Firms To Watch: Employment

Woking in close conjunction with the firm's Bristol office, Burges Salmon LLP's Edinburgh team, and practice head Katie Russell in particular, is well versed in providing transactional and corporate support as well as defending employers in employment tribunal proceedings.

Employment in Scotland

Brodies LLP

Brodies LLP stands out for its oil and gas sector work – due not least to its strong presence in Aberdeen – as well as its expertise in the financial and public sectors. While its advisory work spans the full spectrum of employment law, including transactional matters, the team has recently been particularly active in the contentious space. Team head and litigator Tony Hadden and Lynne Marr are among the key contacts for this. Recent work includes court and employment tribunal proceedings pertaining to discrimination and unfair dismissal claims, internal investigations and advice on proposed industrial actions. Joan Cradden is another key contact who is routinely called upon to handle executive hires and exits, among other issues.

Practice head(s):

Tony Hadden

Testimonials

‘Personable, friendly, knowledgeable. Good relationship building. Supportive. Tailors advice to our business and how we operate.’

‘Very personable, willing to go the extra mile and stretching the service beyond the SLA. Willing to reach out to colleagues outwith their own discipline at no extra cost for a one-off advice.’

‘They are hugely practical and commercial, explaining very difficult legal concepts to non-lawyers in an extremely practical and commercial way.’

‘Brodies employment law team is top tier, and deservedly so. After assisting us with an employment tribunal claim, they have gone on to provide HR advice to our CEOs, in the hope that no similar issues will arise in the future.’

‘Personable and down-to-earth approach.’

‘Lynne Marr is quite simply the best employment partner I have ever worked with. Pragmatic, direct and with a great sense of humor, she perfectly tailors her advice to the situation and stakeholders she is interacting with.’

‘Tony Hadden is an exemplary lawyer, bright articulate and human. Able to hone in on legal issues within minutes and retains an encyclopaedic volume of technical knowhow that he is able to distil into sensible advice.

Joan Cradden brings a wealth of experience and knowledge delivered in a sage-like manner.’

Key clients

Bristow Helicopters Limited

National Westminster Bank PLC

Ponticelli UK Limited

Artemis Investment Management LLP

Equality and Human Rights Commission Anwar

City of Edinburgh Council

M&G plc

Work highlights

  • Acted for the Equality and Human Rights Commission in the Supreme Court claim Anwar v Advocate General dealing with diligence on the dependence in employment claims in Scotland.
  • Acted for the Royal Bank of Scotland in a Court of Appeal hearing involving a high-value employment claim which attracted significant press interest.
  • Advised Ponticelli UK Limited in connection with a dispute over the treatment of share scheme rights following a TUPE transfer.

Burness Paull LLP

Burness Paull LLP’s client portfolio is a reflection of Scotland’s key sectors with oil and gas, energy, financial services and food and drink companies playing a prominent role. Its sizeable practice supports employers with the full life cycle of employment law with much of its recent work taking place in the transactional and contentious spheres. The former typically involves TUPE and reorganisation support, while its contentious work includes senior executive departures – Morag Hutchison is a key contact for this – and various employment tribunal claims, which are handled by practice head Mandy Laurie and the wider team. Trade union and industrial relations issues are typically handled by David Morgan. Other key individuals include oil and gas sector specialist Sean Saluja; Andrew Knight, who was promoted to partner in August 2021 and specialises in employment tribunal advocacy, in Aberdeen; and Jennifer Skeoch in Glasgow. Skeoch is a key contact for cross-border work.

Practice head(s):

Mandy Laurie

Testimonials

‘They take time to understand our business and culture and provide commercial, pragmatic advice.’

‘Burness Paull prides itself on inclusivity, and has impressed recently with the accolade of accreditation as one of Scotland’s first “menopause-friendly” employers. They are passionate about developing fresh legal talent.’

‘The Employment team at Burness Paull have delivered exceptional service in relation to employment litigation, in particular in relation to complex litigation with an international element.’

‘Straight speaking, pragmatic, commercial outlook, go out of their way to not only understand the business but understand the complexities and situations of colleagues they have never met and retain that information. Lovely wonderful, down-to-earth human beings who due to our reactive profession are always available at a drop of a hat.

‘Andrew Knight, Trish Walker and Sean Saluja all provide advice and guidance on employment matters that is not only relevant to the business immediate needs but also to assist with future requirements.’

‘The employment law team led by Mandy Laurie are both commercial and pragmatic. Their approach is always considered, advising on the risks for their client but acknowledging that the business needs to be commercial in their approach.’

‘I’ve worked with David Morgan now for three years and he continues to impress with his sage advice and guidance. He is a master in navigating through complex employment challenges to ensure the right outcome for our company, aligned to our values. A class act.’

‘Jen Skeoch has been our main point of contact for a number of years now and she and the team feel like they are part of the company. She understands the challenges we face and is always thinking ahead in terms of solutions or how we can work more effectively.’

Key clients

Whyte & Mackay

ITN (Independent Television News)

Bolt

SSE plc.

Highland Spring

Scottish Football Association

Royal Dutch Shell plc

A. G. Barr p.l.c.

Diageo

Everton FC

Work highlights

  • Appointed to provide employment and industrial relations legal support to Diageo for its workforce in Scotland.
  • Instructed as employment law advisers to Bolt.
  • Represented Royal Dutch Shell defending complex employment tribunal proceedings brought in the UK by a former employee.

Anderson Strathern

Anderson Strathern has carved out a strong practice advising education and public sector clients on the full remit of contentious and non-contentious employment law. In the contentious space, clients benefit from practice head Alun Thomas’ mediation capabilities as well as from the team’s expertise in industrial actions. Director Musab Hemsi, who joined the Glasgow office in November 2021 from the now defunct firm LexLayton, has recently handled a number of matters in the latter space. While the team’s specialism lies in public and education sector work, it also acts for corporate clients – this is not least due to Hemsi’s expertise in this space. Recent instructions for commercial clients include redundancy and TUPE issues.

