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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 > Human resources > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings




Index of tables

  1. Employment
  2. Leading individuals: Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Employment clients in Scotland using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact


Brodies LLP handles the spectrum of employment work for major corporates with operations in Scotland, including litigation, business support and transactional mandates. Led by Tony Hadden, the team is noted for its ‘good experience, professional approach, knowledge and attention to detail’. Hadden is an employment litigator with substantial tribunal experience, but also has significant transactional experience; his recent highlights include advising Axis Capital on all HR issues relating to its purchase of Novae Group. Joan Cradden has particular expertise in financial services employment matters and in cases with a cross-border element. Cradden advised Skyes Global Services on the development of its call centre business, which allows agents to work exclusively at home. Lynne Marr led the firm’s support of long-term client, Prudential, in connection with its merger with M & G. Marr advises a range of public and third sector bodies, including charities and higher education institutions.

Burness Paull LLP’s employment team is noted for its ‘responsiveness and ability to give candid and direct advice’ in connection with the spectrum of employment work. The practice is led by the Aberdeen-based and industry respected Sean Saluja  who has extensive expertise in Aberdeen’s oil and gas sector in terms of litigation as well as corporate and commercial employment advice. Saluja is advising Total on all UK employment law aspects of its $5bn acquisition of Maersk Oil from the Maersk Group, a mandate that included TUPE transfer issues, reorganisation and a potential redundancy programme. David Morgan often represents senior executives in relation to issues of their own employment and is currently acting for Chief Constable Phil Gormley in relation to Scottish Police Authority and Police Investigations Review Commissioner (PIRC) investigations into complaints made against him. Also recommended are Tricia Walker (‘a strong partner-level advocate’), Mel Sangster and Morag Moffat .

CMS  draws on its strong national and international corporate presence to advise clients on the full range of employment matters, often with cross-border elements. Based in Aberdeen, Alison Woods is the co-head of the firm’s UK-wide employment team and is noted for ‘always providing solutions tailored to the client’s desired outcome’. Both Woods and Gillian MacLellan  (who is noted for her ‘professional and pragmatic counsel’) have strong oil and gas sector expertise, in addition to extensive experience advising clients on employment issues in the financial services industry. The firm successfully defended a global operations and maintenance contractor against claims of unfair dismissal, race and disability discrimination, brought by an employee who was placed in a particular redundancy selection pool. In another highlight, the team is advising Ctrip on the UK employment law implications of establishing an Edinburgh-based office. Other key clients include IBM, EasyJet and Clydesdale Bank.

The ‘excellentPinsent Masons LLP has a ‘superb practice’ that advises major national and multinational clients on employment law across a range of sectors, including financial services, energy, infrastructure, advanced manufacturing, sport and universities. The team has extensive expertise in working time, gender pay gap, diversity and inclusion matters, which are augmented by the firm’s contentious employment capabilities. Highlights for Stuart Neilson included advising Balfour Beatty Group on holiday pay issues across its workforce, in addition to handling a number of employment tribunal claims for the client. Diane Nicol is respected within the industry, and participated in the British Government commissioned Taylor Review into modern working practices and the gig economy. Susannah Donaldson is noted for her ‘innovative and pragmatic approach’.

The team at Anderson Strathern brings a ‘very positive attitude’ to both contentious and non-contentious employment matters, counting a large number of public sector and higher education bodies as clients. Paul Brown represented the University of Stirling in the defence of a Protective Award complaint brought by an academic trade union in relation to a longstanding dispute around fixed-term contract employees. Chris McDowall advised Teradata UK on the impact of its global workforce optimisation exercise which resulted in a major HR reorganisation. Barry Nichol represents the Scottish Courts and Tribunal Service in a number of tribunal cases relating to current and former employees. The practice is led by Alun Thomas who has particular expertise in employment mediation. Mandy Armstrong is also recommended for tribunal advocacy and routinely represents public sector employers.

Morton Fraser’s team stands out for its ‘commercial approach to difficult employment law issues’ and ‘a clear ability to mitigate risk’. Practice head, Innes Clark, is ‘both technically outstanding and client focused’ and possesses ‘excellent employment law knowledge’. David Hossack’s ‘depth of knowledge across a number of areas of specialism’ informs his focus on employment mediation. David Walker is noted as ‘clear and practical’, primarily acting for large public and private sector employers, including the Scottish Government. The group is acting for Unison in a major equal pay litigation against Glasgow City Council, having been successful in two appeals to the Court of Session. Andrea Hunter arrived from Clyde & Co LLP in October 2017 and senior associate, Sarah Gilzean, joined from Addleshaw Goddard in June 2017.

