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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. 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


The ‘excellent and professional team’ at Brodies LLP handles the full spectrum of employment law, from transactions and restructuring-related issues to discrimination claims and trade union matters. It also has an extensive track record representing clients in employment tribunal proceedings. Clients single out the ‘very calmPaul McMahon in Glasgow, who ‘inspires confidence’ and is noted for his focus on the third sector as well as the finance, education, manufacturing and oil and gas industries. He advised River Clyde Homes – one of the largest housing associations in Scotland – on the employment law aspects of a major restructuring, which involved advising on redundancies, changes to contractual terms and industrial relations issues. In another highlight, McMahon advised Employers in Voluntary Housing (EVH) on a range of employment law issues, including discrimination, unfair dismissal and collective redundancy consultations, as well as advising the same client on employment contracts including atypical contractual models such as zero hours contracts. Other clients include the University of Edinburgh and RBS. Tony Hadden heads the team from Edinburgh. Other key figures in Glasgow include the well-regarded Joan Cradden and legal director Brian Campbell, who is ‘particularly impressive through his subject matter knowledge and his ability to explain complex points in a simple manner’.

The ‘very good, responsive and practical’ team at Burness Paull LLP has a strong profile advising national and international oil and gas, food and drink, sport, media and retail sector clients on redundancies, restructurings and industrial action matters. Aberdeen-based practice head Sean Saluja advised energy services company Wood Group on collective and individual employment law aspects pertaining to an industrial action taken by 300 offshore workers as a consequence of changes in the terms and conditions of employment. This included advice on potential interdict and injunction proceedings. In a food and drink sector highlight, the ‘knowledgable and efficient’ David Morgan (who is based in Glasgow and ‘is great at guiding clients through a crisis’) advised Brown-Forman on the employment law aspects of the company’s £285m acquisition of three Scotch whisky distilleries and brands: BenRiach, Glenglassaugh and GlenDronach. ‘Excellent litigator’ Ronald Mackay and ‘very responsive and pragmatic’ director Mel Sangster advised General Electric on a range of employment law issues throughout the UK, including TUPE transfers, disciplinary cases, and holiday pay and unfair dismissal claims.

The ‘strong and very responsive’ team at Pinsent Masons LLP attracts praise for its ‘practical advice’ and ability to cover the gamut of employment law, from working time and equal pay matters to industrial relations, team moves and immigration issues. Its client roster includes names from key sectors such as infrastructure, financial services, oil and gas, manufacturing and technology. The ‘deeply knowledgeable and accurateStuart Neilson advised Balfour Beatty on holiday pay issues. Aberdeen partner Katie Williams assisted a number of energy sector clients with employment contract and cross-border employment issues; she also handles whistleblowing matters and litigation. The well-regarded Diane Nicol, who ‘knows how to successfully resolve difficult and tricky issues’, regularly acts for senior management teams on industrial relation disputes, site moves and closures, while ‘excellent negotiatorEuan Smith is well versed in advising blue-chip companies and public sector organisations. He assisted a large multinational company with industrial action matters. Glasgow-based senior associate Gillian Ross is ‘pragmatic and very reassuring’.

Anderson Strathern’s practice has a particularly strong profile advising public and education sector clients, although commercial clients, trade unions and senior executives also instruct the team on contentious and non-contentious matters, including disciplinary proceedings. Barry Nichol defended the University of Stirling against a protective award complaint brought by the University and College Union pertaining to fixed term contract employees, whose contracts were not renewed. Andrew Brown assisted the Scottish Ambulance Service with on-call working and travel time issues for paramedics and technicians in remote and rural areas in Scotland, including handling several employment tribunal proceedings. Brown, Chris McDowall and Paul Brown advised five further education colleges on industrial action matters. Alun Thomas heads the team. Special counsel Rhona Wark moved to BTO Solicitors LLP.

CMSprovides clear and business-oriented advice’ on contractual employment matters, restructuring projects and remuneration arrangements, with a sweet spot in the energy, financial services and higher education sectors. As a highlight for the latter, Edinburgh partner Finlay McKay advised Oriam - the new national sports centre in Edinburgh - on trade union matters, including the drafting of a recognition agreement to determine recognition and representation of UNISON within Oriam. Financial services highlights included advising Standard Life on employment law aspects of the investment company’s acquisition of Elevate from AXA. In Aberdeen, the ‘very knowledgableAlison Woods (who heads the human capital group) advised energy company SSE on Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) regulation issues with regards to the future closure of Lerwick power station. On the contentious side, the team is experienced in industrial disputes and discrimination claims. McKay defended Stirling Council in an equal pay claim raised by the council’s social work department employees. The ‘very responsive, pragmatic and hardworkingGillian MacLellan is also recommended. Robert Davies joined London-based employment boutique Walbrook Law LLP.

Handling employment tribunal claims is a central pillar of Clyde & Co LLP’s practice. The team, led by Sandy Kemp, frequently defends public and private sector employers in holiday pay and equal pay litigation. The well-regarded Stephen Miller advised Glasgow City Council on equal pay claims brought by GMB, Unison and Unite. The team often deals with disability discrimination and mental health issues and is well versed in defending claims brought by employees. Ian Truscott is also recommended. David Hughes moved to Addleshaw Goddard while Chris Phillips joined Loch Employment Law.

