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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 Partners
  5. Rising stars

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next Generation Partners

  1. 1

Rising stars

  1. 1
    • Catriona Aldridge - CMS

Acclaimed for its proficiency in employment law, Brodies LLP provides its clients with wide-ranging 'practical and prompt' advice including transactional support as well as assistance with investigations and Employment Tribunal claims. Its expertise spans various sectors including the public and third sectors alongside the finance, education, manufacturing, transport, oil and gas industries. The 'extraordinary' Tony Hadden heads the team which includes recommended industrial relations expert Joan Cradden and 'very smart' director Brian Campbell, who has extensive litigation expertise. Paul McMahon left the firm in December 2018 to work as employment judge. Elaine McIlroy, joined the team from Weightmans in August 2019, bringing expertise in immigration.

Practice head(s):Tony Hadden

Other key lawyers:Joan Cradden; Lynne Marr; Brian Campbell; Ashley Topping; Elaine McIlroy


'You can always rely on the team to work to very tight deadlines.'

'The team has the fantastic capability to advise on matters and see them through to advocacy in Employment Tribunals which gives them a massive advantage over firms who need to instruct external advocates.'

'Tony Hadden is an advocate with an outstanding track record of success.'

'The team offers sound, pragmatic advice which takes into account reputational issues.'

'Lynne Marr is exceptional. She inspires confidence in her advice through her pragmatic approach and sound grasp of the issues that matter most to the client.'

Key Clients


Dana Petroleum

AXIS Capital

8x8 UK


American Express


D.C. Thomson

Work highlights

  • Successfully represented Abellio in a claim brought against it on the grounds of sex, age and disability discrimination.
  • Advising Queen Margaret University on a wide range of HR matters arising from the client's organisational change.
  • Providing long-standing client Prudential with advice on the full range of employment law and HR-related matters, including senior exits and recruitment as well as GDPR and employment tribunal litigation.

Burness Paull LLP's 'impressive' team has gained reputation as a leading employment law specialist, covering the full spectrum of contentious and non-contentious work, which has recently included various instructions concerning GDPR compliance, gender pay gap matters, TUPE transfers, industrial actions, senior executive changes and general Employment Tribunal work. Providing transactional support is another key area of expertise. In August 2018, the 'intelligent' Mandy Laurie took over the team lead from 'very experienced' oil and gas sector expert Sean Saluja, while, in other team changes, the 'very good' Jamie Kerr joined from Thorntons Law LLP in September 2018, significantly boosting the firm's immigration offering. Clients include oil and gas, food and drink, financial services, sport, media and retail sector players. The 'approachable' David Morgan, who is 'a joy to work with' and particularly experienced in trade unions and industrial relations, and the 'down-to-earth' Jennifer Skeoch are recommended.

Practice head(s):Mandy Laurie

Other key lawyers:David Morgan; Margaret Gibson; Morag Hutchison; Ronald Mackay; Sean Saluja; Tricia Walker; Jennifer Skeoch; Morag Moffett; Jamie Kerr


'David Morgan is a solid practitioner with a good profile.'

'The team is extremely knowledgeable, thoughtful and patient and always provides pragmatic advice.'

'Its stability is a strong point.'

'Provides the most cost effective, real world advice.'

'Takes the time to understand the business and the client's objectives and challenges.'

'Delivers tailored advice efficiently and clearly.'

'Professional and pragmatic.'

'Morag Hutchison has a very professional and down-to-earth approach and makes any challenge the client is dealing with seem easy to manage.'

'The first legal team that listens to the client and not bombard them with legal jargon.'

'Very forward thinking organisation that keeps up with the times.'

Key Clients



General Electric



Scottish Football Association


A.G. Barr


Work highlights

  • Advised Total on industrial relations matters following the client's proposed variation to offshore working patterns.
  • Assisting Scottish Rugby Union with employment law requirements for employees and rugby players throughout the organisation (including Glasgow Warriors and Edinburgh Rugby). Recently, the team represented the client before the Employment Tribunal in Edinburgh following an unfair dismissal claim.
  • Continued advice to long-standing client Wheatley Group; regular instructions include TUPE transfers, union relations matters and employment litigation.
  • As the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants’ sole employment law advisors, the team provides regular advice on business critical and strategic matters, including on gender pay gap issues and GDPR compliance, trade union matters, management changes and the outsourcing of services and also defends the client against various employment tribunal claims.
  • Following a restructuring of the stv (Channel 3 on Scottish TV) business, the team advised the client on a number of high-profile senior executive changes and departures, including in the news team (and Head of News).

Anderson Strathern 'makes the client feel valued' and has particular education, food and drink and public sector expertise but also assists other clients with the full spectrum of employment law work. The 'very knowledgeable' team led by the 'highly rated' Alun Thomas provides regular advice on TUPE transfers, working time, equal pay and general HR issues, and, in the contentious space, is noted for its experience handling unfair dismissal claims, alongside other employment tribunal work, and for its mediation offering.

Practice head(s):Alun Thomas

Other key lawyers:Paul Brown; Barry Nichol; Andrew Brown; Murray McCall; Chris McDowall


'Barry Nichol is a pragmatic advisor.'

'Andrew Brown is a sensible and solid advisor.'

'Provides comprehensive and practical advice.'

'Alun Thomas is a first rate practitioner whose mediator training assists in noting all angles of a disputes.'

'Professional and friendly at the same time.'

'Chris McDowall has a wealth of knowledge.'

'Spends time getting to know the client and their business in order to understand the issues the client faces and responds with tailored solutions.'

Key Clients

The Scottish Government

Royal College of Nursing

The Glenmorangie

Scottish Prison Service

Rangers Football Club

The University of St Andrews

Ineos Chemicals

Duke of Roxburghe

Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service

Scottish Social Services Commission (SSSC)

Edinburgh College

Edinburgh Napier University

Glasgow Caledonian University

Work highlights

  • Advice to a national health service body on working time issues and shift allowances.
  • Advising Rangers Football Club on various employment law matters including the departure of the previous football management team and negotiating and arranging contracts for the new management team.
  • Providing assistance to Midlothian Council on internal investigations and disciplinary proceedings following allegations of fraud and inappropriate procurement activity.
  • The team acted for a director, shareholder and employee of an IT services company in a dispute concerning his employment and rights on exit from the business.
  • Advising Fife Council on TUPE transfers of services in and out of the private sector.

CMS has been increasingly active assisting clients with internal investigations and employment litigation concerning discrimination, harassment, equal pay and unfair dismissal claims, among others, while, in the non-contentious space, the 'highly knowledgeable and pragmatic' team led by the 'highly regarded' Alison Woods is 'a pleasure to work with' and well versed in handling GDPR and gender pay gap matters and frequently provides transaction support. Its client base includes various financial services, energy and higher education sector players. Senior associate Catriona Aldridge is recommended; she handles contentious and non-contentious work.

Practice head(s):Alison Woods

Other key lawyers:Gillian MacLellan; Finlay McKay; Catriona Aldridge


'Gives clear and pragmatic advice.'

'Doesn't just highlight the issues but gives workable solutions.'

'Provides clear transparency of billing.'

Key Clients

Baxters Food Group

Stonewall Equality

FirstBank Nigeria

Wise Investments


COSL Drilling


GasLog Services

ICR Integrity Group


Stirling Council

National Museums Scotland

Work highlights

  • Advised Equinor on employment matters pertaining to the client's acquisition of Chevron’s 40% operated interest in the Rosebank field development project.
  • Advised Francisco Partners on the employment aspects of its acquisition of Verifone Systems.
  • Successfully represented the former director of domestic rugby at the Scottish Rugby Union in his claim of unfair dismissal.
  • Advised the Highland and Islands Enterprise on a broad range of HR matters including data protection, disciplinary processes and long-term absence and grievance cases, among other matters.

Acting for employer and employees across the public, private and third sectors, Morton Fraser fields a large team covering the gamut of employment law from non-contentious equal pay and TUPE-related corporate work to various employment tribunal cases, which typically involve discrimination, unfair dismissal and holiday pay claims. Its contentious abilities also include mediation. Innes Clark is 'very good' and heads the team, which includes legal director Alan Delaney; he joined the firm in April 2018 from Dentons and has significant experience of TUPE and restructuring issues.

Practice head(s):Innes Clark

Other key lawyers:Lindsey Cartwright; David Hossack; David Walker; Alan Delaney


'Morton Fraser are capable of understanding the complexities of a charity as a commercial business and provide advice accordingly'.

'Innes Clark and Alan Delaney both outstanding in their field'.

'Very committed to making even the most tortuous things as painless as possible'.

