Firms To Watch: Insolvency and corporate recovery

Ledingham Chalmers LLP fields an Aberdeen-based team geared to support on a variety of restructuring and insolvency affairs; its clients include corporates, insolvency practitioners, liquidations, administrators, trustees and landlords.

Insolvency and corporate recovery in Scotland

Addleshaw Goddard

Addleshaw Goddard benefits from a broad domestic and international network, allowing it to act on a plethora of local, UK-wide and cross-border restructuring mandates. Practice head Jamie McIntosh caters to UK clearing banks, leading Scottish insolvency practitioners and distressed companies alike, acting on the full array of insolvency, turnaround and corporate restructuring mandates; he is supported by Tim Cooper, a specialist in contentious, bank-led distressed turnaround and distressed acquisition matters, as well as Addi Spiers, a go-to for distressed real estate. Beyond partner level, director Emma Widdowson is a key contact for corporate restructuring meanwhile managing associate Kirsten Fulton-Fleming is forging a notable reputation for her global investigation, exit strategy and recovery work.

Practice head(s):

Jamie McIntosh

Other key lawyers:

Tim Cooper; Addi Spiers; Kirsten Fulton-Fleming; Emma Widdowson

Testimonials

‘Personal service with a team that are responsive and offer sound advice. I’m always confident our matters are in safe hands working with Addleshaw Goddard and we look forward to building our portfolio with them.’

‘Tim Cooper has provided dedicated and exceptional specialist legal advice but also takes on a commercial angle which is key for us and our business. He continues to be our key point of contact and our go to partner for Scottish matters.’

‘Very capable legal firm with a hugely experienced team in all aspects of property, banking and commercial law. A go-to firm when you need complex legal advice.’

‘International reach is beneficial.’

‘Good understanding and awareness of client’s position and options, allowing for a fully aligned approach to situations.’

‘The regional teams are amongst the largest in our market and they work seamlessly across offices and with other service lines. What really stands out is the high quality and flexibility across the practice. They are very easy to get along and work with which makes often challenging situations much easier to navigate.’

‘Jamie McIntosh is a great operator, combining technical expertise with a calm and easy manner – really great to work with.’

‘The team is partner driven and senior support is always available. I find that the team’s ability to work seamlessly with each other and pull in support for certain specific areas to provide comfort for a transaction is extremely beneficial, for example pensions advice.’

Key clients

Lloyds Banking Group

The Royal Bank Of Scotland / NatWest

Santander Bank

Clydesdale Bank PLC/ Virgin Money

HSBC

Barclays Bank plc

Interpath Limited

OakNorth Bank plc

Cable Capital Partners Limited

Scottish Enterprise

Work highlights

  • Acted for AIB Group on Project Hazel, one of the largest disposal of loans in the UK this year and includes some cutting edge disposal mechanisms around Government loan schemes.
  • Acted for RBS/Natwest on the administration appointments to the three Funds managed by the Cromwell Property Group.
  • Advised Interpath, on the proposed restructure and then as administrators on the Administration of Future Renewables Eco plc and 8 of its subsidiaries.

Burness Paull LLP

Independent firm Burness Paull LLP is famed for its work on big-ticket sale, insolvency and restructuring projects, both locally and nationwide. Michael Thomson possesses ‘extremely strong relationship management skills’, overseeing a team which includes Gary Moffat, a lawyer with close to 30 years of experience who serves as the key contact for contentious affairs. At the more junior end, director Allana Sweeney advises on lending, investment and restructuring options within the distressed M&A sector meanwhile senior associate Sophia Harrison works in close tangent with Moffat, leveraging her qualification as a barrister in England and Wales to support on contentious proceedings. Key sectors for the group include retail, leisure and casual dining.

Practice head(s):

Michael Thomson

Other key lawyers:

Gary Moffat; Allana Sweeney; Sophia Harrison

Testimonials

‘Michael Thomson as an individual, in addition to his technical skills, has really strong skills in relationship management with clients. He is collaborative in his style which works well in a restructuring environment where we are working to find the best solution in challenging circumstances. In my experience, he treats everyone respectfully and with genuine interest and is a keen leader for diversity and the culture of equality.’

‘Michael Thomson as mentioned above is someone that I would rate highly based on experience. He has been joined this year by Allana Sweeney, who I have worked with previously. She is a great addition to the team and together, Michael and Allana will complement each other well. I would have no hesitation in working with Burness Paull on restructuring and insolvency matters.’

‘Excellent team with a fantastic cross border reputation. Able to provide sound advice across all sizes of case from the routine insolvencies to complex schemes of arrangement.’

‘Michael Thomson is an excellent lawyer, able to quickly grasp the issues and to give the right advice, not just what you want to hear. Gary Moffat has years of experience and his knowledge and ability to apply the law to address the problem is first class. Sophia Harrison’s cross border experience and her sharp legal mind enhances the team’s offering.’

‘Very well joined up across disciplines and dedicated restructuring team are highly responsive.’

‘Michael Thompson – exceptionally good client service levels and technically very good – providing strong legal input with sensible commercial advice.’

‘The team at Burness Paull are highly experienced who work closely both with their clients but also work closely alongside their colleagues in other departments. Advice is always given in a clear and concise manner and the team always make themselves available at short notice which is a key strength.’