Morton Fraserempowers its clients to make the right decisions’. The ‘extremely responsive and professional’ team acts for employers and employees alike and is particularly known for advising public sector clients, SMEs and senior executives. Much of the team’s work – contentious and non-contentious – pertains to discrimination, equal pay, TUPE, holiday pay and bullying matters. The ‘very quick and accurate’ Lindsey Cartwright advised Barony Universal on the integration of two workforces into one site, following the client’s merger with Sanmex International. This included advice on possible TUPE implications, collective redundancy issues, mobility clauses, transitional arrangements and terms and conditions of employment. The ‘highly knowledgable, experienced and efficient’ Innes Clark heads the team, which includes the ‘reliable and confidence-inspiring’ David Hossack, who is well versed in advising insolvency practitioners on employment issues pertaining to restructurings and administrations and ‘is able to give sound advice at short notice’. The ‘very experienced and professional’ David Walker is also recommended, as is ‘exceptional’ senior associate Lorna Davis, who is ‘a pleasure to work with’.

Acting for employers and employees alike, BTO Solicitors LLP is ‘a very good choice for medium-sized companies’ and ‘provides excellent service, from general advice to tribunal representation’. The team handles whistleblowing, discrimination and TUPE matters and often acts for public sector clients as well as colleges, private schools and senior executives. The ‘very organised and knowledgeableLaura Salmond, who ‘approaches conflicts with a calm demeanour and incisive wit’, advised more than 3,000 members of the Prison Officers’ Association Scotland on a wide range of employment matters, including discrimination, capability, misconduct and data protection issues. Practice head Caroline Carr is best known for her expertise in the clinical defence arena and frequently advises doctors, consultants and dentists on employment and disciplinary issues. Her recent highlights include advising a doctor on investigation proceedings. In another highlight, the team advised a Scottish group of companies on TUPE transfer matters. The ‘very responsive’ David Hoey is also recommended, as is consultant Rhona Wark, who joined from Anderson Strathern.

Geographically focused on the Highland and Islands area, the ‘professional and friendly’ team at Ledingham Chalmers LLP is experienced in advising businesses - particularly SMEs - and public sector bodies on disciplinary investigations, as well as discrimination and TUPE matters while also having considerable clout in representing clients in employment tribunal cases. The team acts for a range of sectors, including manufacturing and construction, energy, food and drink, life sciences and the third sector. The ‘reliable and discreetKirk Tudhope (who attracts praise for his ‘calm, client-focused approach’) acted alongside senior associate Veli-Matti Raikkonen for Sand Monitoring Services in an unfair dismissal claim. The team also acted for a local authority in judicial review proceedings in the Court of Session following the dismissal of an employee. Stuart Robertson joined Gilson Gray.

Maclay Murray & Spens LLPpresents facts in an easily understood way’ and ‘is excellent in setting out possible courses of action and assessing their relative risks’. The ‘responsive’ team has significant expertise advising clients from the food and drink, financial services and oil and gas sectors while also assisting trade unions and public sector players with a wide range of employment law matters. This includes advising on regulatory, TUPE transfer, redundancy and discrimination issues. The ‘professional and discreteMark Hamilton advised a global provider of knowledge-based asset integrity services on redundancy payment and TUPE transfer matters. He also assisted a UK-wide firm with minimum wage legislation issues and its self-disclosure to HMRC. Practice head and litigator Amanda Jones ‘ensures clients are aware of all potential risks’ and continues to advise the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) – Scotland’s largest education trade union – on internal employment law matters. Recently, the team assisted several of its members with employment tribunal claims, exit negotiations, and discrimination, whistleblowing, working time and pay-related disputes. Glasgow-based director Alison Weatherhead is noted for her ‘direct, no-nonsense approach’.

Known for its employment tribunal expertise, MacRoberts LLPprovides clear and concise advice’ and is particularly active in defending public sector employers as well as acting for multinational companies, SMEs and senior executives. Legal director Michelle Sutherland advised South Lanarkshire Council on employment tribunal claims brought by a number of temporary teachers for unfair dismissal, sex discrimination and breach of fixed term workers regulations and breach of the Scottish Negotiating Committee for Teachers (SNCT) collective agreement. In a separate matter, Sutherland and managing partner John Macmillan advised North Ayrshire Council, Orkney Islands Council and Comhairle Nan Eilean Siar on the implementation of a single status under the Red Book collective agreement, and on multiple equal pay claims brought before the employment tribunal by several local authority employees. On the non-contentious side, the team, led by the ‘very professionalKaty Wedderburn frequently handles redundancy and TUPE work. Deborah Miller is praised as having ‘very good interpersonal skills’ and as ‘being able to quickly digest the root of the problem’. Karen McGill retired.

Shepherd and Wedderburn’s client roster includes large corporations and university sector clients, which the team regularly advises on international employment matters, TUPE issues, senior executive exits and termination remuneration. The team also handles employment tribunal work and corporate employment support. ‘Good’ practice head Neil Maclean advised the University of Edinburgh on a wide range of employment law matters, including trade union and immigration issues, fixed term contracts and holiday pay. ‘Solid and effective litigatorKatie Russellinspires confidence’; she advised Scottish Enterprise on international employment arrangements, and assisted Vallourec Oil & Gas with collective redundancy issues prompted by a production line closure and business downturn. In another highlight, Maclean advised Kyowa Kirin on the employment law aspects pertaining to the pharmaceutical company’s proposal to convert its Luxembourg registered subsidiary to a Societas Europaea, and on a subsequent transfer of its registered office to Scotland.