Shepherd and Wedderburn advises a variety of blue-chip corporates and university sector clients on all aspects of contentious and non-contentious employment law. The group has been appointed as the employment adviser to the University of Glasgow, and is on the University of Edinburgh’s panel. The practice is led by the ‘highly valuedNeil Maclean , who clients rate as ‘an expert in his field and adept at guiding clients robustly but supportively’. Katie Russell is representing BMI Regional in various disputes with former employees, defending claims brought in the Aberdeen and Nottingham employment tribunals. The group advised FRP Advisory on a number of matters, including the employment aspects of the pre-pack administration and sale of the defunct law firm, Pagan Osborne, to Thorntons LLP.  'The professional, approachable and extremely competent’ Andrew Holehouse is also recommended.

Addleshaw Goddard  is noted as a ‘one-stop-shop’ for employment work, including expertise in business transfers and restructures, equal pay and discrimination litigation, gender pay reporting, in addition to executive recruitment and exits. The practice greatly benefitted from the arrival of David Hughes from Clyde & Co LLP in May 2017, who brings extensive oil and gas sector experience to the Aberdeen office. Hughes is currently acting for a major shipping company in relation to complex industrial relations issues relating to various aspects of employment terms. ‘First class’ Kim Patullo is acting for Action 4 Equality, in a class action for around 7000 claimants in a significant equal pay case; winning in the Court of Session and subsequently taking on a further 1800 claimants. Legal director, Ann Frances Cooney, is advising the UK subsidiary of FNZ in connection with several large-scale, cross-border TUPE transfers and redundancy programmes.

Balfour+Manson LLP has ‘a well-deserved reputation for offering extremely good value service and high levels of expertise’ and is ‘particularly strong in representing individuals who find themselves in conflict with large organisations’. The practice is led by Robert Holland, noted as ‘an excellent lawyer, who combines professionality with compassion and practical advice’. The firm also has a strength in cross-border matters, providing clients with ‘valuable insight into the intricacies of Scots law and how it relates to Scottish and English employment tribunals’. The group has been involved in a number of major precedent-setting cases; recent work includes representing two specialist foster carers on their potential employment status with Glasgow City Council, which resulted in a tribunal verdict that confirmed the claimants were in fact employees and should obtain employment rights. It also represented the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain at the Supreme Court, and successfully argued that tribunal fees are unlawful – which has had a major impact UK on employment law. Also recommended is Sarah Shiels, who has a niche expertise in employment law and how it relates to personal injury work.

Noted for its ‘excellent knowledge’, BTO Solicitors LLP provides employers and employees with ‘pragmatic and commercially sensible advice’. The group handles all employment matters for the Scottish Prison Officers Association membership and is currently engaged in several matters at tribunal, including sexual orientation and disability discrimination, unfair dismissal cases, and a holiday pay claim, which is in appeal at the Employment Appeal Tribunal. It is also on the panel for the City of Edinburgh Council, which it is defending in several high profile tribunal claims. The practice is led by Caroline Carr who, alongside Laura Salmond, is noted for ‘impressive employment expertise’. Carr has noted experience in advising medical professionals on employment and disciplinary issues. David Hoey is also recommended, and leads on a number of contentious matters, in addition handling corporate employment matters.

Clyde & Co LLP handles employment matters for a mixture of major corporates and several Scottish local authorities. ‘Clearly an expert in his field’, practice head Stephen Miller, acted as junior counsel to Glasgow City Council in a major appeal before the Court of Session against 8000 claims, amounting to £500m concerning pay protection and the implementation of a job evaluation scheme. Robert King has significant experience in employment litigation and specialises in discrimination cases. Frances Ross is recommended for her expertise in equal pay matters. The practice has seen a number of departures: Sandy Kemp was appointed as an employment tribunal judge in May 2018, Ian Truscott QC returned to the bar, and Gina Wilson took up an in-house position. David Hughes joined Addleshaw Goddard in May 2017 while Andrea Hunter left for Morton Fraser in October 2017.

The industry-respected Amanda Jones heads Dentons’ practice, which advises major corporates across a variety of sectors on the range of employment matters. Highlights for the group included representing West Lothian Council in relation to multiple Employment Tribunal claims alleging underpaid holiday pay over a number of years. Glasgow’s Mark Hamilton conducted a major due diligence exercise for Quiz in relation to comprehensive supply chain transparency and Modern Slavery Act compliance, also ensuring that executive director service agreements were fit for purpose. Hamilton also advised a major building support services company on the exit of a senior employee, board member and former shareholder after the employee raised substantial whistle-blower allegations.

Blackadders LLP’s ‘extremely knowledgeable’ team has a particularly strong employment offering for construction and manufacturing industry clients, for which it handles the range of contentious and non-contentious employment law mandates. Simon Allison heads the practice and is noted as ‘an inspiring leader of his team and advocate for the profession’. Allison has extensive tribunal experience and represents National Express Groups in a number of cases, including an unfair dismissal claim, emanating from an employee’s inappropriate Facebook comments relating to his co-workers. Also recommended are ‘professional’ associate, Jack Boyle, and Donna Reynolds, who joined the firm from an CCW Business Lawyers in May 2018.

