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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 > Dispute resolution > Debt recovery > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Index of tables

  1. Debt recovery
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

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Next generation lawyers

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Who Represents Who

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Aberdein Considine, whose team demonstrates 'excellent business acumen', is among the market leaders in the debt recovery field. The firm now has an impressive pan-UK offering, having strengthened in 2016, when it merged with A&S Ireland in Glasgow and also acquired Wallers  in Newcastle upon Tyne. In a significant development, Myra Scott joined the firm from Ascent Legal Scotland (along with fellow partner Laura Browne) in February 2018, with Scott succeeding the outgoing Rob Aberdein as practice head, following his move to Walker Morris LLP  in November 2017. In addition to Scott and Browne, the other highly regarded partners in the team are Leonie Donald, Paul McIntosh and Ross Webb. Operations director Joseph Bowie and associate Elaine Elder are also recommended. Scott's group has expertise in mortgage recoveries, consumer credit recoveries, asset finance recoveries, and corporate and commercial recoveries. Reflective of the firm's outstanding reputation, it acts for some of the UK's largest banks and other financial institutions, such as Lloyds Banking Group, Nationwide, The Royal Bank of Scotland and Santander. Its other clients include SMEs, publicly listed companies and public sector organisations.

Brodies LLP delivers 'a very high level of service' on both volume and bespoke debt and asset recovery mandates. The team acts for a broad cross-section of clients, including banks, utility companies, debt purchasers and insolvency practitioners. It also assists English law firms requiring Scottish debt litigation support. Practice head Stephen Goldie, who has circa 20 years of experience, has a particular specialism in property-related debts, such as arrears of rent, service and common charges. Goldie and others are particularly active in handling high-value property repossession work for private investment firms that purchased distressed secured property portfolios from banks. Solicitor advocate Iain Rutherford  works with Goldie to manage the volume debt recovery offering, and also handles his own caseload of high-value and high-profile matters. Also active in complex, large-value cases is solicitor advocate Laura McMillan. Philip Hall (who focuses on corporate and plant hire debt recovery) and associate Monica Connolly are other notable figures. The practice was strengthened by the arrival in April 2018 of managing associate Marianne Griffin from Dentons . Santander Consumer Finance, Fleximize Limited and Moneybarn are among the firm's clients. Ricky Cannon departed for DWF, while Tony Jones QC joined from BTO Solicitors LLP.

Morton Fraser's work includes advice to FCA-regulated clients (such as banks and asset-based lenders) on their internal processes; this is in order to ensure that they are compliant from a regulatory standpoint, and also operationally effective from a recoveries point of view. Bill Stark works with the banking team to ensure that standard recovery letters and clients' internal processes are FCA-compliant. In addition to acting for FCA-regulated entities, the firm's other clients include public sector organisations (such as local authorities and educational establishments), SMEs, Plcs and individuals. Fergus McDiarmid heads up a specialist team, which advises SIPP providers on debt recovery matters, and is particularly active in defended matters. Senior associate Claire Logue leads a group that focuses on debt recovery work falling within the jurisdiction of England and Wales. John Lunn, Nicola Ross and Beverley Wood are other names to note. Chairman Maggie Moodie heads up the team, whose clients include Highland Council, Toyota Financial Services UK Plc, Clydesdale Bank, Hombuckle Mitchell and Apex Hotels Limited.

The team at Shoosmiths is 'easy to deal with' and 'adds value' through 'timely and relevant feedback, good advice and high success rates'. Practice head Rod Macphail 'deserves particular praise'; 'he operates a very tight ship, employs staff who know exactly what's required and always makes himself available if detailed advice is needed'. A hallmark of the practice is the size and depth of its offering; Andrew Foyle is one of two solicitor advocates in the group with full rights of audience at the Court of Session and Supreme Court, along with Stuart Clubb. In addition, the team benefits from the experience of recoveries managers Rhona Cuthbert and David Smith, as well as recoveries team leader Gail Peterson. Noted for its pan-UK operation, the group provides the full spectrum of advice on recoveries related to asset finance, commercial and corporate secured and unsecured lending, consumer secured and unsecured lending, mortgage shortfalls, commercial business to business and insolvency-related matters. In a recent highlight, Foyle successfully acted for the Royal Bank of Scotland as the pursuer in a defended action for possession of a residential property owned by a customer; the action was defended by the customer on the basis of an alleged failure by the client to comply with the pre-action requirements under the Homeowner and Debtor Protection (Scotland) Act 2010. D & C Fawcett, Paragon Car Finance and Thomas Cook Airlines are recent client wins. Associate Peter McGladrigan is recommended.