‘Michael Thomson (partner) is excellent to deal with and always provides advice in a considered and easy to understand way. He makes himself readily available at short notice and always take time to understand the situation so he is able to provide relevant advice to help deal with the matter in hand.’

Key clients

KPMG/Interpath

Edinburgh Woollen Mill

Pfizer

FRP

Arcadia

Aggreko

Wellcome Trust

The Insolvency Service

Teneo

Dune Group

Work highlights

  • Acting for KPMG in the sale of its restructuring business.
  • Acting for Pfizer in the restructuring and rationalisation of its group.
  • Acting for Macquarie Bank as secured creditor in the administration of Alexander Inglis and Son Limited.

Pinsent Masons LLP

Able to support on English, Scottish and Northern Irish matters, Pinsent Masons LLP is especially active within the oil and gas, retail, renewables, hotel and leisure, care homes and financial services sectors. Claire Massie oversees the practice, calling upon her 25 years of practice in restructuring, turnaround and insolvency matters, and is supported by Stacey Bairner, a specialist in the restructuring and trading of distressed debt. Natalie Colaluca disperses distinct expertise in advising lenders on insolvency-related performance bonds whereas Jennifer McCormick, who recently made legal director alongside Colaluca, acts for banks and funds on both buy- and sell-side distressed debt transactions.

Practice head(s):

Claire Massie

Other key lawyers:

Stacey Bairner; Natalie Colaluca; Jennifer McCormick; Colin McIntosh

Testimonials

‘We used them for a due diligence exercise on the acquisition of a RE debt portfolio. They understood the key challenges of the transaction from the start and tailored their quote accordingly, with a “menu-based” approach down to a granular level. The work was well organised and delivered within the agreed timescales. The quality was very good, relevant issues were flagged with a traffic light system.’

‘Superb service, strong tech and a high commercial approach to legal work. Very forward thinking and modern approach.’

‘Commitment, patience and focus on getting to the right result.’

Key clients

Teneo

Interpath Limited t/a Interpath Advisory

Deloitte LLP

KPMG LLP

HSBC Bank plc

French Duncan LLP

Ernst & Young LLP

PWC

Leonard Curtis Business Rescue & Recovery

Johnston Carmichael

FRP Advisory LLP

Work highlights

  • Advised Interpath Advisory on the pre-packaged sale of Mono Consultants Limited.
  • Advised Peterborough City Council on the pre packaged acquisition of a solar panel systems business.
  • Advised Johnston Carmichael on the insolvency of Great British Prawns Limited and Great British Farms Limited.

Brodies LLP

Brodies LLP operates across a notably broad breadth of restructuring and insolvency matters, including corporate and personal formal insolvency, debt and security portfolio transactions, banking and borrower restructuring assignments, insolvency disputes and related enforcements. The practice has recently noted an uptick in its work within the retail, hospitality, leisure, charities and energy fields and is co-headed by Peter KellyElaine Petterson and Lucy McCann; the latter serves as the go-to for contentious matters, leveraging experience from the sheriff courts all the way through to the Supreme Court. Legal director Shirley Li-Ting is extremely well-regarded among clients, often employing her dual-qualification in Scotland and England and Wales to support on UK-wide restructurings.

Practice head(s):

Peter Kelly; Lucy McCann; Elaine Petterson

Other key lawyers:

Bruce Stephen; Shirley Li-Ting; Iain Penman; Louise Laing

Testimonials

‘Excellent cross-section of knowledge over various topics.’

‘Clear and concise advice, especially from partner Lucy McCann.’

‘First-class service from partners and support staff.’

‘Louise Laing knows her subject matter extremely well and always addresses matters promptly.’

‘I have worked with the team for many years and have the utmost faith in their abilities. Lucy McCann was particularly helpful in using past experience and skill in negotiating a fee settlement in a case where I had a finding for costs against the defendant to make sure the insolvent estate I was administering benefited.’

‘Lucy McCann is a gifted negotiator. Tough when she has to be, but there have been a number of occasions where her non-confrontational style has been massively effective.’

‘Shirley Li-Ting balances strong technical skills with excellent commercial skills. Very responsive on client requests and builds strong rapport with clients to navigate difficult situations.’

‘Lucy McCann is very knowledgeable and approachable and will always come up with a solution. Iain Penman is extremely helpful and knows the subject very well. Shirley Li Ting is approachable and will always assist with a query’

Key clients

Interpath Advisory

Ernst & Young LLP

FRP Advisory LLP – Scotland and London

BDO LLP

Leonard Curtis Business Recovery Limited – Scotland

Aver Corporate Advisory Services Limited

Tennent Caledonian Breweries UK Limited

Ashurst

Duff & Phelps

Moorfields Advisory

Johnston Carmichael

Stirling Toner

Grant Thornton LLP

Mazars LLP

Begbies Traynor LLP

Smith & Williamson LLP

Work highlights

    Dentons

    Dentons deploys its broad national network to handle a variety of Scottish and English insolvency-related transactions, disputes, security coverage, enforcement, turnaround and formal insolvency matters. Derek McCombe has recently handled a number of restructuring transactions within the retail sector and routinely caters to secured lenders and administrators in addition to distressed company boards; he spearheads the practice alongside Douglas Blyth, an insolvency disputes specialist with experience in the sheriff courts, the Court of Session and the Supreme Court.

