The Legal 500

Twitter Logo Youtube Circle Icon LinkedIn Icon

Morton Fraser

Work 0131 247 1000

The firm: Morton Fraser is a Limited Liability Partnership, with a Management Board, a Chief Executive and a Chairman. The firm provides award winning and top rated legal services across the UK, and has links to over 160 international firms. It has been known as Morton Fraser since 2000.

The firm can lay claim to being the oldest law firm in Scotland following its merger with Macdonalds in February 2013. Macdonalds can trace records of the firm back to 1614.

The Morton Fraser practice in Edinburgh can be traced back to 1829, when it was founded by Charles Morton who set up as Greig & Morton WS in partnership with James Greig. Following various mergers during the 19th century, in 1915 the firm underwent another amalgamation to become known as Morton, Smart, Macdonald & Prosser WS.

1961 saw another merger - with J & J Milligan WS. The two firms becoming known as Morton, Smart, Macdonald & Milligan WS. In 1968 they merged again with Fraser, Stodart & Ballingall WS to become Morton, Fraser & Milligan WS, shortened to Morton Fraser in 2000.

The firm opened an office in Glasgow in 2004 and in London in 2007 in response to client demand. In 2002 the firm merged with the commercial practice of Robson McLean WS and in 2008, with Edinburgh based law firm Skene Edwards.

The firm continues to expand and develop to best serve their clients' requirements.

Morton Fraser is a leading independent Scottish law firm delivering clear legal advice to businesses, the public sector, families and individuals. It operates from offices in Edinburgh, Glasgow and London, with a headcount of around 300 people including 44 Partners. It has links internationally to a further 160 law firms around the world. With a highly talented team of lawyers, Morton Fraser provides specialist expertise across its main business areas of commercial real estate, public sector, private client, banking, corporate and litigation.

Morton Fraser has highlighted clarity as its guiding principle. This directs the way it communicates, the way it advises, the way it conducts relationships with its clients and the way it is totally transparent and upfront about its charges. This applies to all its services from the straightforward to the more complex.

Clients: Morton Fraser's impressive client base includes AGS Airports Limited, Diageo, Historic Environment Scotland, The Ministry of Defence, Nationwide, Post Office, Rockspring, Royal Mail Group, Schuh, Scottish Canals, Scottish Government, Skyscanner, Standard Life plc, Superdrug, Tesco Stores Limited, UK Government and Volkswagen UK.

Areas of practice: Banking: Morton Fraser has one of Scotland's largest dedicated finance practices. Clients include all of the UK's clearing banks, along with building societies, leasing companies and overseas financial institutions. The team offers real expertise from transaction-driven finance to consumer finance and consumer credit regulation. They advise on deals with values running into billions of pounds a year and frequently provide specialist Scottish advice to English and overseas law firms.

Commercial Real Estate: the commercial real estate team advises clients on the full spectrum of commercial real estate work including regeneration projects, retail and general leasing, property investment, property development, portfolio management, property finance, lender services and house building. They also have expertise in real estate support services such as construction, planning and environmental law. Clients benefit from their expertise gained in acting for some of Scotland's largest property owners.

Corporate: the corporate team has extensive experience in a wide range of corporate matters throughout the UK, including share and business sales and purchases, mergers and acquisitions, capital reductions, restructuring, advising investors and investees in private equity transactions, joint ventures and shareholder disputes and advising on insolvency and data protection and GDPR matters. They work with a wide variety of organisations from PLCs and household-names to small and medium sized organisations including charities, owner-managed businesses and start-ups in all industry sectors.

The team is involved in many technically-complex and commercially-significant transactions across a range of sectors.

Litigation: the litigation team is one of the largest in Scotland. It includes experts in specialist areas such as fraud and financial crime, child and adoption law, immigration law, contentious planning law and alternative dispute resolution. The team also includes three solicitor advocates offering clients seamless and cost-effective representation in civil courts throughout Scotland; a substantial debt team with particular expertise in volume recoveries for public sector clients; and one of the most respected employment teams in Scotland.

The firm's approach to litigation involves partnering with our clients and basing our strategy around their goals in order to get the best result possible. The core of our work is our commercial practice dealing with business to business disputes. The majority of these involve issues of contractual interpretation.

Private Client: the private client team have over 70 specialists, including its own Estate Agency and two chartered and certified Independent Financial Advisers. Together, they are all passionate about the work they do for people and their families. They advise on a wide range of areas of expertise including divorce and family law, wills, powers of attorney, finances, tax planning, family succession, pensions, buying and selling property, later life care and trusts.

Public Sector: Morton Fraser has a huge amount of experience of working with public sector clients who appreciate the firm's sensitivity to the political, administrative and financial demands faced by the sector. The firm acts for over 70 public sector organisations including the Ministry of Defence, the Scottish Government, UK Government Departments and Agencies, Non-Departmental Government Bodies, Education Institutions as well as many Local Authorities (several of which as sole legal advisers).

  • Other offices: London
  • Number of UK partners: 44
  • Number of UK fee-earners: 143
  • Breakdown of work %

  • Corporate: 10
  • Commercial Real Estate: 28
  • Litigation: 24
  • Private Client: 20
  • Public Sector: 8

Above material supplied by Morton Fraser.

Legal Developments in the UK

Legal Developments and updates from the leading lawyers in each jurisdiction. To contribute, send an email request to