Harper Macleod LLP advises a number of Scottish government bodies in addition to large private sector employers, and has particular expertise in business transfers and TUPE matters. Lesley Murphy focuses on public sector clients and has substantial experience handling the full range of employment work for local councils and housing associations. Dawn Robertson is a skilled employment litigator, and has defended a variety of public and private sector clients in tribunal, including charities, social landlords, professional services firms and SMEs, in addition to a number of employee representations. Practice head Bruce Caldow represented Cornerstone Community care in tribunal proceedings and the claimant’s subsequent appeal, successfully repelling any application of TUPE. Associate Scott Milligan is also recommended, and has experience in equal pay, unfair dismissal, disability discrimination and breach of contract litigation.

Ledingham Chalmers LLP predominantly advises public and private sector employers on HR matters and employment litigation. The practice is led by Kirk Tudhope, who ‘inspires great confidence’ in understanding his clients’ business. Tudhope has extensive expertise in employment tribunals and the handling of disciplinary and grievance hearings – with a particular focus on ill health absence, TUPE and data protection matters. Veli-Matti Raikkonen specialises in advising SMEs on the employment aspects of commercial transactions, conducting tribunals and drafting contracts. Recent highlights for the group include successfully representing Highland Fuels in a claimant’s appeal of a tribunal decision concerning sex discrimination case. The associate, Sine Mackay, is also recommended and has experience in the spectrum of both contentious and non-contentious employment matters.

The ‘simply outstanding’ practice at Lindsays advises a significant number of charities, notably in the social care sector, on the spectrum of employment matters, including sleep-in arrangements, whistleblowing allegations, disciplinary and grievance procedures. The firm also represents various employers with membership of Scottish trade associations in the food and drink industry. The practice is led by Ben Doherty, who advised a large mental health charity (for which the firm is the sole employment adviser) on  a grievance procedure concerning compliance with the national minimum wage.  The ‘knowledgeable, clear and authoritativeKate Wyatt advised two associated clients in the manufacturing sector in connection with the termination of employment and the directorship of an executive suspected of money laundering and other financial crimes. ‘Commercially knowledgeableJohn Lee advised Energetics on a range of employment, discrimination and transactional support issues, including severance arrangements in connection with a variety of staff departures under settlement arrangements.

MacRoberts LLP has a strong full-service employment practice, regularly advising public and private sector employers on disciplinary issues, whistleblowing complaints, and equal pay matters. The firm also has a strong cross-border client base, advising a number of UK-wide employers. Highlights for ‘unflappableKaty Wedderburn included representing a large local authority in an on-going employment tribunal concerning multiple claims for unfair dismissal, following the exit of senior education staff for failure to properly manage a complaint of sexual harassment by an adult student. Deborah Miller is advising Transport Scotland on the employment aspects of its tender for the operation and maintenance of various crossings of the Firth of Forth. Managing partner, John Macmillan, is also recommended, and has extensive experience in employment litigation relating to the transport sector.

Stronachs LLP’s Aberdeen-based team specialises in employment work that relates to the oil and gas industry. ‘One of the most knowledgeable employment lawyers in Scotland’, Eric Gilligan leads the team – with particular experience handling employment tribunals, in addition to complex employee relations issues in connection with industrial disputes. With ‘extensive experience on the corporate side’, David Chalmers focuses on non-contentious HR advice, compliance and pensions-related issues. ‘A very capable all-round partner’, Anya Duncan, has acted in a number of TUPE transactions, including for companies subject to insolvency proceedings. The group successfully defended Oil States Industries against a conjoined breach of contract action raised by three claimants in connection with allowances claimed to have been payable. It is also advising Walkers Shortbread on the organisation’s approach to GDPR and its HR impact.

Thorntons Law LLP is well regarded for its extensive employment work in the education sector, for which it is noted as providing ‘good value and great responsiveness’ to clients. ‘First-class employment lawyer’, Noelle McClelland, leads the team which includes the ‘exceptionally practical and focused’ Jamie Kerr and Debbie Fellows, who has particular experience in tribunal representations. The group is advising Perth College in respect of a senior level management restructure and continues to advise the University of Abertay on various matters pertaining to a proposed faculty reorganisation. The team also advises and represents a number of clients in the manufacturing and leisure industries, in addition to various housing associations.

TLT is most known for its work for clients in the construction, sports and retail sectors, for which it provides advice on a range of employment matters, including tribunals, TUPE transfers, senior board level exits, whistleblowing, benefit change processes and industrial action. The ‘fleet of foot’ team is led by the ‘exceptional’ Jonathan Rennie, who sits on the disciplinary panel for the Scottish Football Association (SFA). The group successfully managed the exit of a player from a major football club after potentially damaging allegations surfaced in the media. It also successfully defended a multinational energy distributer in a complex claim involving a former employee’s behaviour, which was caught on camera and distributed on social media. The firm is currently acting for the former CEO of a major lender following charges of gross misconduct against him.