    Practice head(s):

    Derek McCombe; Douglas Blyth

    Other key lawyers:

    Craig Kennedy; Kimberley Goh

    Testimonials

    ‘The team is well established and has has experts in corporate insolvency in both the corporate finance and litigation divisions. This allows those advising on non-contentious matters to have the benefit of input from litigation colleagues and vice versa.’

    ‘Douglas Blyth is very good at thinking around a problem. He has a detailed knowledge of the insolvency legislation and the case law dealing with it and is always looking for innovative ways to find solutions for clients.’

    ‘The Dentons Scottish Insolvency and Corporate Recovery team are unique in terms of the extent to which they are integrated with the wider firm (which ensures they regularly pull together best in class multidisciplinary teams to meet the needs of their clients). Particular strengths include: access to a national and international network; deep sector expertise (with retail being a particular standout); and a highly commercial approach which brings a genuine desire to identify work opportunities for their clients.’

    ‘For me, they operate at the top end of the Scottish insolvency and corporate recovery legal market.’

    ‘Derek McCombe is a market leader and has built a first class reputation in both the Scottish and UK market. He is highly commercial and provides practical advice (rather than get tied up in legalistic jargon).’

    ‘Recommended for the extent of the team’s experience and knowledge of both technical, practical and commercial matters.’

    ‘Douglas Blyth and Derek McCombe were both excellent in assisting with a particularly difficult assignment, demonstrating detailed technical knowledge, a sensible approach in dealing with a unusual situation, practicality, willingness to get the job done in a short period of time and flexibility.’

    Work highlights

    • Advised Zetland Capital on its debt and equity restructure which included the acquisition of a 51% equity stake in Typhoo Tea Limited.
    • Advised Anglo Global on the acquisition of the business and asset of Peacocks Stores Limited (in Administration) for £50m.
    • Continuing to act for the trustees in the bankruptcy of Gregory King, the founder and former owner of the Heather Capital hedge fund. Our work this year has included litigation in connection with matters in Spain, Scotland and Gibraltar.

    Morton Fraser

    At Morton Fraser, the restructuring and insolvency teams draws expertise from the firm’s disputes, banking, property, financial crime, employment and asset-based lending expertise. Alan Meek runs a workload spread across transactional, wrongful trading, refinancing and directors’ duty affairs, demonstrating a particular tenacity for ABL funding within the context of insolvency-related acquisitions; he co-heads the practice alongside the ‘hugely experienced’ consultant Yvonne Brady, a lawyer whose track record spans the retail, professional service, manufacturing, property, charity and licensed trade sectors. At the up-and-coming level, Nicola Ross is a partner active on both the litigious and non-contentious fronts, boasting expertise in director duties, personal insolvency and challengeable transactions, among other matters.

    Practice head(s):

    Alan Meek; Yvonne Brady

     

    Other key lawyers:

    Richard McMeeken; Andrew Meakin; John Gallacher; Iain Young; Nicola Ross

    Testimonials

    ‘Key supplier of legal advice in respect of Scottish business. Approachable. Very good at explaining the difference between English & Scottish law to those of us based in the South!’

    ‘Alan Meek – professional, affable and easy to get hold of.’

    ‘Nicola Ross is smart and also straight talking. She has a great rapport with her clients and takes time to understand our business and our goals. She’s very commercially focused. Alan Meek is a first class adviser – clear thinking and very experienced.’

    ‘Yvonne Brady – excellent operator, balances strong technical skills with necessary commercial skills. very pragmatic approach which is helpful when working with challenging stakeholders.

    ‘Nicola Ross – very good lawyer, good communicator who also provides concise and commercial advice which balances both legal matters and commercial considerations.’

    ‘John Gallacher led the transaction from Morton Fraser. John’s ability to grasp issues quickly and provide fantastic support to us on both Scottish Real Estate and Scottish insolvency law was staggering to be honest. I cannot recall having better assistance and support from a lawyer on a transaction in 20 years.’

    ‘Richard McMeeken – excellent commercial judgement and calm and hugely effective in court. Alan Meek – very experienced and well connected. Down to earth and practical. Yvonne Brady – hugely experienced on larger corporate restructuring assignments. Iain Young – very experienced with good judgement and he is an effective communicator. Nicola Ross – bright new star with good commercial awareness’

    ‘Iain Young stands out for this connections within the market – he knows everything that’s going on. Whilst we haven’t yet worked together, Yvonne Brady is a delight to meet and adds a lot to their bench strength.’

    Key clients

    RSM

    Interpath LLP (formerly KPMG LLP)

    French Duncan LLP

    FRP Advisory LLP

    Quantuma Advisory

    Anderson Anderson & Brown

    Ernst & Young Legal

    Leonard Curtis

    Wylie & Bissett

    Bibby Financial Services

    Johnston Carmichael

    BDO

    Ashurst LLP

    Work highlights

    • Acting for Nat West on all Scottish aspects of the Project Mercatus c400m loan book sale.
    • Acting for Investec in respect of the restructuring of a care home group with bank debt of c35m.
    • Acting as Scottish Counsel for Hill Dickinson in the acquisition of a number of venues from the administrators of the UK’s largest nightclub group.

