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Corporate and commercial: Edinburgh and Glasgow

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  1. Corporate and commercial: Edinburgh and Glasgow
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

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Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Corporate and commercial: Edinburgh and Glasgow clients in Scotland using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact david.burgess@legal500.com.

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Brodies LLP, which is ‘consistently on top of what the deal requires’, acts for Scottish and UK-based clients (and those located overseas) in acquisitions and disposals, private equity investments, joint ventures, MBOs, investment fund formation and corporate restructurings, among other areas. A notable hallmark of the practice is its strengths in industries such as food and drink, manufacturing, healthcare and renewable energy. In 2016, Andrew Akintewe jointly led a cross-practice team, which acted for Aberdeen City Council in a £370m index-linked bond issue on the London Stock Exchange. In another highlight, Roger Cotton and others are advising Scottish Water Business Stream on its circa £20m acquisition of Southern Water’s non-domestic customer base. Neil Burgess acted for the owners of Matthew Algie & Company in its takeover by Tchibo Coffee Service. Shuna Stirling leads the team, which also includes Julian Voge, Eric Galbraith, William McIntosh, Grant Campbell and Karen Fountain. Managing associate Paul McLaughlin and associates Sarah Miller and Euan Tripp are other recommended individuals. Derek Stroud, who joined from Pinsent Masons LLP, has more than 25 years’ experience of corporate transactions.

Burness Paull LLP handles a full range of mandates for owner-managed businesses, PLCs and AIM-listed companies, and overseas-based corporates, among other clients. It has a particularly outstanding reputation in high-value cross-border transactions; in 2016, private equity head Mark Ellis advised Brown-Forman Corporation on its £285m acquisition of the BenRiach Distillery. In another matter, Grant Stevenson, senior associate Victoria Bryden and others acted for BlueGem Capital Partners in its acquisition of fashion retailer Jack Wills. Hattington Capital, Midlothian Capital and Kings Park Capital are among other private equity investor clients. Head of corporate finance Chris Gotts recently led the advice on Savannah Petroleum’s $40m secondary institutional placing of new ordinary shares. Peter Lawson assisted Standard Life with a series of acquisitions as part of a strategy to build out a new UK-wide financial advice business. The firm’s practice is complemented by its corporate tax strengths, which were bolstered by the key hire of Ronnie Brown from DWF.

CMS has a first-rate reputation in big-ticket transactions spanning energy, financial services, TMT and leisure, among other sectors. In the life sciences arena, Kenneth Rose, Stuart MacLean and others acted for Össur UK Holding in its £27.5m takeover of Touch Bionics. The group’s core practice is complemented by strengths in ancillary disciplines, such as tax and employment, as well as additional expertise across the firm’s wider network. In 2016, Wendy Colquhoun led the advice of a multidisciplinary team in Standard Life’s acquisition of AXA Portfolio Services from the AXA Group. In another matter, Graeme Bruce led a cross-office team (which included recently promoted partner Jack Letson) in the advice to AIM-listed InterBulk Group regarding its £95.3m cash acquisition by Den Hartogh Holding. Ian Macleod Distillers, Prestonfield Investments and Clyde Blowers Capital are other notable clients. Practice head Colin Lawrie, an expert in unregulated private equity and real estate funds, advises on fund formation, investments into funds and debt financing. Senior associate James Woodward is ‘very easy to deal with’. Also recommended are David Davidson, Laurence Ward and Michael McAuley.

Dickson Minto WS has an outstanding track record of acting for UK listed companies, global corporates, investors, family businesses and private equity houses, among other entities. The firm’s diverse workload includes domestic and cross-border corporate and private equity transactions, as well as advice on a wide ambit of other corporate and commercial issues. Bruce Minto, Colin MacNeill, Ewan Gilchrist and Andrew Todd are among the specialist partners in the team, which acted for Facebook in its acquisitions of Two Big Ears and mLED. Other highlights included advising Dunedin LLP on the sale of CitySprint via a secondary MBO, and handling Verisk Analytics’ acquisitions of The GeoInformation Group and Aurium Limited.

Pinsent Masons LLP’s wide-ranging sector expertise is brought to bear in headline transactions across a mix of Scotland-focused mandates and UK-wide transactions, as well as those with an international element. Its broad practice includes equity capital markets matters, public and private M&A, joint ventures and private equity investments. Practice head Barry McCaig recently acted for clients such as Lloyds Development Capital, West Coast Capital and Infinergy Limited. In 2016, Rosalie Chadwick assisted Total with the £585m sale of its North Sea midstream business to North Sea Midstream Partners. In another mandate, Chadwick worked with lead partner Alan Diamond, Jennifer Malcolm and Christine Yuill to handle Skyscanner’s £1.4bn takeover by Ctrip.com. Kevin Devanny is another key name, as are senior associates Brian Thumath and Kevin Beattie. Derek Stroud joined Brodies LLP.

Shepherd and Wedderburn’s clients value the firm’s ‘deep industry expertise’. Illustrative of its experience of cutting-edge, industry-transformative deals, Stephen Trombala, senior associate Tom Swan, John Morrison and Eilidh Gillanders acted for FanDuel as sole UK counsel in its merger with DraftKings. Swan ‘quietly gets on with the work without any drama’. Trombala and Morrison also handled the sale of Two Big Ears to Facebook. The ‘very commercial and pragmaticDanny Lee acts for clients in a range of sectors, such as energy, food and drink, life sciences and technology. Also recommended is George Boyle, who acted for Albion Water Group Limited in the sale of a 51% stake in Albion Water Limited to Wessex Water. Andrew Blain heads the team, which also includes Paul Hally, George Frier and senior associate Joanna Monaghan. Jack Gardiner moved to Turcan Connell.

