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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 > Employment > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Index of tables

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

Leading individuals

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Next generation lawyers

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Who Represents Who

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Legal Developments in Scotland for Employment

  • Companies should plan now to minimise their pension protection levy

    The amount that pension schemes have to pay to the Pension Protection Fund (PPF) for the year 2006/07 may have increased by as much as five times the previous year's levy. Employers who ultimately bear the cost of many pension schemes will need to make plans now to ensure the levy payable for the year 2008/09 is kept to a minimum.
    - Stephenson Harwood

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