    Shepherd and Wedderburn

    Adept in the full array of transactional, financial, insolvency and contentious restructuring affairs, the practice at Shepherd and Wedderburn is led by Fiona McKerrell  who caters to a client base of distressed corporate directors, stakeholders and insolvency practitioners; she is supported by litigation expert, Gillian Carty , whose key strengths include challenges to pre-insolvency transactions, director misfeasance and fiduciary duty breaches. Other examples of recent work include the enforcement of distressed structure financings, Covid-19-related advisory workouts, distressed property portfolio deals and distressed M&A.

    Practice head(s):

    Fiona McKerrell

    Other key lawyers:

    Gillian Carty; Hamish Patrick

    Testimonials

    ‘Very experienced with great strength in depth. Work well across other disciplines eg litigation, employment, real estate.’

    ‘Gillian Carty is an excellent lawyer. She is my go-to lawyer for insolvency and corporate recovery work in Scotland. Her technical knowledge is second to none. She is always very well prepared, is very commercial in her approach and always provides sound commercial advice. I value her opinion. She treats me as an important client and is a pleasure to work with.’

    ‘Fiona McKerrell – very experienced. Technically very strong but takes a commercial approach. A go-to partner for challenging assignments.’

    ‘Shepherd and Wedderburn offer a full service for my requirements and have a number of subject matter experts which is of great benefit to me.’

    ‘I have worked with Fiona McKerrell over a number of years on numerous cases. Fiona is always available to discuss case work at times at very short notice. Fiona always offers a very good efficient service and her advice is always delivered in a concise and user friendly manner which I have always found to be of enormous help to me. I look forward to continuing to work with Fiona in the future.’

    ‘Fiona Mckerrell is a leading expert in the insolvency legal field.’

    ‘One of the very few legal teams in Scotland with a high level of experience with complex corporate restructuring as opposed to simply general insolvency. For a considerable number of years now Fiona’s restructuring and insolvency team has been and continues to be comfortably the best in Scotland.’

    ‘Fiona McKerrell combines a very commercial approach with a high level of technical knowledge and broad experience whilst very much bearing in mind the client’s interests and risks.’

    Key clients

    Scottish Council for Development and Industry

    Chrysaor Holdings Ltd

    FRP Advisory

    BDO LLP

    Leonard Curtis

    Manolete Partners plc

    Teneo (who acquired the Deloitte restructuring practice)

    Interpath (who acquired the KPMG restructuring practice)

    Johnston Carmichael

    Ernst and Young LLP

    Work highlights

    • Advised third sector organisation, Scottish Council for Development and Industry (SCDI), on a pensions driven restructuring which culminated in the approval by creditors of a CVA proposal in March 2021.
    • Advised FRP Advisory as joint administrators of W W & J McClure Ltd (in administration) in a pre-pack sale of the business and assets of a long established firm of solicitors, specialising in private client legal services.
    • Acted as Scottish counsel to Chrysaor (alongside Clifford Chance) in connection with the restructuring of Premier Oil’s existing debt and cross-currency swaps in the first Scottish restructuring plan approved by the Court of Session pursuant to Part 26A of the Companies Act 2006.

    BBM Solicitors

    Specialist firm BBM Solicitors is especially accomplished in respect of formal appointments, acting on administration, liquidation, CVA, judicial factory, sequestration and protected trust deed affairs. The team is also acclaimed for its contentious insolvency work which spans the energy, oil and gas, hospitality, construction and technology sectors; it is also increasingly active in the restructuring space, a front on which practice head Eric Baijal is developing a prominent reputation.

    Practice head(s):

    Eric Baijal

    Other key lawyers:

    Jennifer Simpson

    Testimonials

    ‘This is a small boutique restructuring and insolvency practice, which has significant reach worldwide.’

    ‘The senior partner Eric Baijal stands out as one of the go to restructuring and insolvency specialists in Scotland. Client service and responsiveness are very high and in particular the ability to project manage complex legal projects one of the key attributes’

    ‘Simply the best boutique insolvency firm in Scotland. They really know their stuff and service levels are first class.’

    ‘Eric Baijal – Has a great legal mind, but is also a first class problem solver. Really understands the nuances of the Scottish system and how to explain and deploy them when assisting clients based in other jurisdictions.’

    ‘Brilliant team with deep legal knowledge and commercial acumen’

    ‘Eric Baijal is Scotland’s leading advisor on insolvency matters and the first person I turn to for advice in this area. He always responds quickly and with just the right advice. I would strongly recommend him.’

    ‘They have a vast range of experience in litigation and if lacking they know other good firms or counsel who can be consulted.’

    ‘Eric Baijal is highly experienced, very commercial and really good to work with. He’s my go-to Scottish insolvency and restructuring lawyer.’

