Employment in Scotland

Brodies LLP

While Brodies LLP has considerable clout in the finance and oil and gas sectors - the latter owing in no small part to its presence in Aberdeen - the team's client portfolio covers a wide range of sectors. The group has recently seen an increase in senior exit mandates but covers the full spectrum of employment law from HR, TUPE and restructuring matters to internal investigations into sexual harassment and other allegations, and employment tribunal proceedings. Team head and litigator Tony Hadden is a key contact for the contentious space but also handles a wide range of non-contentious employment law matters, as is legal director and solicitor advocate Brian Campbell, who like Hadden, also routinely handles advisory work including transactional and data protection issues. Finance sector expert Joan Cradden is another key member of the team and is frequently called upon to handle industrial relations issues, executive hires and exits as well as sexual harassment cases.

Practice head(s):

Tony Hadden

Other key lawyers:

Joan Cradden; Lynne Marr; Brian Campbell; Elaine McIlroy; Fiona Herrell

Testimonials

Brodies give great all round advice.’

I’ve always found the team to be knowledgeable, approachable and available whenever I’ve needed them. Lynne Marr, in particular, is very good at understanding my organisation’s specific requirements, and able to apply law and case law quickly and accurately. I’ve also found the team to be very personable.’

My experience of working with Tony and Joan has been without parallel.

Just a call away, quick robust responses and matters get resolved in time.’

The Brodies team are very much part of our small HR team. They have deep knowledge of our business, are very experienced and we trust them to give us the right advice for our firm.’

We would like to highlight Tony Hadden in particular. Tony has provided very deep expertise that has been hugely beneficial to our company across a number of demanding and complex issues. He understands our business and the sector in which we operate and in many respects is like a member of our team. The quality of his work is excellent and he has always delivered for us to ensure the best solution for our business.’

Strong team with practical solutions to a variety of employment law problems. Brodies were able to advise on both the legal aspects and the soft skills when advising in difficult situations.’

Fiona Herrell is our main contact. We have built a great working relationship with her and I feel that she has a good understanding of our business and our requirements. She provides support as required and checks in to see if any additional support is required.’

Key clients

Ponticelli

Bristow

Computershare Investor Services PLC

Lothian Buses Limited – Transport

M&G plc/M&G Prudential

Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

National Galleries of Scotland

Work highlights

  • Advised Ponticelli on the HR and employment law aspects of one of the UK’s largest offshore maintenance contracts.
  • Advised Lothian Buses Limited on various Covid-19-related issues including the furlough scheme and the aborted Job Support Scheme.
  • Advised M&G plc/M&G Prudential on workplace diversity and culture projects following a high-profile sexual harassment complaint.

Burness Paull LLP

Burness Paull LLP's extensive offering spans the full life cycle of employment law and HR with a sub-specialism in industrial relations and trade union recognition, while the practice also regularly deals with senior executive issues. Sectorally, the group stands out for its oil and gas sector expertise -  an area of particular expertise for Aberdeen-based Sean Saluja - but it also has a strong profile for food and drink, financial services, sport, media and retail-related work. Mandy Laurie heads up the team and, while handling the full range of employment law matters, has a particular focus on employment tribunal work, large-scale restructures and senior executive terminations. Jennifer Skeoch is another key contact for employment tribunals, while David Morgan is rated for his trade union and industrial relations expertise.

Practice head(s):

Mandy Laurie

Other key lawyers:

David Morgan; Sean Saluja; Jennifer Skeoch; Morag Moffett; Ronald Mackay; Tricia Walker; Morag Hutchison

Testimonials

‘The team at Burness Paull is extremely approachable and due to our close working relationship they have a great understanding of our industry and the challenges we face. No question is too insignificant and they immediately put you at ease, particularly given the unique challenges we have faced due to the pandemic and the fact we have had to adapt our working practices in a short space of time.’

‘Jennifer Skeoch has worked with our team for many years now and we have developed a fantastic working relationship. She has guided us through some of the biggest challenges the department has ever faced and always maintains a cool calm and collected approach.’

‘Sean Saluja has the perfect temperament for his role. He exudes calm confidence that reassures and makes him a trusted partner as soon as one instructs him.

Tricia Walker is an excellent lawyer who will represent clients in a pragmatic and determined manner.

All give pragmatic advice – no sitting on the fence. They clearly explain the issues that need to be considered and give clear advice as to way forward.

‘All members are responsive and are able to explain complex matters using simple language followed by pragmatic advice. Responsiveness and straightforward advice sits very well with our way of working and is not always available by lawyers in general. Which is why we are very happy that we have partnered with Burness Paull to allow us to deal with all people issues successfully and in fact fits really well with ‘to be proud of ‘mantra.’

‘During the first lockdown and the introduction of the furlough scheme the team held weekly webinars which were invaluable. The team were on top of the advice/ guidance as it was being filtered out from Government and even when they did not have all the answers, their guidance was pragmatic and practical.’

‘Mandy Laurie is one of the most commercial employment lawyers I have had the pleasure of working with. She gets to the crux of an issue quickly and always finds pragmatic business-focused solutions to matters.’

Key clients

Whyte & Mackay

ITN (Independent Television News)

General Electric (GE)

SSE plc.

Highland Spring

Scottish Football Association

Petrofac

A. G. Barr p.l.c.

Diageo

Everton FC

Work highlights

  • Providing new client Chrysaor E&P Services Limited with advice on all day-to-day employment matters.
  • Providing full-service employment law support to Everton Football Club. This includes employment law support to the club, its training academy, the club’s charitable body, Everton in the Community, and the Free School.
  • Providing ITN (Independent Television News) with full-service support on all people and industrial relations issues.

Anderson Strathern

With higher education sector expert Alun Thomas heading up the team at Anderson Strathern, the group acts for a wide range of colleges and universities but is also known for its extensive public sector client base, including various agencies of the Scottish Government, and also acts for commercial clients. Thomas is well versed in representing clients in employment tribunal proceedings pertaining to unfair dismissal and various disability discrimination claims, among other complaints, but also provides mediation services. Much of the team's recent non-contentious work stemmed from the impact of Covid-19 such as the furlough scheme and redundancies, while other typical instructions include TUPE and HR alongside senior executive matters.