Practice head(s):

Alun Thomas

Testimonials

‘The employment law team are always helpful and offer good advice that is both pragmatic and contextualised to our organisation.’

Nothing is ever too much trouble and results are provided often within tight timescales.’

‘The team’s strengths lie in their prompt attention to any query or support required regardless of its significance or timescales and the work is done with a ‘can do’ attitude.’

The advice is always provided in an easy to understand format. Their knowledge is exceptional with team members having specialisms who can be called upon when required.’

‘Andrew Brown – always responsive, understands our business well, offers options with analysis of risks.’

‘Musab Hemsi’s work is of the highest quality. He is always able to balance the technical aspects of the law with great advice and interpretation.’

Key clients

Scottish Government

Royal College of Nursing

Scottish Prison Service

St Andrews University

Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service

INEOS Group

Royal Zoological Society of Scotland

City of Edinburgh Council

Glasgow Rangers Football Club Limited

The Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh

Crown Estate Scotland

North Lanarkshire Council

Balmoral Hotel

Cricket Scotland

Scottish Social Services Council

Midlothian Council

Glasgow Caledonian University

The Care Inspectorate

Roxburghe Estates

Audit Scotland

Work highlights

  • Advised a substantial number of further, higher and secondary education institutions around all of their employment law issues. This has involved review of furlough and job retention scheme policies, and return to work strategies as well as the day-to-day issues.
  • Continues to support members of the Royal College of Nursing in Scotland who find themselves in employment tribunal proceedings whether for unfair dismissal or under the Equality Act or whistleblower protection jurisprudence.
  • Assisted commercial clients, including multinational operations, with the impact of TUPE and Brexit.

CMS

With the team led by Alison Woods from Aberdeen, CMS counts several energy sector players to its clients but it also acts for household names from other industries as well as for public and third sector clients. In close cooperation with offices across the UK and internationally, the practice not only has a strong track record for multijurisdictional mandates but is also well equipped to guide clients through the full spectrum of employment law, from HR, transactional and TUPE matters to industrial action issues, employment tribunal litigation and whistleblowing investigations. Catriona Aldridge, whose expertise reflects the team’s broad offering, made partner in May 2021 and leads the firm’s ESG centre of excellence.

Practice head(s):

Alison Woods

Testimonials

‘The CMS team in Scotland are highly responsive, capable and experienced. They are also pragmatic and offer a balanced ‘real life’ view of the issues they support with as well as providing the technical expertise that underpins the quality of their advice.’

‘The individuals have a a way of making you feel that your issue is of the highest importance and relevance. Nothing is too much trouble. As a client, no issue is ‘silly’ and you can bring any problem to the team. They are personally responsive and highly supportive.’

The team at CMS really understands our sector and provide us with benchmarking information around sector initiatives, challenges and opportunities.

The transparency of billing is outstanding, being set out in detail in a monthly summary report.

‘The team operate as true business partners and feel like an extension of my own team.’

‘Having worked with the UK employment team at CMS for several years, what makes this team stand out is their ability to understand the client’s industry and provide excellent, good value advice with that knowledge in mind.’

‘Alison Woods is the go-to name for us – she is knowledgeable and helpful, but explains matters in a really down-to-earth practical way. We would go to no other person.’

‘Gillian MacLellan is extremely proactive and pragmatic and is very good at co-ordinating and presenting on cross-jurisdictional projects.’

Key clients

NatWest

OGUK

Sanlam UK Limited

ISIO Group Limited

Franklin Templeton

Scottish Enterprise

Highlands & Islands Enterprise

NEO Energy

Ithaca Energy

Coty

RepsolSinopec

National Museums Scotland

Work highlights

  • Advising Money Supermarket Financial Group on all key employment aspects of their £101m acquisition of Quidco, the second largest cashback platform in the UK, including advice regarding transitional arrangements with the existing executive team.
  • Sole employment law advisers for NMS (National Museums Scotland) providing full-spectrum employment support, including on trade union matters, disputes and pandemic response.
  • Advised a wide range of clients on risks relating to mandatory vaccinations and requesting and sharing information on Covid status, including co-ordinating multijurisdictional responses for many international clients.

Morton Fraser

While predominantly acting for employers, Morton Fraser’s workload also includes regular instructions from senior executives and other employees. Its client base spans both the public and private sectors and benefits from the team’s extensive employment tribunal and equal pay expertise. Lindsey Cartwright (Glasgow) is among the key contacts for the former and senior associate and accredited discrimination law specialist Sarah Gilzean (Glasgow) for the latter. Its contentious arm is complemented by wide-ranging advisory capabilities covering transactional and TUPE matters, restructuring programmes and Covid-19-related issues. The team is led by the Edinburgh-based Innes Clark, who often handles senior executive exits but covers the full range of employment law, and also provides budgeting certainty in form of innovative feeing models and fixed rates.

Practice head(s):

Innes Clark

Testimonials

‘We have developed good working relationships with the team at Morton Fraser – they understand our business and sector which is really important to us.’

‘Morton Fraser has a strong and experienced employment team with real strength in depth, and a lot of valuable experience.’

‘Morton Fraser offer a highly effective solutions-based service. They have taken the time to understand our small but complex business.’

‘The team in Morton Fraser under the leadership of Innes Clarke is of the highest standard. I have always found them to be professional and in particular their ability to listen to the specific needs of a charity giving excellent advice is always very much appreciate.’

‘Sarah Gilzean is a discrimination specialist and her knowledge is invaluable. Over the last few years she has taken time to get to know us as a business and tailors her advice and guidance accordingly.’

