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The Legal 500 Hall of Fame Icon The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession. In the United Kingdon, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for eight years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.
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United Kingdom > Scotland > Finance > Banking and finance > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Index of tables

  1. Banking and finance
  2. Leading individuals: Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next generation lawyers

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Who Represents Who

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Brodies LLP's banking team has 'good links with the key Scottish institutions' and 'delivers joined-up advice by working with other practices'. Michael Stoneham, who is the head of energy and infrastructure finance, 'balances technical skills, attention to detail, commerciality and team management to deliver excellent results in a short time frame'. Neal Richardson in Aberdeen leads the marine finance team. Chris Dun, who joined from Maclay Murray & Spens LLP in 2017 with four other team members (prior to its merger with Dentons), has strengthened the firm's offering in real estate finance and housing finance. A growth area of the firm's practice has been in funds finance; in a recent highlight, Peter Kelly and associate Jack Moir advised Regional REIT Limited on the amendment and restatement of circa £70m of existing facility agreements with Santander to finance the expansion of the client's commercial property portfolio. Team head Bruce Stephen has more than 20 years of banking and finance experience, with expertise in areas such as asset-based lending and receivables financing, among various others. Alan Knowles, Marion MacInnes, and managing associates Billy Kay and Fiona Cameron, are also recommended.

Burness Paull LLP has a strong track record across the full spectrum of financing transactions, playing a key role in Scottish and multijurisdictional matters. In the funds finance arena, where recently promoted partner Andrew Christie is active, the firm particularly excels in handling borrower-side debt finance where the use of Scottish limited partnerships is involved. Leveraged finance transactions are another sweet spot for the firm; practitioners such as Jonathan Heaney, Gaenor Cassell, John Kennedy and Allan Leal are experienced in this area. Cassell led a team which acted for Thunderbird Bidco Limited in the Scots law aspects of the financing of its acquisition of John Lawrie (Aberdeen) Limited. In a notable real estate finance deal, Heaney and others advised The Royal Bank of Scotland on the £21m financing to a subsidiary of the Chris Stewart Group in relation to the development of properties at West Register Street in Edinburgh. The firm is also highly regarded for its work on structured finance transactions and securitisations, as well as loan portfolio transactions. Elsewhere, senior associate Sophie Coffey (who recently joined from Harper Macleod LLP) has more than 10 years of experience assisting a range of stakeholders with renewable energy financings. Alan Soppitt is the practice head.

CMS 'ranks among the very best in Scotland for banking', according to its clients. Its team is led by Caryn Penley, who has 'a good blend of banking know-how and commercial nous'. The group leads on some of the most high-profile and significant financing transactions in the Scottish market, and is also a major player in UK and international deals. In 2017, Penley acted for Ian Macleod Distillers in a multimillion pound asset-based lending refinancing. Another highlight involved Jenny Allan advising Octopus Investments on the financing aspects of its acquisition of a 149MW portfolio of four UK-based onshore wind projects from renewable energy developer Blue Energy. Gordon Hay also has energy sector experience, both in renewable energy and upstream oil and gas finance. Keith Wilson is the firm's head of aircraft finance, while Darren Craig is the property finance head in Scotland.Stephen Phillips is knowledgeable about corporate lending, derivatives and securitisations.  Other names to note are Dawn Reoch, who is 'completely client-focused and has a can-do attitude', Alan Fulton, Sian Aitken and senior associate Laura King. Tabasam Faqir departed for Hogan Lovells (Middle East) LLP.

Dentons now has a major banking practice in Scotland, following its combination with Maclay Murray & Spens LLP in October 2017. Led by Susan Kelly, the team acts for some of the largest corporate borrowers in Scotland in financing transactions across a wide variety of sectors, with particular strengths in food and drink, financial services and energy. It also generates a significant amount of lender-side work, with the firm having longstanding relationships with clients such as The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), Santander and Clydesdale Bank. As part of a wider global network, the Scotland-based team has a strong capability in cross-border transactions; this is particularly the case in funds finance, an area where recently promoted partner James Wilson and Kelly are leading experts. Outside of funds finance, Stuart Fitzsimmons and Anna Crosby acted as the lead counsel to Norwegian defence and maritime company Kongberg Gruppen ASA in the refinancing of a circa £200m revolving facility involving SEB Bank, Danske Bank, Nordea Bank and JP Morgan. Fitzsimmons and senior associate Johanne Lewin also assisted RBS, Lloyds Bank Plc, Nationwide and Blackrock with providing financing to Wheatley Housing Group. A notable asset-based lending transaction involved Wilson acting for First Milk Limited in the provision of a £76m asset-based lending facility by Wells Fargo in 2017. Ainsley Reid joined Morton Fraser.