    Key clients

    FRP Advisory

    Johnston Carmichael

    RSM

    Interpath Advisory

    French Duncan

    Azets

    DMH Stallard

    Isadore Goldman

    Begbies Traynor

    AABRS

    Work highlights

      Gilson Gray

      Gilson Gray’s insolvency department is home to Steven Jansch, a litigator with a wealth of experience before the Sheriff Courts and Courts of Session; he co-leads the team alongside Craig Darling, the main contact for business restructuring and recovery matters. At the more junior end, associate Eilidh MacEwan is often involved in the team’s more complex debt recovery claims.

      Practice head(s):

      Steven Jansch; Craig Darling

      Other key lawyers:

      Eilidh MacEwan

      Testimonials

      ‘The people who I dealt with were very knowledgeable. They identified the issues relevant to our particular case and dealt with them very well.’

      ‘The individual who I had most contact with latterly was Steven Jansch, who dealt with the court appearances. He was very knowledgeable, approachable and achieved the desired result with a minimum of fuss.’

      ‘Clear advice provided by Steven Jansch and Eilidh McEwan.’

      ‘The team are experts in the insolvency market and we work closely with them in achieving great results for clients as we work in the trusted advisor space.’

      ‘Steven Jansch is an exceptional lawyer, always on the front foot with proactive practical advice.’

      ‘My relationship with GG is via one of their partners, Steven Jansch, whom I deal with regarding his expertise in business recovery, insolvency and debt recovery. I find Steven to be an excellent practitioner and his knowledge in complex matters has been very useful to me and my firm.’

      ‘I have worked collaboratively with Gilson Gray for many years. They are genuinely committed to providing a high level of service and client support. The culture of the firm is inclusive and supportive, where they take time to properly understand the issues and then deliver pragmatic, balanced and sensible advice. The quality of their people is first class and can be relied upon to meet and often exceed client expectations.’

      ‘Steven Jansch is a solicitor advocate and head of Insolvency, a recognised leader in his field. I have known and worked with him for nearly 20 years. His advice is always well considered and technically sound. I have often relied on his judgement in challenging circumstances and his insight is invaluable. He displays a calm equanimity in the face of challenging, complex and often adversarial situations. He responds quickly and is a good communicator, demonstrating strong interpersonal skills, commerciality and foresight. His keen sense of perspective allows him to retain focus on the bigger picture while effectively dealing with the detail.’

      Key clients

      Aver CA

      Opus Business Advisory

      SKSi

      Smith & Williamson LLP

      Anderson Anderson Brown

      Armstrong Watson

      Begbies Traynor

      Condies

      French Duncan

      Grant Thornton

      GTS Solutions CIC

      Leonard Curtis

      Manolete Partners

      Middlebrooks

      Quantuma

      RSM UK

      Work highlights

      • Instructed by Friels Solicitors to pursue a further test case that follows on from Donnelley -v- Royal Bank of Scotland which looks set to further define the law in the area of PPI mis-selling claims. That decision will pave the way for further claims valued in the £millions.
      • The high-profile insolvency of Watt Brothers in 2019 continues to keep the team busy with Interpath having been granted an extension to the period of administration for a further 12 months from the Court of Session at the end of 2021.
      • Successfully opposed a petition for recall of bankruptcy on behalf of Aberdeenshire Council running an initial Debate, then successfully running a procedural defect correction application, and then running a proof, all within 6 months.

      Harper Macleod LLP

      Leveraging six offices across Scotland, Harper Macleod LLP acts across bank-led restructurings and refinances, administrations, CVAs and liquidations, demonstrating particular proficiency within the sports and retail sectors. Gordon Hollerin is often active in multinational insolvency cases, notably serving as Publications Officer of the International Bar Association Insolvency Section; he co-leads the department alongside James Lloyd, a go-to within the field of personal insolvency.

      Practice head(s):

      Gordon Hollerin; James Lloyd

      Other key lawyers:

      John Pringle; Fiona Strang

      Testimonials

      ‘Highly knowledgeable and experienced. Our go-to firm for Scottish insolvency matters. They are proactive and organised.’

      ‘Gordon Hollerin – great response times, knowledge and experience.’

      ‘Excellent commercial skills, proactive and flexible when meeting client requirements.’

      ‘Gordon Hollerin – very good operator, technically skilled whilst commercially focused.’

      ‘Gordon Hollerin has a broad and deep level of insolvency experience and is very much considered to be a safe pair of hands when dealing with all corporate insolvency matters.’

      ‘I can trust them to be responsive and hardworking, and provide expert advice on technically challenging, significant assignments.’

      ‘Harper Macleod offer a great service, often delivering with more efficiency than some of their larger competitors in Scotland. Always available, charming and deliver on time/on budget.’

      ‘Gordon Hollerin is a seasoned operator. Knowledgeable, commercial, and excellent on detail.’