‘David Walker is good at keeping an eye on the bigger picture but also the critical smaller details, and is good in a crisis!’

‘David Walker is always very friendly and available and gives useful and exhaustive advice. The same applies to his other labor law colleagues.’

‘David Hossack is professional, caring and pragmatic. He quickly grasps the issue and offers advice on how to handle cases which is always thorough and well thought out.’

Key clients

Ministry of Defence

Police Scotland

Schuh Limited

Scottish Government and the Office of the Advocate General

Velux Limited

Royal Mail Group Limited

Unison

Micron Europe Limited subsidiary of Micron Technology Inc

Historic Environment Scotland

Scottish Legal Aid Board

Work highlights

  • Continued to advise Unison in the largest equal pay litigation in Scotland.
  • Successfully defended HMRC in an appeal to the employment appeal tribunal challenging the employment tribunal’s dismissal of a disability discrimination claim.
  • Successful defence of a high-profile claim against the Scottish Ministers where the claimant was held to have been dishonest in alleging that a photo showing her gagged and tied to a chair was due to whistleblowing.

Clyde & Co

Clyde & Co’s strength lies in representing clients – many of which are from the public sector – in pay disputes and employment tribunal proceedings based on unfair dismissal and disability discrimination claims. While most of its work is contentious in nature, the team led by Glasgow-based accredited employment and discrimination law specialist Stephen Miller also handles non-contentious matters, such as TUPE transfers, and is often supported by colleagues from its offices across the UK.

Practice head(s):

Stephen Miller

Testimonials

‘The breadth of knowledge of the team in employment law and their specific knowledge of my organisation and how it operates is outstanding. They provide consistently high-quality advice on urgent, complex employment law issues and excellent advocacy in employment tribunals’

‘Clyde & Co’s employment team has an unparalleled knowledge of the public sector, and specifically the local authority, context in which employment issues arise.’

‘They’re all excellent to work with – knowledgeable, professional, engaging’.

‘Everything seems to work like a Rolls Royce.’

‘Stephen Miller is exceptionally knowledgeable, complementing his undoubted expertise with strategic and pragmatic thinking to suggest and achieve solutions.’

‘Frances Ross’ attention to detail, clarity and calmness has prevailed in the most challenging of circumstances. Her advocacy skills are strong and she is tenacious in her cross-examination. Her written work has been of an exceptional standard. I cannot recommend her highly enough.’

‘Robert King is quite frankly exceptional. It is like having your best friend visit and give you exceptional employment law advice whilst assisting with a plan to implement it. I’d love to be able to strike that perfect balance with my clients, however I’m no Robert King!’

‘Stephen, Frances and Graham are outstanding and always striving for positive results for clients.’

Key clients

City of Edinburgh Council

Forth Valley College

Scottish Ballet

Glasgow City Council

Inverclyde Council

Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

Argyll College (UHI)

North Lanarkshire Council

North Ayrshire Council

W. H. Malcolm Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised J&D Willkie Limited on two separate TUPE transfers including reviewing the purchase agreement, assisting with consultations and drafting tripartite settlement agreements.
  • Represented a local government client in defending an appeal from the employee at the employment appeal tribunal and appealing the tribunal’s decision to the Inner House of the Court of Session.

Dentons

With three offices across Scotland, Dentons is led by the Glasgow-based Alison Weatherhead, who regularly handles transactional, TUPE and compliance matters, while the wider team also advises on industrial actions and employment disputes; Claire Maclean (Edinburgh), counsel since May 2021, is among the key contacts for the latter. With Elouisa Crichton, who joined the Glasgow team in May 2021 from Shepherd and Wedderburn, the team also has a specialist in maternity and shared parental leave, gender pay gap reporting, equal pay and gender equality matters.

Practice head(s):

Alison Weatherhead

Testimonials

‘I have only recently started using Dentons but so far I have been very impressed with their transparency with fees; their excellent communication and client care’.

‘The uniqueness of the employment team at Dentons is derived from its people. All law firms can offer the same legal advice but not all law firms have individuals who are personable and relatable and strive to deliver their advice in a down-to-earth way that offers a solution and who genuinely seems to care aboutt resolving their clients’ problems.’

The team is always highly professional and couples this with an ability to give practical advice highlighting the risks that the business needs to take into account.’

‘We found Elouisa Crichton to be hugely impressive and would not hesitate to instruct her should the opportunity arise.’

‘Sarah Jackman goes beyond advising us of the black letter law or the most recent case, and always seeks to offer a proposed solution to our problems/queries at the forefront of her advice – this is how all commercial legal advice should be delivered across business today.’

‘Alison Weatherhead has built a team that displays the same pragmatic, client-centered, approachable and responsive attitude that she herself demonstrates.’

‘Claire Maclean is one of the most down-to-earth people I know and I am confident in her guidance. Claire is open and honest throughout her support with the business.’

‘Mark Hamilton is amazingly calm and considered in his support. This can often help cut through a lot of uninformed opinions and discussion at our end and help crystalise plans for next steps. His knowledge and experience are hugely reassuring and great to have him on our side!’

Key clients

Amazon UK Services Limited

William Grant & Sons

John Lewis Plc

Aggreko Plc

Ascensos Limited

The Edrington Group (Famous Grouse, Macallan & others)

Network Rail Infrastructure Limited

Howco Group plc

Halfords plc (Employment work)

MND Scotland

Work highlights

  • Advised Ascensos on a bid and the negotiation of a contract to provide COVID-19 call centre services to the public.
  • Advised a UK bank on bonus arrangements in an FCA-regulated business, to include clawback arrangements, changes to contractual entitlements and financial regulatory compliance.
  • Advised an oil and gas company on imposing the continuation of furlough on reduced pay but fully funded by the Company, for multiple employees after the government scheme ended. This unusual approach was taken to provide further time to consider possible restructures and minimise the impact of a potential collective redundancy exercise, and find volunteers for redundancy. This was novel and an untested area of law.