Maclay Murray & Spens LLP has ‘a number of first-class lawyers’ who undertake high-end matters for blue-chip UK and international clients in industries such as food and beverages, financial services and retail, among others. In 2016, Brian Moore, Michael Livingston and Catriona Munro were among the key advisers to British Polythene Industries in its £261m takeover by RPC Group Plc, which was one of the largest Scottish M&A deals of the year. Moore, David McGrory and others acted for FreeAgent Holdings in its £34m AIM IPO, which was the first Scottish IPO in more than two years and the first-ever IPO of a UK crowdfunded fintech company. In other work, Derek McCombe acted for The Edinburgh Woollen Mill (Group) Limited during its £7m acquisition of the Austin Reed and Country Casuals brands from the administrators of Austin Reed. Dalmore Capital, The Edrington Group and Railways Pension Schemes are other notable clients. In addition to handling Scottish and UK cross-border deals, the firm’s membership of the Lex Mundi network sees it collaborate with law firms worldwide in international transactions. Director Donald Smith joined the firm in 2016 from BP Plc. Head of corporate Guy Norfolk divides his time between London and Edinburgh.

DLA Piper Scotland LLP undertakes high-value domestic and cross-border transactions for Scottish, UK and multinational corporates. Led by Simon Rae, the Edinburgh-based group handles a full spectrum of matters, including corporate M&A, public and private fundraisings, restructurings and joint ventures. In 2016, Rae was a key adviser in a multidisciplinary team that handled Energy Ventures’ sale of UK-based engineering and service company Meta Downhole Limited to Schlumberger. Private equity buyouts are another core pillar of the practice, and the group acts for such names as Vespa Capital and Scottish Equity Partners in some of their most significant deals; Rae advised the latter on a £9.5m series C growth capital co-investment (alongside Grafton Capital and Draper Esprit) in flash sales website SportPursuit. Legal director Andrew Wardrop is also recommended.

DWF’s extensive experience across the full spectrum of corporate and commercial matters is complemented by particular sector strengths in retail, energy and utilities, tourism, hotels and leisure, and sport. Led by Wayne Lawrence, the team manages a varied workload, which includes M&A, joint ventures, corporate structuring, private equity and capital markets transactions, and corporate governance. Its client roster spans a wide variety of Scottish, UK-based and international clients, including Distell, Visit Scotland, Capita Plc and Graham’s the Family Dairy Group. In addition to acting for almost half of the FTSE 250, other clients include private equity funders, management teams and public sector bodies. In 2016, Paul Pignatelli and Gemma Gallagher assisted Exova (UK) Limited with expanding its environmental business through its acquisition of Jones Environmental Forensics. In another matter, Alasdair Peacock and senior associate Rachel Gervaise worked with a multidisciplinary team which acted for Sterling Furniture Group in its acquisition of Forrest Furnishing Limited from Ken Forrest. Damien Bechelli and Gary MacDonald are other key individuals, as are legal director Tom Maxwell and senior associate Kirsty Smith.

Addleshaw Goddard’s practice was strengthened in 2016, following the key partner hires of Anna Brown and Helena Brown from Pinsent Masons LLP and Burness Paull LLP, respectively. The former is particularly experienced in listed company work, including equity capital markets transactions (AIM and main market), while the latter has commercial contracts expertise, such as procurement and outsourcing. Led by David Kirchin, the corporate team manages high-value domestic and cross-border M&A and private equity (including venture capital) transactions, joint ventures, fund formation and corporate structuring. The practice has great breadth, acting for clients from a wide variety of sectors, such as oil and gas, real estate, metals, technology and manufacturing. Andrew Ley, who leads the firm’s food and drink and capital markets teams, specialises in acting for entrepreneurial owners, management teams and investors in high-growth companies. Murray Jack heads the firm’s life sciences sector group, and is also active in corporate deals involving a wide range of other industries. In the utilities arena, Andrew Walker was the lead adviser to Castle Water in its acquisition of Thames Water’s non-domestic water business. David Horne, who is qualified in England and Scotland, acted for Ediston Homes in its acquisition of Craighead Properties, and also handled Europa Capital’s £36m acquisition of Laser VV Property.

Harper Macleod LLP’s corporate group, which is led by Donald Munro, handles a full range of matters for owner-managed and family businesses, ranging from SMEs to multinational operators, as well as the organisations acquiring these entities. In 2016, Munro along with James MacGregor, recently promoted partner Stephen Chan and Scott Kerr were part of a multidisciplinary team that advised Germany-based Tchibo Coffee Service on its acquisition of Matthew Algie & Company. Paula Skinner leads a sub-team that focuses on acting for early stage and high-growth companies; illustrative of the practice’s commitment to the area, it is the exclusive legal partner in Scotland to Scottish EDGE and Entrepreneurial Spark (the world’s largest free business accelerator). Kerr was the lead adviser to e-commerce start-up Paddle.com Market Limited on a £2.4m series A investment by BGF Ventures and Spring Partners. Other key individuals in the team include Craig McKerracher and Chris Kerr, who divide time between Glasgow and Inverness.

