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United Kingdom > Scotland > Real estate > Commercial property: elsewhere in Scotland > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



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  1. Commercial property: elsewhere in Scotland
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

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Next generation lawyers

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Brodies LLP's team is 'very knowledgeable, confident, professional and efficient', according to its clients. The firm acts for some of the most active market participants in office lettings, commercial and residential developments, housebuilding and property finance matters, among many other areas. In addition, its position as a market-leader in the north east of Scotland is underscored by its roles in high-profile and high-value matters. In 2017, Tracey Menzies advised Chrysaor Limited on its lease from M&G of 48,000 feet of space at The Capitol on Union Street in Aberdeen. The firm also acted for both Drum Property Group (as the seller) and LCN Capital Partners (as the buyer) in the sale and purchase of the Lloyds Register Building at Prime Four in Aberdeen; this was the largest investment deal in Aberdeen. Menzies and Nick Scott acted for LCN in this deal, while Colin MacLaren acted for Drum. Aberdeen City Council, Pramerica and Brookfield Student Real Estate are among other key clients. Clive Phillips, who leads the rural property team, is experienced in advising landed estates and farming clients on a range of commercial property matters, such as rural acquisitions and sales, and wind farm options and leases. Associate Jenna McCosh is another name to note.

At Burness Paull LLP, Peter Smith and director Emma Miller are part of a team whose members are 'all solid, and also tenacious when needs be'. Led by John Strachan, 'it always gives a good steer'. Strachan is particularly knowledgeable about residential and commercial development (including acting for funders in development transactions), and he also has experience of advising high net-worth individuals and families on property investments, and corporate occupier work in the energy sector. Strachan was the lead adviser to Jaguar Land Rover on multiple 'Arch Concept' developments in Edinburgh, Dundee and Perth. Richard Goodfellow focuses on commercial and residential development (acting for landowners, developers and occupiers), and he has built an excellent reputation in high-profile and groundbreaking projects. Goodfellow and Nicola Henderson are working with members of the planning and construction teams to advise Aberdeen Football Club on the development of a new stadium and training facility. In another headline mandate, Goodfellow, Sarah Stewart and others are acting for a consortium of landowners in the £1.5bn development of a  settlement consisting of 4500 homes at Chapelton of Elsick. Stewart Milne Group, Total E&P UK and Dandara are other notable clients.

Pinsent Masons LLP is dominant in large-scale residential projects, which is reflected in its work for major players such as Taylor Wimpey, Persimmon Homes and Kier Property Developments.  It also added Mactaggart and Mickel as a client in 2017. Department head Rodney Whyte has focused almost exclusively on the housebuilding sector for more than 10 years (acting for developers/investors and landowners). Whyte and associate Stuart Fraser recently assisted CALA Group and BDW Trading (Barratt) with successfully acquiring the highly sought-after Cammo Fields development in Edinburgh for a proposed residential development of circa 600 units. Whyte also worked with associate Michael Shepherd to advise CALA on acquiring a 50 unit multi-phase development at Meldrum Golf Club in Aberdeenshire. The firm is equally as capable in big-ticket commercial and mixed-use projects, where it generates mandates from funders, investors, developers and occupiers. Legal director Mark McCall recently led on the property aspects of Aberdeen Harbour Board's development of an extension of Aberdeen Harbour. Elsewhere, the firm's standout reputation in the oil and gas sector makes it a strong choice for property-related work arising from the industry; McCall acts for clients such as Baker Hughes, KCA Deutag and Taqa. Complementing its coverage of investments, developments and commercial leasing, the firm adds value in related areas, such as real estate finance, planning and environment, tax and construction.

Blackadders LLP's reputation in the commercial property arena is growing, under the leadership of its department head Emma Gray. Gray is overseeing an increase in the firm's housebuilding sector mandates, which come from mid and large-sized housing developers, and landowners. In addition to residential development, the firm's work also spans acquisitions and disposals (including franchise and portfolio transactions), property finance and landlord and tenant work. Gray, who is dual-qualified in English and Scottish law, has specialist knowledge of the office, retail and leisure sectors. Gray and director Stuart King are acting for a development company in the redevelopment of a listed building and former warehouse to form new office and leisure space at Dundee Harbour. James Hay Pension Trustees Limited, Glendola Group, Morris Leslie Group and EWP Investments Limited are key clients.

Ledingham Chalmers LLP's practice is spread between its Aberdeen and Inverness offices, giving it excellent coverage of the market in the north and north east of Scotland. Led by Stephen Morrice, the firm provides a broad scope of services to public and private sector clients. In Aberdeen, Alasdair MacLure, heads up the firm's commercial leasing unit, while Alan Michie leads the firm's housebuilding practice. Michie recently worked with senior associate Lesley Currie to advise Kirkwood Homes Limited on its £4.75m acquisition of a 57 unit site at Countesswells in Aberdeen. In another matter, Michie, Currie and John Mitchell are assisting the same client with concluding missives for a five-phased residential development of 250 units at Linlathen in Dundee. In what was one of the largest office lettings in Aberdeen in 2017, planning lawyer David Scott and senior solicitor Rachael Mackay assisted Total Waste Management Alliance Limited as the tenant with negotiating and concluding a sub-lease of 7000 square feet of office space at Broadfold House. John Smart in Inverness has more than 20 years of experience of commercial property transactions, and handles a mix of sales and purchases, leases and development agreements. On the secured lending side, the firm handles property-related financing and refinancing matters for a number of mainstream lenders, including The Royal Bank of Scotland, Clydesdale Bank and Santander.