Addleshaw Goddard, which merged with HBJ Gateley in June 2017, fields a team in Scotland that ‘deals with all enquires promptly, professionally and with a personal touch’. The team frequently advises on recruitment and exit issues, TUPE transfers, reorganisation and redundancy programmes while also dealing with employment tribunal matters, equal pay litigation and workplace mediation. As a highlight, the team acted for 5,000 claimants in a series of equal pay test cases against Glasgow City Council. In another contentious mandate, the team represented Menzies Aviation before the employment tribunal in a service provision change matter. ‘Pragmatic and proactive’ team head Kim Pattullo, who is well versed in advising on restructuring and reorganisations as well as M&A, advised First Scottish on employment law aspects arising from the sale of The Legal Post and First Post to DX Network Services. David Hughes re-joined the firm from Clyde & Co LLP.

Primarily acting for employees, Balfour+Manson LLP attracts praise for ‘dealing with difficult and very contentious claims’ at the intersection of employment, personal injury and regulatory law. The ‘very experienced, efficient and forward-thinking’ team ‘is not scared to push boundaries’ and ‘makes clients feel at ease’ while ‘providing speedy tailor-made advice’. It has a strong trade union and charities client base, for which it frequently handles unfair dismissal and discrimination claims. ‘Very competent and friendly’ practice head Robert Hollandis extremely strong in litigation and very experienced in conducting tribunals in the Civil Court’. He represented the director of a UK charity in an unfair dismissal claim before the employment tribunal. Other clients include the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) and the British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA). Associate Sarah Shiels is ‘very experienced and skilled in employment litigation and particularly good when acting for the claimant’.

Harper Macleod LLP is experienced in handling business transfers and TUPE matters, as well as employment tribunal work, and frequently acts for local authorities and clients from the private, third and sport sectors. Lesley Murphy assisted the Highland Council with employment law and HR matters, including disability discrimination claims, TUPE matters and employee early release schemes. She also advised the UK arm of a multinational printing business on its remuneration and reward practices alongside its pay structure. Team head Bruce Caldow advised the Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL) on holiday pay issues. On the contentious side, Inverness-based associate Ewan Stafford represented Janis Dunn in an unfair dismissal claim against City of Edinburgh Council. Other clients include Cunninghame Housing Association, Cornerstone Community Care and Celtic Football Club. Dawn Robertson joined the team from Young & Partners LLP and provides ‘sensible and practical advice’.

The ‘professional’ team at Lindsaysprovides a very good service’ and regularly advises on employee misconduct, working time and redundancy pay matters, while also representing clients in discrimination and unfair dismissal claims. Practice head Ben Doherty, who ‘provides practical advice’, assisted a large food and drink sector client with employee misconduct issues arising from the failure of two employees to disclose their criminal records in their applications. He also defended a multinational drug manufacturing company against a disability discrimination and unfair dismissal claim brought by an employee, and advised a number of charities on working time issues related to working patterns of employees who provide one-to-one care to service users. Kate Wyatt, who was elevated to the partnership, defended a bakery and confectionery business against a number of claims, including disability discrimination. John Lee has an extensive track record acting for multinationals; his recent highlights include defended a multinational oil and gas drilling business in an action brought in Aberdeen by a former employee who had expatriated to Angola and who was managed by the client’s HQ in Norway.

With a focus on Aberdeen and the North of Scotland, the ‘good and helpful’ team at Stronachs LLPreacts quickly’ and handles a wide range of employment law matters ‘in a competent and professional manner’. The team is well versed in TUPE transfer and redundancy issues, as demonstrated to the firm’s advice to haulage firm Grampian Continental on employment law aspects pertaining to the acquisition of a European road haulage business and the transfer of employees. On the contentious side, the team is experienced in unfair dismissal and whistleblowing claims. In a reflection of its oil and gas sector expertise, the team advised Genesis Oil and Gas Consultants on terms and conditions of employment. The team, led by the ‘very knowledgable and helpfulEric Gilligan, who ‘always goes above and beyond for his clients’, also assisted A & F Grant with TUPE transfer issues. David Chalmers and Anya Duncan are other key members of the team.

The ‘knowledgable, practical and client-focused’ team at Thorntons Law LLP has significant expertise in the education sector and advises its clients on a wide range of contentious and non-contentious employment law matters. Areas of expertise include employment contracts, collective redundancies, outsourcing and TUPE issues, as well as unfair dismissal claims. The ‘solution-focused and personable’ Debbie Fellows represented Abertay University in an employment tribunal claim of unfair dismissal and race discrimination brought by a former academic. On the non-continuous side, Fellows advised the Glasgow Caledonian University on TUPE implications arising from the termination of the university’s outside catering contract. Practice head and ‘safe pair of hands’ Noele McClelland advised the James Hutton Institute on changes to the terms and conditions of employment, leading to changes in the client’s defined benefit pension scheme. Other clients include the University of Stirling and Colleges Scotland.