Shepherd and Wedderburn

Shepherd and Wedderburn’s employment law work rests on the three pillars of day-to-day employment law and HR; corporate and transactional support, including TUPE transfers and due diligence; and employment tribunal defence against claims of discrimination and unfair dismissal, among others. This broad offering as well as its London presence attracts a wide range of clients, including several education and public sector bodies, which is not least due to team head Neil Maclean’s expertise in this space.

Practice head(s):

Neil Maclean

Testimonials

‘The team is incredibly responsive and their commercial awareness combines with technical ability to ensure the advice received is well balanced. Put simply, they inspire confidence and know their stuff!’

‘Pragmatic advice based on excellent technical understanding of the underlying law, reading across from employment law, equalities and tax.’

Comprehensive approach without being overwhelming. Excellent communication and follow-up with clients, contribution to client decision making by acting as critical friend as well as adviser.’

‘The support and personal attention I have received for my business has been first class. It truly is a bespoke service rather than a formulaic approach. This means it is entirely relevant and value for money.’

‘Neil Maclean is my go to employment law guru. Would never hesitate to recommend Neil to others.’

Key clients

The University of Edinburgh

The University of Glasgow

The University of Aberdeen

Epic Games, Inc.

Baillie Gifford

NHS Highland

Vallourec Oil & Gas

Cirrus Logic International (UK) Ltd

Aircraft Medical Limited

Halfords Group Plc

The Scottish Professional Football League Trust

Scottish National Investment Bank

SuperAwesome Trading Limited

Ricardo plc

Work highlights

  • Advised on the setting up and operation of the innovative NHS Highland Healing Process, including sitting as one of the Independent Review Panel members.
  • Advised Epic Games on the employment law aspects of its most recent high-value acquisition of the Tonic Games group, including the Fall Guys developer Mediatonic, as it continues to expand its global presence.
  • Advised Baillie Gifford on all employment and human resource requirements, including creating a cohesive international HR strategy and advising on employment relations matters in light of the Senior Manager and Certification Regime.

Addleshaw Goddard

As an integral part of its UK-wide practice, Addleshaw Goddard’s Scotland team routinely works in conjunction with its London office when advising large businesses across various sectors on cross-border projects, with the majority of work led out of Scotland being contentious in nature. Typically this involves equal pay actions and employment tribunal proceedings arising from allegations of discrimination and unfair dismissal. Edinburgh-based team head and solicitor advocate David Hughes is a key contact for this. Recent non-contentious work includes senior executive and transactional matters.

Practice head(s):

David Hughes

Other key lawyers:

Robert Phillips; Kelly Brown

Testimonials

‘AG’s Scotland offices work seamlessly with the other offices within the UK and offer a fantastic service across the country.’

‘Always delivers.’

‘Excellent team that is always available to provide clear advice on the law and the strategy.’

‘David Hughes has a deep understanding of the relevant law and provides clear, understandable advice.’

Key clients

Bilfinger UK Limited No

FNZ UK Limited No

Texo Group No

British Airways No

The Hibernian Football Club Limited Yes

Raytheon Systems Limited

Avanti Gas

Briggs Marine

DOF Subsea

The Law Society of Scotland

Cable Capital Partners

Work highlights

  • Successfully represented a major UK retailer in binding arbitration with trade unions on a multi-million pound pay negotiation.
  • Acted for one of the UK’s largest banks in a number of complex employment tribunal claims across the UK.
  • Represented a multinational financial services client in the negotiation of exit arrangements for two senior executives.

Blackadders LLP

With six offices across Scotland, Blackadders LLP is a well-known regional player acting for employers and employees on the full range of employment law; the Edinburgh-based Donna Reynolds complements this offering with a specialism in discrimination law. Director Jack Boyle is often called upon in employment disputes and is based in Dundee together with practice head Simon Allison, who has particular expertise in the construction, manufacturing and transport sectors, while the team as a whole has recently been increasingly active advising GP practices. Due to its partnership with T C Young, the group also provides regular advice to housing associations. In September 2021, its Glasgow office received a boost with the arrival of Stephen Connolly from Miller Samuel Hill Brown Solicitors; he has recently handled various compliance and Covid-19-related HR matters and is also experienced in data protection.

Practice head(s):

Simon Allison

Testimonials

‘The team comprises a very effective mixture of experienced employment law professionals and very promising young talent.’

‘Blackadders has a very human approach to employment law and an ability to connect with potential clients through clear communication. It not only understands the sector and the law very, very well, but also has this very human face.’

‘I have been working with the Blackadders employment team for the last 2 years, and cannot speak highly enough of the service and support they have provided us.’

‘Blackadders is an extremely engaging firm. Their connection to their clients is something that I have not encountered elsewhere. They take the time to get to know their clients personally and to fully understand the business area their clients are in. They communicate on a level that is understandable and not bombarded with legal jargon.’

‘Simon Allison and Jack Boyle are both extremely capable, knowledgeable and very professional in the way they undertake their work. They make it their business to understand the client and how they operate.’

‘Simon Allison and Jack Boyle are both extremely approachable, friendly, professional and knowledgeable in employment law. They are both excellent at explaining the risks in situations in a straight-forward and understandable way.’

‘I have known Donna Reynolds for more than 15 years and she is a very capable, intelligent and focused lawyer – but also one who is dedicated to continuous professional improvement and to building her skills and her network.’

‘Donna Reynolds is exceptional at what she does, she is very down to earth and approachable. Nothing is too much trouble for her and her turnaround time is in line with my demands. She makes herself available at short notice which is greatly appreciated.’