'Friendly approachable and good to have on your side'.

'Our contact always provides sound, commercially aware advice'.

Key Clients

Ministry of Defence

Royal Mail Group

Scottish Salmon Producers' Organisation


Micron Europe

Scotland's Rural College (SRUC)

The Scottish Government and the Office of the Advocate General


Van Oord

DAS Insurance

Work highlights

  • Continues to act for Unison against Glasgow City Council in the largest equal pay litigation in Scotland. This relates to equal pay claims brought by Unison's members against Glasgow City Council and associated employers.
  • Defending over 1,000 claims arising from changes to public sector pensions (age discrimination, equal pay and sex discrimination).
  • Advised the coach of a national sporting team on a potential constructive dismissal claim arising as a result of material changes to his role by his employer during his notice period.
  • Advising a charity on various employment law matters in Scotland and carrying out a wholesale review of all of its employment documentation.
  • Represented SDC Group on the acquisition of four dental practices in various parts of Scotland, which included advice on employee indemnities and warranties in transactions involving the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006.

'Providing excellent support', Pinsent Masons LLP's 'thorough and pragmatic' team stands out for its expertise in contentious employment law work, representing clients at the Employment Tribunal and in senior employee and board level disputes. On the non-contentious side, much of the group's workload pertains to equal pay and TUPE issues, industrial relations and team moves with many of its instructions stemming from financial services, energy, infrastructure and manufacturing sector clients. Euan Smith and the 'extremely experienced and highly regarded' Diane Nicol are among the main contacts in Scotland; both act for an extensive blue-chip and plc client base. Katie Williams formerly based in Aberdeen, relocated to firm's Perth office, Australia, in June 2018.

Practice head(s):Euan Smith

Other key lawyers:Diane Nicol; Stuart Neilson; James Cran


'Diane Nicol is a stand-out partner and drives high standards through the team to ensure that the team acts as true partner to the client.'

'Any issues are faced and solved quickly.'

'Very approachable and knowledgeable about the Employment Tribunal process in Scotland and how it differs from England and Wales.'

'James Cran suggests innovative solutions and explains technical points clearly.'

Key Clients


The Royal Bank of Scotland

Balfour Beatty Group


P&O Ferries

Standard Life Aberdeen



Royal BAM Group

Thomas Tunnock

David MacBrayne Group

Work highlights

  • Continues to advise a major infrastructure client on holiday pay arrangements.
  • Acted for Liberata in Employment Tribunal and Supreme Court proceedings pertaining to the issue of whether an employer should have known about an employee's disability.
  • Advising Motor Fuel Group, the largest independent petrol station forecourt operator in the UK, following its £1.2bn acquisition of Malthurst Retail, on HR issues arising from the integration of the two businesses, which included collective redundancy processes and TUPE issues.
  • Represented Parity Professionals, a key supplier of temporary contractor labour in the Scottish public sector, in a discrimination claim brought by the personal service company of one of those contractors and successfully defended the claim through to dismissal.

Clients from the financial services, energy, retail, transport and healthcare sectors, among others, routinely instruct Addleshaw Goddard to advise on equal pay, TUPE, workforce restructuring and industrial relations matters alongside issues arising from corporate transactions. Equally well versed in handling contentious work, the group jointly led by David Hughes and the 'well regarded' Kim Pattullo also handles regular employment tribunal proceedings pertaining to unfair dismissal and discrimination claims.

Practice head(s):Kim Pattullo; David Hughes

Key Clients

Action 4 Equality (Scotland)


2 Touch BPO

Enventure International

Ove Arup

Oodle Financial Services


ANM Group


Slater Menswear

GAP Group


Smarter Grid Solutions

Heart of Midlothian

Work highlights

  • Acting for Action 4 Equality (Scotland) in a class action, acting for approximately 11,000 claimants in Scotland's largest equal pay litigation.
  • Acted for Eastern Western Motor Group in the purchase of the whole of the share capital of Barnetts Motor Group, which included assistance with TUPE transfers.
  • Providing operational and strategic industrial relations advice to the board and senior HR team of a national logistics company, including advice on balloting, collective grievance and strike avoidance actions.
  • Represented Gist in a hearing before the Glasgow Employment Tribunal involving allegations of unfair dismissal, trade union victimisation and harassment.

BTO Solicitors LLP serves a broad client base consisting of individuals, small and large companies alongside membership organisations and insurance companies. The team's expertise spans various sectors, but it is particularly noted for its experience in the healthcare industry including its niche advising doctors and dentists on regulatory and disciplinary issues. Much of its work pertains to contentious and non-contentious whistleblowing, discrimination, holiday pay, minimum wage and TUPE matters. 'Good advisor' Caroline Carr heads the team, which includes Laura Salmond; Salmond is 'always available and provides first-class advice' on the full range of employment law.

Practice head(s):Caroline Carr

Other key lawyers:David Hoey; Laura Salmond; Rhona Wark


'Makes the client feel important.'

'Immediate responses to enquiries.'

'Takes the time to understand the client's business to give tailored advice.'

'David Hoey is an absolute legend.'

Key Clients

Prisoner Officers’ Association for Scotland

Booth Welsh Automation

Key Housing Association

Royal & Sun Alliance

Medical and Dental Defence Union of Scotland (MDDUS)

Royal College of Nursing (RCN)

Chubb Insurance UK

Duddingston Golf Club

City of Edinburgh Council

Work highlights

  • Instructed by the Prison Officers Association (Scotland) to advise over 3,000 members and their immediate family on a wide range of employment matters including discrimination, capability, misconduct, whistleblowing and data protection.
  • Advised Booth Welsh Automation on TUPE, redundancy, discipline and high level exists and successfully defended a claim in the Employment Tribunal.
  • Providing advice to Key Housing Association and Community Lifestyles on a rage of employment law matters including holiday pay and the national minimum wage.
  • Providing advice to Chubb Insurance’s large corporate insured on their employment claims via their Employment Practices Liability insurance policies.
  • Represented a member of the Royal College of Nursing in a minimum wage claim.

Clyde & Co LLP has carved out a 'strong' practice defending clients, most notably from the public sector, against various claims brought before the Employment Tribunal; its contentious work typically concerns whistleblowing, discrimination, equal pay and unfair dismissal claims alongside mass holiday and equal pay litigation. The 'excellent' Stephen Miller heads the team, which includes 'very efficient' discrimination law expert Frances Ross.

Practice head(s):Stephen Miller

Other key lawyers:Graham Mitchell; Frances Ross; Robert King


'Provides robust and efficient advice that's easy to understand.'

'Excellent customer service.'

'The team are good communicators and always on hand to assist when required.'

'Takes the time to understand the client's business and provides tailored advice.'

'Approachable and very supportive.'

'Stephen Miller is balanced in his approach. He clearly has extensive knowledge of his field and delivers his advice in a way that is not only well presented for the in-house lawyers but is also readily understood by non-lawyers.'

'Robust in its commercial outlook when giving legal advice.'

'Graham Mitchell's intellect, calm nature and vast experience help enormously when it comes to navigating through complex legal matters.'

Key Clients

Glasgow City Council

The City of Edinburgh Council

Scottish Police Authority

Malcolm Group

Devro Group

J & J Denholm

Scottish Ballet

Airth Castle Hotel

Argyll, Lomond & the Islands Energy Agency

Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland

Work highlights

  • Supporting Glasgow City Council in the defence of equal pay and sex discrimination claims since 2005, with the number now exceeding 14,000 claims.
  • Defending the Scottish Police Authority against whistleblowing claims brought by a director.
  • Defending claims challenging the Fife Council's job evaluation scheme.

Dentons' 'responsive and approachable' team has a strong profile for insolvency-related and corporate employment work, which frequently involves other UK jurisdictions, but the team's expertise also expands to various other HR matters including executive contracts and data protection issues. In litigation, handling equal and holiday pay claims, discrimination and unfair dismissal matters alongside whistleblowing allegations are particular areas of expertise. The 'very professional' Mark Hamilton is the main contact for Scotland following Amanda Jones' appointment as the firm's global woman's advancement director in October 2018. The 'very experienced' Alison Weatherhead was appointed counsel in March 2018 and advises on the full spectrum um employment law, while in April 2018, director Alan Delaney moved to Morton Fraser.