The team at Blackadders LLP predominately acts for employers and is led by Simon Allison, who is particularly known for his employment tribunal and employment appeal tribunal expertise. He frequently represents clients in unfair dismissal, discrimination and whistleblowing cases. Sandy Meiklejohn retired.

With a focus on cross-border work, DLA Piper Scotland LLP provides advice on contentious and non-contentious employment matters, including dismissals and TUPE issues alongside discrimination claims and disciplinary proceedings. ‘Extremely knowledgable’ practice head Kate Hodgkiss continues to provide day-to-day advice to temporary power generation and temperature control equipment supplier Aggreko, which includes assistance with settlement arrangements for staff based nationally and seconded overseas, and employment contract issues. She also advised construction company BEAR Scotland on holiday pay issues, and the liquidators of ADTI on enhanced redundancy payment claims. In another highlight, the team assisted Exova’s UK HR department with TUPE, collective redundancy and immigration issues alongside senior level dismissals following a post-acquisition reorganisation.

The team at DWFprovides advice and guidance of the highest standard’ and is led by ‘solid practitionerMichael McLaughlin, who is known for his employment tribunal and employment appeal tribunal expertise. He defended Amey in an employment tribunal claim brought by a former employee for unfair dismissal, sex and disability discrimination, and harassment. McLaughlin also defended Poseidon Systems in a dismissal claim. Other highlights included acting for Aberdeenshire Council on multiple pay claims, which included advisory work and employment tribunal representation, and advising Sterling Furniture on the employment aspects pertaining to the client’s acquisition of Forrest Furnishing. On the non-continuous side, McLaughlin regularly assists energy, IT and telecoms clients with TUPE aspects of service provision changes and outsourcing issues.

Davidson Chalmers LLP advises third sector organisations, SMEs and international companies on a broad range of employment law matters such as dismissals, temporary labour, holiday and equal pay, as well as assisting them with disciplinary investigations. ‘Well-respected’ practice head Alan Strain advised a third sector organisation on its job evaluation scheme and its implementation, which included advice on job redesign and equal pay issues. In a separate matter, the team assisted a corporate client with a possible introduction of a career transition policy, which would give employees the opportunity to leave their employment in exchange for a payment. On the contentious side, the practice is well versed in dealing with unfair dismissal, discrimination and breach of contract claims, while also acting for clients in disciplinary investigations. The team is acting for a third sector organisation to defend a number of collective underpaid holiday claims raised by existing and former employees.

Morisons LLP is singled out for its ‘commercial and timely advice’ and substantial education sector expertise. Other clients include charities and technology and healthcare sector players, including Royston Stress Centre, Ichor Systems and M&D: Green Dispensing Chemists. The team frequently handles unfair dismissal and discrimination claims, as well as matters related to data protection, TUPE and terms and conditions of employment, and disciplinary proceedings. ‘Very good and precise’ practice head Jacqueline McCluskey defended a business against age discrimination claims brought by a former employee, and advised an education sector client on data protection matters and on changes to its terms and conditions of employment.

Noted for its expertise in the social housing and charity sector, Shoosmiths frequently provides commercially-focused HR advice alongside employment support on corporate transactions, while also representing its clients in employment tribunal cases. The ‘knowledgeable’ team ‘explains complex issues well and always considers the potential commercial impact’. ‘Professional’ practice head Karen Harvie assisted Leonardo Hotels Europe with employment and pension liabilities matters, and the negotiation of employment aspects as part of the client’s purchase of the Morrison Street Hotel in Edinburgh from Premier Inn. Housing association Fyne Homes regularly instructs the team to advice on general HR and employment law issues. On the contentious side, Harvie and ‘extremely conscientious and responsive’ senior associate Kenny Scott represented a client in an appeal against their dismissal.

Turcan Connell is recognised for its expertise advising high-net-worth individuals, charities and rural sector clients. The team, led by the ‘well-regardedDavid Ogilvy, assists clients with TUPE and employee relation matters while also handling contentious work. Ogilvy advised the disability organisation Capability Scotland on TUPE issues, and assisted Alzheimer Scotland with employee relations and working time matters. Other clients include the charity Maggie’s Centre and hotel management and consulting company Inverlochy Castle Management.

Weightmans LLP provides ‘technically-sound and business-focused’ advice to blue-chip clients with a focus on TUPE and transactional matters alongside strategic advisory work. The team, led by Elaine McIlroy, also represents clients in employment tribunal proceedings, often defending the employer against discrimination claims raised by employees. McIlroy advised a company on a number of senior level exits, including discrimination issues, and defended another company against maternity discrimination claims which arose out of a redundancy.

Health and safety

Index of tables

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

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


Praised for its ‘excellent service level’, the ‘very good and professional’ team at BLM is ‘very active and provides sound business advice, enabling management to act according to any risk factors’. The firm regularly acts for public and private sector clients on a wide range of criminal health and safety work, including fatal and serious injury cases, manslaughter investigations and environmental exposure matters. Recent work includes representing a client in a construction-related fatality case, and a different client in a regulatory investigation. Team head James Varney is ‘a real expert in the field’ and has ‘an excellent ability to explain complex legal issues in an understandable way’. He assisted a key client with occupational health exposure issues. Glasgow City Council and the insurance companies Aviva, QBE and Allianz are all clients of the team.