Key clients

Nairn & Nairn Limited

Kingswood Hotel & Restaurant

Horsecross Arts Limited

Scotch Malt Whisky Society Limited

Elder Homes Limited

Symbiosis Pharmaceutical Services Limited

Scottish Salmon Company Ltd

Monterey Jacks Ltd

AK Recruitment Ltd

Macfie & Co LLP

Welcome Eyecare Ltd

TMS UK Ltd

Interplex PMP Limited

Carnegie Cars Limited

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

Barrie Knitwear Limited

Work highlights

  • Providing advice to Dell Corporation Limited in relation to a claim of unfair dismissal and four claims of disability discrimination.
  • Acted for the Al Maktoum College in a claim lodged for unfair dismissal, harassment and direct discrimination.
  • Acted for Leisure and Culture Dundee in a claim lodged by an employee for unlawful deduction from wages.

BTO Solicitors LLP

BTO Solicitors LLP’s employer and employee client base includes membership organisations and their members – most notably from the healthcare sector-, charities, housing associations and educational institutions, who routinely retain the team based in Edinburgh and Glasgow to assist with TUPE transfers and collective redundancy projects, employment tribunal proceedings, collective bargaining arrangements, managements exits and general HR matters. The practice is led from Glasgow by Caroline Carr, whose sector focus reflects the team’s workload, while its Edinburgh team was boosted in January 2022 with the arrival of Dawn Robertson from Rooney Nimmo; she covers the full spectrum of employment law. Laura Salmond (Glasgow) is a key contact for trade union and federation members.

Practice head(s):

Caroline Carr

Testimonials

‘They are realistic regarding the outcomes and keep you well informed in each stage. They showcase genuine interest and empathy. Excellent service with passion.’

‘The service has ensured that we continue to have good employment relations at a turbulent time within the further education sector and society in general due to COVID-19.’

We are one of many clients with the firm however we are made to feel as if we are their only client with the high quality of service provided and the attention to detail. Every member of the organisation is a pleasure to deal with.’

‘They are a well-rounded firm. The employment law team in particular seems well organised and there is good evidence of collaborative working between associates and partners.’

‘Laura Salmond is my stand-out partner. Advice is spot-on, she is very efficient always makes time to listen. Her advice during lockdown was particularly detailed – often with me before I had asked the question.’

‘Personal touch of the team. Jacqueline McCluskey in particular. They take time to understand our business and processes. Able to relay information in a format that is easy for a non-legal to follow.’

‘Caroline Carr has exceptionally good analytical skills and is very skilled at helping clients finds solutions whilst understanding and explaining risks. She is willing to take a hard line on matters which gives employers confidence that is acting on their best interests.’

‘I tend to work with Laura Salmond mostly. Laura is a problem-solver and always endeavours to find a sensible practical solution to any employment issue.’

Key clients

British Medical Association

Royal and Sun Alliance Plc

Medical & Dental Defence Union of Scotland (MDDUS)

Mactaggart & Mickel Limited

Strathclyde Partnership for Transport

Scottish Police Federation

NG Homes

Epilepsy Scotland

Glasgow Kelvin College

Intelligent Pensions Limited

The Turner Group of Companies

Medac Pharma LLP

Work highlights

  • Acted for a long-standing social care charity client in successfully defending a complex and high-value whistleblowing claim at the employment tribunal.
  • Advised a Scottish charitable housing association on employment law and regulatory issues arising from a complex grievance involving allegations of bullying, harassment, and discrimination.
  • Advised a Scottish college on the detailed and complex issue of transfer to permanency arrangements for lecturers.

Harper Macleod LLP

Harper Macleod LLP stands out for its extensive public sector client base, including many local authorities, which is complemented by team head Bruce Caldow’s specialism in sports sector work. Recently, the team has been most active in the contentious space, handling investigations, disputes with trade unions and employment tribunal defence against claims of discrimination, harassment and unfair dismissal, among others. Typical non-contentious instructions include TUPE transfers, business reorganisations and compliance.

Practice head(s):

Bruce Caldow

Other key lawyers:

Lorna Davis; Scott Milligan

Testimonials

‘The team at Harper Macleod have been very helpful and provided expert and professional advice.

‘The unique selling point about the practice is the quality of collaboration and interaction with us as a customer always being warm and friendly whilst providing advice.

‘Great advisors, feel like a colleague down the corridor, link to other areas which may be relevant when required, e.g. governance. A great firm and first-class service.’

‘The team at the practice are very professional and provide a human touch in their interaction.’

‘Scott Milligan is a very knowledgeable partner who will provide very impactful advice that is reasonable in understanding the business stance and highlights risk in any employment law issue.

‘Bruce Caldow has extensive experience in this area of law, and is well regarded within the profession. He is an effective and resourceful negotiator who sees through legal difficulties to find the best solutions for his clients.’

‘Lorna Davis is a dedicated professional who gives 110% to her clients. She is tenacious and fearless in litigation and never takes the easy options unless they are the best ones. She is intelligent, hard working and a good team player and enjoys excellent relations with her extensive client base.

Key clients

Creative Scotland

Redress Scotland

Revenue Scotland

Care Inspectorate

Fife Council

Scottish Government

Celtic plc and football club

Brite Dental Group

Scottish Engineering

Webhelp

Work highlights

  • Advising the Scottish government in various matters.
  • Multiple new instructions with new client Fife Council including various litigation matters, training and support work.
  • Acting for long-standing client Webhelp in complex litigation throughout the UK.

Ledingham Chalmers LLP

With the Inverness-based Kirk Tudhope heading Ledingham Chalmers LLP’s employment team, it is frequently retained by SME employers across the Highlights and Islands area but the firm also has offices in Aberdeen and Edinburgh. John Lee, accredited for employment and discrimination law, is the main contact for the latter office location. The team's expertise is equally broadly and includes (Covid-19-related) redundancies and reorganisations, TUPE and business transfers and general HR on the non-contentious side, and grievance investigations alongside employment tribunal defence in the contentious arena.