MacRoberts LLP handles a full spectrum of mandates for Scottish SMEs and mid-market corporates, as well as UK Plcs. In addition to handling purely domestic Scottish and UK transactions, cross-border work is another cornerstone of the multifaceted practice, with the firm advising UK businesses on expanding their operations overseas, and assisting offshore companies with their investments into Scotland and the wider UK. The group’s work spans a wide range of sectors, such as oil and gas services, manufacturing and healthcare, among others. In 2016, Alan Kelly and Gary Baines worked with a multidisciplinary team to advise Johnston Press Plc on its high-profile £24m acquisition of the ‘i’ newspaper from Independent Print Limited, and also advised the same client on the disposal of its Isle of Man titles. David Wylie acted for Breedon Aggregates Group Plc in its £15.7m acquisition of Sherburn Minerals Group. Led by Neil Kennedy, the team ‘always responds within the timescales required’. Michael Kellyturns things around very quickly, producing top-quality work’.

Anderson Strathern’s team acts for public and private sector clients, as well as third sector organisations, in matters such as M&A, joint ventures, corporate restructurings and AIM listings. The firm has a particularly strong reputation in the energy sector. Practice head Simon Brown, Martin Whiteford and senior associate Ashley MacIntyre have advised INEOS Chemicals Grangemouth Limited and Petroineos Europe Limited on various procurement issues and supply contracts following a joint venture in 2011 between INEOS and PetroChina International; in a current highlight, they are currently advising these clients on an agreement with Jacobs UK Limited concerning the provision of design and technical services at the Grangemouth Refinery. Elsewhere, John Kerr and senior associate Ashley MacIntyre acted for Scottish Midland Co-operative Society in its sale of R.Hindhaugh (Chemists) Limited and Seaton Delaval pharmacy to Gorgemead Limited. Senior associate Ewan Regan has more than 15 years’ experience handling transactions for start-ups, angel investors and listed companies, among other clients. Bruce Farquhar and James Blair are other recommended individuals in the group, which was strengthened by the recent addition of Nicholas Howie from Holmes Mackillop.

BTO Solicitors LLP’s broad client base includes housebuilders, funders, entrepreneurs, owner-managed businesses and national/international businesses. In addition to assisting with funding transactions and organisational restructurings, the firm also handles acquisitions and disposals, MBOs, joint ventures and investment agreements, among other matters. Jeremy Glen leads the team, which is ‘realistic in its timescales and always provides value for money’. Singled out for particular client praise is the ‘very pragmaticAndrew Sleigh, who acted for Cooper Cromar Group (a vehicle used by the management team) in the MBO of Cooper Cromar Limited. Gary Booth handles a variety of matters for clients in the SME sector, including share and business purchases or sales, shareholder agreements and commercial contracts. Scott Wyper, who made partner in 2016, draws work from a wide range of sectors, with a particular specialism in renewable energy transactions. Alastair Dunn is another key individual.

Bellwether Green advises on M&A, private equity, MBIs and MBOs, corporate structuring, shareholder issues and commercial contracts for Scottish family-owned and owner-managed companies, PLCs and multinational corporates. The practice gained momentum in 2016, with the firm winning work from new clients such as Proficio, Stay Highlands, Craigalan Controls and Payment Protection Scotland. April Bingham leads the team, which attracts work from clients across various industries, such as technology, financial services, healthcare and manufacturing. In 2016, Bingham and senior associate Stephanie Farrell acted for Traveltek Group Limited as the investee in a £5.3m investment made by fund manager YFM Equity Partners. In another highlight, Bingham advised Hamilton Robertson Insurance Brokers on its distressed acquisition of the business and assets of C&A Mackie Insurance Consultants Limited (In Administration). Louise Cent joined Maclay Murray & Spens LLP.

Davidson Chalmers LLP excels in acting for owner-managed businesses and other SMEs. Its client base spans various sectors, with the firm being particularly active in areas such as healthcare, technology and renewable energy. Practice co-head Craig Stirling is particularly experienced in dental sector transactions, and also advises other health sector clients, including pharmacists, opticians and medical practices. In 2016, practice co-head Stuart Duncan acted for environmental and waste recycling company Suez during its buy-in to Glenfarg Organics, while Stirling advised Inch Volkswagen on the sale of a portfolio of Scottish Volkswagen dealerships to the Arnold Clark Group. Duncan has particular expertise in setting up Scottish limited partnerships and Scottish limited liability partnerships. CL Selby Holding, Little Learners Scotland and Shin-etsu Group are among a number of recent client wins.

Gillespie Macandrew LLP has a varied client base, which includes SMEs and family businesses, high-net-worth individuals, large corporates and public sector bodies. The firm’s work spans a wide range of industries, where members of its team handle M&A, equity investments and commercial contracts. A particular area of strength is in managing the corporate aspects of renewable energy and land-based development projects. In 2016, Derek McCulloch worked with associates Michael Cox and Chris Gibson to advise Rio Tinto on the £330m sale of its Alcan Aluminium UK business to SIMEC. Gibson, who joined the firm in 2016 from Jacksons Law, is dual-qualified in English and Scottish law, and is particularly experienced in acting for early-stage software and technology companies in matters ranging from fundraisings to sales. In another highlight for the firm, practice head Christopher Smith was the lead adviser to the shareholders of Route Monkey in the company’s £9.1m sale to Trakm8.

