Family in Scotland

Brodies LLP

With a strong focus on a collaborative approach, the family team at Brodies LLP handles some of the most complex and high-value divorces and civil partnership dissolutions, many of which have cross-border dimensions. Shaun George, ‘one of the most experienced family law practitioners in Scotland’, heads up the team, which also includes Lisa Girdwood, whose practice centres on child law issues, including complex child abduction cases, as well as complex financial provision on separation and divorce. At senior associate level, Fiona Sharp specialises in both divorce and cohabitation cases.

Practice head(s):

Shaun George

Other key lawyers:

Lisa Girdwood; Fiona Sharp; Susannah Mountain


‘Lisa Girdwood was extremely compassionate but very efficient and steadfast in her aims; she reassured me at all times and I had complete confidence in her and knew I could trust and rely on her. I couldn’t have asked for a better lawyer to help me at the most stressful time of my life.’

‘Brodies stand out as a market leader, whether one looks at Aberdeen, Edinburgh or Glasgow. All offices adapted well to working virtually, possibly because some of their work is international and they were already needing to use virtual communication. I have appreciated the depth of support provided by a larger firm.’

‘Shaun George in Aberdeen is now one of the most experienced family law practitioners in Scotland. He is skilled at bringing on more junior lawyers and building a strong team. Lisa Girdwood in Glasgow has outstanding client commitment and has been adroit in navigating some tricky family cases over the last year.’

‘Brodies is 100% committed to the client. They have a no messing, no time-wasting and 100% ethical approach to dealing with your case. They are 100% professional and willing to have frank conversations which ensure they represent you in the best way possible and indeed ensure that they can get the best outcome for you.’

‘A great group of people who worked together as a team to guide me through the process and ensured that my requests were dealt with in a timely and efficient way. Superb collaboration and hand-over between members of the team across a range of topics.’

‘Clear guidance, flexible to take calls on short notice and always willing to explain issues and options in detail.’


Operating 'at the apex of Scottish family law’, family boutique SKO displays ‘particular expertise in international and cross-border cases’. In particular, founding director Rachael Kelsey, 'a force of nature within family law', is widely considered a heavyweight in intra-UK financial cases. Robert Gilmour, meanwhile, has earned a national reputation acting in cohabitant claims and surrogacy issues, Alison Edmondson shines in pre- and post-nuptial agreement set-asides, while Susan Oswald stands out for her work acting for English local authorities in public child law cases. Financial provision-focused associate Claire Christie and 'extremely bright' senior associate John West, who has an impressive track record in pensions law and European Union and Hague Convention family law issues, are additional practitioners of note.

Other key lawyers:

Rachael Kelsey; Alison Edmondson; Robert Gilmour; Susan Oswald; John West; Claire Christie


‘John West displayed empathy and care, and gave me his full attention. He was able to adapt his service to my specific needs and to find the ideal result I was looking for despite it being unusual.’

‘The team at SKO gave me confidence from the start that they understood what I was going through and they knew exactly what we needed to do in order to get me the most favourable outcome in a challenging situation.’

‘Rachael Kelsey is a superstar and I just don’t know how she does everything she does in the hours there are. She is so engaging, very pragmatic and no-nonsense, yet also sensitive and responsive as her clients and the circumstances require.’

‘This firm is at the apex of Scottish family law. It has particular expertise in international and cross-border cases. It is also noticeably attractive to LGBT+ clients. 

‘Rachael Kelsey is the doyenne of Scots family law. She has enviable international connections. Susan Oswald is an expert in cross-border children’s cases. John West is the cream of his generation of family lawyers Robert Gilmour is the premier Scottish expert on surrogacy.’

‘They are a leading niche family practice and under the leadership of Rachael Kelsey know not everything you need to know about Scottish family law but have a wealth of experience in cross-jurisdictional disputes.’