Practice head(s):

Kirk Tudhope

Other key lawyers:

John Lee

Testimonials

‘The people are very approachable and speak on a level that’s clear and unambiguous. Billing is straightforward and clear with no complex rates or time scales.’

‘Ledingham Chalmers has a good balance between being large enough to cope with high volumes of work, but small enough to give very high levels of personal service to clients, with partner engagement being very high.’

‘Experienced people with practical solutions for business, they get to know your business in detail and always provide a considered view.’

‘Ledingham Chalmers stand out as an organisation that can provide for all your employment legal needs and requirements. They have proved themselves over the twenty years I have had the good fortune to deal with them, that they can be relied upon to support and advise on all matters of employment law.’

‘All of our relationships with representatives of Ledingham Chalmers are professional but also personable. Kirk Tudhope in particular stands out as a knowledgeable, straight to the point type of person, who has steered us successfully through many difficult scenarios.’

‘Kirk Tudhope highly experienced and completely unflappable.’

‘John Lee has taken the time to understand our needs, our culture and our specific sector demands. This has resulted in a service tailored to our particular needs.

‘John Lee provides consistently valuable advice and guidance to clients. He is highly responsive in turning around work quickly and to a very high standard, but also very pragmatic and outcome-oriented in his approach.’

Key clients

Lifescan Scotland Limited

Eden Court Theatre

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

Equiom

Common Thread Group Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised the charity Birchwood Highland on the dismissal of an employee and represented the client at a hearing on disputed disability status.
  • Acted for Hawco & Sons Limited where an employee raised multiple claims relating to him having made a protected disclosure. The protected disclosures related to alleged serious health and safety breaches of the company.

Lindsays

Lindsays has a strong profile advising charities, care providers and SMEs on employee dismissals and disciplinary proceedings, including employment tribunal defence, but also handles transactional and TUPE work alongside day-to-day employment law. While the team led by the Glasgow-based Ben Doherty is predominately retained by employers, it also acts for employees, most notably senior staff in unfair dismissal and discrimination claims. Besides its legal expertise, clients also benefit from the practice’s fixed-price employment law packages.

Practice head(s):

Ben Doherty

Other key lawyers:

Kate Wyatt

Testimonials

‘As a team, they strive to deliver a customer-focused approach.’

‘Lindsays simply exceed expectations over and over again. Whatever is asked is answered then value is added with additional guidance or advice.’

‘The support in relation to employment practice is fantastic. Having access to Prism also provides us with templates to use in relation to employment processes and procedures. We find this resource helpful and use the templates to inform our processes.’

‘The employment team headed up by Ben Doherty have taken the time to understand our business and the way in which we work which is what makes this partnership so effective. Lindsays are a family business and this can be seen in their approach. Readily available when needed with different partners specialising in certain aspects of employment law.’

‘Ben Doherty is the stand-out partner we deal with. Ben is accessible and always makes things straightforward and easy to understand. If I have an outcome in mind, he’ll work with me to make it happen and protect the organisation as much as possible. By the same token, he’ll tell me when the things I want to do are impossible or wrong!’

‘The two individuals that stand out for me are Ben Doherty and Kate Wyatt. They don’t merely provide the advice but see it through from start to finish. They add the personal touch and work through how the advice could impact on the business whilst weighing up the risk.’

‘Kate’s employment practice knowledge and expertise is the main reason we constantly renew our annual contract. Every one-to-one call is followed up by e-mail and she is always happy to discuss further if we have any questions or comments.’

‘Kate’s approach is incredibly people driven, although calm, she will challenge when necessary and ensure that all considerations/ options have been explored. Her support has been vital to the organisation in these challenging times and we are always re-assured with her advice and support.

Key clients

Sense Scotland

Scottish Association for Mental health

Scottish Autism

Carr Gomm

The Ayrshire Hospice

Prince and Princess of Wales Hospice

St Columba’s Hospice

Fams Charity

CHSS

Hostelling Scotland

Work highlights

  • Provided advice to the chairman of the board of trustees of a hospice following the appointment of a new chief executive, against whom grievances were lodged by two members of the senior management team, alleging that the new chief executive had bullied them.
  • Assisted an organisation providing residential care, education, specialist interventions and throughcare for young people in connection with multiple claims and day-to-day employment matters.
  • Represented the claimant at the employment tribunal in connection with an unfair dismissal and wrongful dismissal claim against his former employer William Grant & Sons Distillers Limited.

MacRoberts LLP

MacRoberts LLP‘s team is led by Glasgow-based employment and discrimination law specialist Katy Wedderburn. Its Edinburgh contact Kenny Scott made legal director in September 2021 and, like the team as a whole, is frequently called upon in employment tribunals – this has recently included a number of senior executive disputes in the third sector – but he also provides wide-ranging employment law and HR advice. This includes matters at the intersection of GDPR and insolvency situations.

Practice head(s):

Katy Wedderburn

Other key lawyers:

Kenny Scott

Testimonials

‘The approach makes it unique. Understanding their clients’ goals and objectives quickly and with empathy. Truthful, focused, first class.’

‘As a business operating across a number of jurisdictions, we need professional partners who get us and our needs. MacRoberts provide an excellent service and support to us. I cannot rate them highly enough.

‘MacRoberts provide a comprehensive approach to each situation with all possibilities explored before a recommendation is made. All bases are covered thus minimising the chance of a ‘surprise.’

‘Receiving stellar advice in difficult situations isn’t always easy. This team never fail and there is such strength in their view and delivery that you are never left with any concern. Very safe hands.’