Corporate and commercial boutique Kergan Stewart LLP undertakes transactional and advisory work on a wide range of issues for businesses UK-wide. Led by Alan Stewart, the eight-strong team includes four partners who have 100 years’ combined experience in the practice area; according to clients, they are ‘driven by the desire to get things done – and done properly’. Catherine Feechan, who is particularly experienced in acting for clients in the food and beverages sector and life sciences industries, advises on M&A, joint ventures and commercial contracts, among other matters. Fiona Piper is a go-to expert for private equity transactions and director Elizabeth Kennedy has a strong track record of assisting main market and AIM-listed clients with managing a variety of board-level issues, such as equity financing and corporate governance. David Allan and associate Stephen Smith recently joined the firm from Brodies LLP. The practice secured a string of client wins in 2016, including Direct Business Systems, Direct Healthcare Group and Dulux Group. One recent highlight involved acting for Comcast Ventures and NBC Sports Ventures on the merger between FanDuel and DraftKings, having previously advised the same clients on their investments in FanDuel.

Lindsays has a strong reputation acting for family businesses and SMEs across the Central Belt and further afield throughout Scotland. The firm draws work from clients in a wide range of sectors, such as education, pharmaceuticals and life sciences and retail, among many others. A particular strong suit is in the technology sector, where its client roster includes entrepreneurs, spin-off companies and investors. David Lindgren is experienced in advising technology sector investee companies and investors on fundraisings. Lindgren and senior associate Alastair Smith acted for The IDCo (formerly Miicard) as the investee in a £1.5m investment by new and existing investors. The firm also acts for a wide range of clients in the healthcare industry, such as opticians, dental and medical practices, among others. Practice head David Wood recently acted for Northern Ireland-based Corry’s The Chemist in its acquisition of Killearn Pharmacy. The practice gained momentum in 2016, winning work from several new clients, including SIPS Holdings, Capital for Colleagues Plc (an investor in employee-owned businesses) and Anderco Holdings. Douglas Roberts, Peter Tweedie and Claire McCracken are recommended. Solicitor Stewart Gordon joined the Glasgow office in 2016 from Levy & McRae.

Commercial law firm MBM Commercial has an outstanding reputation in the technology sector, where it acts for growth companies and investors. Its practice also experienced an uptick in work for emerging and established managers seeking assistance with forming venture capital funds and other fund structures. In 2016, practice head Kenny Mumford acted for Seraphim Capital on the launch of a space technology venture capital fund. Outside of technology, the firm features in high-end matters involving other sectors, such as Stuart Hendry acting for Dawnfresh Seafoods on the sale of its scampi business to Whitby Seafoods, a deal which was reviewed by the UK Competition and Markets Authority. Tracey Ginn, who is dual-qualified in Californian and Scottish law, joined the firm in 2016 from Polsinelli PC, and has vast experience in US and UK corporate transactions. Stephen Clark and Laura Peachey are highly regarded associates, and senior solicitor Jennifer Noble is also recommended.

Macdonald Henderson’s corporate team handles a varied workload, which includes Scottish and cross-border M&A, MBOs, private equity investments, share buybacks, shareholder issues and corporate governance. In 2016, Fraser Morrison acted for a shareholder consortium in the circa £1m sale of a controlling interest in St Mirren Football Club to property developer Gordon Scott and the St Mirren Independent Supporters Association. Morrison also acted for high-growth male cosmetics company YOLO for Men and its sole owner Marianne Morrison in private equity investments made by various global investors. Managing director David Beveridge heads the team, which acts for clients ranging from start-ups and small owner-managed businesses to larger corporates.

Morton Fraser, which has a first-rate reputation among its Scotland-based clients, has particular strengths in assisting SMEs and owner-managed businesses with matters such as fundraising, restructuring and M&A. The firm also acts for investors and investees (particularly high-growth technology companies) in private equity transactions, and also has a strong client following of individual entrepreneurs, public sector bodies and higher education institutions. Practice head Austin Flynn, who ‘cuts to the heart of the matter when presented with an unforeseen scenario’, worked alongside senior associate Callum Murray in the advice to the founders and shareholders of Premier Asset Finance during its circa £20.5m takeover by Paragon Bank Plc. Murray is a recent hire from Stronachs LLP. In another highlight, Adrian Bell and recently promoted partner Paul Geoghegan advised the principal vendors of Intelligent Point of Sale on the company’s sale to iZettle. Iain Meiklejohn, Iain Young and senior associate Lauren Scott are other names to note in the team. Joyce White retired from private practice.

Shoosmiths’ team ‘thinks things through, is likeable and good at delivery’. Led by Alison Gilson, the group acts for Scottish, UK-based and international clients of various shapes and sizes from a broad cross-section of industries, such as transport, technology and construction, among others. Its diverse workload includes M&A, restructurings, joint ventures, fundraisings, commercial contracts and corporate governance. Gilson and Stuart Murray advised video games publisher and distributor Maximum Games on its acquisition of Avanquest Software Publishing. In another highlight, Murray acted for Leonard Haymarket in its acquisition of Morrison Street Hotel Limited. Associate Jen Paton is another notable individual in the team. SI Seafarms, MV Commercial and Photonic Solutions are among other clients of the practice.

Wright, Johnston & Mackenzie LLP’s strong private client practice sees it handle a wide range of matters for family-owned and owner-managed businesses, including succession-related issues. At the other end of the client spectrum, the firm also acts for large Scottish and UK corporates, such as Ken Long assisting Macfarlane Group with a series of acquisitions in 2016, including its £1.25m purchase of Colton Packaging Teesside. Domestic and international franchising work (for franchisors and franchisees) is a major cornerstone of the work, with Angus MacLeod and senior associate Martin O’Neill being names to note. Core sector strengths of the practice include food and drink (particularly Scotch whisky and alcoholic spirits) and technology; Whyte & Mackay, Beam Suntory, Equity Gap and Gabriel Investments are among the firm’s key clients. Graham Bell heads the team, which also includes Colin Millar and Susan Hoyle.


