particularly well versed in dealing with high-value financial provision cases’. It handles a steady flow of post-nuptial and pre-nuptial work alongside a wide range of child-related matters such as cross-border surrogacy, child abduction, adoption and relocation. Susan Oswald is β€˜an unfailingly calm beacon of strength’; β€˜particularly effective in child-related disputes’ she β€˜combines cool analysis with an effortless ability to put even the most stressed of clients at ease’. Recently, she represented a client in a cross-border adoption case in the Court of Session, which involved working with a number of social work agencies due to mental health issues. β€˜An outstanding lawyer for complex financial issues’, Rachael Kelsey acted for the father in a high-profile divorce and financial provision case at the Court of Session. She attracts praise for being β€˜phenomenally strong on the law while looking at everything practically and with the client in mind’, and for her β€˜boundless energy and superb judgement’. Robert Gilmour, who β€˜provides pragmatic and sensible advice’, acted for a client in public and private law proceedings pertaining to sexual abuse allegations. Associate and β€˜rising star’ John West is β€˜brilliant and totally unflappable’.

Considered by many as β€˜one of the leading firms in the field’, Turcan Connell is renowned for its experience in assisting high-net-worth individuals with financial settlement negotiations, cohabitation cases under the Family Law (Scotland) Act 2006 alongside prenuptial, postnuptial and cohabitation agreements including multi-jurisdictional cases. Handling child law cases, including international relocation issues, constitutes another key portion of the team’s workload. β€˜Very experienced and pragmatic’ practice head Alasdair Loudon β€˜always fights his clients’ corner’ and β€˜focuses on getting matters resolved’. He assisted a couple with an international divorce case, including the negotiation of a mutually acceptable settlement of all parties’ financial interests. Gillian Crandles, who β€˜provides straightforward advice’ and is β€˜excellent with clients and easy to work with’, handled a child residence case, and assisted a client with a pre-nuptial agreement. Noel Ferry deals with a number of cohabitation claims and child relocation matters.

BTO Solicitors LLP has β€˜a wealth of experience in all areas of family law’ and is particularly well versed in dealing with financial provision and child law cases. The firm is singled out for its expertise in complex international child custody cases, including adoption and surrogacy matters. β€˜Tenacious’ team head Cath Karlin provides β€˜straightforward advice’ and attracts praise for her β€˜substantial experience in public child law cases; she is a safe pair of hands in financial provision matters’. She acted for a client in a child abduction case, and handled a number of surrogacy petitions. Lesley Gordon (a β€˜thorough, well-prepared and tough negotiator’) advised a client on sexual offence matters, and assisted another individual with financial provision and contentious child residence issues. β€˜Extremely helpful and competent’ associate Marjory Blair is also recommended.

Balfour+Manson LLP’s β€˜professional’ team β€˜provides good and straightforward advice’ on a wide range of contentious and non-contentious family law matters, including post-nuptial and pre-nuptial agreements, financial claims on divorce, cohabitation, child relocation and other child-related matters. β€˜Calm’ team head Shona Smith β€˜provides pragmatic and confident advice and seeks practical solutions for clients’, and is noted for her β€˜extensive knowledge and unflappable manner’. She acted for a client in a divorce action in the Sheriff Court involving cohabitation matters. Associate Jamie Foulis is also recommended.

Clients single out Morton Fraser for its track record in high-value financial provision and child law work, including abduction cases. β€˜Very experienced’ team head Rhona Adams, who β€˜guides clients effectively through the process thanks to her calm manner and level-headed approach’, acted for West Lothian Council in a Court of Session application for a permanence order with authority to adopt where both natural parents opposed the application. She also acted for a farmer in divorce proceedings and a subsequent appeal at the Inner House of the Court of Session. The β€˜tenacious and prompt’ Fiona Sasan, who is β€˜committed to fighting her clients’ corner’, represented a client in Court of Session divorce proceedings involving financial provision issues, and acted for a separate individual in a relocation case. The β€˜knowledgeable, meticulous and very understanding’ Lucia Clark is also recommended.

Family Law Matters Scotland LLP’s β€˜good’ team handles a wide range of contentious and non-contentious family and child law work, including divorce and separation proceedings, which frequently involve matrimonial property, child relocation and financial provision matters. Karen Gailey represented a Polish father in two petitions in the Court of Session, both under the Hague Convention. The first involved retaining the petitioner’s son in Scotland in 2013, and the second one pertained to the child’s re-abduction from Poland in 2015. The team also advised a client on matrimonial property and pension issues, which subsequently led to divorce proceedings. Senior associate Michaela Hinchin, who also serves as a mediator, and consultant Anne Dick are key members of the team.