Practice head(s):

Alun Thomas

Other key lawyers:

Paul Brown; Barry Nichol; Andrew Brown; Pamela Keys; Chris McDowall

Testimonials

‘Personal touch. Good understanding of our business. Quick response to requests.’

‘The team is very knowledgeable and helpful, no matter who you discuss your query with.’

‘Pragmatic and realistic approach. The understand it is not black and white. They are very supportive and happy to act as a sounding board.’

Key clients

Scottish Government

Royal College of Nursing

Scottish Prison Service

St Andrews University

The University of Strathclyde`

INEOS Group

Royal Zoological Society of Scotland

Fife Council

Glasgow Rangers Football Club Limited

The Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh

Work highlights

  • Advised a substantial number of further and higher education institutions on all of their employment law issues, including on the adoption of Furlough and Job Retention Scheme policies.
  • Supporting all Royal College of Nursing’s members in Scotland who find themselves in employment tribunal proceedings for unfair dismissal alongside proceeding under the Equality Act and whistleblower protection jurisprudence. Of particular significance was the attempt to change the reporting and liability structures for Nurse Director members to include a potential for criticism around the responsibility for levels of care following the impact of Covid-19 in the care home sector.
  • Advising various commercial clients, including a number of multinational operations working in the Scottish economy, on the impact of Covid-19 and Brexit.

CMS

CMS acts for various clients from key industries to the Scottish economy such as financial services, consumer and energy, with the last-mentioned segment being an area of particular expertise for Aberdeen-based team head Alison Woods, while also handling third and public sector work, among others. Its litigation expertise leads to regular employment tribunal instructions pertaining to, among others, claims for whistleblowing and discrimination, and investigations into such allegations. Handling contentious and non-contentious senior employee and executive remuneration issues is part of this offering. In the non-contentious space, the team is well versed in providing transactional and HR support and has recently handled various Covid-19-related matters. Senior associate Catriona Aldridge is another key member of the team; she deals with both contentious and non-contentious work and frequently acts for hotel and leisure alongside food and drink sector clients.

Practice head(s):

Alison Woods

Other key lawyers:

Gillian MacLellan; Finlay McKay; Mark Walker; Eric Gilligan; Catriona Aldridge

Testimonials

‘Helpful and realistic with advice and guidance. Prepared to listen to the full story, can recognise where the issues lie and will help find practical solutions.’

‘Alison Woods and Eric Gilligan are my go-to individuals – I know I will receive quality advice and guidance I can work with. Flexible solutions that explain the pros and cons of each allowing a considered decision to be made.’

‘Finlay McKay’s advice was detailed but pragmatic, helping us to determine courses of action and being aware of the risks associated with those actions. He communicates complex issues in plain English and is not afraid to deliver advice that may be unpalatable while always offering steps to mitigate risk.’

Catriona Aldridge is unflappable, responsive and quickly wins clients confidence.

‘The employment teams in Glasgow and Edinburgh are very much focused on getting to know us, the client, and importantly, how we work. This has enabled solutions to be tailored accordingly, and feels a much more personal level of service.’

‘Gillian MacLellan has a longstanding relationship with us, and has provided outstanding support throughout the years, never demonstrating complacency. Her thorough understanding of us has enabled her, and the wider employment team, to address numerous complex cases in a swift, pragmatic and meaningful way. We have the confidence that Gillian will always deliver exceptional service, whenever it is needed.’

‘CMS always provides very pragmatic advice and they have an ability to explain often complex employment law matters in simple and translatable terms.’

‘The team is very approachable and can be trusted to support you and your organisation in challenging times.’

Key clients

NatWest

Schlumberger

Scottish Enterprise

Highlands and Islands Enterprise

Coty Inc

Saipem

Repsol

TAQA

SEC

Franklin Templeton

Baxters Food Group

SSE

Work highlights

  • Advised Coty Inc on the employment law aspects of a strategic transaction for Coty’s Professional Beauty and Retail Hair businesses, including the Wella, Clairol, OPI, and ghd brands.
  • Advised Scottish Event Campus (SEC) on furlough and amending contractual terms and conditions of its employees following the transition of Scottish Exhibition Centre to the NHS Louisa Jordan hospital to assist during the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Acted for Stonewall in an employment tribunal claim brought by barrister Allison Bailey relating to discrimination on the grounds of sex and sexual orientation.

Morton Fraser

Morton Fraser has a strong profile for employment tribunal work arising from unfair dismissal, equal pay and discrimination claims - senior associate Sarah Gilzean has particular strength in the two last-mentioned segments - but the team also assists employers and employees, including a large share of senior executives, with various non-contentious matters. Typically, this includes TUPE and redundancy programmes but recent instructions have also included various Covid-19 and associated furlough-related matters. This offering attracts a broad range of corporate clients alongside various public and third sector bodies. Team head Innes Clark handles a broad spectrum of employment law, including TUPE and workplace discrimination, and is a key contact for senior executive departures. Lindsey Cartwright has a strong track record in employment tribunals.

Practice head(s):

Innes Clark

Other key lawyers:

Lindsey Cartwright; David Hossack; David Walker; Sarah Gilzean

Testimonials

‘David Hossack has always struck me as a man of integrity and who offers sound advice. He is very open and honest about a given situation, giving a comprehensive view on how matters could unfold depending on the approach taken.

‘The team offer a wealth of experience and clearly enjoy working together to offer effective solutions.’

‘The personal service you receive from Innes Clark and his team at Morton Fraser is second to none. He really gets to know you and your organisation and targets advice specific to meet your needs.’

‘Morton Fraser are a true business partner for us. Their advice is not one-dimensional, answering just the question at hand, rather they go above and beyond in articulating risk and options as they understand our business.’

‘David Hossack and Sarah Gilzean are our key contacts and both have a different approach, so are complimentary.’

‘David Walker provides a stand-out service. He is extremely knowledgeable and very approachable. He takes time to explain complex situations in an easy-to-follow way for those unfamiliar with employment law, which made a difficult situation for me much more manageable.’

‘Innes Clark has a lovely manner. He is very responsive and gives clear, practical advice, which is particularly important in this area.’

‘Sarah Gilzean has an outstanding knowledge of employment law and practical risk management of options. I really value Sarah’s advice and views on critical change issues for our organisation.’