Handling regulatory defence work arising from serious and fatal injury and accident cases is a significant element of BTO Solicitors LLP’s practice, which regularly represents clients in investigations by regulators such as the HSE and MCA, as well as local authorities. The highly regarded Clare Bone jointly heads the team with Vikki Watt and acted for Marine Harvest in a HSE investigation following a serious injury incurred by an employee. Similarly, Watt acted for Rodger Builders in an HSE and police investigation, which was treated as a potential corporate homicide case, following a fatality on a farm involving one of the client’s longstanding employees. Watt also acted for holiday park operator Loch Earn Caravan Parks following a fatal accident at the on-site swimming pool. This included representation in HSE and police investigations, as well as the subsequent prosecution process. Other clients include AIG, NFU Mutual Insurance Society and Mactaggart & Mickel Homes. Alasdair Gillies is another key member of the team.

The ‘responsive and high-quality’ team at Burness Paull LLPprovides pragmatic advice’ from its offices in Glasgow and Aberdeen. In Aberdeen, the practice is particularly well known for its oil and gas sector expertise, while the Glasgow office frequently advises public and third sector bodies. The team’s regulatory expertise enables it to advise clients on compliance matters and assists them with investigations and prosecutions. Rona Jamieson heads the team from Aberdeen and represented Apache in its appeal of an HSE Improvement Notice following the collision of an offshore supply vessel with the Apache-operated Forties Echo offshore installation. The team also assisted care facility operator Inspire (Partnership through Life) with an HSE investigation, and subsequently advised the client on remedial actions and criminal defence issues arising from a fatality on the premises. The ‘down-to-earth and knowledgeable’ Ray Gribben is another key member of the team.

Noted for its superb reputation for its contentious and non-contentious health and safety work, Pinsent Masons LLPprovides timely and practical advice’ to major insurers and corporates, with particular expertise in the energy, construction and infrastructure industries. Based in Aberdeen and noted for his expertise in dealing with incident investigations in the oil and gas and shipping sectors, the ‘excellentBruce Craig advised Jacobite Cruises in a health and safety prosecution brought by an employee following an injury caused by a mooring rope. He also assisted Kaefer C&D with an accident investigation following the collapse of a work platform during shotblasting operations at Clydeport Coal Terminal at Hunterston, in which one worker sustained serious injuries, and acted for the client in the subsequent prosecution on indictment at Kilmarnock Sheriff Court. Edinburgh-based regulatory expert Tom Stocker, who is known for his experience in dealing with investigations alongside compliance and corporate criminal defence matters, acted for Hanson Aggregates Marine following the death of an engineer as a result of a fire in the engine room of one of its ships. This matter involved representing the client in investigations by the police, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, and the Marine Accident Investigation Branch. The highly regarded Laura Cameron heads the risk advisory services team from Glasgow.

Advising corporates and insurers alike, Brodies LLPresponds quickly’ and has ‘a depth of experience in handling maritime sector matters and personal injury procedures’. The ‘reliable and commercially-minded’ team frequently handles regulatory interventions and prosecutions by the police, the HSE, the Marine and Coastguard Agency and the Environmental Health Officers, while also defending clients in civil damages claims arising from health and safety breaches. Other areas of expertise include compliance advisory work and representing clients in health and safety-related fatal accident inquiries. ‘Experienced, thorough and strategically adept’ litigator Duncan MacLean, who ‘always takes commercial considerations into account’, advised Sunderland Marine on a catastrophic injury sustained by a fisherman on board a vessel fishing in the lower reaches of the Clyde, and assisted the vessel owners and insurers in the investigation by the regulatory authorities. ‘Very knowledgable, articulate and approachable’ insurance and risk team head Elena Fry was instructed by an insurer to represent its policyholder in an investigation following an electric shock incident in the client’s convenience store premises. Aberdeen-based litigator Malcolm Mackay is another key member of the team.

Clyde & Co LLP’s ‘excellent and very knowledgeable’ team is praised for its ‘market-leading expertise’ in assisting insurers with health and safety matters, often pertaining to accidents and personal injury cases in the oil and gas, manufacturing and construction sectors. ‘Personable, measured and pragmatic’ team head Mark Donaldson is ‘capable of achieving the best outcomes in the worst situations arising from health and safety breaches and regulatory contraventions’. Other key members of the team are the Glasgow-based Gilles Graham, who represents clients in environmental and health and safety prosecutions alongside accident inquiries; and Edinburgh-based litigator Andrew Constable. The team’s client roster includes key insurance sector players such as Aviva, Zurich, Gallagher Bassett International and QBE Insurance. Also recommended are Bruce Goodbrand and Calum Mathieson, who are ‘first-class litigators’.

Anderson Strathern is best known for handling health and safety enforcement appeals, defending clients in health and safety prosecutions, as well as handling fatal accident inquiries and compliance advisory work. The team’s client roster includes a number of public bodies, including the Scottish Prison Service and the Highland Council. The practice regularly acts for the former in compliance matters, health and safety investigations, fatal accident inquiries and Crown Censure proceedings. Other clients include the HSE, Scottish Water, the Scottish Midland Co-operative Society and the Northern Lighthouse Board. Jonathan Guy heads the team.