Corporate and commercial: Elsewhere in Scotland

Index of tables

  1. Corporate and commercial: Elsewhere in Scotland
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Corporate and commercial: Elsewhere in Scotland clients in Scotland using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact david.burgess@legal500.com.

CLICK HERE TO VISIT THE WHO REPRESENTS WHO SITE

Brodies LLP’s team has ‘breadth and depth of experience, which is hard to find elsewhere in Scotland’. It handles key industry matters for clients in a multitude of sectors, including technology, education, food and drink, and financial services. Gill Summers, who is particularly knowledgeable about the fishing and maritime industry, has more than 20 years’ experience advising on acquisitions and disposals of businesses (and assets), corporate governance and directors’ duties, as well as vessel-related issues. Tom Boulton-Jones acts for blue-chip clients such as Dana Petroleum and Drum Property Group, and led the advice to Cooke Aquaculture on its acquisition of Balta Island Seafare. Other key individuals include Clare Munro, Greg May and Sonia Love, who are heavily involved in oil and gas matters; May has 20 years of oil and gas contracts experience. The ‘dedicated and professional’ associate Shona Tennant, and senior solicitors Caroline Deveney and Hamish Blair are also highly regarded. Douglas Crawford, who joined from CMS in 2016, heads the private equity practice.

Burness Paull LLP has standout capabilities in oil and gas services sector work, which includes M&A, MBOs and corporate restructurings. Helen Dickson and director Gary Chapman acted for Subsea 7 in its acquisition of Swagelining Limited and Pioneer Lining Technology. The firm also has an active private equity practice, where it acts for investors and management teams in buy-in or buyout transactions. Outside of oil and gas, highlights included assisting Bluegem Capital with its investment in Jack Wills and advising Hattington Capital on its investment in Dobbie’s Garden Centres. Other private equity clients include Maven Capital Partners and Simmons Private Equity. Stark, who succeeded Ken Macdonald as practice head (following the latter’s retirement from private practice), is at the forefront of the firm’s work for Norwegian businesses, which is a notable growth area of the practice. Also recommended are Alasdair Freeman, who specialises in corporate and commercial work in the oil and gas and IT sectors, and director Arran Mackenzie.

CMS combines strong transactional experience in areas such as energy (oil and gas, and renewables) and consumer products (including food and drink) with expertise in related specialised issues, including competition and planning issues. Reflecting the firm’s outstanding track record in big-ticket corporate and private equity matters, in 2016 Helen Machin and senior associate Niall Polson acted for NBGI in the merger between Centurion Group and ATR Group, a transaction involving the merger of two private equity backed groups. In another matter, Frank Fowlie was the lead adviser to LDC, Epi-V and the management team of Darcy Technology in the sale of Darcy to Halliburton. Other notable clients include Norvestor VII LP, ConocoPhillips and Graphite Capital. Also recommended in the team are Norman Wisely, a go-to for domestic and international upstream and midstream oil and gas transactions, recently promoted partner Graeme Clubley and Lorna Dawson. Judith Aldersey-Williams advises UK and international clients on a wide ambit of commercial contracts in the energy industry, as well as regulatory and competition issues.

Pinsent Masons LLP undertakes a particularly significant amount of corporate and commercial work in the oil and gas arena, where it acts for clients such as oil majors, services companies and private equity funds in high-value, multijurisdictional transactions. Practice head (and head of the Aberdeen office) Roger Connon acts for clients such as Statoil and Wood Group Plc. In 2016, David McEwing and senior associate David Millar were part of an international team which acted for Simmons Private Equity II LP in its acquisition of LEAP Group. In another matter, McEwing led the advice to Zennor Petroleum on its acquisition of subsidiary companies First Oil & Gas Limited and Antrim Resources Limited from the joint administrators of First Oil & Gas Expro. Martin Ewan is knowledgeable about oilfield technology exploitation, and also acts for upstream operators and service sector clients in acquisitions and disposals, and corporate restructurings, among other areas. Legal director Jonathan Kirkwood is also recommended. The practice also has clients in other industries, such as renewable energy, infrastructure and technology.

Blackwood Partners LLP is particularly active in M&A and private equity transactions in the oil and gas service sector, where it acts for corporates, management teams and fund sponsors. Despite challenging market conditions, the practice advised on a significant number of mandates in 2016, including acting for oil services company Centurion Group in its merger with ATR Group, and advising Eclipse Intervention Holdings on its acquisition of Wellbore AS. Another highlight involved acting for Maven Capital Partners during its investment in Whiterock Group. Managing partner Alastair Wyper leads the team, whose other clients include Ashtead Technology, Consilium AB and Proserv Group. Corporate partner Judith Quinn and solicitor Ross Fair are other key individuals in the team.

Aberdein Considine’s team, which undertakes work across a wide range of sectors for clients Scotland-wide and internationally, mainly focuses on acting for SMEs and investors in the oil and gas and marine service space. Led by managing partner Jacqueline Law, the group advises on issues such as start-up and fundraising, expansion strategies, joint ventures, restructurings, acquisitions and disposals. A specialist financial services team advises on corporate benefits and pension schemes for company directors and business owners. The firm was increasingly active outside of oil and gas in 2016, and added to its presence in the food and drink sector with new clients such as Porter’s Gin and Dark Matter Distillers. In other notable work, Ritchie Whyte acted for the management team of Atlas Lifts and Services during an MBO of the business, and advised Baird’s Pharmacy on its acquisition of The Caring Chemist.