Aberdein Considine represents both claimants and respondents in contentious employment situations and advises a range of businesses on issues such as employee benefits and HR procedures. The practice is led by Sally-Anne Anderson, who alongside associate Catriona Ramsay, is noted as ‘smart, no-nonsense and well-adjusted to operate in changing market conditions’. Highlights included carrying out a comprehensive review of employment contract policies and procedures for the franchised business of a lending company. The group also represents a number of employers in tribunal claims, in matters involving alleged unfair dismissal, discrimination on the basis of part-time status, age and sex discrimination.

Davidson Chalmers Stewart specialises in the provision of employment law advice to owner-managed businesses and other SMEs in Scotland. The practice is led by former employment judge, Alan Strain, who is ‘a tower of strength at tribunals’ and ‘understands the needs of businesses of all shapes and sizes’. Recent highlights include successfully defending an interior design company against a claim raised by an ex-employee alleging wrongful termination of contract. In another highlight, the group advised a charity on the complex negotiations pertaining to the exit of its CEO. It is also advising a technology company on gender pay gay reporting, implications for its workforce and the potential for a next generation of equal pay claims.

DLA Piper Scotland LLP draws on its extensive corporate and commercial expertise to advise a range of major companies on the gamut of contentious and non-contentious employment work. The team advises Heineken on all employment matters – notably its takeover of Punch Taverns, on which it conducted due diligence and proposed transitional arrangements and the TUPE transfer. It continues to assist Adtalem Global Education with a program to transfer over 700 students and staff from St. Maarten, affected by Hurricane Irma, to a temporary campus in the UK. The UK-wide team also supports Sodexo on day-to-day employment issues, transactions and employment litigation. The practice is led by Kate Hodgkiss, who alongside Julie Simpson  is noted as having ‘demonstrated an in-depth knowledge of employment law and practice’ and providing ‘down-to-earth and practical advice’. Also recommended is the ‘exceptional’ Euan Bruce.

Eversheds Sutherland handles contentious and non-contentious employment work for a variety of major corporates, with experience in complex and multi-jurisdictional issues. The firm represents Scottish Autism in Human Resource matters. This year has seen the firm represent charities in a number of tribunal proceedings including an unfair constructive dismissal and complex discrimination claim relating to an alleged failure to make reasonable adjustments. It also successfully defended a global electronic commerce organisation in a complex race discrimination claim, resulting in a substantially reduced settlement. On the non-contentious front, the team advises a number of major corporations on gender pay gap reporting and Brexit preparation. The practice is led by Dawn Dickson, who has extensive experience in high-value litigation, negotiated exits, redundancies and TUPE transactions for clients in the diversified industrials sector.

Morisons LLP provides clients with ‘all-round good support’ with ‘great responsiveness’. The ‘excellent’ practice head, Jacqueline McCluskey is noted as providing ‘good advice’ and ‘an ability to provide a balanced perspective on difficult employment situations’. It has a substantial education sector client-base, but also advises a number of charities and individual employees on the range of employment mandates. The team’s recent highlights include advising an independent school in Glasgow on employment law and HR, in addition to equality and discrimination matters. It also assisted with a number of TUPE transfers, and is currently advising a corporate in relation to collective grievances and employment tribunal litigation in connection with a restructuring exercise.

Turcan Connell represents both employers and employees engaged in employment-related disputes. The firm acts for a number of major charities, including Capability Scotland and the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, which it advises on corporate matters (such as restructuring) and represents at tribunal. Recent highlights include negotiating a major termination agreement for a senior investment manager, including the payment of sums contractually due, crystallisation of payments as a Good Leaver Type A and restrictive covenants. It is currently advising Alzheimer Scotland on a number of terminations and other employee relations matters, in addition to the application of TUPE. The practice is led by David Ogilvy , who specialises in representing senior financial services executives. Alexandra Gell is another practitioner of note.

Weightmans LLP’s team is led by Elaine McIlroy, whose particular focus is TUPE and strategic advisory employment work. The group also handles employment tribunal claims for a number of UK and international clients, including First Bus. Highlights included advising a major consulting firm on TUPE matters concerning the merger of one of its clients and a large US-owned software company in relation to a project that involved offshoring its R&D function from the UK to India and the US.

Health and safety

Index of tables

  1. Health and safety
  2. Leading individuals: Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals

Leading individuals: Hall of Fame

  1. 1

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Health and safety clients in Scotland using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact


BTO Solicitors LLP’s ‘effective’ team ‘consistently raises the bar to stay ahead of the other Health and Safety specialists’. The team is jointly led by Clare Bone  and Vikki Watt, who are rated as ‘practical, experienced and exceptional lawyers’. Watt acted for a former director of the Jim Clark Rally in the first joint fatal accident inquiry in Scotland, in a case concerning numerous spectator deaths at two separate rally events, resulting in a favourable determination for the client. Bone represented Tarff Valley following the death of a customer, who fell from height at one of its stores, which resulted in only a technical charge for the client and a trial acquittal for the store manager involved.