Key clients

Ministry of Defence

Royal Mail Group Limited

Schuh Limited

Alzheimer Scotland

Scottish Government and the Office of the Advocate General (UK Government’s Scottish legal team)

Robertson Residential Group

Police Scotland (i.e. the national police force of Scotland)

DAS Insurance

Ben Nevis Distillery Limited

Micron Europe Limited

Work highlights

  • Continued to advise Unison in the largest equal pay litigation in Scotland.
  • Successfully defended Police Scotland in an appeal to the Employment Appeal Tribunal relating to indirect discrimination by association.
  • Advised a large food retailer on a large-scale collective redundancy exercise brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Clyde & Co LLP

Discrimination law expert Stephen Miller heads up the team at Clyde & Co LLP, which is best known for its litigation capabilities, regularly defending clients against equal and holiday pay alongside unfair dismissal and discrimination claims brought before the employment tribunal. This is also were Frances Ross' strength lies; she regularly defends public sector bodies against equal pay and discrimination claims in particular. While the team acts for an extensive roster of public bodies, its client portfolio also includes corporates, who regularly retain the team to advise on senior exits.

Practice head(s):

Stephen Miller

Other key lawyers:

Graham Mitchell; Frances Ross; Robert King

Testimonials

‘Robert King is quite frankly exceptional. The level of service and advice is exceptional value for money.’

‘Working with Robert King is like having an elite lawyer on my board of directors. He knows my business inside out and the partnership really works for me. He inspires confidence and has such strong people skills that you actually look forward to seeing your lawyer.’

Key clients

City of Edinburgh Council

Royal College of Surgeons

Scottish Ballet

Glasgow City Council

Inverclyde Council

Essar (Oil) UK Limited

Argyll College (UHI)

North Lanarkshire Council

North Ayrshire Council

W.H. Malcolm Limited

Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

Work highlights

  • Successfully defending a challenge to Fife Council’s job evaluation scheme in the context of equal pay claims under the Equality Act 2010.
  • Successfully defending mass holiday pay claims on behalf of North Lanarkshire Council and other local authorities.

Dentons

Dentons acts across various sectors such as retail, transport, energy, entertainment, food and drink and has a growing financial services client base thanks to Sarah Jackman‘s expertise in this space. The practice is well placed to guide clients through a wide range of employment law issues such as senior exits – an area the team has recently been particularly active in – transactional matters and redundancy programmes (including those related to Covid-19), while its recent contentious work includes internal investigations into various sensitive matters alongside disability discrimination, harassment and holiday pay claims. While team head Alison Weatherhead predominately acts in the non-contentious space, she also has experience in employment tribunal work. Counsel Elouisa Crichton joined from Shepherd and Wedderburn in 2021.

Practice head(s):

Alison Weatherhead

Other key lawyers:

Sarah Jackman; Mark Hamilton; Elouisa Crichton

Testimonials

‘Elouisa Crichton’s legal understanding and knowledge gives us a much needed safety net, nothing is ever to much or little to help with, can-do attitude at all times.’

Key clients

Amazon UK Services Limited

SSE plc

John Lewis Plc

Aggreko Plc

Stitch Fix UK Limited

The Edrington Group

Network Rail Infrastructure Limited

Scottish Equity Partners

Ceridian Europe Limited

Virgin Atlantic Airways Limited

Work highlights

  • Retained the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) as a client following a re-tender, providing all of its employment advice for both the union and its members.
  • Advised Aggreko plc, a global power generation, industrial cooling and heating rental business, on a standard employment approach to neutralise the impact of layered tax and employment law rights, enabling contractors and the company work to one set of employment law standards and one tax arrangement.
  • Advised BorgWarner Inc on the acquisition of a US-listed company, Delphi Technologies Inc, by another US-listed entity, Borg Warner Inc. A key part of this advice focussed on the post-completion restructure of the business, on behalf of Borg Warner.

Pinsent Masons LLP

Pinsent Masons LLP acts for well-known national and international employers in a wide range of contentious and non-contentious employment law matters. The team is led by Diane Nicol, who has particular expertise in the energy and financial services sectors, and infrastructure employment team head Stuart Neilson.

Practice head(s):

Diane Nicol; Stuart Neilson

Shepherd and Wedderburn

Shepherd and Wedderburn provides clients across various sectors with day-to-day employment law and HR advice and has particular expertise in TUPE transfers and other transactional matters alongside collective redundancy procedures. A number of recent redundancy-related instructions have come from the Covid-19 environment, with other mandates in this space relating to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) and the furlough scheme. The team is also well placed to guide clients through employment tribunal proceedings, defending claims of unfair dismissal, discrimination and whistleblowing. Neil Maclean heads the team as well as the firm’s education and public sector groups.

Practice head(s):

Neil Maclean

Testimonials

‘I use this team because of the partner that heads it up. Neil Maclean is an absolute expert in employment law but with a talent for understanding business and the commercial application. Under Neil’s leadership, the entire team is there when you need them, responsive, informed and highly effective.’

‘Neil Maclean is a stand-out lawyer. Neil is an expert in employment law and is particularly adept at assessing and advising in the context of business risk and opportunity. The quality of advice received is second to none. Neil’s approach is pragmatic, he’s responsive and understands our priorities. I particularly appreciate Neil’s calm approach when objectivity may be thin on the ground from my perspective! I rely on Neil to ensure we make the best decisions when it comes to both contentious and non-contentious employment law situations.’

‘The practice combines the benefits of a large law firm – i.e. breadth of expertise and global reach – with a culture which remains very friendly and personable.’

‘I have dealt in particular with Neil Maclean. I valued his rounded insights and advice on employment issues which were clearly very informed by significant experience.’

‘We feel the relationship is key, both in developing trust to share, issues before they become problems. Understanding of us as an organisation, shows professional insight, and a genuineness to support us on multiple levels legally, practically, and humanely, are a USP that should be celebrated.’

‘Their advice is always clear, concise and timely.’

Key clients

The University of Edinburgh

The University of Glasgow

The University of Aberdeen

Epic Games, Inc.

Baillie Gifford

SuperAwesome Trading Limited

Aircraft Medical Limited

Cirrus Logic International (UK) Ltd

Scottish Professional Football League

NHS Highland

WN Lindsay

Work highlights

  • Recently reappointed to the University of Edinburgh’s full-service legal panel for a further three to four years. Recent employment work includes support with international ventures, advice on GDPR and data sharing queries as well as on human rights matters.
  • Worked closely with the corporate team to advise Epic Games on a number of acquisitions. In particular, the team provided employment advice on the acquisitions of SuperAwesome.
  • Advising Baillie Gifford on all employment and human resource requirements, including advice on HR strategy, bonus issues, performance and attendance management, family-friendly policies, equality and diversity and managing terminations.