‘Robert Gilmour can do his own advocacy too, so he can see a case from start to finish, giving continuity not offered by many others. The leading expert in Scotland on assisted reproduction.’

‘Susan Oswald is a leading lawyer for complex child cases, including with an international element.’

Key clients

Salford City Council

Gateshead Borough Council

Work highlights

  • Provided Scottish advice in the first case on the Maintenance Regulation intra-UK to go to the Supreme Court.
  • Advised Salford City Council on a successful petition to the Nobile Officium in case concerning welfare of vulnerable child in local authority care.
  • Advised Gateshead Borough Council on orders successfully sought under the Evidence (Proceedings and Other Jurisdictions) Act 1975.

Aberdein Considine

A leading firm in Aberdeen but with a presence across Scotland', Aberdein Considine ‘handles the full range of family law matters in the Sheriff Court and Court of Session’. Notably, the group assists clients in high-value financial provision cases, child-related cases, as well as pre- and post-nuptial agreements and cohabitation agreements. The offering is led by Ruth Aberdein, ‘one of the leading family lawyers in Aberdeen’ and ‘all-rounder in terms of children and finance’ issues. Leonie Burke, for her part, ‘is very good in high value and complex finance cases’, while Isabelle Douglas and Karl Brown are adept in a wide range of family issues.

Practice head(s):

Ruth Aberdein

Other key lawyers:

Karl Brown; Leonie Burke; April Campbell; Isabelle Douglas


‘I used Leonie Burke for my separation and divorce. She was always very professional and competent. Her approach was straightforward and pragmatic. She was compassionate when required and kept me on track. I felt she got to grips with the situation quickly as it was quite complex and showed flexibility in her handling of the case.’

‘Ruth Aberdein has been a fantastic support through what has been a difficult time.’

‘I have been working with Isabelle Douglas who has been professional in manner and advisory to the full extent required whilst also compassionate to my needs and situation. Always available with advise and knowledge. ’

‘Isabelle Douglas always went above and beyond to support me and give me advice when it was needed. Isabelle is very approachable and professional, I would highly recommend her to anyone who may be in need of a family solicitor.

‘Ruth Aberdein and Isabelle Douglas respond quickly to requests for information and are always willing to listen and seek advice from other professionals for the benefit of their clients. ’

‘Leonie Burke is an excellent lawyer. She shows great attention to detail and perseveres with a piece of work until she gets it right. Extremely thorough.’

‘Ruth Aberdein is one of the leading family lawyers in Aberdeen. Very good all-rounder in terms of children and finance.’

‘Leonie Burke is very good in high-value and complex finance cases.’

Balfour+Manson LLP

Under the leadership of trained arbitrator and mediator Shona Smith, 'a calm and reassuring presence in any case', Balfour+Manson LLP places an emphasis on divorce work, cohabitation actions and complex financial provision cases. Additionally, the group receives a steady flow of instructions concerning separation, dissolution of civil partnership, pre- and post-nuptial agreements, child residence and contact arrangements, adoptions, and children’s hearing work. Much like Smith, Lynne Mulcahy has a stellar record advocating in both the Sheriff Court and the Court of Session. Elsewhere, Kirsten Knight and Jamie Foulis represent clients in a range of contentious and non-contentious matters.

Practice head(s):

Shona Smith

Other key lawyers:

Lynne Mulcahy; Kirsten Knight; Jamie Foulis; Linda Walker; Iain Thomson


‘Shona Smith has near-incomparable knowledge and experience in complex family cases. In her Edinburgh team, Jamie Foulis is exceptional. A calm head in difficult cases. In Aberdeen, Lynne Mulcahy brings over 25 years of experience.’

‘Key strengths are the breadth and depth of knowledge within the team, and the varying personalities which work well with different clients.’

‘The supportive approach providing guidance through the legal process and the answering of questions promptly was much appreciated.’