Practice head(s):Mark Hamilton

Other key lawyers:Alison Weatherhead 

Key Clients

The Official Receiver

Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co Partners

TUI Holidays

Barclays Bank

Menzies Aviation

The Edrington Group

DuPont Teijin Films

W. L. Gore UK

Martin Currie Investment Management

MB Aerospace

Educational Institute of Scotland

Work highlights

  • Advised the Official Receiver as liquidator and PwC as special managers on various employment aspects concerning the liquidation of Carillion, including the transfer of employees out of the liquidated companies.
  • Advised Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co Partners on TUPE, redundancy and international employment law matters pertaining to its acquisition of Unilever's global spreads business.
  • Advised GfK on the UK employment aspects of the client's sale of four global divisions in its custom research business, including TUPE, restructuring and collective redundancy matters.
  • Providing assistance to LGT Capital Partners with general HR matters, and advising on complex recruitment arrangements for consultants who carry out regulated activities in the UK, but are based abroad.
  • Responded to proceedings brought against Falkirk Football and Athletic Club by the Scottish Premier Football League involving allegations of inducing breaches of the employment contracts between another club and those managers.

Shepherd and Wedderburn expanded its client base in the technology sector with various new client wins adding to its broad sector expertise spanning energy, finance, education, leisure and public sectors, among others. The team led by the 'very good' Neil Maclean handles a wide range of employment law work, which frequently pertains to various commercial projects and corporate activities, but it also provides assistance with GDPR and senior management matters alongside disputes. Katie Russell is 'very knowledgeable and experienced', most notably in financial sector remuneration.

Practice head(s):Neil MacLean

Other key lawyers:Katie Russell

Key Clients


Epic Games


Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL)


University of Aberdeen




The Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland

Work highlights

  • Providing regular employment law advice to long-term client Epic Games, including various employment law issues arising from its strategic acquisition of the business and assets of Cloudgine.
  • Continues to provide advice on the remuneration structures of Commonwealth Bank of Australia's UK asset management business.
  • Successfully defending British Midland Airways against a discrimination claim in excess of £350,000.
  • Advising the University of Edinburgh, the University of Glasgow, and University of Aberdeen on all employment, immigration and pensions matters.
  • Advising Fortinet on the employment aspects of its acquisition of ZoneFox, an Edinburgh headquartered company.

Frequently working in conjunction with the firm's personal injury and human rights practice, Balfour+Manson LLP handles an array of contentious and non-contentious employment law matters; in the contentious space, the team is best known for its experience in claimant work concerning discrimination and unfair dismissal claims while also acting for respondants. Regular non-contentious instructions include GDPR and various HR matters. Robert Holland heads the team, which includes contentious employment law expert Sarah Shiels, who made partner in January 2019.

Practice head(s):Robert Holland

Other key lawyers:Sarah Shiels

Key Clients

Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS)

DAS Legal Expenses Insurance

British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA)

IWGB (Independent Workers Union)

Work highlights

  • Continues to represent Educational Institute of Scotland in employment tribunal claims; in 2018, the team successfully litigated a ten day unfair dismissal hearing for a teacher dismissed on the grounds of statutory bar.
  • Instructed by the British Airline Pilot Association to advise on the implications of GDPR and the new Data Protecon Act 2018 in relation to collective agreements on Flight Data Management which the Union has with individual commercial airlines.
  • Advising Cricket Scotland on issues relating to the players such as salaries, bonuses, commercial rights, funding and creating a pathway into retirement.

Simon Allison's 'very active and responsive' team at Blackadders LLP regularly works in close conjunction with its corporate team to advise on TUPE matters, executive service agreements and severance agreements arising from acquisitions and disposals, while also handling a wide range of contentious matters; these frequently pertain to claims of unpaid holiday, unfair dismissal and discrimination, where the team acts for employers and employees. In October 2018, the 'extremely knowledgeable and supportive' Donna Reynolds, who has a particular focus on discrimination law, joined from CCW Business Lawyers, now Wright, Johnston & Mackenzie LLP.

Practice head(s):Simon Allison

Other key lawyers:Donna Reynolds


'The team is very responsive and provides balanced and pragmatic advice.'

'Excellent team work.'

'It's a cohesive and professional unit. When one of them is not there, the cover is excellent.'

'They put themselves in the shoes of the client which enables them to give good practical advice - not just the straight legal view.'

'Strong team.'

Key Clients

Canongate Books

Balnacraig School

CJ Lang & Son

Robertson Homes

National Express Group

New Park Medical Practice

Dundee Contemporary Arts

Fairmont St Andrews

Traverse Theatre

Work highlights

  • Assisted Canongate Books with all employment law aspects concerning its acquisition of the London publishing company Severn House Publishers. This included the transfer of Severn House Publishers’ employees to the client which required advice on the application of the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006.
  • Successfully resisted a claim for unfair dismissal and disability discrimination by a former employee of Balnacraig School.
  • Successfully resisted multiple claims for unpaid holiday pay brought against CJ Lang & Son by an employee.
  • Represented a client in an employment tribunal claim alleging that he had been unfairly dismissed and unlawfully discriminated against on the grounds of disability.
  • Advised Dundee Contemporary Arts in the resistance of an employment tribunal claim for unfair dismissal, age discrimination and sex discrimination.

Harper Macleod LLP routinely assists clients with commercial and transactions and restructuring-related employment law matters while the group led by the 'personable' Bruce Caldow also has a strong profile for contentious work, routinely defending clients against claims of discrimination and unfair dismissal, among others, at the Employment Tribunal; it also conducts investigations following whistleblowing complaints. With a strong presence in the sport sector, the team receives frequent instructions from various sports organisations but also acts for an extensive roster of public and third sector clients alongside corporates. Dawn Robertson moved to Rooney Nimmo in May 2018.

Practice head(s):Bruce Caldow


'The team is tenacious in pursuing its client's interests.'

'Bruce Caldow impresses with his consideration and willingness to find innovative solutions.'

Key Clients

Glasgow City Council

Celtic FC

Compello Staffing

Neogen Europe Group

Cornerstone Community Care

Dumfries & Galloway Housing Partnership

Forestry Commission


Historic Environment Scotland

Teekay Corporation

Work highlights

  • Successfully defended a long running unfair dismissal claim brought against Glasgow Life by a former employee.
  • Providing regular advice to Webhelp UK on international outsourcing deals.
  • Regular advice to Cornerstone Community Care on a wide variety of employment issues including a complex and novel restructuring and modernisation programme.
  • Advised Go Beyond Services on various employment law matter arising from its acquisition of OEE Consulting (OEE) and OEE's subsequent merger with gobeyond.

With strong presence in the Highlands and Islands region, the 'friendly, knowledgeable and flexible' team at Ledingham Chalmers LLP is noted for its 'practical and professional approach'. The practice acts for a number of large companies, family-owned business, SMEs and individuals within the region, most notably from the oil and gas sectors, but it also strengthened its presence in the Central Belt region with the arrival of John Lee from Lindsays in February 2019; he joined the firm's Edinburgh office and is well versed in discrimination law. The team handles a wide range of employment law matters, including corporate support work, but it has particular strength in representing claimants and respondents in disputes. The 'professional, calm and outcome-focused' Kirk Tudhope heads the team.

Practice head(s):Kirk Tudhope

Other key lawyers:John Lee


'Always tells the client where they stand.'

'Extremely commercially aware.'

'Very quick response times to queries.'

Key Clients

LifeScan Scotland

Highland Fuels

Baxters Food Group

Orion Engineering Services

John Gordon & Son

SGL Carbon Fiber

Green Team Christmas Trees

Moray Leisure

Hawco & Sons

Work highlights

  • Successfully defended Green Team Christmas Trees against an unfair dismissal claim by having the case dismissed at the preliminary hearing.

Lindsays has substantial expertise in the third sector but also acts for various SMEs and larger privately owned employers as well as senior executives in a wide range of non-contentious and contentious issues; the latter is an area of particular expertise for the team, leading to regular instructions concerning claims of unfair dismissal, discrimination and whistleblowing alongside bullying and sexual harassment as well as disciplinary actions taken against employees. Non-contentious work frequently involves termination of employment and employment status matters. The 'very pragmatic and commercially minded' Ben Doherty heads the team, which lost John Lee to Ledingham Chalmers LLP in February 2019.

Practice head(s):Ben Doherty


'Ben Doherty works hard for his clients.'

'Pragmatic and solution-driven approach.'

'Considers the client's company culture before making suggestions.'

Key Clients

2 Agriculture

Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH)

Castle Water

McLaughlin and Harvey Construction

Hostelling Scotland

AGR Automation

Borland Insurance

William Stephens

Carr Gomm

Viewpoint Housing Association

Work highlights

  • Tribunal representation in the successful defence of a claim of unfair dismissal and whistleblowing.
  • Against the background of the #metoo movement, the team advised a client on complaints of bullying and sexual harassment brought by a female PA against her line manager.
  • Advice to a new client accused by an employee of subjecting her to a detriment following a whistleblowing email sent to the client’s local authority funder.
  • Provided advice on the employment termination of a senior member of the client’s account team.
  • Defended a client against unfair dismissal and whistleblowing claims brought by an employee.