Harper Macleod LLP attracts praise for its β€˜dedicated and empathetic assistance on family law matters’. The firm regularly acts on contentious child relocation matters, high-value financial provision disputes and cohabitation issues, including pre-and-post-nuptial agreements. Recently promoted partner Alexis Miller is β€˜highly intelligent and very experienced’; she is praised for her β€˜warm and professional approach’ and β€˜hard work put in to representing her clients’ views’, and is also noted for her β€˜authority and leadership in a crisis’. Miller acted for the defendant in a divorce action at the Court of Session pertaining to matrimonial property issues. Amanda Masson, who attracts praise for her β€˜great listening skills’ and β€˜decisive approach in finding solutions’, acted for a client in a child relocation matters before the Sheriff Court. In another key matter Jenny Smith represented a client in separation and divorce proceedings involving business interests. β€˜Professional’ associate Claire Christie is β€˜a tower of strength’. Alan Susskind left the firm.

MTM Family Law regularly handles high-net-worth divorce cases alongside child law and adoption matters. β€˜Formidable court practitioner’ Shona Templeton, who regularly appears in the Sheriff Court and is noted for her β€˜thoughtful and careful approach’, represented a client in assault allegations against his spouse, and assisted another individual with a claim of economic disadvantage and childcare issues. The team also acted for a client seeking the transfer of the matrimonial home as part of an unequal division due to the economic burden of caring for the children. The practice also assisted a client with a separation and the negotiation of a fair division of net assets, including high-value foreign equity assets. The β€˜knowledgeable and experienced’ Carolyn MacBride β€˜keeps abreast of developments’. Founding partner Sara Matheson left to take up a position as a Summary Sheriff in Airdrie.

Aberdeen-based Patience and Buchan handles a wide range of contentious and non-contentious family and child law work for clients across the North East of Scotland. This includes assistance with adoption and financial provision matters, cohabitation disputes and disputes between same-sex couples as well as high-value collaborative cases. The β€˜very conscientious, diligent and confident’ Lorna Buchan, who β€˜excels in litigated cases and has excellent rapport with clients’ while β€˜maintaining a balanced and fair view of negotiations’, advised an individual on child contact arrangements after the client’s separation from their partner, who is also the parent of the child. In a separate matter, she assisted a client with cross-border matrimonial property matters following a separation. Ashley Simpson, who β€˜is sensitive to client needs and demonstrates great attention to detail’, acted for a client in a cohabitation separation, and advised another client on a child contact dispute, and on assault allegations. Consultant Iain Patience is β€˜very experienced and equally strong in litigation and other forms of dispute resolution’.

Aberdein Considine’s β€˜knowledgeable’ team β€˜gives good advice in a timely manner’ and is β€˜able to communicate any issues in plain English’. β€˜Very trustworthy, professional and sympathetic’ team head Ruth Aberdein is β€˜able to approach difficult matters with empathy and understanding while using extensive knowledge and experience to achieve as good a solution as possible’. She acted for a client in a divorce action involving a number of child relocation, financial and matrimonial property issues. Other recent work includes assisting a client with a separation involving a diverse range of assets such as business interests and investments, and acting for the pursuer in a residence dispute over shared care agreements for a child. Isabelle Douglas, who was elevated to the partnership in 2016, is also recommended.

Anderson Strathern frequently handles divorce and separation issues alongside pre-and-post-nuptial agreements. Team head Janice Jones assisted a client with a pre-nuptial agreement involving overseas assets, and another client with a pre-nuptial agreement involving inherited wealth and trust matters. In a separate matter, she acted for the pursuer in a contentious financial provision divorce action pertaining to conflicting pension values. Other recent work includes advising a client on parental rights and child residence matters in order to prevent the child to be relocated to live with the client’s ex-partner, and assisted a different client with economic disadvantage issues following a separation and early retirement in order to support the client’s ex-partner with their business interests.

The β€˜proactive’ team at BLM is β€˜supportive, eminently pragmatic’ and experienced in dealing with contentious and non-contentious family and child law matters such as financial provision divorce cases, cohabitation and child relocation matters, as well as handling matters pertaining to sexual abuse and physical assault allegations. Caroline Gillespie acted for a client in an international child relocation case, and represented an individual in a post-cohabitation action. β€˜Outstandingly strong’ team head Siobhan Kelly, who β€˜handles delicate matters of family separation with compassion’, advised a client on financial provision and child welfare matters. She also acted in a child contact dispute and advised an individual on matrimonial property matters pertaining to assets gained from a trust and family business.

Blackadders LLP stands out for its expertise in financial disputes, including pension entitlements, arising from divorce and separation proceedings, which often involve international elements. Other areas of expertise include assisting with pre-and-post-nuptial agreements, cohabitation and child law matters. Team head Craig Samson acted for a cohabitant in court proceedings pertaining to financial claims, and advised another client on child retention issues and on seeking interim maintenance. He also assisted an individual with child care matters involving mental health issues.