‘Lynne Mulcahy was always professional, friendly and very responsive to my queries. I could not have wished for more support and guidance, and I valued her honest description of potential options for ways of dealing with matters at each stage of the process.’

‘Balfour + Manson is a well-established firm with a long tradition of excellence in family law. They act directly and as Edinburgh agents for smaller firms in other parts of the country.’

‘Shona Smith manages an exceptional team with a real depth of experience and application. Shona herself is a calm and reassuring presence in any case, with good judgment and excellent client relationships. I have regularly relied on the efficiency and technical expertise of Iain Thomson.’ 

‘The firm is highly regarded in the area of family law. The team is efficient and diligent. ’

‘Jamie Foulis’ attention to detail is second to none. He pursues lines of enquiry with a steadfast and methodical approach.’

BTO Solicitors LLP

At BTO Solicitors LLP , a ‘reputable team of family lawyers’ routinely handles ‘large, multi-faceted, family cases’, many of which contain jurisdictional issues. It excels in high-value financial provision cases and complex child cases, including international adoption, child relocation and abduction. It is presided over by Lesley Gordon, earning praise for being ‘highly proficient, both in her direct legal work and her advocacy for arbitration’. At senior associate level, Morvan Douglas assists clients in the full spectrum of family law matters, Marjory Blair concentrates on child protection issues, while Debbie Reekie is applauded for examining 'the bigger picture and trying to find a solution even where matters are acrimonious’.

Practice head(s):

Lesley Gordon

Other key lawyers:

Marjory Blair; Morvan Douglas; Debbie Reekie


‘My dealings with Lesley Gordon were very smooth. She was so professional and made a very difficult situation manageable. I would not hesitate to recommend her and indeed have done so to a number of friends ’

‘BTO are leaders in pressing for greater use of arbitration in family cases in Scotland.’

‘Lesley Gordon is highly proficient, both her direct legal work and her advocacy for arbitration. Senior associate Debbie Reekie is committed and helpful. This is a good team.’

‘Lesley Gordon understood the issues, providing careful and thoughtful guidance from start to finish.’

‘Morven Douglas is excellent. She is highly knowledgeable, dedicated and very hard working.’

‘BTO has a reputable team of family lawyers known for giving solid advice to clients. ’

‘Debbie Reekie is a sound and reliable family lawyer. You can trust her to be straight with you. She is working to sort out a problem, rather than make it worse.’

Gilson Gray

Gilson Gray is ‘a relatively young firm’ that has ‘built a strong family law team over a fairly short period’, in turn picking up ‘difficult cases and representing clients forcefully and effectively'. Responsible for driving the growth of the team is Philippa Cunniff, who exhibits ‘very good technical knowledge of the law in relation to financial provision in particular’. Sally Nash's practice focuses on wealth protection, acting regularly in cohabitation, pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements. Other names to note are Denise Laverty, who was promoted to partner in December 2020, and associate Shona Young.

Practice head(s):

Philippa Cunniff

Other key lawyers:

Sally Nash; Denise Laverty; Shona Young


‘Philippa Cuniff is very experienced, knowledgeable and nice to deal with Denise Laverty is collaborative and good to deal with.’

‘Philippa Cunniff can only be described as outstanding. She is representing me in my divorce which is a sensitive and complex case.’

‘Gilson Gray have a deserved reputation of high-quality legal advice and first-class client service in Edinburgh.

‘Philippa Cunniff is an outstanding family lawyer. She is utterly professional and hugely knowledgeable and her wealth of experience in very complex cases is very apparent.’

‘Philippa Cunniff has very good technical knowledge of the law in relation to financial provision in particular.’

‘My experience of Sally Nash is that she is very easy to deal with in attempting to find constructive solutions, and is able to see the “big picture” for her clients.’

‘Gilson Gray is a relatively young firm. It has built a strong family law team over a fairly short period. I have been impressed by their capacity to pick up difficult cases and represent clients forcefully and effectively, where a less experienced team would have struggled.’