Primarily acting for energy sector players, the ‘strong’ team at CMS is well versed in advising clients on regulatory compliance, prosecutions, investigations and corporate governance issues. ‘Very thorough’ Aberdeen-based practice head Jan Burgessshows great attention to detail’ and assisted the American oil and gas operator ConocoPhillips with an investigation following the release of oil from one of its North Sea installations. Other clients include key names from the transport, construction, renewable energy and manufacturing industries.

Praised for its ‘very good service level’, Morton Fraser has ‘in-depth knowledge of health and safety litigation’. The team regularly acts in fatality and catastrophic injury litigations, including enforcement notice appeals in fatal accident inquiries. Glasgow-based senior associate Jim Herd represented an individual in a personal injury claim against construction company Bear Scotland, which pertained to an accident caused by defective machinery. The team’s client roster also includes a number of public sector bodies such as the HSE, the Ministry of Defence, the City of Edinburgh Council and Aberdeen City Council. Team head Jenny Dickson ‘shows great willingness to listen to clients’ needs and tailors her advice and services accordingly, which are then provided in a very prompt and professional manner’.

DAC Beachcroft Scotland LLP regularly acts for insurers and has particular expertise in the construction, manufacturing, retail and healthcare industries. Team head Colin Bissett advised Kilmelfold Yacht Haven on a potential civil claim from an employee following an explosion caused by cutting into an oxygen cylinder. The team also assisted the Highland Car Club – permit holder and operator of the Snowman Rally – with a fatal accident inquiry following the killing of a spectator during the first stages of the 2016 rally. Other clients include AXA, Zurich, Admiral and Aviva.

DLA Piper Scotland LLP’s team works in close co-operation with the firm’s regulatory and dispute resolution teams, often dealing with fatal accident inquiries and civil damages claims. Alistair Drummond assisted Airbus Helicopters with a fatal accident inquiry pertaining to the 2013 police helicopter’s crash into the roof of the Clutha Public House in Glasgow. He also advised the aviation sector client on civil claims for post-traumatic stress disorder following the 2012 Super Puma helicopter’s crash into the North Sea. In a separate matter, he assisted General Electric with the defence of a product liability claim raised in the Edinburgh Court of Session. In 2016, the team defended the Scottish Funding Council (SFC) in a damages action raised in the Court of Session by a former employee based on an accident at work. Bidvest instructed the team to advise on potential criminal liability issues following an accident at a facility in Oban operated by the client.

Weightmans LLP acts for insurers and corporations, and is ‘very experienced in dealing with investigations of work accidents’. Seonaid Busby, who is specialised in insurance litigation and regulatory proceedings, is praised as ‘having great knowledge and excellent inter-personal skills’. Litigator Doug Keir has ‘a wealth of experience and fights his client’s corner with tenacity’. Clients include Peel Ports and E.ON.


Index of tables

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

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

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


Probably the most diverse practice in Scotland’ according to one client, Drummond Miller LLP handles the full spectrum of immigration law, including personal and business immigration as well as asylum and deportation cases. Other areas of expertise include nationality, human rights and EU law. In litigation, the firm is well known for its expertise in challenging decisions of the UK Border Agency and overseas Entry Clearance Posts at the First-Tier and Upper Tribunals of the Immigration and Asylum Chamber, the Court of Session and the Supreme Court. Glasgow-based Jacqueline Moore attracts praise for her ‘unusual mix of private client and legal aid expertise’. She obtained a sponsor licence for a multinational gaming company in order to obtain a restricted Certificate of Sponsorship for a key employee. On the contentious side, the team acted for a PhD student in an appeal brought before the First-Tier Tribunal, and subsequently represented the client in the Upper Tribunal following the refusal of a Tier 4 visa extension. The team also defended a couple at the First and Upper Tribunal against accusations of entering a marriage of convenience. David Brown is ‘very good’.

A market leader for specialist immigration and human rights law in Scotland’, McGill & Co’s ‘excellent and prompt’ team assists private clients with all aspects of immigration and nationality law, including business, investor and entrepreneur migration, sponsorship licensing, family migration, and asylum and refugee work. The ‘highly personable, intelligent and accurateDarren Stevenson is praised as having ‘an unrivalled encyclopaedic knowledge of immigration and sponsorship rules along with sound practical and commercial judgment’ while also demonstrating ‘a good understanding of the client’s professional and personal circumstances’. He frequently deals with sponsorship licences and has particular expertise in the fishing industry. Grace McGill, whose ‘guidance is always spot-on’, is ‘very good at clarifying the essential steps needed to address the client’s situation’. She focuses on family and commercial migration with a particular specialism in Tier 1 investor applications. ‘Highly qualified and professional’ associate John Vassiliou is ‘very helpful and immediately puts the client’s mind at rest’.

Providing an extremely high service level’, Morton Fraser covers the gamut of immigration, asylum and nationality law, including litigation in the Upper Tribunal and the Court of Session. With a specialism in business immigration matters, the team frequently handles Tier 1 (entrepreneur) and Tier 1 (exceptional talent) applications – often in the digital technology sector – as well as Tier 2 sponsor licence suspension and revocation issues. In addition, the practice regularly acts for relocation companies in matters which are often dealt with in conjunction with the firm’s robust employee mobility unit. Team head David Hossack assisted AGS 360 Solutions with UK visa applications for companies within the BMW Group, and advised US marketing specialist Televerde Europe on immigration issues related to the establishment of its European headquarters in Glasgow. In another highlight, the team assisted Skyscanner with an application of a sponsor licence renewal. ‘Highly focused’ senior associate Stuart McWilliams is ‘extremely responsive and provides accurate and valuable advice while ensuring that clients know of all the risks’.