Burness Paull LLP is a ‘leader in the health and safety field in Scotland, across all industry sectors’ but particularly in offshore and oil and gas cases where its ‘breadth and depth of experience is unparalleled’. The practice is led by the ‘unmatchedRona Jamieson, who ‘leads an exceptionally strong team in Aberdeen’. Jamieson represented Stuartfield Wind Power, which was served with a noise abatement notice under the Environmental Protection Act, advising the client on investigations and potential mitigation measures. A director in the team, Lynne Gray handles regulatory compliance issues for a range of clients and represented the City of Edinburgh Council following the death of a 12 year old girl in a modesty wall collapse, which led to an HSE investigation which concluded that the client would not be prosecuted.

Clyde and Co LLP  is ‘a strong litigation firm with the breadth and depth to handle health and safety prosecutions and any corresponding civil action’. It is ‘a favourite with insurers and insured companies for its pragmatic approach and client focus’. Mark Donaldson, who is noted for ‘strong core knowledge, diligence, decisiveness and time sensitivity’, leads the team, which includes the ‘excellent all-rounder’, Ann Bonomy. The group advised Sparks Mechanical Services on a complex HSE investigation, following a crane collapse, which resulted in an employee suffering catastrophic spinal injuries; a case that led to a significantly reduced settlement despite the client having a previous conviction. It also represented Contract Electrical Services in an HSE investigation into serious injuries sustained by an employee after a fall from height, leading to a settlement without prosecution.

Pinsent Masons LLP has a team of ‘excellent all-rounders’ and ‘a very well-deserved reputation in Aberdeen’ for its oil and gas, shipping construction and energy sector related health and safety work. The practice is led by the ‘thorough and pragmatic’ Laura Cameron, whose highlights included advising joint venture company, Forth Crossing Bridge Constructors, in relation to a fatal accident that occurred in 2016 – leading to the issuance of a determination with no criticism for the client. ‘An experienced and clever lawyer, recognised as a specialist in oil and gas cases’, Bruce Craig is acting for Transocean in an internal and marine accident investigation into the grounding of its oil rig in 2016. Tom Stocker represented the City of Edinburgh Council in an HSE investigation into grounds maintenance employees who developed hand-arm vibration syndrome, leading to a substantially reduce penalty in comparison to a similar instance. Senior associate Katherine Metcalfe, is also recommended for possessing ‘a second to none knowledge of legislation’.

The ‘amazingBLM predominantly acts for major insurers (such as Aviva, Allianz and QBE), but also handles complex regulatory investigations directly for corporate insured clients, including Glasgow City Council. The ‘particularly strongJames Varney leads the team, and is noted for ‘a particularly strong approach’ and ‘clear and pragmatic advice, tailored appropriately to the audience’. Associate Victoria Anderson has expertise in criminal health and safety and fatal accident inquiries and has handled several High Court prosecutions. Associate Zoe McDonnell experience in both prosecutions and defence work. Highlights included assisting a national corporate with an internal investigation and a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation into an employee’s fall from height, which is likely to result in a high profile prosecution of the company.

Brodies LLP’s ‘excellent’ team has ‘a clear understanding of the commercial backdrop to which business operates in’, advising insured corporates and insurance companies. Practice head, Elena Fry, is ‘an excellent lawyer who you would want on your side in times of crisis’, and represented a European hotel operator in meetings with the regulator and advised the client on potential enforcement proceedings, following separate food and chemical safety incidents, both resulting in formal cautions rather than prosecution. The ‘vastly experienced and methodical’ Duncan McLean advised Transocean on potential liabilities arising from a rig which ran aground after a storm in 2016. Laura McMillan represented Liberty Mutual and the Jim Clark Memorial Motor Club in connection with a fatal accident inquiry into separate incidents at a rally that led to several injuries and fatalities – finding the organisers not directly liable and determining the rally could run again.

Anderson Strathern  has ‘a well-deserved reputation’ for advising a wide mixture of insured corporates and public sector clients on health and safety matters. The practice head, Jonathan Guy is a recognised thought leader in the industry and is an external legal adviser to the HSE in Scotland. Senior associate Dominic Scullion’s ‘experience in complex high court litigation’ is offset by ‘good knowledge of the law and well-developed analytical skills’. The ‘conscientious’ senior associate, Sarah Phillips, handles health and safety matters for the Scottish Prison Service, and successfully defended numerous damages actions involving prisoner-on-prisoner assault, workplace accidents and excessive use of control and restraint techniques, in addition to death in custody cases. Other clients include INEOS, Scottish Water, Scotmid and the Highland Council.

CMS’ ‘exceptional’ team is led by the ‘extremely knowledgeable and able’ Jan Burgess, who works closely with the ‘direct and hard-working’ senior associate, Rosalind Morgan. The firm advises an impressive client roster includes a number of global corporates on regulatory compliance, prosecutions, investigations and corporate governance. It focuses on the offshore and energy sector in Scotland and has substantial experience in cases pertaining to offshore fatalities and gas releases in the North Sea. The group also has experience in handling health and safety matters in the construction, communications, leisure, manufacturing and transport industries.