‘Philippa Cunniff should take the credit for creating this impressive team. I have particularly enjoyed working with Sally Nash, whose intelligent management of cases and clients, combined with an unflustered efficiency, has been remarkable.’

Harper Macleod LLP

Harper Macleod LLP‘s practice, spearheaded by the ‘highly experienced, diligent, knowledgeable and very approachable’ Amanda Masson, possesses a long track record in complex financial provision, child relocation and abduction, and insolvency-related cases, but has also made inroads into other areas. In particular, it is increasingly viewed as a key name for surrogacy, assisted fertility and adoption cases. Jenny Smith handles cohabitation agreement cases, pre- and post-nuptial agreements, and complex asset separation. Alexis Harper and Karen Gibbons, whose practice includes many separation cases involving allegations of abuse, are other names to note.

Practice head(s):

Amanda Masson

Other key lawyers:

Jenny Smith; Alexis Harper; Karen Gibbons; Rachael MacDonald


‘Harper Macleod stands out for its contribution to the social policy issues underlying the law. They are however far from mere theoreticians. They are effective family law litigators.’

‘Harper Macleod has a very strong family law offering in which there are several outstanding individuals.’

‘Amanda Masson is highly experienced, diligent, knowledgeable and very approachable. I have found her judgement to be excellent and she has excellent relations with her clients.’

‘Jenny Smith is also very experienced, a reassuringly calm presence for clients, and very well organised. She has an impressive understanding of the law.

‘Alexis Harper is extremely energetic in her clients’ interests, a good tactician in litigation, and a master of detail in the preparation of her cases. ’

Work highlights

  • Advised a private individual on a complex international fertility and adoption law issue.
  • Represented private individual in a Sheriff Court relocation action which involved consideration of the weight to be attributed to children’s views versus level of parental contact between the children and the defender.
  • Represented defender in high value financial provision case involving valuation of business interests.


Led by Alison McKee, Lindsays’ team handles a broad range of family issues, with expertise in litigation and alternative dispute resolution. Although the department has seen an increase in instructions concerning pre- and post-nuptial agreements and cohabitation agreements, it also maintains a busy caseload relating to complex financial provision and child cases. Elsewhere, 'formidable opponent' Nina Taylor is frequently brought in for cases where there are allegations of domestic and child sexual abuse, Family Law Association chair Jennifer Gallagher excels in divorce settlements and separation agreements, while Duncan Mackinnon brings expert knowledge of safeguarding issues to bear in complex cases involving vulnerable children.

Practice head(s):

Alison McKee

Other key lawyers:

Nina Taylor; Jennifer Gallagher; Duncan Mackinnon


‘The family law Team in Lindsays is renowned for being partner-driven which brings with it a wealth of experience.’

‘Nina Taylor is a strong practitioner. She tells it as it is, which is of huge benefit and much appreciated, avoiding unnecessary ‘legal speak’. She is a formidable opponent. 

‘Jennifer Gallagher is an impressive partner in the firm’s family law department. She has an extensive client following as a result of her experience and gravitas, with a first-class reputation among her peers. ’

‘Alison McKee has in-depth knowledge of all areas of family law especially Hague Convention Child Abduction work.’

‘A combination of expertise, approachability and pragmatism. ’

‘Nina Taylor has an excellent knowledge of the law and procedures; her people skills are outstanding; she is an excellent litigator. A superb lawyer in her field.’

‘In my view what makes this practice unique is the team’s ability to work together. Each member tends to be aware of their colleagues’ cases which ensures continuity.’

‘Nina Taylor’s work rate is impressive. Alison McKee is very knowledgeable and conducts her cases with impressive confidence and expertise.’