Addleshaw Goddard

Embedded in the firm's UK-wide offering, Addleshaw Goddard is well placed to handle cross-border mandates spanning business restructurings and reorganisations, HR, industrial relations and litigation. Providing TUPE advice and defending clients in employment tribunal proceedings constitute particular areas of strength with the latter typically involving various discrimination and unfair dismissal claims. Solicitor advocate and team head David Hughes is a key contact for employment tribunal advocacy, while also handling non-contentious matters.

Practice head(s):

David Hughes

Other key lawyers:

Robert Phillips; Kelly Brown

Testimonials

‘Robert Philips has been a breath of fresh air; he took on a high-profile tribunal when our previous provider failed to notify us of the exchange of statements deadline. Robert worked through the huge file and provided guidance which overall delivered a positive outcome. Robert is extremely knowledgeable and simplifies advice for those of us non-legalistic types.’

‘Lateral thinking and ability to quickly grasp a situation. Articulating risks but allowing client to determine path ahead.’

Works as part of the wider team, explains thinking to develop client knowledge.

Key clients

FNZ Group

KURA (CS) Ltd

Bilfinger Salamis (UK) Limited

RockRose

Highlands & Islands Airports Ltd

Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd

Avanti Gas

Texo Group

Vysus Group

GBST Ltd

Asda

Work highlights

  • Advised a national supermarket on a dispute with a trade union regarding alleged breaches of a national recognition agreement. The union balloted members for industrial action contrary to the terms of the NRA. The team advised on the ballot process and prospects of injunction to stop industrial action.
  • Acted for Crew Employment Services Camelot in an unfair dismissal claim in London Central, and in a related appeal to the EAT and Court of Appeal on the question of territorial jurisdiction.
  • Advised a contractor in the oil and gas sector on a large-scale restructuring exercise involving the furloughing of several hundred offshore employees and a large-scale redundancy programme, conducted against significant union hostility.

Blackadders LLP

With offices across Scotland, Blackadders LLP receives regular instructions from employers and employees requiring assistance with employment tribunal proceedings involving unfair dismissal, discrimination and harassment claims - director Jack Boyle is a key contact in this space-, while employers also retain the practice to advise on TUPE, collective redundancy processes and HR matters. Simon Allison heads the team from Dundee and frequently acts for manufacturing, construction and transport sector clients.

Practice head(s):

Simon Allison

Other key lawyers:

Donna Reynolds; Jack Boyle

Testimonials

‘Our work has been with Simon Allison and Jack Boyle and their responsiveness and humour has been particularly important to me.

‘A key strength of the entire team and what sets them apart from other firm, is their outstanding ability to translate complex employment law to a more accessible and understandable format.

‘Over the years of working with the team, I have worked most closely with Simon Allison and Jack Boyle and have found their professional guidance to be excellent and invaluable.

What strikes me most is the sense of team spirit, they support each other and their is a connectedness that enables anyone of them to support me and my organisation equally effectively.

‘I have worked with a variety of employment lawyers throughout my career and Blackadders consistently stand out as the team who deliver on time, consistently, creatively. It’s why I return time and time again, they do exactly what it says on the tin. They are competitively priced and extremely good value for the excellent advice, guidance and customer service they provide. They are, as a collective, professional, focused, innovative, progressive and good fun! They take care to ensure the client is making informed decisions on all aspects of employment law and advice and work hard to ensure solutions are found that are robust and legally sound.’

‘Donna Reynold has both been approachable, readily available and highly knowledgeable in all aspects of employment law. She has helped us with some tricky situations in the past year.’

‘Simon Allison, Jack Boyle and the Blackadders team are truly unique. As well as being leaders in their field, and first-rate lawyers, they are exceptionally personable and approachable people. Their legal advice can be relied upon for its accuracy, honesty and consideration, and this engenders great trust as well as the comfort that comes from knowing you have been advised by the best.’

‘Blackadders’ employment team is extremely efficient and innovative with its approach.’

Key clients

Dell Corporation Limited

National Express plc

CR Smith Glaziers (Dunfermline) Limited

The Ogilvie Group

The Fairmont, St Andrews

St Andrews Brewing Company Limited

Leisure and Culture Dundee

CoorsTek Limited

The Insights Group Limited

Dover Fueling Solutions Limited

TDKMicronas Limited

Abbeyford Leisure Limited

Business Gateway Fife

CJ Lang & Son Limited

The Al Maktoum College

Dundee Contemporary Arts Cinema

Waracle Limited

TSG France

R T Stuart Limited

Pitlochry Festival Theatre

Work highlights

  • Acted for Tranent Medical Practice and successfully resisted an employment tribunal claim by a salaried GP for associative direct discrimination and associative harassment.
  • Acted for Norco Group Limited and successfully resisted a long-running, high-value whistleblowing claim within Birmingham Tribunal Office and currently resisting an application by the ex-employee within London Employment Appeal Tribunal.
  • Advised Loch Rannoch Estate Limited on the successful acquisition of a hotel and leisure resort, including  advice on TUPE and the associated due diligence, more specifically on employee pensions, insurances, bonuses and contractual terms.

BTO Solicitors LLP

BTO Solicitors LLP is noted for its healthcare specialism, with team head Caroline Carr routinely providing regulatory and disciplinary advice to doctors, consultants, dentists and other clinicians. This includes regular employment tribunal work - which the team also carries out for clients from other sectors such as social housing and education - arising from whistleblowing, grievance and unfair dismissal claims. Its employers and employee clients also instruct the practice with non-contentious issues, such as those arising from the Covid-19 pandemic, TUPE transfers and redundancy procedures. Laura Salmond has particular experience in representing trade union and federation members.

Practice head(s):

Caroline Carr

Other key lawyers:

Laura Salmond; Jacqueline McCluskey

Testimonials

‘From the very first phone call I made to Laura Salmond, she put me at ease. I was able to explain my specific problem and she offered advice that was easy to understand and didn’t make me feel like I would be fighting a losing battle to stand up to my rights.’