Dentons’ team possesses ‘first class industry knowledge and great attention to detail’. Malcolm Gunnyeon leads the practice and, alongside senior associate James McMillan, is noted as ‘very sharp’. The group’s main areas of expertise are the food and drink, oil and gas and rail transportation sectors, and the firm has a mixture of high-profile public and private industry clients. Recent highlights included representing the Educational Institute of Scotland in police and HSE investigations and a subsequent fatal accident inquiry, into the collapse of a changing room wall at an Edinburgh school, which killed a student – leading to no adverse comment in relation to any of the teachers involved. It also provided detailed and wide-ranging advice to Menzies Distribution on its health and safety obligations pertaining to contract workers it engages to supplement its existing team.

Morton Fraser’s practice is led by Jenny Dickson, and primarily advises the HSE on a variety of matters, including notice appeals and fatal accident inquiries. Its representations for the HSE included a fatal accident inquiry into the high-profile death of a child killed by the collapse of a wall at an Edinburgh School and an appeal lodged by Lidl against a notice to disallow a planned store extension – which was ultimately abandoned by the opposing party. David Hossack represented O’Brien Properties in a criminal prosecution following a serious accident, leading to a negotiated settlement with the prosecutor and a substantially diminished fine.

The ‘driving-force’ behind DAC Beachcroft Scotland LLP’s team is Colin Bissett, who has ‘assembled a good team around him’, which includes associate, Karen Railton. The group is noted for its case preparation skills, which is ‘backed up by in-house resources and skills that can be called upon, as and when required’. Highlights included representing Highland Car Club, the permit holder and operator of the Snowman Rally, at a fatal accident inquiry into the death of a spectator – leading to no adverse findings for the client. It also successfully defended Norbord Europe against a Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) prosecution into a leaking fuel pipe; a case in which the client was found not guilty and the offence was treated as a strict liability.

DLA Piper Scotland LLP handles contentious and regulatory compliance health and safety work for a mixture of major insured public and private sector clients. Practice head, Alastair Drummond, is advising Airbus Helicopters on a number of matters, including disclosures and attendant civil claims in preparation for a fatal accident inquiry into the high-profile Clutha police helicopter crash in 2013. The group is also advising and representing Sodexo and its insurers, SLS, in connection with fatal accident inquiries arising from its operation of HMP Addiewell, which has so far led to no further actions raised against the client. Senior associate Jennifer Talbot is recommended for vast expertise in health and safety, environmental and regulatory compliance matters; and experience that spans judicial reviews, fatal accident inquiries, criminal prosecutions and reparation actions.

At Weightmans LLP, Seonaid Busby, who specialises in insurance litigation and regulatory proceedings, acts for clients in defence of regulatory prosecutions, and has extensive experience in fatal accident inquiries. The group has significant insurer panel appointments and a number of corporate insured corporate clients. The group represented AIG and John Power, a lorry driver who had lost control of his vehicle after a medical event, in a fatal accident inquiry with parallels to the Glasgow Bin Lorry case – leading to a determination that was critical both the client and his doctor.


Index of tables

  1. Immigration
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

  1. 1
    • Grace McGill - McGill & Co

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1
    • Darren Stevenson - McGill & Co

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Immigration clients in Scotland using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact


Drummond Miller LLP handles cases in all areas of immigration, nationality and EU law, with a focus on personal immigration law; an area in which David Brown takes the lead. The team also has litigation experience before the Upper Tribunal in EEA appeals, deportation appeals, Article 8 and ECAA appeals. Newly promoted partner Humphrey Ndubuisi  is also recommended. Jacqueline Moore left the firm and joined Shepherd and Wedderburn.

In a league of its own’, McGill & Co is a boutique immigration firm with extensive expertise acting for national and international corporates, in addition to individuals on matters including commercial migration, sponsorship licensing, family migration, asylum and refugee work. The team continues to advise EEA University staff on matters relating to their immigration status after Brexit.  Founding partner Grace McGill, who leads the practice, ‘inspires great confidence in her clients’ and is particularly noted for ‘remaining extremely calm under pressure’. McGill’s primary focus is international investment work and Tier 1 entrepreneur applications. The ‘straight-talking’ Darren Stevenson has particular expertise in the fishing industry, and draws on his background at the Home Office to inform ‘a solid understanding of its general approach’. Possessing ‘a great technical ability’, John Vassiliou stands out as ‘an expert in his field’.

Morton Fraser advises a wide range of individuals on mandates including asylum and refugee applications, spousal visas, Tier 1 visas and complex nationality issues. It also has a large corporate client-base and is noted for its particular expertise in relocations and the immigration requirements of the digital technology industry. The team is led by David Walker, who has vast experience advising employers seeking sponsorship licenses and assisting with the transfer of key executives in inter-company transfers. Senior associate Stuart McWilliams is highly valued for his immigration law knowledge, and is singled out for his ‘early insight into industry trends and changes around the application process’, which includes advising EU nationals on their immigration status after Brexit. McWilliams has particular expertise in business immigration matters, particularly in relation to large scale business relocations. Highlights for the group included advising the relocation company. AGS-360° Solutions on immigration and visa matters for its clients, including BMW. It has also carried out multiple immigration compliance audits for Skyscanner in relation to new-start employees.