Morton Fraser

Equally comfortable undertaking cases in the courts of England and Wales as in Scotland, Morton Fraser demonstrates extensive capabilities in complex financial provision cases. The group focuses its attention on pure divorce actions, private and public child work and prenuptial and cohabitation agreements. Edinburgh-based practice head Rhona Adams specialises in high-value financial provision cases, while in Glasgow, Fiona Sasan exhibits deep expertise in cases involving owner-managed businesses and complex corporate assets. The Edinburgh team also includes Lucia Clark, who flourishes in cross-border disputes, and consultant Savita Sharma who attracts high praise for her knowledge of English divorce matters with linked financial proceedings.

Practice head(s):

Rhona Adams

Other key lawyers:

Lucia Clark; Fiona Sasan; Savita Sharma; Marisa Cullen


‘Rhona Adams was very attentive and very skillful in managing expectations. At no time did I feel was going to be taken to the cleaners. If I was in a similar position in future, I only hope Rhona is available to look after my interests. A truly outstanding matrimonial solicitor.’

‘Lucia Clark is probably the best in Scotland on cross-border issues. Razor sharp on the law.’

‘Fiona Sasan is one of the leading family lawyers in Scotland. She runs the biggest of cases.’

‘Savita Sharma is dual-qualified in English and Scottish law, which was superb as my case related to me in Scotland and my ex-wife and daughter in England.’

‘Rhona Adams created a nuanced and sensitive dialogue with me throughout an emotional time. She clarified legal jargon while guiding me to a successful conclusion. ’

‘Savita Sharma is a keen strategist and is always thinking one step ahead. She is commercially minded yet very down to earth with clients.’

‘Excellent from partner down – not only in high-value finance cases but also in large international and cross-border cases.’

Work highlights

  • Represented a pursuer in a high-value complex Court of Session divorce action, in which proof took eight days, complex business structures were involved – resulting in an appeal to the Inner House of the Court of Session.
  • Acted for petitioner in child abduction case involving abduction from Poland to Scotland, resulting in an appeal to the Inner House; respondent unsuccessfully sought leave to appeal to the UK Supreme Court.
  • Acted for the pursuer in an international divorce action in Court of Session, in which multiple proceedings were ongoing in the UAE and Scotland simultaneously.

Anderson Strathern

The wide-ranging family practice at Anderson Strathern not only handles financial provision on divorce matters, but also nuptial agreements, cohabitation claims, contact and residence disputes, and relocation cases. The group, which is led by Janice Jones - ‘a level-headed, experienced and excellent family lawyer’ - acts for an assortment of high-net-worth individuals, landowners, entrepreneurs, and sportsmen and women. Edinburgh-based Danielle Edgar, an associate within the group, regularly acts for local authorities in adoption cases.

Practice head(s):

Janice Jones

Other key lawyers:

Danielle Edgar


‘Anderson Strathern works as a team, and when my own lawyer Janice Jones has been on holiday, my requirements as a client have been anticipated in advance and any timeous matters are handed over and dealt with professionally at that time.’ 

‘Janice Jones is highly pragmatic and applies sound common sense to all matters we have had to deal with and this has been of tremendous benefit to me in keeping a good perspective on my legal issues. I am very happy that I was referred to Janice, as a level-headed, experienced and excellent family lawyer was exactly what I needed to harness and turn around a very difficult situation.’

‘Janice Jones is very knowledgeable and also has a strong understanding of the needs of parents who are involved in the family court process.’

Blackadders LLP

Headed up by Craig Samson, cited by clients as ‘personable, intelligent, and committed to securing the best result possible for his clients’, Blackadders LLP stands out for its 'ability to adapt to each client's needs'. This ethos is applied to a wide variety of family issues, namely complicated financial claims on separation and divorce. ‘Knowledgeable and efficient, with good client management skills when dealing with tricky and emotive issues’, Gareth Masson principally focuses on cases involving children, particularly adoptions, permanency orders, and relocations. He also receives instructions concerning cohabitation claims.