The 'good' team at MacRoberts LLP regularly acts for public and third sector bodies, while its client base also includes various private sector players, in employment litigation concerning unfair dismissal, discrimination and remuneration issues including a number of class actions and whistleblowing matters; the team also represents employees. In non-contentious work, the group led by Katy Wedderburn is noted for its experience handling TUPE transfers, collective consultation processes and senior executive exits alongside employment contracts and compliance matters.

Practice head(s):Katy Wedderburn

Other key lawyers:Deborah Miller; John Macmillan

Key Clients


The Scottish Government

Johnston Press (now named JPIMedia)

Glasgow City Council

City of Edinburgh Council

ENABLE Scotland

Hillcrest Group

The House of Bruar

CCHG t/ a Vaporized

Work highlights

  • Defended Transport Scotland, on behalf of the Scottish Government, against a class action pertaining to holiday pay.
  • Provided advice and tribunal representation to the University of Dundee in relation to claims for unfair dismissal, breach of contract and indirect age discrimination.
  • Defended McTear Contracts against claims of unfair dismissal, sex discrimination and other allegations.
  • Advised ENABLE Scotland on mean and median pay gaps and zero hour arrangements.
  • Acted for Vaporized on an unfair dismissal and disability discrimination claim raised by its production manager.

Best known for its education sector expertise, Thorntons Law LLP acts for an extensive roster of higher education institutions and research centres but the practice also represents local authorities and housing associations alongside healthcare, manufacturing and and leisure sector clients, among others. Its predominately employer-focused work frequently involves discrimination and whistleblowing cases, industrial actions, TUPE matters, collective redundancies and holiday pay litigation as well as corporate governance and regulatory issues. 'Safe pair of hands' Noele McClelland heads the 'impressive' team which includes new arrival Chris Phillips; he joined the firm in April 2018 from Loch Employment Law and mainly acts for employers.

Practice head(s):Noele McClelland

Other key lawyers:Debbie Fellows; Chris Phillips


'Always takes the time to understand the client's business in order to provide tailored commercial advice.'

'The team always takes a pragmatic, common sense approach and gives the full picture of options and risks.'

'Debbie Fellows provides first-class advice and possesses a talent of cutting straight to the heart of the problem in order to find the correct solution.'

'Its assistance is consistently of a very high standard.'

'Prompt, professional service.'

'Chris Phillips provides timely, accurate information.'

Key Clients

Robert Gordon University

University of Stirling

Glasgow School of Art

University of Abertay

Caledonia Housing Association

Don & Low

University of Strathclyde

Perth College

Scot JCB

A.M. Phillip

Work highlights

  • Provided strategic advice to Don & Low on restructuring certain areas of this major manufacturing business including associated redundancy issues.
  • Advised Perth College on a senior management restructure and associated grievances regarding bullying and harassment.
  • Advised A.M. Phillip Limited on the sale of a large proportion of its business and the associated employment matters concerning the transfer of several sites to a new operator and one site closure.
  • Continued advice to Colleges Scotland on national bargaining and industrial relations issues.
  • Advised the University of Abertay on a significant restructure of its academic schools, moving from five to four academic schools, and the implications for employees.

The 'hugely knowledgeable, approachable and non-judgemental' team at TLT has been particularly active defending corporate clients, most notably from the construction and infrastructure sectors, against various claims such as discrimination, unfair dismissal and holiday pay but it also handles TUPE matters arising from business acquisitions, restructuring and redundancy scenarios as well as collective bargaining and whistleblowing matters. Employment litigator Jonathan Rennie heads the team.

Practice head(s):Jonathan Rennie


'Apart from him being a very approachable individual, I perceive Jonathan Rennie's strengths to be in his knowledge and in his practical application of that to real life situations i.e. applied employment legislation. Lawyers can be very well versed in the legal aspects and case law but not always well versed in how it is applied.'

'Jonathan Rennie is a considerable strength in the litigation team. I have essentially followed him from another practice as he possesses the attitude and skill I value and offers realistic advice.'

'The team instils great confidence in the client.'

'Explains things in an understandable way.'

Key Clients

BEAR Scotland

Raeburn Drilling and Geotechnical

Breedon Aggregates

Glasgow Taxis


Antibody Analytics

TBR Global


Sterling Furniture

R.J. Blasting

The 'very competent mid-sized firm' Aberdein Considine is particularly experienced in handling employment tribunal work for employers as well as executives, including whistleblowing investigations, but also advises on GDPR, TUPE transfers and general HR matters. 'Fine employment lawyer' Sally-Anne Anderson heads the 'highly responsive' team.

Practice head(s):Sally-Anne Anderson

Other key lawyers:David Burnside; Jennifer Gardner


'Provides very practical and commercial advice.'

'The firm is keen to develop its skills and practice and takes the training of its junior members seriously.'

'David Burnside's wisdom and practical advice are invaluable.'

Key Clients

Air Control Entech

Mackie Ramsay Taylor

Work highlights

  • Assisted Air Control Entech with director service agreements.
  • Advised Mackie Ramsay Taylor on the exit of a retiring partner.

DLA Piper Scotland LLP frequently acts in close conjunction with its national employment team, handling UK-wide and cross-border matters in the banking and financial services, food and drink, insurance, life sciences and technology sectors, among others, pertaining to internal restructurings, transactions and projects. Other work includes assistance with GDPR issues and employment tribunal litigation. Kate Hodgkiss is the main contact for Scotland.

Practice head(s):Kate Hodgkiss

Key Clients



Dawnfresh Seafoods



Scottish Police Authority

Scottish Water

CPA Global Management

Charles Taylor

Elements Materials Technology

Felio Sylvania Europe



Work highlights

  • Following Smartsheet's acquisition of a technology business in Scotland, the team advised on the integration of UK employees into its business.
  • Acting as HEINEKEN’s sole employment law advisor and advising the client on all aspects of employment relations and employment matters. In 2018, this included advice on senior exits, disciplinary matters, industrial relations documentation and employment tribunal litigation, among other issues.
  • Successfully defended HSBC against a claim of discrimination based on race and religion.
  • Advising Scottish Water on employment law issues associated with major IT infrastructure projects, including the assessment of employment risks and implications at bidder stage, among other matters.
  • Advising Hitachi Rail Europe on the transfer of more than 500 employees following the successful bid by the client to undertake maintenance of rolling stock and management of a number of maintenance depots.

Eversheds Sutherland is particularly active in contentious employment work, defending employers against various claims before the Employment Tribunal, and conducting internal investigations, but the team led by Dawn Dickson also provides corporate support work and advises on GDPR and remuneration matters, including gender pay gap issues.

Practice head(s):Dawn Dickson

Key Clients

Scottish Autism

Construction Industry Training Board (CITB)

Jabil Circuit

Virgin Money

Shin-Etsu Handotai (Europe)

PSP Media Group

Mansfield Estates (Scone Palace)

Turkish Airlines


Work highlights

  • Advised Scottish Autism on GDPR matters.
  • Defending a major bank against various claims brought before the Employment Tribunal.
  • Successfully defended a claim of unfair constructive dismissal and breach of contract involving a higher earner and former employee of Carpetright’s business.
  • Assisted Rowan Alba with a national minimum wage audit.
  • Represented Scottish Autism in nine separate claims for holiday pay, successfully securing the withdrawal of five of these claims and negotiating a global settlement for the client of less than £1,500.

With a focus on the North of Scotland, Stronachs LLP's 'pragmatic and solution-oriented' team covers the full spectrum of employment law work spanning HR support, corporate transactions, GDPR and compliance issues. In litigation, the team regularly acts in TUPE disputes and contentious remuneration matters.

Practice head(s):David Chalmers

Other key lawyers:Anya Duncan


'Achieves the desired outcome whilst minimising the legal risks.'

'Provides a first-class service.'

'David Chalmers can anticipate problems arising from any given course of action and enable us to take steps to mitigate risks.'

Key Clients

Global Energy Group

Oil States Industries UK

Xodus Group

Genesis Oil and Gas Consultants

Walkers Shortbread

Stork Technical Services

NHV Group

4D Pharma Research

Eland Oil & Gas

Target Well Control

OSM Maritime Group

ASV Pioneer

QMHotel UK

Work highlights

  • Advised Target Well Control on a significant cross-border redundancy programme covering both UK and France.
  • Advised Xodus Group on the implementation of GDPR.
  • Advising Oil States Industries (UK) on the closure of a manufacturing and testing facility in Cumbria and the relocation of its operations to an existing facility in West Lothian, Scotland. This included advice on the statutory collective consultation with representatives of c.50 affected employees and advice on contractual rights and obligations of employees to work at other sites.
  • Advising ASV Pioneer on the purchase of a ship and associated TUPE matters concerning the crew of the ship.