‘The advice is great! As well as being well structured and reasoned, the written communication is clear, concise and enables you to understand the legal arguments and technical aspects.’

‘Kenny Scott is personable, professional and very responsive. He manages expectations well both in terms of response times, and outcomes and is extremely thorough with his advice and contributions.’

‘Kenny and his team are thorough and very communicative and responsive. With a wealth of knowledge, there is always someone who can guide us through what can be a complex environment.’

‘Katy Wedderburn is a consistent and reliable adviser, she gives excellent advice and is a real partner to an employer.’

Key clients

Scottish Water

JPI Media Limited

Stena Line Limited

Cala Group Limited

Student Loans Company Limited

Stewart Buchanan Gauges Limited

Victim Support Scotland

Dollar Academy

Strathallan School

House of Bruar

North Ayrshire Council

ENABLE Scotland

Coughtrie International Limited

Lowland Reserve Forces and Cadets Association

Kenman Holdings Limited

Cloch Housing Association

Life Changes Trust

Work highlights

  • Acted for the charity Project Trust in an employment tribunal action brought by an applicant who was not taken forward in the client’s volunteering programme based on alleged disability discrimination.
  • Defended the construction and building materials group Northstone (NI) Limited against an employment tribunal claim for unfair dismissal brought by an employee based on a redundancy process brought about as a result of the mandatory shutdown of the construction industry in the summer of 2020 due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Shoosmiths

Much of Shoosmiths' non-contentious work pertains to transactional, TUPE and outsourcing and has recently included various Covid-19-related matters, including redundancies, while it's contentious expertise spans employment tribunal defence and equal pay litigation. Kim Pattullo is a specialist in the latter and jointly heads the practice with Glasgow-based litigator Michael McLaughlin; he recently acted for clients from the logistics, manufacturing and infrastructure sectors, among others.

Practice head(s):

Kim Pattullo; Michael McLaughlin

 

Testimonials

‘Collaboration is excellent, they provide us with regular updates, we are always left feeling reassured that we are in safe hands.’

‘The people I have have worked with at Shoosmiths have been great at building relationships, checking with us and helping us reach a conclusion to any challenges we have. They are extremely knowledgeable.’

‘We find the team to be extremely approachable and easy to work with. We receive excellent advice and structured support.’

‘Shoosmiths are a fantastic team to work with. They really see us as partners rather than clients, and always go the extra mile in order to give us the best advice possible.’

‘The team are hugely dedicated to delivering extraordinary service to their clients. They work tirelessly to make the client’s experience of litigation as painless and smooth as possible.’

‘Michael McLaughlin is outstanding. He communicates in a way that gains the support and understanding of our managers.’

‘Kim Pattullo has always been utterly fantastic to work with. She is both humble and knowledgeable, always gives great advice, and often helps us to see the context of an issue and also advise on the workplace culture issues that, while not strictly a question of legality, make a big impact.’

‘Kim Pattullo is real tour-de-force when it comes to equal pay matters.

Key clients

Boots

H&M UK Limited

CTDI Glenrothes Limited

Chivas Brothers Limited

Koch Media Limited

Beam Suntory UK Limited

Advinia Healthcare Limited

Amey Services Limited

Blazing Griffin

Communications Test Design Inc

Work highlights

    Thorntons Law LLP

    With offices in Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Angus, Fife and Perth, Thorntons Law LLP is a well-known player in the Scottish market and most notably recognised for its strength advising education sector clients, housing associations and the wider public sector. Typical advice includes TUPE, redundancy processes and HR, while higher and further education institutions routinely retain the team led by the Dundee-based Noele McClelland to assist with various disputes and grievances. The practice provides fixed-price HR and employment law packages.

    Practice head(s):

    Noele McClelland

    Other key lawyers:

    Debbie Fellows; Chris Phillips

    Testimonials

    ‘The team is good – helpful, knowledgeable and practical. We were happy with them and I’d happily use them again and recommend them to others. I certainly wouldn’t attempt to navigate the legal minefield of employment law without them!’

    ‘We completely trust the advice we receive from the team.’

    ‘The team at Thorntons understand your business and what you are seeking to achieve and that gives you confidence that the advice given is built on solid foundations.’

    ‘In my opinion, Thorntons stand out from their competitors because they are very keen to form personal (instead of purely commercial) relationships with their clients.

    ‘The practice takes time to get to know you, your business – leaving no stone unturned in supporting you and finding innovative solutions.

    ‘Most successful partnerships are built on solid relationships, grounded in trust, honesty and integrity, this is evident throughout Thorntons. Debbie Fellows stands out in particular, a joy to work with, particularly when you may be heading in the wrong direction -professionally bringing you back on point.’

    ‘Calm, unflappable, pragmatic. Really happy with the service Chris Phillips (and his team) provided.’

    ‘Noele McClelland: professional, adaptive, responsive and thorough.

    Key clients

    Kingdom Housing Association Limited

    Abertay Housing Association Limited

    Caledonia Housing Association Limited

    James Hutton Institute

    Police Scotland

    University of Highlands and Islands

    Perth College

    City of Glasgow College

    University of Stirling

    Glasgow School of Art

    Regional Strategic Board for Lanarkshire Colleges

    Robert Gordon University

    University of Abertay

    Dundee and Angus College

    Caledonian Care Consultants t/a Bluebird Care

    Richard F Mackay Limited

    Snag Group Limited

    Intelligent Growth Solutions Limited

    Mcphersons Limited

    A&J Stephen Limited

    Step-Up Scaffolding (UK) Limited

    Barr Fitness Limited

    Waterloo Quay Property Limited

    A.M. Phillip (Trucktech) Limited

    Strathkelvin Instruments Limited

    Kitchens International Limited

    Scottish National Mining Museum

    Champion Contractors Limited

    Macmerry300 Limited

    Work highlights

    • Advising the Kingdom Housing Association on the employment aspects of its strategic acquisition of and integration with Fairfield Housing Association.
    • Advising the Regional Strategic Board for Lanarkshire Colleges on the breakdown in governance within the college.
    • Advising McPhersons Limited on a constructive dismissal and sexual orientation discrimination claim.