Dickson Minto WS houses three specialist partners, who operate at the upper end of the market in relation to banking and finance transactions of the utmost sophistication and complexity; Colin McHale, Allan Fraser and Alasdair Proudfoot are the practitioners to note. The team acts for a wide range of clients, such as investment funds and REITs, banks and corporate borrowers. Its workload is varied, and includes acquisition finance and real estate finance transactions, among other areas. It has a particularly standout reputation in borrower-side mandates, as was illustrated when it acted for Target Healthcare REIT in the provision of finance by First Commercial Bank and HSBC. It also generates work from lenders; a highlight involved advising Bank of Scotland Plc on the provision of debt facilities to Stewart Milne Group.

Pinsent Masons LLP's breadth of expertise makes it a destination firm for banks, private equity houses, opportunity funds and corporate borrowers, among other clients. Its extensive workload spans areas such as leveraged finance, project finance, real estate finance and corporate finance. It also handles bond issuances for issuers and lead managers. In addition, other areas of strength include derivatives, oil and gas reserve-based lending and asset-based lending. Energy finance specialist Gillian Frew was the lead adviser to Faroe Petroleum on the refinancing of its reserve-based and NOK facilities with a lending syndicate including Danske Bank, Commonwealth Bank of Australia and BNP Paribas, among various others. Frew also advised Cairn Energy Plc on entering into a commodity streaming arrangement with FlowStream alongside a reserve-based facility. Also active in the oil and gas financing space are Iain Macaulay and Richard Scott. Outside of oil and gas, Macaulay and associate Kirsty Maclean acted for Wheatley Housing Group in the amendment and restatement of syndicated term and revolving credit facilities with the European Investment Bank, and also in the negotiation of a new revolving credit facility with HSBC. Team head John Maciver is a member of the Law Society's banking law committee and also the High Level Strategy Group at Scottish Financial Enterprise. Michael Watson, Alan Cassels and Stacey Bairner are also recommended.

Shepherd and Wedderburn undertakes high-end, big-ticket banking and finance transactions on a Scotland and UK-wide basis. Rod MacLeod, Hamish Patrick and Andrew Kinnes have an outstanding reputation in the funds finance space, and the latter two individuals are also well-known for their securitisations experience. In addition, the firm assists clients with real estate finance, leveraged finance, asset-based lending and debt capital markets transactions. In 2017, Patrick Bell and senior associate Lucy Hall acted for FairBriar in the £94.7m financing of the development of the 24.5 acre Middlewood Locks mixed-use scheme in Salford, Greater Manchester. Iain Wishart and senior associate Peter Alderdice advised Gatehouse Bank (a wholly Shariah-compliant investment bank) on the Islamic financing aspects of its circa £60m acquisition of Consort House and Bridge View in Aberdeen; this was one of the largest Islamic finance deals in the Scottish market in 2017. Practice head Fiona Buchanan led a team which acted as sole Scottish counsel to Cerberus European Investments as the seller in a £968.5m securitisation of residential mortgage-backed notes issued by Towd Point Mortgage Funding 2017-Auburn 11 Plc. Clare Foster heads up the clean energy and project finance practices. Senior associate Neil Cowan is also recommended.

Addleshaw Goddard, which launched in Scotland by merging with HBJ Gateley in 2017, has an experienced team that demonstrates 'a high level of commerciality when reviewing transactions'. Further, 'it can provide considered advice through a bank or borrower lens, allowing good decisions to be made'; clients include Royal Bank of Scotland, Clydesdale Bank, Santander, HSBC, Robertson Group and Topaz Energy & Marine. It also acts for non-bank funders, such as Route Finance and Shawbrook Bank. The team is led by Alan Shanks, who has vast experience of acquisition finance transactions in the renewable energy, oilfield services and shipping sectors. In 2017, Shanks was the lead adviser to Business Growth Fund on a £56m co-investment with Blue Water Energy into ROVOP; the purpose of the financing was to enable ROVOP to expand its fleet of remotely-operated vehicles. Euan Cluness handles acquisition and leveraged finance transactions, and he also has notable experience of asset-based lending, particularly in the whisky industry. Cluness acted for for PNC Business Credit and the Bank of Scotland in their £80m asset-based lending facility to independent distiller Ian Macleod Distillers. Alex Innes, who is dual-qualified in English and Scottish law, is recommended for his real estate finance expertise. Tom Speirs, Catriona Smith and managing associate Peter Smartt are other key figures.