Health and safety

Index of tables

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

Leading individuals: Hall of Fame

  1. 1

Leading individuals

  1. 1

BTO Solicitors LLP's 'vastly experienced and professional' regulatory defence practice is a respected player in the market and acts for an impressive client roster spanning various industries including sport, agriculture, retail, transport, construction, food and drink and manufacturing, among others, while the team is also noted for its work on behalf of insurers. The 'excellent' Clare Bone, who is also 'very pleasant to work with', and the 'extremely knowledgeable' Vikki Watt jointly head the practice. Associate and regulatory defence lawyer David Cairns is 'up and coming' and associate Lindsay MacNeill, who joined the team in March 2018 from Pinsent Masons LLP, is noted for her 'straight-forward advice'.

Practice head(s):Clare Bone; Vikki Watt

Other key lawyers:Alasdair Gillies; David Cairns; Lindsay MacNeill


'They are peerless at anticipating and managing risks.'

'Professional, approachable and calming in stressful moments.'

'Clare Bone and Vikki Watt have an unmatched blend of experience, knowledge and communication skills.'

'When a client faces challenges, the team provides prompt and professional solutions.'

'The team is 100% supportive and takes the time to explain matters carefully and clearly.'

'Response times to enquiries are excellent.'

'Second to none.'

'The team has a drive to achieve the best possible outcome for the client.'

Key Clients

Orkney Cheese Company

Bakkavor Foods

Twatt Potatoes

Inex Works

AIG Europe

Mactaggart and Mickel Homes

CHUBB European Group

NFU Mutual Insurance Society

Cunningham Lindsey

Work highlights

  • Acted for leading fresh foods wholesaler Bakkavor Foods in a prosecution following the death of one of its employees from a head injury incurred from a falling crane.
  • Acted for Orkney Cheese Company in a prosecution concerning a breach of the Work at Height Regulations 2005.
  • Advised Inex Works Civils following an HSE investigation into a work at height incident occurring on one of their customer sites.
  • Successfully represented Alan Twatt Potatoes following a health and safety investigation into an incident where an employee fell from a makeshift platform on a forklift truck.

The team at Burness Paull LLP is particularly rated for its strength in the oil and gas sector and led by 'go-to lawyer for offshore health and safety matters' Rona Jamieson. Its clients, including various global oil companies, receive regular assistance with investigations and prosecutions alongside compliance matters.

Practice head(s):Rona Jamieson

Other key lawyers:Lynne Gray


'Leaders in their field.'

'Breadth and depth of expertise is unparalleled.'

'Particularly strong in off-shore oil and gas cases.'

'Rona Jamieson is unmatched in her knowledge and breadth of expertise.'

'Lynne Gray combines tactical approach with exceptional client handling skills.'

Key Clients



Repsol Sinopec

Maersk Oil



Spirit Energy

Marathon Oil

Babcock International

Arnold Clark

Work highlights

  • Advised Quality Food Products Aberdeen on liability and agreed terms for a plea with the Procurator Fiscal following a breach of the Working at Height Regulations.
  • Acted for Shell in relation to a criminal prosecution following an accident on the Brent Delta offshore installation where three workers were injured.

Noted for its broad health and safety practice, Pinsent Masons LLP's 'extremely professional and knowledgeable' team receives frequent instructions from high hazard industry players, including construction, waste, manufacturing and energy sector clients. As well as its expertise in handling investigations and prosecutions, the team led by the 'very good' Laura Cameron also provides regular compliance advice.

Practice head(s):Laura Cameron

Other key lawyers:Bruce Craig; Tom Stocker


'Extremely friendly, courteous and professional service.'

Key Clients

BP Exploration Operating Company

Shell UK

Balfour Beatty

BAM Nuttall

Peel Ports

DONG Energy (Power) UK

Galliford Try

The University of Edinburgh



Work highlights

  • Advised Forth Crossing Bridge Constructors, a joint venture between American Bridge, Dragados, Hochtief and Galliford Try, on a serious lifting incident during the construction of the new Queensferry Crossing Bridge.

Acting for corporates, public sector clients and individuals, BLM is well versed in handling a wide range of health and safety work, including fatal and serious injury cases, corporate manslaughter investigations, environmental exposures and food safety matters. The 'very capable' James Varney heads the team.

Practice head(s):James Varney

Key Clients



QBE Insurance

Glasgow City Council

Work highlights

  • Achieved success at trial for Robert Purvis Plant Hire, which was prosecuted for allegedly causing the death of an employee through a failure to have a safe system of work in a vehicle maintenance workshop.

Brodies LLP acts for corporate clients alongside insurers across various industries with particular expertise in the marine and fishing, construction, oil and gas and leisure sectors. Noted for its full-service offering, the team routinely advises on regulatory issues and acts for clients in regulatory and internal investigations and subsequent court actions. Elena Fry heads the team, which includes professional negligence lawyer Tony Jones QC, who joined the firm in June 2018 from BTO Solicitors LLP.

Practice head(s):Elena Fry

Other key lawyers:Duncan MacLean; Paul Marshall; Malcolm Mackay; Laura McMillan; Tony Jones QC


'Pro-active engagement.'

'Good focus on adding value for the client.'

'Makes options available clearly understood.'

'Paul Marshall provides timely, considered and balanced advice.'

'Very good attention to detail.'

Key Clients

Advance Construction Group


City Holdings

Babcock International Group

National Express Group

Sunderland Marine

Steamship P&I

Standard P&I

Northlink Ferries

CalMac Ferries


Subsea 7

Aberdeen City Council

Air Transat

Work highlights

  • Advising Sunderland Marine Insurance Company and owners of MFV Nancy Glen after the loss of the fishing vessel, and two fatalities, including an investigation by the Marine Accident Investigation Branch.
  • Advised Sunderland Marine Insurance and its insured, owner of fishing vessel Annie T, on a regulatory investigation following a fatal man overboard incident from a fishing vessel in a remote location on the Western Isles including representation at the Fatal Accident Inquiry.
  • Advising Northlink Ferries on marine health and safety issues and also acting via its insurers handling any claims concerning passengers, crew or cargo interests.
  • Advising CalMac Ferries on various claims and provides assistance with investigations by various bodies such as MCA, MAIB and HSE.
  • Instructed by Clyde Fishermen’s Association to investigate and represent one of its skipper members in a charge of criminal damage to static fishing gear while trawling.

Clyde & Co LLP's 'pragmatic' team jointly led by Mark Donaldson and Gilles Graham has a fine reputation among insurers but it also acts for individuals and commercial entities in criminal prosecutions and associated civil claims. The group has been particularly active handling investigations and prosecutions arising from severe and fatal workplace accidents while environmental health investigations work constitutes another key area of expertise.

Practice head(s):Mark Donaldson

Other key lawyers:Andrew Constable


'Strong litigation firm with the breadth and depth of experience to handle health and safety prosecutions and any corresponding civil claims.'

'Swift response times.'

'Mark Donaldson's communication, advice and explanations of complex matters in a clear and sympathetic way is absolutely outstanding.'

Anderson Strathern has notable experience representing public bodies and private companies in enforcement notice appeals, fatal accident inquiries and Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigations and also handles compliance work. Jonathan Guy is the main contact.

Practice head(s):Jonathan Guy

Key Clients

Health and Safety Executive (HSE)

Scottish Prison Service


Scottish Water

Scottish Midland Co-operative Society

The Highland Council

Northern Lighthouse Board

European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA)

Work highlights

  • Continues to represent the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) in the Fatal Accident Inquiry into the Clutha helicopter accident of 29 November 2013.

With notable energy sector expertise, CMS' client roster includes various multinational energy companies that seek advice on offshore safety matters, including investigations and offshore environmental regulation, alongside other regulatory compliance issues. The team led by Jan Burgess, who divides her time between Aberdeen and London, also acts for various other industry players including construction, leisure, waste, manufacturing and the public sector.

Practice head(s):Jan Burgess

Morton Fraser regularly acts for regulators, most notably the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), in fatal accident inquiries, investigations and appeals against enforcement and prohibition notices alongside regulatory matters. Jenny Dickson heads the team.