Thorntons Law LLP is known for providing wide-ranging immigration, asylum and nationality law advice to businesses, inward investors, individuals and public sector clients, covering entrepreneur visa requirements, spouse visas and international adoption issues. clients also appreciate the team’s niche expertise human trafficking and modern slavery matters. Practice head Jamie Kerr regularly advises Perth College on visa rights to remain in the UK. Recently, the team advised an education-sector client on visa issues pertaining to a member of staff who was forced to leave the UK. He also advised an inward investor on the application for an entry clearance on a Tier 1 (entrepreneur) visa to set up a business in the UK, and assisted a non-British footballer with the application of a Tier 2 (sportsperson) visa and the client’s relocation to Scotland. Thje firm also acts for investment management firm Dundas Global Investors on immigration issues pertaining to the recruitment of staff from outside the EEA.

CMS frequently assists its clients – often from the oil and gas industry as well as the university sector – with visa applications for senior executive appointments, sponsor licence applications and Tier 2 visa extensions. Finlay McKay advised the Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh on the rejected application for citizenship submitted by a professor. He also advised the University of Dundee on visa issues for foreign nationals to enter China to carry out short-term work assignments. Other recent work includes assisting with obtaining a licence to sponsor migrant workers, and advising a client on its dealings with an employee who had lost their right to work in the UK.

Maclay Murray & Spens LLP has particular strength in sponsorship matters, including sponsor duty compliance and sponsorship licence applications, and the practice also deals with family and other business immigration issues. The team acted for a financial services organisation in an audit of a new client’s immigration practices and procedures, which included right to work checks and sponsor duty compliance work. The team also advised a number of companies, including Hunter Boot and a software company, on first-time sponsorship licence applications, licence renewals and requirements for adding a new tier to the licence. Other recent work includes advising a global HR and payroll solutions company on matters pertaining to the breach of immigration rules, and assisting a number of individuals with visa issues, including assisting a non-British student with an application to extend their stay in the UK and advising another individual on returning resident visa application issues. Employment, pensions and immigration head Amanda Jones is the key contact.

Pinsent Masons LLP is praised for providing ‘detailed and commercial advice in a timely manner’. The immigration practice is particularly well versed in handling corporate immigration issues, including advising on the prevention of illegal working and UKVI compliance investigations alongside sponsorship and visa applications. ‘Very helpful and knowledgable’ legal director and corporate immigration practice co-head Joanne Hennessy continues to assist an Aberdeen-based multinational energy company with day-to-day immigration law matters, including advising on the prevention of illegal working, sponsor compliance and visa applications. As well as its oil and gas sector expertise, the team is also experienced in working for higher education, retail, infrastructure, sport and financial services sector clients. Edinburgh-based Euan Smith heads the team alongside Hennessy.

Weightmans LLP is able to call on colleagues in the firm’s robust employment team to assist multinational clients and blue-chips with sponsor licence and work permit applications, alongside general immigration compliance matters. Main contact Elaine McIlroy, who provides ‘good, succinct advice’, assisted a client with a Tier 2 visa application for an executive director, and advised another client on the procedures for obtaining status of indefinite leave to remain for a key member of staff. The team also dealt with refused visa application and sponsorship matters.


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The ‘excellent’ team at Pinsent Masons LLPlistens to clients’ requirements and demonstrates in-depth knowledge’ while ‘not being afraid of tackling contentious issues head-on’. The practice ‘provides pragmatic advice’ to large global corporations, individuals, public authorities, insurers and financial institutions. In conjunction with the firm’s pensions litigators, ‘most experienced, very calm and confident’ practice head Ian Gordon, who is ‘always willing to take a stance when confronting an issue’, advised the trustees of the Scottish Solicitors Staff Pension Fund on a Court of Session action to recover outstanding contributions from a participating employer. The highly regarded Ruth Tobias, who is ‘very easy to work with’, assisted the trustees of the Forth Ports Group Pension Scheme with benefit changes that took effect in 2016. The ‘pragmatic’ Jae Fassam advised the trustee of Plumbers & Mechanical Services (UK) Industry Pension Scheme on the protection of members’ interests and represented the client in meetings with scheme employers.

The ‘first-class and pragmatic’ team at Shepherd and Wedderburn is ‘very client focused and demonstrates high levels of knowledge’. The team frequently acts for pension trustees but also has a strong corporate client base, with particular expertise in the financial services, energy and education sectors. ‘Very knowledgable’ co-head Louisa Knox advised the trustees of the Standard Life Staff Pension Scheme on a range of pension law matters, including the implementation of the closure of the scheme’s final salary section to future accruals and the introduction of a new defined contribution section for future benefit provision. Highly regarded co-head Andrew Holehouse assisted the trustees of the AG Barr Pension and Life Assurance Scheme with a pension risk transfer deal with Canada Life to cover over 50% of the scheme’s total pensioner liabilities. As another highlight, Knox led advice to manufacturing company Danaher on all UK pension issues and assisted five of the company’s business units on the concurrent closure of their final salary pension schemes to future accrual. She also assisted the trustee of the Scottish Amicable Staff Pension Scheme with governance matters and with issues arising from pension tax changes effective from April 2016. Edwin Mustard is another key member of the team.