Pinsent Masons LLP’s clients include major corporates operating in Scotland and the rest of the UK, including Balfour Beatty, SSE, Celtic and Mitie Group. The group acted for Enquest Britain on its immigration obligations triggered by its acquisition of various interests in oil and gas concessions from BP, which involved the TUPE transfer of a number of Tier 2 migrants to the client. The UK corporate immigration practice is led by legal director Joanne Hennessy, who handles complex immigration issues, such as those applicable to seamen and offshore workers, while Euan Smith has particular experience in advising employer organisations across a variety of sectors on sponsorship matters, in addition to non-EEA senior executive recruitment.

Thorntons Law LLP advises businesses and individuals on the spectrum of immigration, asylum and nationality law, and substantial corporate immigration experience and regularly handles complex Tier 1 visa applications, in addition to a niche in applications pertaining to religious organisations. The ‘exceptional, practical and solution focused’ Jamie Kerr leads the team, which includes the associate specialising in asylum and human rights, {Nicola Weir}. Kerr is advising on indefinite leave to remain in the UK for a client and his family. The firm is on the Scottish Enterprise panel, and was instructed by TalentScotland to assist technology start-up, Bird.i, with applications and sponsorships for two employees, under a Tier 2 visa. The firm is also advising a number of universities on the implications of Brexit for EEA students and staff.

Anderson Strathern draws on its employment and pension expertise in the education sector to complement its varied immigration practice, which advises large public sector organisations, private companies and individuals on visa applications and corporate migration. The team also advises a number of Scottish businesses on the recruitment of migrant workers. The practice is led by Paul Brown, who alongside senior associate Steven Dunn is noted for possessing ‘excellent knowledge of the complexities and intricacies of immigration law’.

Excellent on all counts’, Dentons has particular expertise in advising clients on issues arising from sponsorship, including duty compliance and licence applications. The group recently advised an SPFL club on the time-sensitive sponsorship of a migrant player in a transaction that needed to be completed within the transfer window. It also assisted the new UK subsidiary of a global HR and payroll solutions company with a number of immigration mandates, including applying for sponsor licences and reviewing HR processes. The group also advises an independent investment manager on the likely impact of Brexit on employees who are EEA nationals or have EEA national spouses.  Senior associate Alison Weatherhead leads the practice in Scotland, and has extensive experience in business immigration. Elsie Turner is also recommended for her ability to convey ‘on the spot advice thoroughly yet effortlessly’.

Weightmans LLP specialises in corporate immigration issues, for which it leverages its national presence and established employment law practice; with an impressive client roster of blue chip employers including multinationals, educational establishments and technology start-ups. Key contact in Scotland, Elaine McIlroy, who, in addition to companies, advises entrepreneurs, investors and high net-worth individuals on matters including applying for sponsor licences, compliance with sponsor duties, preventing illegal working and Tier 1 entrepreneur and investor visas.


Index of tables

  1. Pensions
  2. Leading individuals: Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals

Leading individuals: Hall of Fame

  1. 1

Leading individuals

  1. 1

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Excellent across the board’, Pinsent Masons LLP’s pensions team is known for its ‘ability to seamlessly hook up with other specialisms within the firm’. In additional to a strong M&A-related pension offering, the firm has particular expertise in DB schemes, as well as pension scheme instalments and funding legal frameworks, investment, governance and reward change projects. The practice is led by Ian Gordon, who is advising the trustee of the Babcock Naval Services Pension Scheme on the transfer of past service pension benefits from the Babcock scheme to the Principal Civil Service Pension Scheme, in a case that relates to an underlying outsourcing contract with a central government department that was being imposed on the trustee. Ruth Tobias is advising the trustees of the Plumbing Pension Scheme on high profile and complex issues concerning section 75 debt triggers and is also handle administrative aspects of the Forth Ports Group Pension Scheme, which was originated in statute and therefore contains many unusual benefit provisions. The ‘pragmatic and commercial’ Jae Fassam specialises in advising businesses, trustees and funds on all aspects of the legal framework of pension scheme investment and funding. Senior associate Cameron McCulloch is another key practitioner.

Shepherd and Wedderburn’s highly experienced team is ‘excellent in all areas’, handling pensions work including scheme documentation, employment matters related to the scheme, benefit changes, in addition to pensions advice on M&A transactions. The ‘commercially astute and pragmatic’ Louisa Knox advises the trustees of the Standard Life Staff Pension Scheme on all aspects of pensions law, including the implications of proposed corporate activity. The ‘professional, approachable and extremely competent’ Andrew Holehouse assists the Universal Music Group Pension Scheme with all pensions matters, including the appointment of Legal and General as fiduciary investment managers to the scheme and in connection with a trustee-led enhanced transfer value exercise for the scheme’s deferred members. Ed Mustard advised the trustees of the Miller Group Pension Scheme, in connection with the acquisition of Miller homes by Bridgepoint. Senior associate Richard Jones is also recommended, and has a particular focus on investment issues.