Practice head(s):Jenny Dickson

Key Clients

Health and Safety Executive (HSE)

Air Accident investigation Branch (AAIB)

Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR)

Work highlights

  • Acting on behalf of the Department for Transport and the Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB) in the fatal accident inquiry following the Clutha Bar police helicopter crash in Glasgow.
  • Defending an appeal against an improvement notice served by the Health and Safety Executive.

DAC Beachcroft Scotland LLP provides 'straight-forward advice' and is 'easy to work with'. The 'very good' team handles a broad range of health and safety work and is well versed in advising clients, many of which stem from the construction, manufacturing, healthcare, retail, transport and public sectors, on investigations for corporate manslaughter, health and safety offences alongside environmental offences. The group is also known for its extensive insurance client base. The 'knowledgeable and experienced' Colin Bissett is the main contact in Scotland.

Practice head(s):Colin Bissett


'Has a wealth of court experience.'

'Can hit the ground running in any health and safety investigation, providing quick and accurate advice.'

'Takes preparation to another level.'

'Leaves no stone left unturned for the client.'

Key Clients


AXA Corporate Solutions


Zurich Municipal




NFU Mutual

Liberty Global

HDI Global

Work highlights

  • Advising a construction company on HSE and Crown Office investigations following a workplace fatality.
  • Advising a multinational manufacturer on a fatality at one of its manufacturing plants.
  • Successfully convinced the Crown Office to take no further action against a national house builder client following the injury to children on site.
  • Advising a public authority in relation to a fatality on a construction project.
  • Advising a national construction company following a fatality on site.

With particular expertise in the food and drink, retail, oil and gas and rail transportation sectors, Malcolm Gunnyeon's 'pragmatic' team at Dentons provides its clients with health and safety compliance advice and represents them in investigations.

Practice head(s):Malcolm Gunnyeon


'Very good understanding of applicable regulations.'

'Malcolm Gunnyeon displays all the qualities that one would want when faced with a potential problem; he is calm and has a great breadth of knowledge and experience.'

'Malcolm Gunnyeon has a fearsome intellect.'

Key Clients

The Edrington Group

John Lewis & Partners

Baxters Food Group

Avis Budget

HC One

The Action Group


Menzies Distribution

Zenith Bank (UK)

Holland & Barrett Retail

Work highlights

  • Representing Holland & Barrett Retail in relation to statutory investigations arising out of a major fire at one of its Scottish locations.
  • Advising Stork Technical Services on various health and safety issues affecting the client's business.


Index of tables

  1. Immigration
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next Generation Partners

Leading individuals

  1. 1
    • Grace McGill - McGill & Co

Next Generation Partners

  1. 1
    • Darren Stevenson - McGill & Co
    • John Vassiliou - McGill & Co

Edinburgh-based David Brown heads up the team at Drummond Miller LLP, which is recognised by peers and clients alike for its 'substantial' expertise handling the full spectrum of business and personal immigration law. Janey Armstrong heads the team in Glasgow.

Practice head(s):David Brown; Janey Armstrong

Other key lawyers:Humphrey Ndubuisi

'Strongly recommended' specialist immigration law firm McGill & Co attracts praise for its broad offering, encompassing all aspects of immigration and nationality law including, among others, corporate and business immigration, sponsorship licensing, family migration, inter-country adoptions, European Union free movement law and British nationality law. The 'superb' Grace McGill heads the 'impressive and highly skilled' team, which includes the 'engaging and personable' Darren Stevenson, who has been increasingly active working for TV and film companies, and the 'extremely knowledgeable, diligent and responsive' John Vassiliou, who was promoted to partner in November 2018 and manages the firm's Edinburgh private client casework.

Practice head(s):Grace McGill

Other key lawyers:Darren Stevenson; John Vassiliou


'Leading immigration firm in Scotland.'

'They are clear communicators as well as responsive and thorough.'

'Darren Stevenson has a strategic understanding of the immigration system.'

With particular expertise in business immigration, Morton Fraser's strength lies in advising clients, including multinational companies, on Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) applications, Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) applications in the digital technology sector and Tier 2 sponsor licence suspension and revocation issues. As another key area of expertise, the team routinely handles relocation company work and assists individuals with personal immigration matters. David Hossack is the main contact.

Practice head(s):David Hossack

Other key lawyers:Stuart McWilliams


'Morton Fraser, Immigration Division is highly professional in its approach - the team members recognise the emotion of the client and work empathetically yet in a focused and practical manner.  The language used is easy to understand for those outwith the legal arena.  Speedy responses are always available. Where there are individual challenges the team look for ways in which to overcome these proactively'.

'Warm yet professional, highly knowledgable and up-to-date, empathetic and speedy responses to queries'.

'We only ever dealt with Esther Bury and Stuart McWilliams. They were both communicative and helpful at all times'.

'Stuart McWilliams was punctual and delivered on time. His communication was clear and honest. He had all the knowledge and experience we needed. For the tasks for which we engaged him we couldn't have asked for more'.

Key Clients

AGS 360 Solutions

Axis Productions


TF Snacks

Televerde Europe

Full Creative

CSWind (UK)


EMS Employee Mobility Solutions


Work highlights

  • Represented a GP in a Human Rights claim, following refusal of her indefinite leave to remain application.
  • Advised a British national living abroad on a complex nationality case due to the use of a sperm donor to conceive his daughter.
  • The team continues to act as the immigration advisors for the relocation company AGS 360. This service involves providing ongoing immigration advice and preparing a range of visa applications for its clients, primarily BMW.
  • Advised Axis Productions on Tier 2 and Tier 5 visas alongside certificates of sponsorship, rights of spouse and ancestry visa holders while also advising its US chairman on possible business visa options to relocate to the UK.
  • Providing advice to a higher education institution on post-Brexit rights for EU staff.

Paul Brown's team at Anderson Strathern is best known for advising public and education sector clients alongside private sector companies on Brexit-related matters and other business immigration law issues arising from the employment of foreign staff. In other work, the practice also assists individuals with a wide range of immigration and citizenship issues.

Practice head(s):Paul Brown

Key Clients

Edinburgh Napier University

Glasgow Caledonian University

Glenmorangie/ LVMH

INEOS Infrastructure (Grangemouth)

University of the West of Scotland

Fairview International School (UK)


Hawick Knitwear

University of St Andrews

Edinburgh Napier University’s Business School

Work highlights

  • Advising Edinburgh Napier University on its sponsorship duties, both as an employer under Tier 2 and as an educational establishment under Tier 4, and particularly on the issues arising from Brexit.
  • Advising Glasgow Caledonian University on its sponsorship duties, both as an employer under Tier 2 and as an educational establishment under Tier 4, and particularly on the issues arising from Brexit.
  • Advising Glenmorangie/Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy on its sponsorship duties as an employer under Tier 2 and on compliance with UK immigration law, and particularly on the issues arising from Brexit.
  • Advising INEOS Infrastructure (Grangemouth) on its sponsorship duties as an employer under Tier 2 and on compliance with UK immigration law, and particularly on the issues arising from Brexit.
  • Advising the University of the West of Scotland on its sponsorship duties, both as an employer under Tier 2 and as an educational establishment under Tier 4, and particularly on the issues arising from Brexit.

Pinsent Masons LLP's 'very approachable and remarkably responsive' immigration group is part of the firm's employment law practice and puts significant emphasis on corporate immigration work, most notably in the energy, higher education, retail, infrastructure, sport and financial services sectors. Euan Smith and 'pragmatic and calm' legal director Joanne Hennessy are the main contacts.

Practice head(s):Euan Smith; Joanne Hennessy


'The team has detailed knowledge and experience of immigration law as well as the process and approach usually taken by the Home Office.'

'Provides tailored and practical advice.'

'Nothing is too much work for the team.'

Key Clients


Thales UK

Hymans Robertson

MOL Energy




Work highlights

  • Advised Thales UK on the sponsor licence structure for its company set-up.
  • Advising SSE on all aspects of corporate immigration law, including the right to work, Tier 5 and the Tier 2 sponsorship processes.
  • Continued advice to GfK on all aspects of corporate immigration law, including right to work, Tier 5 and Tier 2 sponsorship processes and indefinite leave to remain.
  • Advising MOL Energy on all aspects of corporate immigration law, including EEA applications, Tier 2 applications and Brexit-related matters.
  • Continued advice to Elutions on all aspects of corporate immigration law including Tier 2 applications and sponsor licence compliance duties.

'Very good contact for immigration work' Jamie Kerr joined Burness Paull LLP from Thorntons Law LLP in September 2018 and now heads the firm's 'very organised and helpful' immigration practice. It primarily deals with corporate and business immigration matters and has strong focus on advising inward investors as well as oil and gas and technology sector players.