Stronachs LLP provides corporate support and also delivers standalone commercial property advice to a varied client base including public sector organisations, investors, developers, international entities and partnerships. Duncan Campbell leads the team, which is active in areas such as renewable energy, oil and gas, hospitality and leisure, and retail. Liz Stewart, who has more than 17 years of commercial property experience, is knowledgeable about investment acquisitions and disposals, commercial leasing, the property aspects of security and finance work, option agreements and portfolio transactions. Recently promoted partner Emma Stephen has particular expertise in assisting residential property developers with complex title and development transactions. Consultant Grant MacKenzie, and senior associates Eloise Robb and Joy Mullin are other notable individuals in Aberdeen. Ross Linn is based in Inverness. Global Energy Group, Spex Services Limited and Weatherford UK Limited are active clients.

Aberdein Considine's work spans multiple sub-sectors of the Scottish commercial property market, including student accommodation, retail, leisure, industrial, offices, hotels and leisure. In Aberdeen, Jacqueline Law and Ritchie Whyte are the partners in the team, which handles acquisitions and disposals. financing, development and leasing. Whyte and Gemma Perfect acted for Duncans of Banchory in the acquisition of an office complex for redevelopment, and they also advised Handelsbanken on the refinance of a residential property portfolio to include 80 units over eight developments, among other matters. Anthony Quin in Stirling is assisting Indigo Sun Retail Limited with negotiating new leases and variations/extensions of existing leases as part of its national expansion across Scotland.

CMS' main contacts are Paul Carter (who divides time between Glasgow and Aberdeen) and senior associate Carol Nisbet. Carter has a particularly strong track record acting for institutional investors in investment and development transactions; his clients include Aberdeen Asset Management, Credit Suisse and Union Investments. In 2017, Nisbet's work included acting for CBRE Global Investors in the sale of Denburn House in Aberdeen city centre to a Jersey-based hotel operator. She is particularly recommended for her commercial leasing experience, an area where her clients include Lloyds Register, Statoil and Hunting Energy Group.

Dentons' team acts for clients based in Aberdeen, and the north and north east of Scotland, with its work involving sectors that are the core of the local economy, such as retail, renewable energy, hotels and agriculture. In the housebuilding space, David Rose acts for some of the largest and most active housebuilders - such as Barratt, Taylor Wimpey and Persimmon's north Scotland business - and lenders to north east Scotland developers. In addition, as part of a much larger operation, the team is highly active in matters throughout the UK, such as property portfolio transactions. Rose, who has overseen the growth of the firm's Aberdeen-based practice since his arrival from Brodies LLP in 2015, made partner in June 2017. He is supported by Edinburgh-based partners Allan Cairns and Alan Stewart, who commit a significant proportion of time to the Aberdeen practice. In 2017, a highlight involved acting for McLaren (Aberdeen) Limited and McLaren Developments (Aberdeen) Limited in the sale of a portfolio of six student accommodation developments to Hines UK Limited. Another matter involved advising Craig Garbill Renewables LLP on the sale of a wind turbine to Wind Energy Renewables LLP.

Clients opine that MacRoberts LLP's Dundee team is 'extremely competent, pragmatic and sensible'. Team head David Milne and senior associate Kyle Moir are 'highly attentive, and are also assiduous in seeking to understand their market and how their clients' needs can be best served'. Since he set up the Dundee office in 2013, Milne has successfully grown the real estate practice, which provides support and coverage of the market locally and throughout Scotland. In 2017, Milne, Moir and senior solicitor Lisa MacRae were part of a cross-practice team which advised independent property development company FHP Properties Limited on the £3.2m acquisition of a prestigious site located in Dundee's West End. Another highlight involved acting for Braemore Estates in the refinancing of a portfolio of 43 commercial assets in Scotland and transfer of four development sites to a related company. Other clients include Unicorn Property Group, Royal Bank of Scotland Plc and Mole Valley Farmers.

In 2017, Thorntons Law LLP further entrenched its foothold in the Scottish market, by acquiring the business of Pagan Osborne, which had offices in places like Cupar, Anstruther and St Andrews. Its varied portfolio of work enables it to draw work from a wide range of client, including housebuilders/developers, housing associations, banks and building societies, and educational establishments. In addition to handling purely Scottish real estate matters, it also adds value on cross-border transactions, with Hugo Allan and associate Janice Napier being dual-qualified in English and Scottish law. The team provides the full scope of advice on investment purchases and sales, landlord and tenant work, secured lending, and commercial and residential development (including subsequent plot sales). Practice head Janet McIntyre, who divides time between St Andrews and Kirkcaldy, is particularly experienced in acting for clients in the licensed trade and hospitality sector in a wide range of matters. In a particularly high-profile deal, Ewan Miller and others are acting for the University of Strathclyde in the £32m disposal of its Jordanhill campus in Glasgow to CALA Homes; this matter represents the disposal of one of Scotland's largest residential development sites. In 2017, Miller and others worked alongside KPMG, as the administrators of the McEwens of Perth business, in the sale of the department store building to English department chain Beales. Graham Wilson advised Angus Housing Association Limited on the £8.5m acquisition of land (with a building contract for 71 new build housing units) on a greenfield site in Arbroath from Persimmon Homes. Craig Nicol and Bruce Renfrew are also recommended.

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Legal Developments in Scotland for Commercial property: elsewhere in Scotland

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