Their exceptionally high standards are found right across the board. Each and every member of the team that I have dealt with displays significant attributes which combine to form a truly outstanding and consistent team.

‘Excellent firm to deal with. Great collaboration and involvement with client.’

‘Jacqueline McCluskey is always prompt and provides first-class guidance. Great sounding board and has no hesitation on advising when the path we are following is wrong, even if don’t want to hear it. Jacqueline is able to see the big picture and all sides in any case and will take us through it in layman terms.’

‘A very proactive practice that endeavours to anticipate client needs. Employment team provided helpful updates as the employment rules changed through the pandemic.’

‘Advice is always measured, practical and constructive. Solutions are preferred to confrontation which is a very welcome approach. My primary contact for employment matters is Laura Salmond, who provides a high quality service on a variety of employment and HR matters.’

‘The level of responsiveness and quality of advice are outstanding and inspire real trust and confidence.’

‘We have extensively worked with Caroline Carr, who is extremely pragmatic. Caroline very quickly has the ability to understand the situation and explain things to laymen which are understandable, and not full of legal jargon. Caroline also will get back to you in a very timely manner, understanding urgency when required. Caroline is very skilled at understanding wider issues for the organisation, and we have found her advice invaluable. She is also excellent at putting the client at ease, due to her friendly demeanour.’

Key clients

Royal & Sun Alliance plc

Chubb Insurance UK

Medical & Dental Defence Union of Scotland (MDDUS)

Scottish Police Federation

Mactaggart & Mickel Limited

The Turner Group of Companies

Angus Dundee Distillers plc

West Lothian College

Glasgow Kelvin College

Intelligent Pensions Limited

Booth Welsh Automation Limited

Medac Pharma LLP

Epilepsy Scotland

Scottish Care

Work highlights

  • Acting for an insurance provider in a large-scale collective redundancy and TUPE consultation relating to offshoring to India.
  • Acting for a medical practitioner pursuing a novel claim for high six figure losses due to data protection breaches following complex employment and grievance issues.
  • Successfully defending high-value whistleblowing and unfair dismissal claims against a healthcare client.

Harper Macleod LLP

Harper Macleod LLP has a strong profile acting for public sector employers but also advises private and third sector employers as well as, to a lesser extent, senior executives. With Bruce Caldow heading up the team, it has a strong niche in sport sector work, and handles a wide range of advisory and employment tribunal matters. The former typically involves advice on business transfers and TUPE, restructurings and HR, while its contentious work also includes internal investigations.

Practice head(s):

Bruce Caldow

Other key lawyers:

Lorna Davis; Scott Milligan

Testimonials

‘Bruce Caldow was my primary source of contact and was absolutely the upfront person in the case. His knowledge, diligence and support were outstanding. He is a great communicator and knows when you need that confidence booster or pep talk when the going feels rough in litigation. This is something that I have not seen that often in my professional life.’

‘The team always goes the extra mile in terms of service provision and advice. The guidance and support is always on-point helping us reach the right commercial decisions for the business.’

‘Lorna Davis is outstanding and a true leader in the field of employment law. She has protected our company in many situations over the years and ensures we are compliant with all our employee matters.’

‘Scott Milligan provides excellent guidance to our organisation with complex employment matters. 

‘Lorna Davis and Bruce Caldow are both excellent. Lorna is someone with an exceptional commitment to her clients. She is also a determined and able tribunal advocate. She is determined and exactly the kind of person you would want to have at your side in a difficult legal situation. Bruce Caldow is well-respected and well-known in employment law in Scotland. He too has great commitment. I rate him highly, not only for his skills in litigation, but also as a mediator.’

‘They are very customer-centric and solution-focused and have helped me navigate some very complex and high risk people challenges. Their record in representing us and supporting us with some risky employment tribunal claims is excellent and we are able to make key decisions on whether to defend or settle with their support.’

‘The team are very responsive to our needs and make themselves available at short notice and sometimes in their own personal time.’

‘I was expertly professionally advised at all stages but more importantly I was supported on a personal level and a holistic view of my best interests taken as the case progressed.’

Key clients

Scottish Ministers (Scottish Government)

M&Co

Dumfries & Galloway Council

Forestry & Land Scotland

Webhelp

City of Edinburgh Council

East Lothian Council

Edinburgh Leisure

Celtic plc

Global Energy Group

Work highlights

  • Advising Forestry & Land Scotland on all contentious and non-contentious employment matters.
  • Continues to advise Webhelp on all non-contentious and contentious employment law matters, including transferring people and restructuring services on acquisition and offshoring.
  • Advised M&Co Trading Ltd on a restructuring exercise, saving 2,300 jobs and more than 200 stores, as well as rescuing its pension scheme.

Ledingham Chalmers LLP

Led by Inverness-based Kirk Tudhope, Ledingham Chalmers LLP is a popular choice for employers and employees in the Highland and Islands area. Reflecting the team's key area of expertise, Tudhope is regularly called upon to assist with contentious matters including employment tribunal hearings. Much of the team's recent work involves (Covid-19-related) redundancy support and advice on the dismissal of (senior) employees including associated disciplinary and employment tribunal proceedings. Other work included TUPE and reorganisations advice.

Practice head(s):

Kirk Tudhope

Other key lawyers:

John Lee

Testimonials

‘They go to great lengths to ensure that their services are consistent and they always deliver the requests and responses on time. Contacting partners is easy and pricing is transparent and clear. ’

‘John Lee is outstanding. He really feels like one of our own. He understands the business well, he is always personally available, he will always be straight with us even if we don’t like what he has to say. It makes his contribution to the success of our company invaluable.

‘Professional yet friendly and approachable with a commercial focus. They get to know their clients and their business and provide sound legal advice whilst understanding the practical challenges for businesses.’

‘Kirk Tudhope is a highly experienced and capable lawyer who brings a commercial understanding. Available and accessible, always considered and creates a calm working environment breaking down complex issues.’

‘John Lee provided our firm with employment law advice throughout 2020 as we navigated the difficult waters of Covid-related changes in personnel. John’s knowledge, practical advice, commercial recognisance and ability to communicate in plain English made our work so much easier. He is a trusted advisor that we can certainly rely upon.’

‘Kirk Tudhope combines great professionalism with an outstanding knowledge of our business and the people that work in our business. Kirk is always able to make a commercial judgement whilst at all times providing the legal case for a certain course of action.’