      Key clients

      Accountant in Bankruptcy

      M&Co Trading Limited

      Speedcast International Limited

      Interpath Advisory

      SKS Business Advisory

      FRP Advisory

      Azets

      ICAEW

      HCC International Insurance Company plc

      BDO LLP

      Work highlights

      • In 2020 the team advised on the acquisition of Mackays Stores Ltd’s business out of administration, with the acquisition saving 216 of the company’s shops and more than 2000 jobs plus the rescue of the employee pension scheme. In 2021 the team continued to represent the purchaser in relation to the transfer of the retail units and was further instructed in relation to M&Co’s refinancing by Hilco of its inventory asset backed lending loan facility with Aurelius.
      • Acted from April 2020 until March 2021 as Scots law counsel to the Speedcast group, the world leading satellite technology group with a key Scottish subsidiary presence with more satellite capacity than any other service provider, in relation to its filing for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy in the US, its subsequent restructure (which has included two rounds of debtor-in-possession funding of $90m and $220m respectively) and eventual exit from Chapter 11 proceedings under the ownership of Centerbridge Partners L.P. and its affiliates.
      • Continued to act as sole legal services suppliers to the Accountant in Bankruptcy, the Scottish Government office responsible for the administration of personal insolvency in Scotland.

      Shoosmiths

      Shoosmiths fields a cross-disciplinary insolvency group which pulls together lawyers from the corporate, litigation, bank and finance, employment, real estate and recovery service practices. Stuart Clubb, who holds the distinction of being a solicitor advocate, heads the practice and is naturally extremely active on the contentious front, catering to a roster of companies, directors and insolvency practitioners.

      Practice head(s):

      Stuart Clubb

      Other key lawyers:

      Courtney Clelland; Andrew Foyle

      Testimonials

      ‘The team has a broad range of experience in corporate insolvency within the UK. I have dealt exclusively with the team in Scotland and have found them to be both knowledgeable and enthusiastic. The team share experiences and ideas to assist them in working through unusual problems. They are well aware of the areas where there is ambiguity in the law and use these to their advantage in negotiating settlements in contentious issues.’

      ‘Stuart Clubb is the partner who I have worked with most in Scotland. Stuart is very impressive. He is a regular speaker at conferences and is on the Lexis Nexis panel of experts. He has a detailed knowledge of insolvency law and uses that knowledge to great effect in achieving his client’s objectives.’

      ‘Excellent all-round team providing first-class service.’

      ‘Very professional and proactive.’

      ‘We have worked with this excellent team for many years. Impressive breadth of experience, fantastic team, always on call to advise at short notice, which is often required in our unpredictable area of work.’

      ‘Stuart Clubb has been my go-to lawyer for many years, always able to provide reliable advice and great to have by your side in challenging situations.

      ‘The team at Shoosmiths offers a respected and friendly team that is able to handle a wide range of litigation matters. Nothing is ever too small or too complex to be handled by the team.’

      ‘Stuart Clubb is a Partner who assists on a wide range of commercial disputes and complex insolvency matters. He turns around complex insolvency disputes quickly and always finds a solution to the Insolvency Practitioner’s problems.’

      Key clients

      Manolete Partners Plc

      French Duncan

      Grant Thornton

      Middlebrooks

      Azets

      Interpath

      Johnston Carmichael

      Quantuma

      Begbies Traynor (Central) LLP

      Work highlights

      • Acting on behalf of a specialist insolvency claims acquisition company in the pursuit of a high-value unpaid director’s loan.
      • Acting on behalf of the administrators in the disposal of a property portfolio comprising a number of commercial properties and development land.
      • Acting on behalf of former directors of a company in liquidation in the defence of gratuitous alienation and unfair preference claims.

      TLT

      Knowledgeable of debt advisory, solvent and insolvency restructuring, debt sale and insolvency appointment affairs, TLT is geared to support lenders, accountants, insolvency practitioners, corporate entities and directors. The team, which also undertakes personal insolvency work, is also active on the disputes side, handling proceedings such director misfeasance claims, recovery of individual’s assets and unlawful payments made from company funds. Alan Munro co-heads the team jointly with legal director Ainslie Benzie.

      Practice head(s):

      Alan Munro; Ainslie Benzie

      Testimonials

      ‘Ainslie Benzie is very commercial and provided very good advice and picked up on the detail.’

      ‘All round excellent legal firm, able to deal with all aspects of insolvency.’

      ‘Ainslie Benzie has taken the lead in supporting us. She is proactive, extremely commercial/sensible/and practical, and able to demonstrate extensive technical knowledge and experience. She and the TLT team have successfully assisted with a number of “out of the box” issues over the past year, which have required some lateral thinking and application of little used sections of the Insolvency Act.’

      ‘TLT’s insolvency team is very focused on delivering what is best for their clients rather than simply what the client thinks they may need or first ask for.’

      ‘Alan Munro’s dedication to and interest in his clients’ businesses and how he can help is rather unique and refreshing. A very commercially minded solicitor offering practical real world advice whilst charging reasonable and fair fees. The addition of Ainslie Benzie to their team will significantly enhance their corporate restructuring offering.’

      ‘Ainslie Benzie has significant restructuring experience, makes herself available when required and we value her commercial nous.’

       

      Key clients

      FRP Advisory

      Boohoo

      Alvarez and Marsal LLP (A&M)

      Work highlights

        Aberdein Considine

        Acclaimed for its work on pre-and post-appointment insolvency disputes, Aberdein Considine is also able to call on corporate, commercial real estate, banking and employment expertise. Ross Webb fronts the practice and is able to support on the full array of insolvency and instructing affairs, acting for SME creditors, companies and directors, financial institutions and insolvency practitioners in the process.