Brodies LLP acts for major employers, as well as public and private sector pension trustees, on the full range of pension issues, including governance, buy-ins, defined benefit schemes and transactions. The ‘efficient and enormously helpful’ practice head, Juliet Bayne, provides ‘extremely good support to trustee boards’, which clients note is especially useful in decision-making and protecting the trustee position in negotiations. The ‘high-calibre’ senior solicitors, Jordan Halliday and Jen Crawford, are praised for their expertise, as well as ‘an ability to understand the wider client agenda’. Highlights included representing the trustees of the John Menzies defined benefit pension fund in negotiation with John Menzies, on ways to control future pension costs and the termination of future benefit accrual. The team also advised the trustees of the Howden Group pension plan in relation to the equalisation of retirement ages for male and female members.

Burness Paull LLP, which is noted for its ‘prompt and pragmatic approach’, handles contentious and non-contentious pensions matters for employers and trustees alike. Recent work includes advising trustees on managing liabilities and buy-in projects, and a number of governance-related mandates. The firm also has substantial experience in pension litigation. Margaret Meehan recently advised Scottish Widows on the prospects of successfully defending a challenge against a proposed change to one of its pension products which would have resulted in a significant reduction in liabilities for the client. Sarah Philips (who is praised for her ‘very pragmatic, constructive advice’) is assisting Weir Group in relation to various pension matters, including the correct treatment of payment of the first instalment of a pension for senior executives, and advising on and negotiating terms of a waiver of a deficit reduction contribution, in light of a proposed bulk buyout of liabilities of a defined benefit executive pension plan. Deborah Adams is rated for her ‘ability to provide clear advice’.

CMS draws on its corporate expertise and national presence to advise major public and private sector employers trustees and pension providers on all aspects of pension arrangements. The practice is led by Alastair Hill, whose highlights included advising Stena on the establishment of its new defined benefit pension scheme, following the merger of its five existing schemes. Hill also advises the Scotia Gas Networks pension scheme on a range of pension issues, including a de-risking project, GDPR compliance, investment management and custody agreements. The group is instructed by a number of pension providers, such as Virgin Money, Scottish Widows and Standard Life, for which it handles high-risk transfer value requests, the introduction of new investment classes, investment opportunities and income tax advice.

Dentons has a strong focus on pension scheme de-risking and deal support, but recent work also includes advising schemes on data protection compliance and Equality Act compliance in relation to public sector pensions. The team is led by David Knox, who has expertise in scheme de-risking, restructuring, outsourcing and non-profit sector pensions. The group is currently advising W.L. Gore & Associates on various UK pension law compliance matters and the Dalriada pension trustees on a novel de-risk to protect scheme members which was agreed with a new owner, to underpin its investment in a global fund manager based in Scotland.

DWF’s accomplished Scotland-based pension team was appointed to the Pension Protection Fund's panel in January 2018. The practice, which handles high-profile matters for major corporates in addition to trustees, is headed by June Crombie, who possess an ‘incisive knowledge of her field’ and ‘inspires the utmost confidence’. Crombie and Maureen Burns lead the advice to VisitScotland on all pension matters, including its participation in an industry scheme and Local Government Pension Scheme, in addition to conducting an auto-enrolment review. The ‘technically able’ Colin Greig specialises in the pensions aspects of corporate transactions and pension litigation. He is advising Transport Scotland on the refranchise of ScotRail, in which the sleeper service was spun out as its own franchise at the same time.

The team at MacRoberts LLP is ‘highly responsive, with a very commercial understanding of the needs of fellow professionals and clients alike’. It advises employers and the trustees of numerous pension schemes on a range of corporate, commercial and transactional matters. The ‘technically excellentMartyn Shaw leads the team, which includes ‘committed’ legal director James Keith. The group is instructed by the Johnson Press Pension Plan on a number of matters, including in connection with the terms of various investment management and custody agreements. Recent highlights include assisting Badtie Group Superannuation and Life Assurance Scheme with a major consolidation and update of the trust deed and rules of the scheme. On the company side, the group acted for the Scottish subsidiary of Devro in connection with liability hedging within its defined benefit occupational pension scheme.

Anderson Strathern’s clients include pension providers, trustees and members, which it has particular experience advising on self-invested personal pensions (SIPPs) and small self-administered schemes (SSASs), including documentation, scheme borrowings and investments. It also has a niche in advising individuals on raising complaints before the Pensions Ombudsman and the Financial Ombudsman Service. Steven Dunn leads the practice, and handles pension matters for both public and private sector schemes. Recent highlights include advising Yorsipp in relation to its governing documentation for SIPPs and SSASs and on the general administration of its schemes. The team also advised the trustees of the Daiwa Sports employee benefits plan on its DB scheme and on-going administration, including amendments to the scheme’s documentation.

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