‘The personal service, understanding of our business and culture, knowledge of applicable law and commercial approach makes the team stand out. In particular the firm’s pragmatic and commercial approach and willingness to offer solutions.’

‘Ledingham Chalmers not only offers sound legal advice surrounding employment law, they also take the time to know the individual business and tailor the needs to suit. They have vast amounts of experience and knowledge to share. They offer many useful free update sessions to clients on very important topics or updates on legislation changes. They always respond in a timely manner to any queries we have.’

Key clients

Lifescan Scotland Limited

Kirkwood Homes Limited

Orion Engineering (Services) Limited

Harbro Limited

John Gordon and Sons Limited

SGL Carbon Fibers Limited

Haines Watts Scotland

Scottish Shellfish Marketing Group Limited (‘SSMG’)

Qube GB Limited

Hawco and Sons Limited

Highland Fuels Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Haines Watts Scotland on a number of performance-related and capability issues and subsequent exits from its business.
  • Advising Scottish Shellfish Marketing Group Limited (SSMG) on all of its employment requirements under annual retainer arrangements. Recently, this included advice on senior management team member exits.
  • Advising Qube GB Limited on employment matters, including a disputed breach of restrictive covenants alleged by a former agency labour provider.

Lindsays

Lindsays has particular expertise in the third sector but also advises SMEs on a wide range of employment law matters, including transactional issues and TUPE, restructuring exercises, collective redundancies and individual employee dismissals including prior internal investigations and disciplinary hearings as well as subsequent employment tribunal claims. Ben Doherty heads up the team and is particularly well versed in TUPE regulations but also handles various other employment law and HR matters.

Practice head(s):

Ben Doherty

Other key lawyers:

Kate Wyatt

Testimonials

‘The employment law team provide more than advise they explain and provide clear guidance around the complex areas of employment law and respond quickly to all requests for help.’

‘One of the most helpful things we find is that the engagement partner, Ben Doherty provides clear concise advice that is focused on the impact for our organisation and not simply generic response.’

‘Very experienced team of employment law advisors and employment law partner. The provided first class advice and assistance during a very difficult episode. They have also introduced fixed fee employment law solutions which have been very valuable to us.’

‘Ben Doherty is responsive, straight-talking and pragmatic.’

‘The main attribute I value is their friendly, approachable and considerate demeanour that is very different from other legal firms we have encountered. Their communication is always in plain English, concise and practical. Their interpersonal style is very open and engaging. A pleasure to work with.’

‘Ben Doherty was available to us throughout a very difficult employment situation and provided pragmatic, experienced and ’on point’ advice, all helpful in drawing the matter to a successful close.’

They are incredibly responsive and provide comprehensive legal advice at very short notice.’

‘They are very honest and up front in saying when taking specialist legal advise or legal action is not the best course of action and provide advice on alternative courses of action that may get the desired result.’

Key clients

Norbulk Shipping Limited

Network ROI Limited

Red Wing Medical Practice

McLaughlin & Harvey Construction Limited

Chest Heart and Stroke Scotland

Scottish Association for Mental Health

Sense Scotland

Carr Gomm

Hostelling Scotland

Build a Rocket Boy Limited

Work highlights

  • Acted for Aulds the Bakers in dismissing a long-serving senior manager, and in the successful defence of a subsequent tribunal claim.
  • Advised Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home on a restructuring following a significant turnover reduction due to Covid-19, including collective consultation, redundancies and changes of roles.
  • Advising Stirling District Tourism on the TUPE transfer on resumption of management of the National Wallace Monument by Stirling Council.

MacRoberts LLP

MacRoberts LLP provides assistance with a wide range of employment law concerns and has recently been particularly active in the contentious space, acting for both respondents and senior executives in claims pertaining to disability and sex discrimination, unfair dismissal and equal pay. Handling transactional matters, most notably TUPE-related, and various HR issues are key areas of expertise in the non-contentious space. The team acts for private, public and third sector clients and is led by Katy Wedderburn.

Practice head(s):

Katy Wedderburn

Other key lawyers:

Deborah Miller

Testimonials

‘The team has a great range of experience and expertise in providing practical and commercial employment law advice.’

‘Katy Wedderburn continues to impress with her excellent advice and approach.’

‘The team at MacRoberts displays confidence and understanding of the business, the balance risk with business needs and reputation.’

‘I am made to feel like their only client, the respond quickly and supportively and allow me to progress matters without unnecessary delay.’

‘I deal mostly with Deborah Miller – who I consider to be excellent and a great asset to our business with her considered advice. Deborah will talk through situations suggesting and explaining various courses of action if necessary and will allow me to question and challenge the approach so that I am comfortable with the advice I then take back to our business and base our decisions on. Deborah is very approachable and talks to me on an equal level which makes me feel comfortable asking any questions – no matter how daft they may sound. This is very important to me – it gives me the confidence that if my team needed to talk to Deborah in my absence they would be treated in a similar respected manner. Deborah is an experienced professional that I trust and has helped me some complex issues over the last year.’

‘Katy Wedderburn is engaging and empathetic but also pragmatic and logical. I am never in any doubt that she is making our case and talking us appropriately through the risks associated with the various options. I genuinely feel better about challenging situations faced in my present role and workplace after I have spoken them through with Katy.’

‘Wide level of knowledge across the firm in different areas of law – they are readily available to talk at short notice.’

It is unusual in my experience to have more than one main contact in whom I can have absolute confidence but I have that at MacRoberts.’

Key clients

Together Energy Limited

Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland

Pointer Limited

ENABLE Scotland (Leading the Way)

Victim Support Scotland

Student Loans Company

Cala Group Limited (UK Housebuilding and Construction)

JPI Media Limited

Stena Line Limited

Abbey (UK) Travel Limited

Dollar Academy

Work highlights

  • Acting for Together Energy Limited in relation to its acquisition of Bristol Energy’s Residential Customer Base.
  • Acting for JPIMedia Limited in an employment tribunal case, due to be heard in Leeds over sex discrimination, pregnancy and maternity discrimination, victimisation, failure to deal with a flexible working request, breach of contract, constructive unfair dismissal and an unlawful deduction from wages.
  • Successfully representing CEIS Ayrshire in an employment tribunal claim involving disability discrimination, whistleblowing detriment and automatic unfair dismissal.