Ascent Legal Scotland's prominence in the Scottish debt recovery market makes it a strong choice for institutional lenders, such as Lloyds Banking Group, Royal Bank of Scotland and Santander. In addition, the firm's close links with the Federation of Small Businesses enable it to generate a significant amount of work from small businesses; Apollo Blinds, Charles Wilson Engineers and Forth Windows & Doors are among a number of recent client wins. Seasoned practitioner Mark Higgins heads up the team, which covers every stage of the debt and asset recovery lifecycle for clients, with the work ranging from pre-litigation collection to litigation and enforcement. Illustrative of his credentials, Higgins has acted in leading cases, and also written a book titled "The Enforcement of Heritable Securities". Senior associate Zibya Bashir and associate John Di Paola are other active individuals. Myra Scott and Laura Browne departed for Aberdein Considine.

Dentons' practice covers a wide ambit of matters in the commercial and consumer sectors, including utilities recoveries, motor finance and general commercial debt recovery cases, as well as debts arising from employment contracts and property-related debts. A notable strength of the firm is that it has a team in Aberdeen that is experienced in assisting oil and gas sector clients with recovering outstanding debts internationally. Frank Johnstone in Glasgow is the overall head of the practice, which is equally strong in handling bespoke and volume recoveries at all stages from pre-litigation to enforcement. Also recommended is solicitor advocate Douglas Blyth, who represents pursuers and defenders at the Sheriff Court and Court of Session in a range of commercial debt recovery matters. A recent highlight saw Blyth and senior associate Marianne Griffin successfully represent car park operator Indigo Park Services UK Limited in the highly-publicised, landmark case of Indigo Park Services UK Limited v Conor Watson, which arose from student nurses accruing unpaid parking fines at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee. Blyth is also working with members of the London office to advise RBS Invoice Finance on recovering debts under an asset-based finance facility. Julie Devlin is another key figure in the team, as is Craig Kennedy, who is particularly strong in debt and asset recovery cases where there is an insolvency-related component. Clydesdale Bank, RCI Financial Services and Network Rail are among the firm's many clients.

Harper Macleod LLP's excellent reputation in the social housing sector sees the firm handle debt and asset recovery work for a significant number of registered social landlords; clients include Link Group, Scottish Borders Housing Association and Cairn Housing Association. The firm also has a notable following of public sector clients, such as Highland and North Lanarkshire Council, and Accountant in Bankruptcy. Elsewhere, a growth area of the practice is work for commercial clients, including those from sectors such as construction and logistics. Dawn McKenzie heads up the team, whose experience includes simple procedure claims and matters involving summary cause, ordinary cause, sequestration petitions and liquidations. It also excels in high-value and complex defended actions. Associates Fiona McLeod and Natalie Dissake are recommended, along with solicitor Keri Preece.

MacRoberts LLP significantly expanded its offering by acquiring the business of specialist debt recovery and credit control firm Yuill & Kyle in December 2017. This significant development saw Stephen Cowan and Helen McWilliams move across. Further illustrative of the growth of the practice, it has had a notable increase in referral work from law firms based in England and Wales. The team, which is led by Leon Breakey, is particularly active in the food and drink, construction and real estate sectors. It has a notably strong specialism in recovering mis-sold PPI claims. Breakey, who has a wealth of experience in insolvency litigation, is experienced in potential claims arising from the insolvency of a debtor. Debt Collect UK Limited, Cemex UK Operations Limited and Sealeco Limited are among the firm's clients.