        Practice head(s):

        Ross Webb

        Testimonials

        ‘I have been instructed as counsel by Aberdein Considine in various litigation, principally involving claims being pursued against the directors of insolvent companies for breaches of duty. I’ve found them to be knowledgeable and effective in dealing with factually and legally complex claims.’

        ‘Aberdein Considine’s instructions are well prepared; they show a clear grasp of detail and cases that have been thoroughly thought through. The main partner I’ve dealt with recently has been Ross Webb, who has been commercial and good with detail, and also good at getting to the heart of the matter.’

        ‘Forward looking and innovative, the firm can pull in expertise from other departments when required.’

        ‘They are happy to adopt a creative approach to funding in contentious insolvency matters, whether dealing with matters by way of Speculative Fee Agreements or working closely with litigation funders to allow for cases to be pursued where there may not be sufficient funds available in the insolvency.’

        ‘I find Ross Webb extremely approachable and pro-active, always ready to work with us as part of the team.’

        ‘Strong commercial litigation team, practical and commercial in their approach.’

        ‘I have only recently worked with this firm and have been very impressed so far. They clearly aim to provide an excellent service for clients; they are very responsive and meet all deadlines, keep me uptodate on how matters are progressing, have very good communication skills and are very pleasant to work with.’

        ‘Ross Webb is the main person I have worked with and all the points made above about the firm are based on the work I have done with Ross i.e he provides excellent service, is very responsive, meets deadlines, is good at keeping me uptodate, communicates very well. He has excellent litigation knowledge and a very good understanding or insolvency and restructuring law which he is clearly keen to expand and build on. He treats me as a valued client and is a pleasure to work with.’

        Key clients

        KPMG LLP

        Interpath

        Grant Thornton UK LLP

        Griffins

        The Royal Bank of Scotland

        Santander

        Lloyds Banking Group

        Begbies Traynor Central LLP

        French Duncan LLP

        Johnston Carmichael

        RSM Restructuring Advisory LLP

        Manolete Partners PLC

        Moorfeild Advisory Limited

        Middlebrooks

        Meston Reid

        Shepherd Surveyors

        Hardies LLP

        Watershed (Scotland) Limited

        FRP Advisory Group PLC

        Work highlights

        • FEP Heatcare Limited were fined £180k by the Information Commissioners Office for making 2.6m automated unsolicited marketing calls in just three months. Following the appointment of Griffins as liquidators of the company, the team was instructed to pursuer the directors for misfeasance action which totals £750k.
        • Advising the liquidators of Caroy House Limited in a Commercial Acton at the Court of Session raised in order to secure their interest in trading hotel on the Isle of Skye.
        • Advising consortium of 26 international investors who have each invested into student accommodation development in Aberdeen. The team advised on strategy, bringing in RSM who have recently been appointed as administrators to the Company.

        Anderson Strathern

        Anderson Strathern is highly regarded for its contentious corporate insolvency work though also handles an array of personal insolvency, recovery, corporate transaction and distress conveyancing sale mandates. Katrina Lumsdaine oversees the practice and is noted for her ‘in-depth knowledge of insolvency law’.

        Practice head(s):

        Katrina Lumsdaine

        Other key lawyers:

        Seonaid Sandham; Gillian Murray

        Testimonials

        ‘The team at Anderson Strathern are all very knowledgeable and easy to deal with. They are specialists in their fields and able to deal with queries that arise.’

        ‘Katrina Lumsdaine has an in-depth knowledge of insolvency law and also comes up with practical solutions to problems.’

        Key clients

        HMRC

        Accountant in Bankruptcy

        Thompson Cooper Accountants

        Begbies Traynor (Scotland) LLP

        Johnston Carmichael LLP

        RSM Tenon

        Wylie Bissett

        MLM Solutions

        FRP Advisory

        Interpath (formerly KPMG)

        Grainger Corporate Rescue and Recovery

        Work highlights

        • Instructed by Charles Russel Speechlys LLP to deal with all Scottish aspects of the UK wide restructuring of JB Global Ltd (trading as Oak Furnitureland)
        • Acting for the Administrators, then Liquidators of a company valued at £180m in a complex insolvency resulting in court proceedings post liquidation.
        • Acting for the liquidators of a company pursuing a £26m claim against the Bank of Scotland claiming it was a shadow director of the company and breached its duties.

        Blackadders LLP

        Lawyers at Blackadders LLP excel on an array of personal and corporate insolvency regimes, namely administrations, liquidations, CVAs, trust deeds and sequestrations. Ryan McKay leads the practice, acting for an increasing number of company directors in addition to his traditional forte of representing Scottish insolvency practitioners; his team also undertakes an assortment of post insolvency affairs and includes Stephanie Carr, a specialist in debt recovery matters, both secured and unsecured.

        Practice head(s):

        Ryan McKay

        Other key lawyers:

        Stephanie Carr

        Testimonials

        ‘All members of the insolvency/restructuring team are knowledgeable and efficient.’

        ‘Stephanie Carr has provided excellence service over a number of my contentious insolvency appointments. Stephanie has increased the value of assets available for distribution to creditors by approaching disputed matters from a different angle and reaching a resolution acceptable to all parties.’