Shoosmiths

Shoosmiths has been continuing to build up its employment practice in Scotland following the hires of Kim Pattullo in Edinburgh and Michael McLaughlin in Glasgow, and in August 2020 the partner duo were joined by principal associate Jennifer Wright, who followed McLaughlin from DWF. The team’s sector expertise covers retail, food and drink, infrastructure and the public sector – household name clients include Boots, H&M and Amey. Pattulo and McLaughlin have worked on some of the most significant equal pay litigation in Scotland – Patullo is described as ‘extremely approachable and clear in her legal advice‘ while McLaughlin is know for his ‘focus and ability to hone in on the issues.’

Practice head(s):

Kim Pattullo; Michael McLaughlin

Other key lawyers:

Jennifer Wright

Testimonials

‘Kim Pattullo is extremely approachable and clear in her legal advice. She has not only provided our company with a first class, tailored service but has invested time developing my own understanding of employment law which has been invaluable.’

‘Michael McLaughlin and Jennifer Wright are exceptional. They talk to our managers at an appropriate level with no legal jargon that could lead to confusion or misinterpretation.  Our managers feel that they are in safe hands, we completely trust their judgement. Michael and Jen truly understand our business which enables them to give appropriate advice.  They are like an extension of our team who are highly regarded by all who utilise their services.’

‘Michael McLaughlin stands out for me because he makes us feel like we are his only client and that we have his full attention whenever we need it. His focus and ability to hone in on the issues for us quickly make his offering exceptional.’

‘Jen Wright brings a quiet and understated solidity that instills huge confidence in particular in HR colleagues with whom she deals directly.  Straightforward, easy to talk to, relatable.’

‘The team have a great approach to new clients with excellent options of fee structures and were able to provide us with a monthly service which suited our size of company and budget.

‘They have a good commercial awareness and are recognised across our business as being trusted partners. They make themselves available at short notice and have used their excellent knowledge and understanding of our business to guide us through some very complex and challenging situations.  Their communications are clear and easily understood. The billing is competitive and the service is outstanding.’

‘This is a relatively new team who have faced the challenges of forming during the pandemic in an impressive manner.  Despite the lack of a physical team presence in a traditional office space, they manage to convey a feeling that they are working together on our cases and have related well in the virtual environment.’

‘This team stands out for me because of its in-depth knowledge and understanding of the local government sector. Their backgrounds and prior experience reflect strongly their expertise with local authorities.’

Key clients

H&M UK Limited

Boots

Chivas Brothers Limited

Koch Media Limited

Blazing Griffin

Communications Test Design Inc

Verify Europe Limited

Amey Services Limited

Advinia Health Care Limited

Beam Suntory UK Limited

Thorntons Law LLP

Acting for education sector institutions and housing associations count as areas of particular strength for Thorntons Law LLP, whose client base also includes bodies from the wider public sector alongside SMEs and, to a lesser extent, employees. Noele McClelland heads up the team and primarily assists employers. Its offering includes representation in a wide range of employment tribunal claims alongside advice on TUPE, collective redundancy consultations and HR issues.

Practice head(s):

Noele McClelland

Other key lawyers:

Debbie Fellows; Chris Phillips

Testimonials

They are employment law specialists who understand potential risks but also the need for commercial decision-making, and can communicate this in a clear way to help us make informed business decisions.

‘Chris Phillips is our contact within the team –  his ability to respond quickly with the advice we need during these incredibly challenging times has been nothing short of fantastic. We feel safe in the knowledge that Chris has our back and our businesses will always be protected.’

‘As you’d expect from a firm of this size and scale, the quality of advice and support is of the highest standard. It’s the emotional intelligence – the ability to build and maintain strong relationships – that stands out though. The Thorntons culture involves creating a way of working that transcends typical client transactional relationships.’

‘They take the time, effort and energy to really engage – this is not just a transactional service.’

‘The team at Thorntons Law LLP has been incredibly responsive and is well-placed to provide appropriate advice across not just its employment practice, but also rolling in team support in respect of governance and data privacy. In my role I have valued the clarity the Thorntons LLP team brings to matters of significant complexity in which the competing considerations all need to be accommodated in a very tight working space.’

‘Debbie Fellows is an exceptional employment lawyer, her ability to grasp the issues is excellent and her knowledge of the education sector is excellent.’

‘Noele McClelland is a superstar with a wonderful understated approach to her profession.’

‘Debbie Fellows demonstrates wide sectoral experience and has given very practical advice in a number of sensitive and difficult situations.’

Key clients

Kingdom Housing Association

Police Scotland

Angus Council

James Hutton Institute

Perth College UHI

City of Glasgow College

University of Abertay

Robert Gordon University

Stirling University

University of Highlands and Islands

Work highlights

  • Advising Glasgow School of Art (GSA) on an employment tribunal claim by a former employee alleging unfair dismissal after making alleged protected disclosures.
  • Advised Caledonia Housing Association Limited (CHA) on its sensitive and strategic decision to close its only care home due to sustainability concerns; this included advice on the consultation with the local authority and with employees alongside the client’s obligations under the Scottish Care Inspectorate.
  • Advising a large veterinary practice on a high-value TUPE case.

Balfour+Manson LLP

Balfour+Manson LLP's strength lies in representing trade union and third sector clients alongside employees in various contentious matters, including disputes over contractual arrangements and employment tribunal claims. Clients also receive assistance with a broad range of day-to-day employment law and HR issues. Solicitor advocate and member of the firm's senior management team Robert Holland heads the practice.

Practice head(s):

Robert Holland

Other key lawyers:

Sarah Shiels; Andrew Wallace

Testimonials

‘The team is approachable, responsive and collaborative. They provide first-class advice and are always a pleasure to work with.’

‘The quality at the firm is evident at every level. The leadership of the firm is extremely impressive and that quality is reflected across the board. The standard of client service and legal advice is consistently outstanding.

‘Excellent expertise, very responsive and took the time to understand specific questions relating to the sector. Also showed understanding of financial constraints and worked to offer a suitable package of support.’

‘We have worked with Robert Holland and Andrew Wallace who have both been incredibly supportive, knowledgeable and have a wonderfully approachable manner. Cannot rate them highly enough.