Practice head(s):Jamie Kerr


'Experienced practitioners in immigration law with the resources of a commercial firm.'

'Jamie Kerr is sensible, savvy and well attuned at what will work at court.'

'Extremely knowledgeable.'

Key Clients

Scottish Television (STV)

Scottish Enterprise

BW Offshore (UK)


Savannah Petroleum

Consumer Club

The Blair Partnership

Work highlights

  • Providing advice to Scottish Enterprise on Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visas, sole representative of overseas business visas, Tier 2 (General) and Tier 2 (Intra Company Transfer) and Tier 5 visas.
  • Advised BW Offshore (UK) on obtaining sponsor licences to enable the client to be set up as an employer for overseas nationals.
  • Advised Savannah Petroleum on relocating key staff to the UK and on the immigration implications of purchasing key assets of another major company.
  • Provided advice to Consumer Club on immigration and visa requirements associated with the entity’s plans to expand and establish a commercial presence in the UK.

The Weightmans LLP team advises bluechip, multinational and university clients on various business immigration matters including Tier 2 visa and sponsor licence applications as well as Brexit-related issues.


Index of tables

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

Leading individuals: Hall of Fame

  1. 1

'Providing professional, seamless service', Pinsent Masons LLP has impressive strength in the pensions sector which translates into a steady flow of contentious and non-contentious mandates from employers, trustees and funds. The 'knowledgeable and pragmatic' team led by the 'highly experienced' Ian Gordon stands out for advising trustees of various defined benefit schemes on pension scheme funding agreements and security packages alongside buy-in and buy-out insurance contracts, among other issues. In the transactional space, where the team benefits from its strong co-operation with its corporate team, the group is well versed in handling pensions aspects of M&A transactions including pensions issues arising from solvent and insolvent corporate restructurings. The 'deeply knowledgeable, pragmatic and efficient' Ruth Tobias is 'highly recommended' for defined pension schemes.

Practice head(s):Ian Gordon

Other key lawyers:Ruth Tobias; Jae Fassam; Mairi Carlin


'The team has real bench strength.'

'Ruth Tobias is meticulous in her legal advice. She has a no-nonsense approach and gives clear and decisive opinions.'

'Provides straight-forward and solution-oriented advice.'

'Excellent communication.'

'The team is not afraid to offer advice that may not suit the client.'

'Like a good musical quartet, each individual works within a seamless approach while at the same time delivering individual excellence.'

'Jae Fassam is very knowledgeable and provides pragmatic and measured advice.'

Key Clients

The Plumbing and Mechanical Services(UK) Industry Pension Scheme

Babcock Naval Services Pension Scheme

Forth Ports Group Pension Scheme

Lothian Pension Fund

Trustees of the Scottish Solicitors Staff Pension Fund

RBS Ulster Bank

Marine Harvest Pension Scheme

The R&A

Trustees of Global Santa Fe North Sea Final Salary Pension Scheme

Work highlights

  • Advising the trustee of this £2bn non-associated multi-employer fund on the method, calculation and recovery of statutory debts going back over 10 years.
  • Advised the client on the transfer of past service pension benefits from the Babcock scheme to the Principal Civil Service Pension Scheme.
  • Advising the £6bn Lothian Pension Fund on all aspects of pensions, litigation, funds and governance work.
  • Involved in a number of issues on an on-going basis relating to pensions and reward work for RBS and Ulster Bank.
  • Advising the trustees on their duties in relation to a proposal by the company to close the defined benefits section of the scheme to future accrual and on a transfer of the DC Section of the scheme to a master trust.

Frequently working in conjunction with various other departments, Shepherd and Wedderburn's 'strong' pensions team is recognised for its broad offering and has a fine reputation acting for corporates and pension trustee clients, most notably in the financial services, higher education and energy sectors. Recently, the team handled various employment and GDPR matters pertaining to pension schemes alongside scheme documentation and scheme reorganisations as well as transactional matters. Andrew Holehouse, Louisa Knox, who is 'very pleasant to work with', and Edwin Mustard are the main contacts.

Practice head(s):Andrew Holehouse; Louisa Knox; Edwin Mustard

Key Clients

Scottish Widows Retirement Benefits Scheme

The Standard Life Staff Pension Scheme

ScottishPower Pension Scheme

Scottish Amicable Staff Pension Scheme

A.G. Barr Retirement Benefits Scheme

The University of Edinburgh Staff Benefits Scheme

The Miller Group Pension Scheme

Universal Music Group Pension Scheme

John Wood Group Retirement Benefits Scheme

Scottish Hydro-Electric Pension Scheme (SSE)

Work highlights

  • Advising the trustees of the scheme, a multi-billion pound hybrid final salary/ DC pension scheme sponsored by Standard Life Aberdeen, on all aspects of pensions law. Recently, the team advised the client on the implications of the £3bn sale of Standard Life Assurance to the Phoenix Group.
  • Acting for the trustee of the ScottishPower Pension Scheme, a multi-billion pound final salary pension scheme sponsored by Scottish Power UK. Recently, this included advice on the implementation of the scheme’s GDPR compliance project and scheme-specific advice on various investment-related matters, among other issues.
  • The team advised the trustee on GDPR compliance requirements and various governance-related matters, including documenting historic benefits of members and providing training on 21st Century Trusteeship and the Prudential M&G demerger.
  • Advising the client on various pension law matters; recently this included assistance with the appointment of JLT as scheme secretary, a change in policy around partial transfers and GDPR scheme compliance.
  • Advising the trustee of the newly established Coats UK Pension Scheme in relation to a consolidation of the three historic pension schemes associated with the Coats Group.

Juliet Bayne's 'absolutely committed and professional' team at Brodies LLP puts significant emphasis on pension trustee work, advising on defined pension schemes and the transfer of existing schemes to master trust arrangements, while also providing corporate employers with transactional pension law support and assisting various public sector clients with sector specific pension law matters.

Practice head(s):Juliet Bayne


'Juliet Bayne takes ownership of issues and leads her team by example. She is a good communicator and delivers advice in a clear and easily understood manner.'

'Charges realistic fees.'

'Tasks are appropriately resourced between senior and junior staff with good levels of oversight.'

'Genuine expertise in the niche area of local government pension schemes.'

'Hard-working, conscientious, professional, intelligent, pragmatic.'

'Does not sit on the fence and is willing to give a firm opinion on issues even if it's not the answer the client wants to hear.'

'Provides an excellent service.'

'Meets deadlines very effectively.'

'Juliet Bayne is always prepared to deal with matters regardless of her other deadlines.'

Key Clients

Menzies Pension Fund

Baxters Food Group

BPI Pension Trustees

Prudential Assurance Company

Trustees of the Howden Group Pension Plan

Intel Corporation

Trustees of the Emtelle UK Defined Benefit Pension Scheme

Trustee of the Gates UK Pension Scheme

Lothian Pension Fund

Work highlights

  • Advised on the controlled entry of British Steel Pension Scheme into the Pension Protection Fund (PPF), part of the joint venture between Thyssenkrupp and Tata Steel.
  • Advised this long-standing client on a bespoke deferred premium buy-out with Pension Insurance Corporation (PIC).
  • On-going advice on a rectification project concerning the equalisation of normal retirement ages.
  • Provided advice on a benefit redesign exercise which ultimately enabled this pension scheme to be bought out with an insurer and all members’ benefits secured.
  • Advice on preparing the buy-out and wind-up of a long-running occupational defined benefit pension scheme with a complex benefit structure.

With particular strength in corporate pensions advisory work, Burness Paull LLP is frequently called upon to advise on pensions aspects of M&A, private equity, investment and refinancing work. The 'highly responsive, technically sound and client-focused' team is led by the 'cool-headed and incredibly personable' Sarah Phillips and acts for a number of well known corporates, most notably from the finance, oil and gas and public sectors, as well as trustees. Pension litigation is another key area of expertise.

Practice head(s):Sarah Phillips

Other key lawyers:Margaret Meehan; Jennifer Adams; Deborah Adam; Caroline McIntyre


'The team appropriately measures risks against practical consequences.'

'Deborah Adam is very personable and professional; she delivers clear and concise advice in difficult circumstances and brings extensive experience of how issues can play out in practice.'

'Quite simply good advice presented very clearly with obvious commercial experience.'

'Margaret Meehan is cool, calm and collected as well as very knowledgeable and experienced; she gives clear, commercial and authoritative advice that is solution-oriented.'

'Client focus is second to none.'

'Bright, articulate and thorough, which, coupled with a strong commercial focus makes a strong practice.'