Blackadders LLP provides ‘excellent and to-the-point advice’ to high-growth businesses, private companies and multinational organisations. The group fields two partners who have attained the Signet Accreditation in corporate law: practice head Campbell Clark, and the ‘extremely conscientious and knowledgeableKirk Dailly; the latter focuses on acting for companies in the technology, creative, healthcare and education sectors. A recent highlight involved acting for games entrepreneurs and investors Chris van der Kuyl and Paddy Burns in their investment (along with Lloyds Development Company) in Team17. In another matter, Clark advised Gillies of Broughty Ferry Limited on its acquisition of two furniture businesses, namely Ogilvies of Inverness and West End Furniture. Director Susan McFadyen has expertise in the timeshare and vacation ownership sector.

With offices in Inverness, Lerwick and Thurso, Harper Macleod LLP has a sizeable presence in the north of Scotland. Chris Kerr leads the Highlands and Islands team, which handles a broad spectrum of matters for clients in sectors such as marine, food and drink, manufacturing and engineering, and tourism, among others. Work for privately-owned businesses is a core pillar of the practice, particularly for family-owned and owner-managed businesses of various sizes. In addition, the firm undertakes a significant amount of work for early-stage and high-growth companies through its role as exclusive legal partner in Scotland to Scottish EDGE and Entrepreneurial Spark. In 2016, Kerr and Craig McKerracher acted for the selling shareholders of Balta Island Seafare in the sale of the company to Cooke Aquaculture Scotland. In another highlight, McKerracher was the lead adviser to Waas Bakery on its acquisition of Walls Bakery. Associate Lesley Wisely joined the Inverness office from Ledingham Chalmers LLP. Commercial contracts expert Jill Fryer is also knowledgeable about public procurement and a wide range of competition law issues, including those involving merger control, state aid and anticompetitive agreements.

Ledingham Chalmers LLP’s team has a longstanding track record in the oil and gas service sector, where it acts for clients such as Tendeka, Plexus Ocean Systems and Ramco Oil Services. Led by Peter Murray, the team handles a broad spectrum of mandates, including M&A, joint ventures and corporate restructurings, as well as providing commercial contract advice. Rod Hutchison is advising Total Waste Management Alliance on corporate and contractual issues connected with its global energy services activities. Other names to note are Rod Hutchison, Neil Anderson, Fiona Neilson and Jody Mitchell, as well as senior associate Sarah Londragan.

Maclay Murray & Spens LLP combines an experienced, full-service practice with specialist knowledge about ancillary disciplines, such as competition law and corporate tax. The firm’s extensive workload spans mergers and acquisitions, MBOs, private equity fundraisings and commercial contracts, among other areas. In the energy arena, it has a strong track record in upstream oil and gas, as well as on the supply chain side; key clients include Peel Gas & Oil, Premier Oil and Gulfstream Services. Kirsti Olson is the chair of Oil & Gas UK’s decommissioning work group, which is currently producing the first LOGIC standard form contract for decommissioning projects in the North Sea. Other industries in which the firm is particularly active are food and drink, where clients include salmon farms and start-up micro-breweries, and renewable energy. Bill Fowler, Nicola Rae and others are assisting The European Marine Energy Centre with all aspects of its €11m Interreg North West Europe FORESEA project; recent work includes advising the client on establishing partnership arrangements with various other entities across Europe, such as SmartBay and Tidal Testing Centre. David McGrory divides his time between Edinburgh and Aberdeen. Gordon Hobkirk, who joined from Bond Dickinson LLP, succeeded Andy Lowe as the Aberdeen corporate practice head, following the latter’s recent departure from the firm.

Shepherd and Wedderburn enhanced its footprint in Aberdeen, and the wider market in North East Scotland, following its recent high-profile acquisition of The Commercial Law Practice LLP; Keir Willox was among the key individuals to move across. In addition, the Aberdeen corporate team includes John Rutherford and consultant Charles Scott, who joined in 2016 from Pinsent Masons LLP and Mackinnons respectively. Rutherford heads the practice, which handles matters such as acquisitions and disposals of SMEs and shareholder investments, among other areas.

Stronachs LLP is well known for acting for clients in the oil and gas industry (both in the upstream and supply chain sectors), particularly in complex multijurisdictional transactions. It also undertakes corporate and commercial work in other areas, such as renewable energy, healthcare and leisure, food and drink, and technology. Led by Neil Forbes, the team acts for a broad base of organisations, including listed companies, with a particular sweet spot in advising owner-managed businesses and management teams. In 2016, Ross Gardner and others acted for the shareholders of Aberdeen Drilling School in the disposal of a 25% stake to Falck Safety Services Holdings. In another matter, Malcolm Donald was the lead adviser to the shareholders of Capture Group (Holdings) in the company’s takeover by Konica Minolta Business Solutions (UK) Limited. David Rennie and Inverness-based senior associate Ross Linn are also recommended. Callum Murray moved to Morton Fraser.

