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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 > Projects, energy and natural resources > Oil and gas > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Index of tables

  1. Oil and gas
  2. Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

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Brodies LLP has a 12-strong team led by Clare Munro which acts for operators and services-sector clients in all aspects of their businesses; it ‘goes the extra mile to ensure that the advice sought or representation required is delivered to a tight timescale, without compromising on quality’. The group has members with in-house oil and gas experience in the UK and internationally, which ‘enables the team to provide advice that is accurate and practically useful’: key figures include include Munro, Greg May (‘the go-to lawyer for drilling contracts’) and Sonia Love. In 2016, May and corporate partner Andrew Akintewe acted for Transocean Onshore Support Services on the provision of the Sedco 704 semi-submersible to a small independent operator in order to facilitate the drilling of an appraisal well. May also provides ongoing advice to Maersk on a suite of pro-forma service contracts used by the client and its affiliates worldwide. Other clients include INEOS Upstream, Premier Oil, Shelf Drilling and Total E&P. Standout figures at managing associate level include Suzanne Hopkinson, who ‘thinks outside the box’, and Rhona McFarlane, who has ‘superb knowledge of oil and gas contracts’. Clients also single out partner Ken MacDonald for his ‘fierce intellect’.

Burness Paull LLP is ‘a very joined-up firm that provides a high level of support across the board’. The practice attracts praise for its deep sector knowledge and grasp of the more technical and commercial aspects of the industry, making it a go-to firm for all oil and gas related issues. Team head Bruce McLeod and Brian Hemming have previous experience serving as commercial managers at BP and Maersk. In addition, McLeod, Hemming and Robin Clarkson have previously undertaken in-house legal roles at oil and gas companies; ‘this shows in the practical and effective way they handle work for clients’. Although the UK is the main area of focus of the practice, the firm also handles a growing workload of international matters; in 2016, McLeod and senior solicitor Laura Fraser assisted Germany-based DEA Group with a sale and purchase agreement associated with its disposal of interests in two Egyptian oil and gas concessions to Italian purchaser Edison. McLeod’s track record includes handling agreements concerning oil and gas interests in Niger, Norway and South Africa, among other jurisdictions. In another matter, Clarkson, Fraser and senior solicitor David Smith advised Sterling Resources on the sale of a 47% interest in the Kirkleatham and Westerdale onshore fields to Dess Energy. Parkmead, Savannah Petroleum and Centrica are also clients.

CMS’s team comprises ‘true industry leaders in their field’, covering every facet of the oil and gas industry from a UK and international standpoint for some of the world’s largest companies, including BP, Shell, Transocean and ConocoPhillips. Scotland team head Norman Wisely has substantial experience of UK Continental Shelf (UKCS) and international sales and acquisitions of onshore/offshore oil and gas assets, oil and gas share transactions, and decommissioning and licensing matters. Judith Aldersey-Williams has extensive knowledge of a wide variety of sector-specific commercial contracts, including joint operating agreements, gas sales agreements and supply and service contracts. In an illustration of its track record of advice to multinational oil and gas clients, a team including recently promoted partner Graeme Clubley and ‘rising star’ Paula Kidd assisted BP with the restructuring of the Eastern Trough Area project. Elsewhere, lead partner Frank Fowlie, Frances Reilly and Clubley were part of a team acting for First Oil on the sale of two subsidiaries to Zennor Petroleum and the related restructuring of its business, including its entry into administration. Lorna Dawson, David McGowan and Valerie Allan are other names to note. Managing partner Stephen Millar maintains relationships with clients such as BP and Eni. Rob Wilson heads the energy disputes practice.

Pinsent Masons LLP has a market-leading reputation in the oil and gas sector across the UK and internationally, which is reflected in a high-calibre client base that includes John Wood Group, Shell UK, BP and Suncor Energy Services. The group’s breadth and depth of expertise makes it well placed to handle the full range of matters, including decommissioning and licensing, as well as procurement, capital markets transactions, finance, restructuring and dispute resolution. It also provides advice to regulatory bodies on regulatory initiatives. Key figures include global energy head and ‘respected industry figureBob Ruddiman and the ‘experienced and pragmaticShirley Allen, who leads the team in Aberdeen. In 2016, Allen led the advice to Siccar Point Energy on its acquisition of an interest in the Mariner Field from JX Nippon. In another highlight, Julia Maguire is leading a cross-practice team is acting for West Africa’s largest industrial conglomerate on the procurement of technology licences, equipment, material and services for a £12bn petroleum refinery and petrochemicals plant. Rosalie Chadwick, who has a strong track record in oil and gas transactions, was the lead adviser to Falkland Oil and Gas on its £57m merger with Rockhopper Exploration. Other notable individuals include David McEwing, Gillian Frew and Bruce Craig. Legal director Neil Hehir and senior associate Rachel Warner are also recommended.

Bond Dickinson LLP’s team in Aberdeen is led by Richard Cockburn and advises upstream and supply chain clients on all aspects of their activities, both on a standalone basis and also alongside other offices in the firm’s wider UK network. Its strong track record is reflected in a client list of international and UK-based clients, including Schlumberger, Shell and Total E&P. Cockburn’s team includes legal director Laura Petrie, whose expertise includes agreements related to drilling projects, joint operating agreements and farm in/farm out arrangements; and senior counsel Uisdean Vass, who primarily focuses on the upstream oil and gas space, including advising on asset acquisitions and farm-outs. Vass also has extensive knowledge of oilfield service contracting issues – where he acts for oil companies and oil services companies – and oil and gas related financings. In 2016, Cockburn and Petrie advised PX Group (as an agent of North Sea Midstream Partners) on assuming the operation and maintenance of the St Fergus gas plant and related infrastructure.

Maclay Murray & Spens LLP’s practice primarily handles matters relating to decommissioning, shale gas, drilling projects and international upstream projects requiring English law advice. The practice was further strengthened in 2016 with solicitor Jennifer Davis re-joining the firm from an in-house role at Vitol, and the recruitment of Donald Smith from BP. Bill Fowler and others have been advising Peel Gas & Oil on its involvement in the UK onshore/shale gas industry, which included advising on negotiations with licence holders/operators over onshore drilling activities. Jill Reid’s expertise includes upstream oil and gas operations and project development, with particular knowledge of late life asset M&A and associated decommissioning and security issues. Kirsti Olson is experienced in decommissioning projects, and is chair of the Oil and Gas UK Decommissioning Working Group. Senior solicitor Nicola Rae specialises in reviewing and drafting drilling and oilfield services contracts.

Stronachs LLP has a longstanding reputation in the oil and gas arena, advising on a wide range of matters for oil and gas companies, such as exploration, drilling, field development, production and decommissioning, as well as acquisitions and disposals of oil and gas assets. In 2016, Malcolm Donald acted for Dana Petroleum on the sale of its interest in Faroe Petroleum. A growth area of the practice is in matters involving oil and gas technology innovation; energy practice head Ewan Neilson, James Downie and senior associate James Muir have been advising Shandong Twin Marine Limited on an international joint venture between Norwegian, UK and Chinese entities to construct a purpose-built decommissioning ship, which deploys groundbreaking heavy lift technology. Neilson’s other recent work includes handling a big data project in the UKCS, as well as advising on a number of oil and gas sector insolvencies.

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