Digby Brown LLP has a strong profile in adoption cases and pre-nuptial agreements, and also has a track record in divorce and separation proceedings involving child maintenance and matrimonial property issues. Team head and associate Roger Mackenzie negotiated a financial settlement for a client as part of high-value divorce proceedings, and assisted a Scottish family with child adoption matters. He also advised a client on a pre-nuptial agreement, and advised a client on child maintenance issues, including school fees. The β€˜very organised’ Sue Grant is β€˜highly experienced in adoption cases’ and has β€˜superb client skills’.

The β€˜professional and approachable’ team at Lindsays β€˜provides a good service’ and is noted for its β€˜pragmatic approach’. The team has particular expertise in handling divorce and separation proceedings, often involving cross-border elements, and is also well versed in handling child law work such as relocation and contact issues. β€˜Determined and experienced’ team head and β€˜strong litigator’ Alison McKee β€˜has particular expertise in child abduction cases’. The β€˜hardworking, efficient and results-oriented’ Nina Taylor, who β€˜finds meaningful, fair and long-term solutions in contentious and volatile situations’, advised a client on divorce matters involving the division of matrimonial assets. The β€˜experienced’ Jennifer Gallagher is β€˜very impressive in the courtroom’ and β€˜always prepared to find creative solutions’. Director and β€˜experienced litigator’ Lucy Metcalf β€˜finds good solutions in difficult situations’ and β€˜knows how to judge the strengths and weaknesses of a case’. Dundee-based partners Lesley Macdonald and Duncan Mackinnon are also recommended.

MacRoberts LLP attracts praise for its β€˜guidance and reassurance in difficult family and child law matters’. Key areas of expertise include handling divorce and separation proceedings, including financial provision issues, as well as cohabitation and pre-nuptial agreements. β€˜Experienced, knowledgeable and pragmatic’ team head Jacqueline Stroud, β€˜provides clear advice and reassurance to clients in distress’, and also serves as a mediator. She acted for a client in separation proceedings involving sexual abuse allegations, and assisted a different client with pre-nuptial agreement negotiations. The team also acted for an individual in a divorce action involving matters such as the relocation of a child and contact arrangements, and advised a client on economic advantage and disadvantage matters pertaining to non-matrimonial property.

Morisons LLP’s β€˜experienced and professional’ team β€˜communicates in an effective and timely manner’ and has a strong presence in the Sheriff Court and the Court of Session in child-related and financial cases. The team has a niche in surrogacy matters and also handles international child abduction cases alongside other family law work such as pre-nuptial, post-nuptial and cohabitation agreements. β€˜Compassionate, calm and supportive’ team head Alasdair Docwra, who is β€˜committed to achieving a fair outcome’ and is β€˜a pleasure to work with’, acted for a mother in an Inner House Appeal pertaining to child contact arrangements, and acted for a father seeking routine contact with his children and permission to take the children on holiday to a country that is not a signatory to the Hague Convention. He also represented a mother in an action raised by the City of Edinburgh Council for a forced marriage protection order pertaining to the client’s youngest child, following accusations that the client’s older child had been forced to marry in Pakistan.

Shoosmiths is β€˜easy to work with’ and provides β€˜quick responses’, often on high-value divorce actions involving partnership and business interests. Clients also single out the team’s expertise in child protection issues, aliment agreements and child relocation matters. β€˜Intelligent, personable and professional’ team head Marika Franceschi is β€˜incredibly supportive’ and β€˜a delight to work with’. She advised a client on divorce matters including property and pension aspects. Consultant John Fotheringham is noted as β€˜being very experienced in child maintenance legislation and regulations’.

Stuart & Stuart covers a wide range of family law issues, including divorce and financial provision matters, separation and maintenance agreements, and handles child residence and contact orders and other issues pertaining to parental rights and responsibilities. β€˜Outstanding’ team head John MacKenzie β€˜heads off problems and gets great results for clients’. He is praised as β€˜being efficient and technically superb’.

T C Young is noted for its strength in handling child-related work including cross-border contact and residence actions and Hague convention cases, as well as being experienced in handling divorce and separation matters such as disputes over matrimonial property and pre-marriage assets. Edinburgh office team head and β€˜good negotiator’ Grant Knight is β€˜very good in court’ and β€˜at drilling down to what is salient’. Recently, he advised a client on child relocation matters, and acted for another client in divorce proceedings. Glasgow office team head Lynne Collingham is β€˜well organised, professional and knowledgeable’ and β€˜provides clear advice’. She secured a capital payment for a client in divorce action. β€˜Great negotiator’ Vicky Lewis is β€˜a real joy to work with’.

Thorntons Law LLP’s β€˜informative and highly responsive’ team is β€˜good at making clients feel at ease and at explaining the law in layman’s terms’. The team regularly advises high-net-worth individuals on divorce and separation matters, and is well versed in handling financial provision cases and disputes over the relocation and residence of children. Other areas of expertise include dealing with cohabitation disputes, pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements, and adoptions. Stephen Brand heads the team, which includes the β€˜very professional’ Amanda Wilson, as well as Sandra Sutherland and Graham Harding.

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