    Balfour+Manson LLP

    Balfour+Manson LLP stands out for its contentious capabilities, which are routinely called upon by employees and trade unions, but the team is also known for its expertise advising faith-based organisations and charities on various employment law and HR matters. The team is led by Robert Holland in Edinburgh and offers clients a fixed-fee HR outsourcing package called B+M Works.

    Practice head(s):

    Robert Holland

    Other key lawyers:

    Sarah Shiels; Russell Eadie

    Testimonials

    ‘The team’s strengths include vast and varied experience of all aspects of employment law and tenacity.’

    ‘Balfour and Manson are a very professional organisation with a personal touch. The really understood my needs when dealing with them.’

    ‘Balfour & Manson as a whole, have defended my interests over a very long period of time. They have always be totally accessible to me and quick to respond to my enquiries.’

    The team are highly trained and have an ethos that places client care at the core of their work. Combine that with very experienced and capable lawyers and that is a winning combination for their clients.’

    ‘You can depend upon Robert Holland and his team to tenaciously fight for your case “all the way” towards achieving a good outcome.’

    ‘Robert Holland gave me support and treated me with kindness and compassion throughout my very difficult journey ‘fighting’ my ex-employers who had discriminated against me and bullied me for years. He was successful in achieving the outcome I was looking for and in our opinion was fully deserved.’

    ‘Sarah Shiels is a fierce and determined advocate for her clients. Sarah has honed her skills and abilities as an employment lawyer by representing clients successfully at both employment tribunals throughout Scotland and at employment appeal tribunal level.’

    ‘I have worked with Sarah Shiels a partner in the employment team and she is excellent – the firm is well known and respected trade union firm with a loyal following.’

    Key clients

    Educational Institute for Scotland (EIS)

    Faculty of Advocates

    BALPA

    IWGB

    Scottish Veterans Residence

    Esportif International

    Free Church of Scotland

    David Narro Associates

    IACS Consulting

    Ogenus Offshore Limited

    Work highlights

    • Continuing to act for the Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain (IWGB), which has recently included employment tribunal proceedings pertaining to the employment status of foster carers as employees rather than self-employed.
    • Advised on a number of high-profile departures in both professional Rugby and Football.
    • Continuing to advise Scottish Veterans Limited on data protection issues and HR matters pertaining to the client’s various residential homes and has been defending litigation raised by tenants in their supported accommodation.

    Eversheds Sutherland

    Embedded in its UK practice, Eversheds Sutherland is well placed to provide national and international companies with strategic HR, transactional and TUPE advice alongside employment tribunal support. With the addition of Euan Smith from Pinsent Masons LLP in July 2021, the team has significantly boosted its energy sector capabilities but also acts across various other sectors. He now heads the employment and pensions practice and is the senior office partner for the firm’s Edinburgh office.

    Practice head(s):

    Euan Smith

    Other key lawyers:

    Dawn Dickson

    Testimonials

    ‘The team are diverse in the skill set they have to offer – there is no legal issue too great or too small.’

    ‘The prompt responses from the team are always much appreciated, as is their expeditious nature in handling and addressing any matters.’

    ‘Dawn Dickson: Practical, experienced and very motivated in getting the best for the client.’

    Key clients

    Prestwick Aircraft Maintenance Limited

    The Turing Trust

    Jabil

    Kinly

    Cabot Corporation

    Construction Industry Training Board

    Macdonald Hotels

    Liontrust Asset Management

    AGS Airports

    Petrofac

    Capita

    Tennent Caledonian

    Forestry Commission

    Trillium Asset Management

    Work highlights

      TLT

      TLT provides day-to-day employment law and transactional advice alongside employment tribunal support to employers across various sectors, such as financial services, retail and construction. Glasgow-based litigator and team head Jonathan Rennie has particular expertise in construction and infrastructure sector work.

      Practice head(s):

      Jonathan Rennie

      Other key lawyers:

      Fraser Vandal

      Testimonials

      ‘The overall service provided by the employment law team within TLT is excellent. They understand the type of business we work within and when advice and guidance is required it is given in a manner you can understand and relate to.’

      ‘Very personable and professional team, with a wide range of speciality lawyers.’

      ‘Nothing is ever too much for them.’

      ‘The team provide a very comprehensive, personal service. Over the period of Covid-19 restrictions they have developed some very good online tools to assist and cascade information.’

      They are approachable and always available to assist with sound advice and practical solutions. The billing produced is clear, concise and accurate.’

      As a team they take the time to get to know individuals which makes the relationship easy especially when having to discuss complex matters.’

      ‘Easy to work with, listen and give practical commonsense advice. Both Jonathan Rennie and Fraser Vandal are extremely accommodating when advice is required.’

      ‘The main point of contact is Jonathan Rennie. He has an excellent manner. Friendly, approachable, knowledgeable and provides confidence in his responses.’

      Key clients

      Sainsbury’s

      Boohoo

      Savills

      TJ Morris (trading as Home Bargains)

      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

      • Acting for BEAR Scotland in a continuing holiday pay litigation in Scotland and the UK, together with all other tribunals and day-to-day advice.
      • Advising Scottish Grocer Federation on the interplay between Covid-19 regulations and disability discrimination and the rights of the individual retailers to request medical exemption status to avoid wearing facemasks in stores.
      • Advising the Association for Project Safety on corporate governance and the impact of changing government guidelines for staff in the construction industry in Scotland.