'The pensions team joins up well with other practices which reflects well on the firm as a whole.'

'The team seems to enjoy what they do which rubs off on clients and other advisors.'

'Sarah Phillips' technical knowledge is excellent and her ability to read situations and guide clients through complex issues is impressive. She has a very relaxed delivery style and clients relate to her easily.'

'Margaret Meehan is incredibly clever but also down-to-earth and easy to work with which is not always true of clever lawyers!'

Key Clients

John Menzies

MGM Assurance (Trustees)

Airdrie Savings Bank

A-Plan Holdco

Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority

The Trustees of the Glenmorangie Pension Scheme

ARC Pensions Law

Nucleus Financial Group

Lloyds Banking Group

Lothian Pension Fund

Trustees of the Havelock Europa Retirement Benefits Scheme

The Trustees of the Church of Scotland Pension Schemes

Work highlights

  • Acted for A-Plan Holdco in the share purchase of Endsleigh Insurance (owned by Zurich Insurance Group) involving pension liability restructuring matters.
  • Assisted John Menzies with the pensions aspects of the sale of its distribution business.
  • Advised the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority on proposed changes to the MPs’ pension scheme.
  • Advised Calachem on the closure of its occupational defined contribution pension scheme and the transfer of members’ benefits to contract-based pension arrangements.
  • Advised the trustees of the pension scheme of Havelock Europa on their negotiations with the company and the pensions regulator in the run up to the company entering administration.

With a strong profile for financial services, technology, utilities and life sciences sector work, CMS frequently advises employers on pension law matters arising from transactions, GDPR compliance, pension scheme governance, trustee changes and funding matters. Alastair Hill heads the team.

Practice head(s):Alistair Hill

Key Clients

NEC Semiconductors

Alliance Trust Savings

Raytheon Systems

Royal Blind


Scotia Gas Networks Pension Scheme

University of Glasgow

Tilney Discretionary Investment Management

Cameron Flow Control Technology

Work highlights

  • Provided international guidance on pensions and other employee benefits in respect of Francisco Partners' strategic global acquisition and take-private of Verifone.
  • Advised the client on pension law matters pertaining to its acquisition of a group of companies from the Kelda Group that operates four wastewater treatment works serving the North East of Scotland.
  • On-going advice on GDPR compliance and guaranteed minimum pension equalisation as well as investment management and custody agreements, among other matters.

The 'very reliable' June Crombie is 'a safe pair of hands' and heads up the 'very experienced and knowledgeable' team at DWF, which counts employers, trustees and providers of pension products to its clients. Typical work includes advice on defined pension schemes, pension scheme transfers, pension liability matters and pension law issues arising from transactions as well as regulatory concerns. The practice is also experienced in pension litigation.

Practice head(s):June Crombie

Other key lawyers:Colin Greig


'June Crombie always goes beyond what might be expected of her. She is a well known face in the Scottish pension industry and has many years of experience of dealing with employers, trustees and advisors.'

'Always gets the job done.'

'Excellent communicators in explaining practical pension solutions to their clients.'

'Colin Greig is first class and has a genuine understanding of the needs of his clients, enabling him to achieve workable solutions to complex areas of work.'

Key Clients



Pension Protection Fund

IKEA GreenTech


The Church of Scotland


Aliter Capital


Clyde (Topco)

North Lanarkshire Leisure

20-20 Trustees

Work highlights

  • Advised the client on pension liability matters arising from the acquisition of target companies.
  • Advised the client on pension liability matters arising from the acquisition of target companies.
  • Advised the client on moving a death benefit provision from a registered death benefit scheme to an excepted group life arrangement.
  • Assisted the client with pension matters pertaining to a transaction.
  • Advised the client on pension liabilities.

MacRoberts LLP handles regular instructions from trustees of various pension schemes and employers pertaining to gender equalisation, pension scheme liability, investment structures and wind-ups alongside M&A transactions. 'Extremely good technical lawyer' Martyn Shaw heads the 'pragmatic' team; he is 'commercially aware and understands how the legal issues fit into the bigger picture'.

Practice head(s):Martyn Shaw

Other key lawyers:James Keith


'James Keith is a safe pair of hands and a pleasure to work with; he turns around any issue in a prompt fashion while never compromising on quality.'

'Martyn Shaw is calm and assured and provides his clients with confidence.'

'Pragmatic and commercial outlook.'

'James Keith is an excellent lawyer with terrific attention to detail.'

'Very pleasant to work with.'

'The team has a can-do attitude. They are very focused on achieving good outcomes for their clients.'

'Good commercial acumen.'

'Martyn Shaw is a highly professional lawyer with real gravitas.'

Key Clients

Jacobs UK (and the trustees of its various pension schemes)

Johnston Press (and the trustees of the Johnston Press Pension Plan)

The Scottish Government

The T.P.S. Benefits Scheme

The MacRae & Dick Retirement Benefits Scheme


Scottish Leather Group

The Travis Perkins Pension & Dependants’ Pension Scheme

The SIG Retirement Benefits Plan

Work highlights

  • Advising the trustees of the scheme in connection with a change of third party administrator and undertaking the review and adjustment of the proposed administration agreements with particular focus on TUPE and data protection.
  • Advised the client on a scheme funding package.
  • Advised the trustee on a proposed change in the scheme’s pension benefit structure.
  • Following advising the trustee of the scheme on the successful implementation of a £30m medically underwritten buy-in funding deal with Just Retirement, the team provided advice on the scheme’s investment powers (including amending the scheme’s statement of investment principles) and the financial services compensation scheme, among other matters.
  • Advising the scheme trustees on equalising normal pension dates of males and females (including the preparation and completion of supporting affidavits) and on the equalisation of guaranteed minimum pension benefits of males and females.

Anderson Strathern is particularly experienced in self-invested personal pensions (SIPPs) and small self-administered schemes (SSASs) and assists pension providers, trustees and scheme members with scheme documentation, scheme borrowings and investments. In other work, the team led by 'responsive, knowledgeable and structured' senior associate Steven Dunn also advises clients on issues arising from their participation in public sector pension schemes.

Practice head(s):Steven Dunn

Key Clients

Yorsipp/ Yorsipp Trustees

PSFM/ PSFM Trustees

Monument SSAS

Trustees of the STUC General Council Staff Pension Scheme

Royal College of Nursing (RCN)

Scottish and Northern Irish Plumbing Employers’ Federation

Edinburgh Napier University

University of the West of Scotland

Glasgow Caledonian University

Fife Council

Work highlights

  • Advising Yorsipp on its governing documentation for self-invested personal pensions (SIPPs) and small self-administered schemes (SSASs) and on the general scheme administration.
  • Continues to advise PSFM on its documentation for self-invested personal pensions and small self-administered schemes as well as on general scheme administration and on the legislative requirements in relation to proposed scheme investments and loans.
  • Continues to advise the trustees on their defined benefit (DB) pension scheme and its ongoing administration, including the provision of a contingent asset agreement.
  • Advising several members of the RCN on pension entitlements under the National Health Service Superannuation Scheme (NHSSS) including the interpretation of the governing regulations, the calculation of their pension entitlements and whether or not they had retained Mental Health Officer or Special Class Status.
  • Advising the federation on concerns arising from its member firms’ participation in a multi-employer DB scheme and on potential section 75 liabilities arising from this.

Having a 'breadth of expertise' in scheme de-risking and corporate support work, Dentons routinely advises on funding matters, equality compliance and buy-outs alongside pension law matters arising from mergers and acquisitions. The 'very pragmatic' team also handles contentious work and is led by the 'dynamic and engaging' David Knox, who divides his time between Edinburgh and London.

Practice head(s):David Knox


'Excellent collaboration and communication within different areas of expertise and hierarchy across the firm.'

'Good communication with the client.'

Key Clients

Babcock & Wilcox UK

Barnado's Pension Scheme Members

Barry Callebaut Belgium

Emmaus UK


W.L. Gore

Highland Distillers


MSA Trustees

Work highlights

  • Successful defence (before the UK Supreme Court) for representative beneficiaries of the Barnardo's Pension Scheme, whose employer wanted to save many millions of pounds by switching the basis of pension increases from Retail Prices Index to Consumer Prices Index.
  • Acted for Emtelle UK in the buy-out and wind-up of its pension scheme.
  • Advised WL Gore on the funding, guarantees and closure of its pension scheme.
  • Advised the Edrington Group employers (Highland Distillers was purchased by the Erdington Group) on pension funding and de-risking of schemes affected by the sale of Cutty Sark and Famous Grouse assets.
  • Advised the Mining Safety Applications trustees on the buy-out and wind-up of a complex historic scheme.

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