DLA Piper Scotland LLP has a stand out project finance capability, and it is particularly active in the infrastructure and renewable energy sectors, where it undertakes transactions on a Scotland and wider UK basis. In 2017, Stuart McMillan, legal director +[Michael Urquhart] and senior associate +[Christine White] advised Equitix on the refinancing of multiple solar park acquisitions in the UK; this involved project financings under a hybrid scheme combining institutional and bank debt. David Morton has experience of acquisition and leveraged finance, corporate lending and real estate finance. A recent highlight involved Morton and senior associate William Reid acting for Clydesdale Bank in the provision of financing to Laing Glasgow (Holdings Limited) to enable it to acquire competitor business Laing The Jeweller Limited. Morton and Reid also assisted City & Country Edinburgh Limited with obtaining the financing for the redevelopment of Donaldsons School in Edinburgh into luxury residential accommodation. Ares Management, Barclays Bank, Galliford Try and Svenska Handelsbanken are other notable clients.

DWF's team is highly active in real estate finance, which is an area where the firm has a particularly strong profile UK-wide (most notably in its work for lenders); clients in this space include Unity Trust Bank, Close Property Finance, Lloyds Banking Group and Santander. In 2017, practice head Grant Docherty and senior associate Alan Glen acted for NM Rothschild in the provision of £5.5m financing to a UK property fund for the acquisition of an office park in Midlothian. The firm also acts for borrowers; Glen and Docherty recently advised Ambassador LB Holdings LP on the £60m financing needed for the acquisition of a number of commercial real estate assets, and they also handled a similar mandate for Squarestone Growth LLP. Other practitioners with a specialism in real estate finance are Geoff Stansfield, Robin Watt and Paul Mason. Mason also handles renewable energy finance transactions, which is an area of growth for the firm, particularly in relation to onshore wind and CHP biomass plant projects; a highlight involved assisting the Glennon Brothers group of companies with obtaining financing for the development of a CHP biomass plant. General corporate banking work is another mainstay of the practice for the firm, whose other areas of sector activity include hotels and leisure, education, social housing and healthcare.

Blackwood Partners LLP captures a significant portion of the Aberdeen banking and finance market, thanks to the experience of its team head Scott Swankie, who has been an ever-present in this area for 21 years. The practice has an emphasis on acting for sponsors, particularly in relation to corporate and private equity M&A financings in the oil and gas sector, but also undertakes transactions involving other sectors as well. In addition, Swankie's first-rate reputation sees the firm act for lenders; clients include Clydesdale Bank and Santander. In 2017, Swankie advised TWMA Group and Buckthorn Partners on the financing aspects of Buckthorn's acquisition of TWMA from Lime Rock. In a particularly standout matter, Swankie acted as the lead counsel to Houston-based private equity firm SCF Partners on the financing issues related to the multijurisdictional merger of four SCF-backed investee companies.

Harper Macleod LLP has excellent relationships with clients, which are 'underpinned by great communication, collaboration and a sensible commercial approach'. Tony Cameron heads up the team, which acts for a mix of traditional bank lenders, alternative lenders and corporate borrowers. The group's transactional experience spans a number of areas, such as general corporate banking, acquisition finance, renewable energy and project finance, and housing finance. Cameron is frequently called-upon to handle complex multijurisdictional transactions. Jacqui Fraser heads up the real estate finance practice, which generates work from clients in sectors such as agriculture, healthcare and manufacturing. In addition to acting for traditional lenders and borrowers, John Pringle has made a name for himself advising peer-to-peer and fintech lenders, and worked with other members of the team to assist Assetz SME Capital with its £4.4m financing to four special purpose vehicles for the development of wind turbine sites in Glasgow and Lanarkshire. The team's other work included handling a number of matters for the Bank of Scotland's real estate team, such as the provision of a £4.8m development facility to Broughton Properties Limited and Rapido Restaurants Limited. It also assisted AIB with the provision of a £14.7m loan to Morrison Community Care for the acquisition and development of sites at Milngavie and Duntocher for setting up new nursing homes. Robert Rennie retired as a practising partner in October 2017, but retains a position as a consultant. Euan Mitchell departed the firm to become an in-house counsel at Castle Water.

