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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 > Immigration > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Index of tables

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

Leading individuals

  1. 1
    • Grace McGill - McGill & Co

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1
    • Darren Stevenson - McGill & Co

Who Represents Who

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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