        ‘Stephanie Carr is very experienced in insolvency work. She is very personable.’

        ‘Blackadders provides good insolvency advice and does so at a lower price point than the larger firms. Stephanie Carr, a partner in the team, has a strong knowledge of insolvency law. She is one of the few solicitors in Scotland to have passed the Joint Insolvency Examination Board exams. She is also on the Lexis Nexis panel of insolvency experts. The firm provides very good advice to individuals faced with insolvency.’

        ‘I have worked with Stephanie Carr at Blackadders. She has a strong knowledge of personal and corporate insolvency. I have been impressed by her solutions based approach. As well as being instructed by insolvency practitioners, she is often instructed by individuals with no prior experience of insolvency. When those indivduals come to see her they are often very stressed and/or scared. Stephanie provides them with good clear advice pitched at a level they can understand. Just as importantly, she does so in a friendly and reassuring manner which is hugely important with clients of that type.’

        ‘I am a licensed insolvency practitioner in England and Wales and have an insolvency case with assets in Scotland. Stephanie Carr has been of great assistance to me and has impressed me with her diligence, attention to detail and expert knowledge whilst also being friendly and approachable.’

        ‘Understanding of both the local and national markets.’

        ‘I’ve mostly dealt with Stephanie Carr who has all the qualities you would wish in a solicitor, e.g. technically proficient, personable, good communicator, and responds quickly.’

        ‘The team is very commercially focused and have proven to be very successful in securing settlements in matters which appeared to be lost causes.’

        Key clients

        William Duncan Business Recovery Ltd

        180 Advisory Solutions

        Interpath Advisory

        Johnston Carmichael

        FRP Advisory

        Work highlights

          BTO Solicitors LLP

          BTO Solicitors LLP covers a wide breadth of matters, both corporate and personal; examples include insolvency advice, related disputes, corporate restructurings, directors’ claims and insolvency practitioner appointments. Angus Wood and Grant Hunter leads the contentious offering. which is particularly adept in respect of ADR, meanwhile Alastair Dunn is the key contact for restructuring and advisory affairs.

          Practice head(s):

          Angus Wood; Grant Hunter; Alastair Dunn

          Other key lawyers:

          Kirsteen Maclean

          Testimonials

          ‘In their dealings with me, BTO have consistently acted in a manner which demonstrates integrity, transparency and with a clear commitment to putting my interest first and foremost, even when having to impart difficult information.’

          ‘I have had dealings with Kirsteen MacLean over a number of years during her time at BTO and have had pleasure in watching her grow into a solicitor of note. I now find myself giving instructions to her directly as her areas of competence have expanded and her expertise has come to the fore. She instills confidence and is a pleasure to deal with.’

          ‘The team are very personable and have built up a great team to deal with debt recovery and insolvency items.’

          ‘Kirsteen MacLean is very knowledgeable about debt recovery and insolvency and extremely approachable.’

          Key clients

          Lloyds Banking Group (Lloyds Bank plc and Bank of Scotland plc)

          Interpath

          Opus Restructuring & Insolvency

          FRP Advisory

          Hastings & Co

          Begbies Traynor

          Azets

          Johnston Carmichael

          Quantuma

          Work highlights

          • Acting for Begbies Traynor as the administrators of HGEC Capital Limited, advising on the conduct of a challenging administration arising out of a multi-million pound cross-border fraud, and related claims.
          • Acting for ADM Agriculture Limited in the successful and time-sensitive recovery of significant volumes of Oil Seed Rape held by a company in administration, involving complex issues of title and security across Scottish and English jurisdictions.
          • Acting for Bellhill Limited in a challenging and urgent out of court appointment of administrators against the background of a substantial decree having been awarded against the company and the immediate potential for the company’s principal substantial assets to be burdened.

          MacRoberts LLP

          MacRoberts LLP is especially well regarded for its contentious insolvency activities though is likewise equipped to support corporates on advisory matters and insolvency practitioners in the context of  business transactions. Practice head Leon Breakey holds distinct expertise in challenging pre-insolvency transactions and demonstrates a track record of representing lenders, directors, insolvency practitioners and other stakeholders in a wealth of other disputes.

          Practice head(s):

          Leon Breakey

          Other key lawyers:

          Alan Kelly; Gary Baines

          Testimonials

          ‘The team has extensive experience dealing with commercial disputes. The individuals we deal with are accessible and responsive.’

          ‘Leon Breakey has been great to work with. He and team were fully on board from day one, they made the necessary changes to meet our specific requirements, and continue to work very collaboratively.’

          Key clients

          Interpath

          French Duncan LLP

          Leonard Curtis Business Rescue & Recovery

          Quantuma

          Johnston Carmichael

          Wylie & Bisset

          FRP Advisory

          Azets

          Moorefields Advisory Limited

          KPMG LLP

          Work highlights

          • Advised large energy supplier on complex and novel issue regarding rights of subrogation in insolvency claims.
          • Advising a trustee in sequestration in the realisation of assets across a number of jurisdictions including Spain and Cyprus.
          • Advising a commercial lender in relation to a borrower’s defence of liquidation proceedings based on the provisions of the Corporate Insolvency & Governance Act.