‘Balfour and Manson is an exceptional law practice who through their personal touch make every client feel like a priority. Their integrity, attention to detail and genuine interest in our complex organisation gives me full confidence and unfailing trust in their legal advice.’

‘Excellent knowledge and understanding of all employment matters, always available to help and with a friendly service. They have helped to overhaul our complete employee policies and procedures.’

‘Robert Holland and Andrew Wallace are a unique team- thoughtful, insightful and creative in their advice. Their humour and down to earth approach makes them a pleasure to work with. Every dealing I have had with them I have had complete trust in their advice and come away 100% satisfied and confident in their input. Not only that but I enjoy working with them and they instil an interest in employment law which is infectious’

‘Sarah Shiels developed a strong understanding of my predicament and was uniquely capable of defending me against great power imbalances over a five-year period.’

Key clients

Educational Institute For Scotland

British Airline Pilots Association

Independent Workers Union for Great Britain

Scottish Cricketers Association

Faculty of Advocates

International Union against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease

Scottish Veterans Limited

Community Leisure UK Limited

B+M Works

Shepherds, Surveyors

Work highlights

  • Representing the Independent Workers Union for Great Britain (IWGB) in Scotland. In recent work, the team led the litigation to persuade the employment tribunal that foster carers were employees rather than being self-employed.
  • Acted for a principal teacher dismissed for allegedly not having the correct teaching qualifications.
  • Advised British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) on the implications for its members employed by Bristow Helicopters in Shetland in relation to a service provision change under TUPE.

DLA Piper

DLA Piper's team - which is led by the 'pragmatic and commercially astute' Kate Hodgkiss - provides employers across various sectors, such as food and drink, manufacturing, construction and life sciences, with day-to-day employment law and HR advice. This has recently included a significant amount of Covid-19-related matters, as well as with transactional support and assistance with employment tribunal proceedings.

Practice head(s):

Kate Hodgkiss

Testimonials

‘The Edinburgh DLA employment team is hugely responsive, commercial and pragmatic.’

‘Despite being a partner and no doubt hugely busy with many other clients, I consider Kate Hodgkiss to be a highly valued and trusted extension of our own in-house team. She knows and understands our business, the unique challenges we face, and can always be trusted to provide pragmatic and commercially astute advice. She is a wonderful sounding board, takes time to contact me and my wider team and makes sure I am kept up-to-date on key changes, and has been an invaluable support throughout the Covid crisis, as we dealt with rapidly changing regulations and a turbulent business environment.’

Eversheds Sutherland

National and international employers routinely call upon Eversheds Sutherland to provide strategic HR, transactional and TUPE advice and benefit from  Dawn Dickson's strength in employment tribunal advocacy and discrimination matters. The firm also recently recruited experienced practitioner Euan Smith  from Pinsent Masons LLP.

Practice head(s):

Dawn Dickson

Other key lawyers:

Euan Smith

Testimonials

‘We enjoyed the relationship and felt the advice was proportionate and always in our best interest. Clear strengths are emotional intelligence and strategic thinking.’

‘Dawn Dickson was just amazing – understanding the situation and its impact not just in legal but also in human terms.’

‘The team is practical, quick to act, competitive and understands our business well.’

‘Dawn Dickson is an all-round employment law specialist, well connected and a great communicator.’

‘The team is top notch.’

‘Dawn Dickson exhibits great depth of knowledge and experience in her field. Her guidance and support for the client are worth her weight in gold. From the client’s perspective she is worth every penny and a wise investment.’

Key clients

AVMI Kinly N

Shin Etsu Handotai (Europe) Limited N

Turkish Airlines N

Muir Homes Limited N

Cherwell Software

Total Safety Services Limited

Forestry Commission

Tennent Caledonian Breweries

Jabil

Volvo Group UK Limited

Work highlights

  • Appointed by AVMI Kinly to provide all employment law services in relation to its acquisition of AVMI, including TUPE advice.
  • Appointed by an airline operator to manage, design and implement a restructure for its employees based at Edinburgh Airport.
  • Advised a Scottish construction company on claims the client faced of direct sex discrimination and an inequality claim on the basis that a female employee should have been allowed to join the client’s final salary pension scheme.

TLT

Working in close conjunction with the firm's corporate team, TLT is well placed to provide transactional support, while assisting with day-to-day employment and HR matters alongside employment tribunal claims constitute other key elements of the practice led by litigator Jonathan Rennie. Clients include financial services providers and retailers alongside construction and infrastructure sector players.

Practice head(s):

Jonathan Rennie

Testimonials

‘The team is able to provide a legal service which they can all breakdown and describe in a simple and straightforward manner which as a non-legal expert is especially reassuring and comforting when dealing with complex issues.’

‘TLT exhibit a flexible approach, are easily contactable and provide quality professional advice on a range of employment matters.’

‘They are particularly practical and extremely commercial and understand the fine balances which occasionally arise between running a large complex business across multiple sites.’

‘Jonathan Rennie is a modest but confident individual and his advice is also given with a commercial focus and great deal of understanding of our business and the issues we face. He is calm, rational and keeps matters simple and easily understood by line managers who operate outside of employment law matters for the majority of their time.’

‘The team is approachable and available at all times. Even as a major company, they respond in manner which makes the ‘customer’ feel, valued and appreciated.’

‘Jonathan Rennie has a very easygoing manner. He is accommodating, even at short notice and provides thorough well-presented responses to specific queries but covering a broader area of consideration and ‘what-ifs?’. The attention to detail coupled with a timely response to all matters is what really makes Jonathan stand out.’

‘Jonathan Rennie is very knowledgeable and approachable. He takes a very pragmatic approach to employment law and provides clear, well-structured advice.’

Key clients

Sainsbury’s

Savills

TJ Morris (trading as Home Bargains) and ShoeZone

ShoeZone

Raeburn Drilling & Geotechnical Limited

Search Consultancy Limited

Association for Project Safety

French Duncan Accountants

British Drilling Association

Breedon Northern Limited

Aviagen Limited

Glasgow Taxis Limited

BEAR Scotland

Work highlights

  • Advising the Association for Project Safety (APS) and its UK-wide membership on the impact of Covid-19 in the workplace and the interplay between the Health and Safety statutory obligations and the employment laws considerations when managing employee disclosures and concerns.
  • Assisting the British Drilling Association (BDA) with the insourcing of its company secretarial function and the restructuring of its administration function.