Leading litigators Tom McEntegart and John Paul Sheridan head up TLT's team, which has a particularly strong track record handling debt recovery matters for clients in the banking and financial services, retail and leisure sectors. McEntegart and legal director Louise Chopra are representing NRAM in a landmark repossession case, which concerns the interpretation of s24D of the Conveyancing and Feudal Reform (Scotland) Act 1970. Legal director Karen Cornwell is experienced in representing pursuers and defenders at Sheriff Courts and the Court of Session. Associate Lucy Harington is also recommended.

Addleshaw Goddard's varied portfolio of work ranges from straightforward volume-driven matters to cases involving legally intricate issues in areas such as insolvency, banking and finance, and property, among others. A pillar of the practice is in matters related to social housing, where the work involves assisting large Scottish registered social landlords with actions for recovery of rent arrears and related actions for eviction; Ilona McGowan has made a name for herself in this space. Joan Devine focuses on property-related recoveries cases, a portion of which also involves acting for social housing sector clients. Laura McCabe is particularly experienced in litigating utilities sector debt recovery matters which are connected with the supply of water. The team, which is led by Alan Sinclair and Devine jointly, acts for clients such as Grampian Housing Association, Castle Water Limited, Johnstone Carmichael and Stirling Park Sheriff Officers.

Although Anderson Strathern is particularly active in advising banks and other financial institutions on debt recovery matters, its practice is broader, and it also generates work from other clients. Fiona Stephen, who heads up the property litigation team, has a wealth of experience handling property-related debt recovery matters for commercial, private and public sector entities. In addition to assisting banking sector clients with actions to evict tenants (from premises that are subject to their securities), senior solicitor Elizabeth Smartt is experienced in acting for registered social landlords in actions to recover possession of heritable properties. Stephen and Smartt are representing Northern Lighthouse Board in litigation against vessel owners and shipping agents over the recovery of light dues. Fraser Geddes and Karen Ogilvie are advising Wylie & Bisset LLP on the recovery of outstanding invoices following the liquidation of Forbes Transport Services. Alistair Dean, senior associate Gillian Jamieson, associate Seonaid Sandham and senior solicitor Lindsay Robertson are also recommended. Claire Martin left the firm in 2017.

BTO Solicitors LLP undertakes a sizeable volume of secured and unsecured recoveries work for banks and credit insurance companies, as well as Scottish, UK and international businesses. In addition to banking and financial services, the team (which is led by Grant Hunter) is particularly active in retail, property management and social housing. Other sector strengths include food and drink, and ports and marine. Dorothy Hatfield and others are acting for a PPI claim recoveries company and its client (which had succeeded in a PPI claim) in a UK Supreme Court case which concerns the entitlement to PPI awards where there has been an intervening insolvency by a claimant. Quarriers, Cigna Global Health and American Express Services Europe Limited are other notable clients. Hunter's team also includes David Young and consultant Robin Macpherson, who is an accredited insolvency specialist. Kirsteen Maclean has more than 10 years of debt recovery experience. Tony Jones QC joined Brodies LLP.

Shepherd and Wedderburn covers a wide range of matters in the real estate sector, such as debts arising from leases, timeshare management charges and recoveries of service charges, among others. Practice head Elaine Brailsford is particularly knowledgeable about property-related debt claims. Other strengths include financial services and social housing sector matters; the latter is a particular growth area, with the firm assisting social landlords with the recovery of rent and factoring charges. In addition to Brailsford, clients count on the experience of Alistair Frood, Gillian Carty and Stephen Humphrey. In 2017, the firm won the tender to handle debt recovery work for City of Edinburgh Council.

Gilson Gray's practice head David Alexander has been instrumental in growing the debt recovery practice, since the firm's inception in 2014. The firm acts for clients ranging in size from small local businesses to large multinational companies. Alexander, who has a particular specialism in landlord and tenant matters, has been successful in winning work from commercial and social landlords, housing associations, insolvency practitioners, and construction firms, among other clients. Alexander has more recently focused on generating mandates from English law firms and debt collection agencies. Another recommended individual is solicitor advocate Steven Jansch, who holds accreditations from the WS Society and Law Society of Scotland in commercial litigation and insolvency law respectively. In addition to handling insolvency and property-related debt recovery work, the team assists clients with recoveries arising from employment contracts and commercial contracts, among other areas. Fife Housing Association, Gordonstoun School and Debt Collect UK are among the entities on the client roster.

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