Brodies LLP’s ‘extremely helpful’ team ‘provides a timely service and commercial advice’ on a wide range of pension matters. ‘Experienced and knowledgable’ team head Juliet Bayne, who is praised for her ‘excellent client-management skills and hands-on approach’, advised the trustee of the British Polythene Pension Scheme on a proposed cash and share offer by the packing business RPC, and advised AES Ballylumford on options for mitigating the potential impact of a National Insurance cost increase. Other recent work includes assisting the Howden Pension Plan trustees with the pension aspects of a proposed reorganisation of the employer’s group, and advising the trustees of the Metals and Mainetti Defined Benefit Pension Scheme on issues pertaining to the equalisation of benefits. The firm’s client roster also includes Lothian Pension Fund and Menzies Pension Fund.

Burness Paull LLP’s ‘commercially aware’ team ‘provides fantastically prudent and pragmatic advice’ and has substantial expertise advising on the pension aspects of M&A transactions, private equity investments and refinancing matters. Practice head Sarah Phillips advised media company STV on the mechanism required to close one of its defined benefit pension schemes, and assisted First Scotland East with TUPE matters while also providing the client with advice on pension provisions of an asset transfer agreement following the company’s sale of certain bus route operations. In another highlight, the team advised the trustees of the Church of Scotland’s three defined benefit pension schemes on member complaints and the scheme’s internal dispute resolution process. Other recent work includes advising the trustees of the CHC Scotia Pension Scheme on the impact of bankruptcy proceedings, and assisting the trustee of the Aegon UK Staff Retirement and Death Benefits Scheme with mitigation options to offset the effect of selling parts of Aegon’s business, and on securing money purchase benefits outside of the pension scheme. ‘Thorough all-round star’ Margaret Meehan was elevated to the partnership in February 2017.

Commended for its wide-ranging experience and ‘very good industry knowledge’, DWF advises employers, trustees, advisors and pension product providers on a wide range of contentious and non-contentious pension law matters. The team’s scope ranges from advising on pension aspects of M&A and restructuring matters to assistance with cross-border pension schemes, funding issues and with de-risking defined benefit pension schemes. Team head June Crombie advised a client on pension scheme restructuring matters, and assisted another client with pension liability matters. Colin Greig is also recommended. Iain Talman retired.

MacRoberts LLP has particular expertise in public sector pension matters. ‘Knowledgable’ team head Martyn Shaw advised the Royal Scottish National Orchestra Society on the restructuring of its pension arrangements, and acted for the trustees of the Babtie Group Superannuation and Life Assurance Scheme in a number of Court of Session proceedings against former scheme administrators and legal advisers, which pertain to the equalisation of normal pension dates. Acting for the same group of trustees, senior associate and ‘rising starJames Keith, who is praised as having ‘very good attention to detail’, advised the clients on the implications of a proposal by the scheme’s sponsoring employer to cease the ongoing defined benefit pension provision to the scheme. Other work included assisting the Johnston Press Pension Plan trustees with the funding of the plan’s defined benefit pension liabilities, and advising the Edinburgh Airport Pension Plan trustee on the company’s proposal to close the plan to future accrual. The Scottish Borders Council Pension Fund is another client.

CMS is regularly called on to advise on matters at the intersection of pension and corporate law, where the team often works in conjunction with the firm’s corporate practice. Practice head Alistair Hill assisted Standard Life with pension law aspects following the client’s acquisition and integration of AXA’s Elevate fund platform business. As well as its financial services expertise, the team’s client base also includes energy, life sciences and education-sector players. Hill advised Stena Line on the establishment of a new contracted-out pension scheme for use as a possible merger vehicle for the merger of five large occupational pension schemes. He also assisted David Brown Systems with pension aspects of its cross-border merger with Santasalo, which involved transferring pension scheme trustees and the establishment of a new defined benefit pension scheme. Other clients include the University of Glasgow, SSE, Royal Blind School and Scotia Gas Networks Pension Scheme.

Maclay Murray & Spens LLP regularly advises employers on final salary pension liabilities, particularly in the distilling, housing, care and public contracting sectors. Other clients include professional trustees and suppliers of personal pension and master trust services. ‘Knowledgeable, proactive’ team head David Knox assisted the Educational Institution of Scotland (EIS) with pension law aspects linked to employment settlement agreements. The team also acted for Port of Leith Housing Association and four other housing associations on de-risking and compliance issues, and Lloyds Banking Group on pension law matters arising from a merger of three pension trustee companies. Employment lawyer Mark Hamilton is well versed in occupational pension issues.

Anderson Strathern has a strong profile advising pension providers, trustees and members on self-invested personal pensions (SIPPs) and small self-administered schemes (SSASs). In an illustration of its track record in this space, the practice advised Glasgow-based financial planner Yorsipp on SIPPs and SSAS matters, as well as advising the client on the legislative requirements for proposed scheme investments and loans. Team head Steven Dunn advised PSFM and Monument SSAS on general scheme administration matters, and advised eight local community justice authorities on the pension implications arising from the proposed establishment of a new non-departmental public body. The Royal College of Nursing is another client.

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