Thorntons Law LLP’s corporate practice is split between offices in Dundee, Perth and St Andrews. Its 13-strong team (which includes four dedicated corporate partners) handles a varied workload, which includes M&A, private equity and other fundraising transactions, business start-up and structuring, and corporate governance advice. Michael Royden heads the practice, which marks an uptick in work from high-growth technology and spin-out companies seeking investments, as well as angel investment syndicates and universities spinning out companies. Other team strengths include acquisitions and disposals of dental practices, and matters arising from the computer games and golf industries. In 2016, Alistair Lang acted for Intelligent Growth Solutions in a £500,000 series B equity financing round. Lang has ‘the very rare ability to blend an innovative approach, commercial business realism, and strategic and visionary thinking, with legal expertise’. DC Thomson group, Carnoustie Golf Links and Design Dundee are among its key clients. Chris Allan and Jack Robertson are other notable partners. Robbie Francis, Alison Stevenson and Chris Byrne are highly regarded associates.


Corporate tax

Index of tables

  1. Corporate tax
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

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Brodies LLP’s practice, which is jointly led by Isobel d’Inverno and Alan Barr, covers tax issues associated with M&A, reorganisations and private equity or venture capital deals, as well as insolvency-related transactions. D’Inverno handled the tax aspects of Aberdeen City Council’s £370m index-linked bond issuance on the London Stock Exchange. The team also has experience in corporate real estate deals – for example, D’Inverno advised fund manager Brookfield Student Real Estate on Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) issues and other matters associated with its investment in two student accommodation schemes in Glasgow. Fund-related tax work is a growing area of practice. Director Neil Ritchie specialises in assisting high-net-worth individuals (including owners of owner-managed businesses and company directors) with various matters, such as capital gains and employment remuneration, as well as trusts and estate planning. Heather Thompson, who recently joined from Turcan Connell, has more than 25 years’ experience in the tax arena. Senior solicitor Bob Langridge is another key individual.

Maclay Murray & Spens LLP’s highly regarded group includes chartered accountants, and also solicitors who are either qualified chartered tax advisers or members of the Association of Tax Technicians; ‘it means that the team is able to get stuck fully into the issues’. The group’s wide-ranging expertise spans, among other areas: VAT, employment taxation (including share schemes), real estate taxes and tax planning/structuring in corporate deals and reorganisations. Practice head Gwen Souter acts for a broad client base, which includes high-net-worth individuals, privately owned and listed companies, and multinational corporates. Lorna McCaa, who is experienced in tax structuring corporate and commercial property transactions, also heads up the firm’s employee incentives practice; she provides ‘focused and pragmatic advice, even in the most complex of situations’. McCaa led on the tax aspects of Superglass Holdings’ proposed £9m takeover by Inflection Management Corporation. Alastair MacLeod is a key contact in London for matters combining English and Scottish law.

Burness Paull LLP’s team provides transactional support to large corporates, investors and fund managers in multimillion-pound M&A and private equity deals. It also provides tax advice to start-ups at every stage of their business lifecycle. In 2016, the tema advised Bluegem Capital Partners on the tax aspects of its acquisition of the Jack Wills fashion chain. Other clients include charities, public bodies and – in the real estate sector – the group advises large developer clients on the tax structuring of major development projects in Scotland and England. In 2016, Ronnie Brown, who has significant tax experience in corporate and property transactions, was hired from DWF to lead the practice; his recent work includes advice to housebuilder clients on the potential introduction of a levy on vacant and derelict land in Scotland. Corporate tax manager John Finnick, who is another notable individual in the team, worked with Brown in the advice to Brown-Forman Corporation on tax issues associated with its £285m acquisition of BenRiach Distillery Company.

MacRoberts LLP handles tax aspects of corporate and property transactions (including LBTT/SDLT) and advises on venture capital reliefs, among various other areas. Experienced tax partner Ainsley MacLaren, who is also a chartered tax adviser, recently acted for Breedon Northern Limited in the tax aspects of its £15.7m acquisition of Sherburn Minerals Group. MacLaren also advises Beatson Cancer Charity on VAT and direct tax issues associated with sponsorship and other fundraising activities. Other clients of the practice include Idox Plc, the Scottish government and BAM Properties Limited. Martyn Shaw is knowledgeable about tax issues associated with retirement benefit schemes, employee ownership arrangements and share incentive schemes.

Shepherd and Wedderburn handles complex tax matters for clients such as start-up enterprises, FTSE 100 companies and charities. It covers all issues arising from corporate transactions, shareholder-related matters (including entrepreneurs’ relief from capital gains tax), advises on all types of real estate taxes, and assists with share schemes and employee benefits, among many other areas. Practice head Stephen Miller, who has 20 years’ experience, led the advice to Comet Solutions Holdings on the tax aspects of its sale to Merkle. Miller and senior associate Douglas Sinclair are handling numerous tax issues for Taylor Wimpey Plc concerning various site acquisitions and disposals in Scotland; recent advice related to VAT and the LBTT. Other clients include BlackRock, Iomart Group Plc and FanDuel. Rodger Cairns heads up the firm’s employee share incentives practice, and is particularly knowledgeable about executive compensation. The firm’s recent acquisition of The Commercial Law Practice LLP has bolstered its reach in Aberdeen and surrounding areas.


EU and competition

Index of tables

  1. EU and competition
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which EU and competition clients in Scotland using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact david.burgess@legal500.com.