MacRoberts LLP's key strengths are in general corporate banking, real estate finance and project finance. Its first-rate reputation sees the firm act for clients such as Handelsbanken, Colony Capital and Santander. Its practice in the area of peer to peer lending is also gaining momentum, with the firm winning work from clients such as Thincats, Moneything and Blend Loan Network. In 2017, Roddy Maclennan, Lisa Frost and others advised HSBC on the Scottish law aspects of the £14.9m refinancing of Moolmoor (Waverley) Limited's real estate asset Waverley Mall, located in Edinburgh. In another matter, Maclennan and senior associate Lisa Maguire assisted Bank of America Merrill Lynch with the Scottish law issues associated with the circa £367m senior and £73.5m mezzanine financing to Sunflower Group in relation to its property portfolio in Scotland, and also with a circa £350m securitisation. John Crawford and senior associate Fiona Armour are other key figures in the team, which is led by Norman Martin.

Morton Fraser, 'which always delivers on time and on budget', assists clients with all aspects of mainstream financing transactions and non-performing loan portfolio transactions. Its capabilities in relation to the latter were illustrated recently when Andrew Meakin led the firm's advice to a UK clearing bank on the disposal of the Project Buffalo loan portfolio to a UK challenger bank. Beverley Wood has expertise in asset and invoice finance. John Lunn advises banks and financial institutions on consumer finance/retail products (and related regulations). The real estate finance side of the practice was bolstered in 2017 by the arrivals of Ross Caldwell and senior associate Ainsley Reid from Taylor Wessing LLP and Dentons respectively. Senior associate Paul Kenneth joined Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP. Clydesdale Bank, Barclays, AIB Group (UK) Plc and Close Leasing are among the clients.

Anderson Strathern's team, which is led by Gillian Anderson, works with practitioners active in other disciplines to advise borrowers and lenders on matters such as real estate finance, renewable energy finance, project and infrastructure finance, and charity sector finance. In addition to being knowledgeable about traditional finance transactions, the group has expertise in peer to peer lending and crowdfunding. The firm's longstanding track record in banking and finance has seen it act for a number of clients since its inception in 1992, including The Crown Estate, Buccleuch Group, Clydesdale Bank and The Royal Bank of Scotland. Anderson and senior associate Gregory Stachura were recently part of a cross-practice team, which advised Teague Homes (UK) Limited as the borrower on obtaining a development loan from a Scottish bank for the development and construction of residential and commercial units on a brownfield city centre site in Edinburgh. Another name to note is commercial property head Drew Morris who, like Anderson, has previous experience of working at a major bank.

Ledingham Chalmers LLP's Jody Mitchell is a name to note in the Aberdeen office, which assists lenders with oil and gas sector financing transactions involving borrowers that often have group companies across multiple jurisdictions. The firm's practice is broader than oil and gas sector work, with the marine industry being another driver of mandates. Elsewhere, Fiona Neilson in Inverness has experience of public sector (economic development agency) funding of private sector enterprises, among other areas.

A major pillar of Lindsays' banking work is real estate finance, which includes matters related to property investment and property development. In 2017, practice head Gavin Buchan , Derek Nash , director Dawn Anderson  and solicitor Thomas Horton advised Metro Bank Plc on the £22m financing of a borrower's acquisition of a portfolio of 73 public houses. Buchan's team is also active in the peer to peer finance space, where it acts for borrowers and lenders; a recent highlight involved acting for peer to peer lender Assetz Capital in financing a borrower's acquisition of a portfolio of commercial and residential properties in Scotland. Kenneth Gray  leads a team that specialises in healthcare sector finance. Agri-finance/rural finance, which involves acting for borrowers (such as farmers, renewable energy companies and landed estates) and lenders, is another cornerstone of practice, as is the firm's work in the charities sector.

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