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Brodies LLP is at the forefront of the most current EU law issues, which was recently illustrated by Christine O’Neill’s role as a member of the Lord Advocate’s legal team in Gina Miller’s Supreme Court Article 50 Brexit appeal. O’Neill leads the firm’s Brexit advisory group with Charles Livingstone. Elsewhere, the firm’s competition work includes CMA and EU merger control, cartel defence, abuse of dominance, state aid and public procurement. The practice also covers antitrust compliance advice, internal investigations, regulatory audits, dawn raids and litigation. Practice head Rod Lambert, who has more than 27 years’ competition experience, assisted Scottish Water Business Stream with obtaining UK merger clearance of its acquisition of Southern Water’s non-household business. Livingstone, O’Neill and associate Gemma McKinlay are representing the Scotch Whisky Association, spiritsEUROPE and CEEV in a Supreme Court appeal challenging the compatibility of the Alcohol (Minimum Pricing) (Scotland) Act 2012 with EU free movement of goods law. O’Neill is also acting as junior counsel on behalf of the Scottish government in state aid litigation brought by an engineering services company. Roger Cotton leads the public procurement team.

Maclay Murray & Spens LLPreally holds its own against the London Magic Circle firms’, with its capabilities spanning merger control, European Commission (EC) and UK cartel investigations, market investigations and challenges to the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) and EC, procurement and state aid. Follow-on damages actions are a growing area of work, one in which the team represents claimants and defendants. The practice is also developing a specialism acting for financial services clients in competition law matters. In one recent highlight, Catriona Munro, practice head Michael Dean and associate Jennifer Marshall advised British Polythene Industries on the EU merger control aspects of its takeover by RPC Group. In another matter, Dean’s team have been assisting Aberdeen Asset Management with the merger control aspects of its merger with Standard Life. Directors David McGowan and Carolyn Burns are recommended, as is senior associate Melanie Martin.

At Shepherd and Wedderburn, ‘work conducted is always very well researched, considered and legally sound’. Led by Gordon Downie, the team handles competition and other regulatory issues for public and private sector clients active in the utilities industry (with a particular focus on the energy and water markets). State aid, public procurement work and market investigations are the other mainstays of the practice. In recent highlights, Downie and senior associate Natasha Durkin acted for ScottishPower in the CMA’s investigation into the British energy market. Other clients include Scottish Enterprise, ORE Catapult and Water Industry Commission Scotland. Also reflecting the firm’s first-rate reputation in the energy sector, it was appointed to act as adviser to the Singapore Energy Markets Authority. Since the UK referendum on EU membership, the team has been particularly active in advice on EU law and trade issues. John Grady is ‘immensely hardworking and will leave no stone unturned to get to the right answer’. The group works closely with the London team, which is led by John Schmidt.

Burness Paull LLP handles merger control aspects of high-value and high-profile transactions, advises on competition issues arising from commercial agreements and manages competition disputes. A dedicated team led by director Graeme Palmer focuses on procurement and state aid. Although the practice attracts competition law work from clients in a wide range of sectors, particular areas of strength are financial services, food and drink, and energy. Complementing its work for private sector organisations, the practice also has a notable public sector offering, where key clients include Highlands & Islands Enterprise and City of Edinburgh Council. Practice head David Goodbrand advised Highland Spring on developing key relationships with its distributors, which included managing competition issues. On the transactional side, Goodbrand handled the competition aspects of Standard Life’s acquisition of Baigrie Davies Holdings.

CMS acts for Scottish clients and non-Scottish entities with operations in Scotland in a wide range of matters. Senior associate Lynsey Brown is particularly experienced in EU state aid and public procurement work. Other core pillars of the firm’s practice include compliance advice, investigations and litigation, as well as merger control. Aberdeen-based Judith Aldersey-Williams, who has more than 25 years’ experience in competition and regulatory matters, focuses on acting for clients in the energy sector, particularly in oil and gas. Elsewhere, the firm draws work from clients in other sectors, including utilities, financial services, life sciences and infrastructure. Graeme Young leads the practice. Clients include SSE Plc, Standard Life, University of Glasgow and Clydesdale Bank.

DWF has a strong track record of handling the state aid and public procurement aspects of Scottish infrastructure projects. A recent highlight involved advising Dundee City Council and Angus Council on their joint procurement of residual waste management services. The firm also advised Energi on its UK franchising strategy, including managing associated competition law issues. Visit Scotland, Caledonian Maritime Assets and The Central Marketing Agency, are also key clients. Colin Miller heads the practice, which also covers CMA cartel investigations and merger control.

Harper Macleod LLP’s behavioural and transactional work includes public procurement, state aid, merger control, abuse of dominance and anti-competitive agreements. In addition to acting for private sector organisations, the firm has a particularly strong public sector client following, which includes City of Edinburgh Council, Glasgow Council and Forestry Commission Scotland. Practice head James McMorrow and associate Jill Fryer advised Renfewshire Council on state aid compliance associated with recent City Deal projects, including the Clyde Waterfront and Renfrew Riverside Project. In 2016, McMorrow acted for the University of St Andrews in the public procurement of a development partner for the development of student accommodation.

MacRoberts LLP provides EU and UK competition law compliance advice on behavioural matters, and also handles cartel investigations, state aid (acting for public authorities and private sector businesses) and merger investigations. Practice head David Flint has nearly 40 years’ competition law experience, and is particularly knowledgeable about issues associated with the transport sector. Duncan Osler undertakes a significant amount of work for public sector clients, including NHS boards and local authorities, with particular expertise in public procurement. Senior associate John Reid is another notable practitioner in the team.

Pinsent Masons LLP assists clients with contentious and non-contentious public procurement issues associated with major projects in Scotland and the wider UK, and also provides advice on state aid. Practice head Caroline Ramsay is particularly experienced in acting for UK government departments, including the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, and the Homes and Communities Agency. Elaine McLean specialises in state aid and utilities procurement. Christopher Murray is also recommended.


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