Practice head(s):

Craig Samson

Other key lawyers:

Gareth Masson; Joanne Murray


‘What makes this firm stand out is their ability to adapt to each client’s needs. The downfall of many other firms is the “one size fits all” attitude. My needs were always met in every possible way and I cannot fault any of their processes. My lasting impression of Blackadders is one of genuine care for their clients.’

‘Kindness and understanding is what makes this firm stand out and clients will remember that for years after. I for one, will never forget and be forever grateful.’

‘Clients are put front and centre with this firm, and I feel within the community they are well known for this. I had my solicitor and this firm recommended for family law. The firm used technology well during the global pandemic. ’

‘I found Gareth Masson to be highly knowledgeable in his sector but also easy to communicate with, understanding and incredibly dedicated. In his work for me and my daughter he has changed our lives and allowed us to move on from a negative situation. ’

‘Craig Samson is one of the leading family lawyers outside Edinburgh. A ‘big hitter’ who also does lots of his own advocacy.’

‘Craig Samson is a highly experienced family lawyer. He has excellent client care skills and in-depth legal expertise.’

‘Gareth Masson is knowledgeable and efficient, with good client management skills when dealing with tricky and emotive issues.’

‘Gareth Masson is extremely hardworking and tenacious.’

‘Craig Samson is personable, intelligent, and committed to securing the best result possible for his clients (with whom he invariably has excellent relations). I have found him to be thoughtful, well prepared and an excellent negotiator. ’

MacRoberts LLP

MacRoberts LLP‘s team is sought after for a wide range of family matters, catching the eye with its alternative dispute resolution capabilities. It is led by Jacqueline Stroud, whose practice largely hinges on complex child law and financial provision cases, as well as mediation and collaborative law. Marika Franceschi, for her part, primarily deals with separations and divorce involving overseas assets, international international child relocation cases, and pre and post nuptial agreements.

Practice head(s):

Jacqueline Stroud

Other key lawyers:

Marika Franceschi


‘Jacqueline Stroud consistently takes a very calm, empathetic and pragmatic approach to her work, and is always available at short notice to provide sensible and reassuring advice.’

‘Jacqueline Stroud has a strong following when it comes to mediation. She is known for her personal skills. She is able to put people at ease. Marika Franceschi is a very able lawyer. She is able to look at the bigger picture. She encourages her clients to work towards a resolution.’

‘The practice has a number of strengths covering contentious issues such as Court of Session and Sheriff court litigation and non-contentious issues such as the drafting of complex agreements, collaborative law and mediation.’

‘Marika Franceschi is exceptional; she is knowledgeable and a skilled negotiator who achieves very good results for her clients whilst minimising conflict.’

‘Marika Franceschi was very professional, but also very kind. She is super intelligent and immediately understood what I was trying to say and what issues worried me.’

‘Whilst they have the usual range of finance and children they also have experience of acting for local authorities in public child law cases. ’

MTM Family Law

Glasgow-based family law boutique MTM Family Law deals 'exclusively with family law, mainly in the West of Scotland’. Equally well-versed in the collaborative approach ‘as the more traditional litigious route’, the team is jointly led by the ‘very highly respected’ Shona Templeton and Carolyn MacBride, who is ‘very highly regarded for her detailed legal knowledge, mastery of detail, and ability to simplify complex issues for clients and the court’. Key areas of focus include divorces, separation agreements and childcare, residency, and contact arrangements.

Practice head(s):

Shona Templeton; Carolyn MacBride

Other key lawyers:

Fiona Anderson


‘MTM are a very well known, dedicated firm dealing exclusively with family law, mainly in the West of Scotland.’

‘Carolyn MacBride is forthright, direct, and extremely experienced in her field. She is very highly regarded for her detailed legal knowledge, mastery of detail, and ability to simplify complex issues for clients and the court. ’

‘They are a pure family law practice which shows and they have managed to build their reputation over many years of hard work. All the lawyers are involved in the Collaborative approach as well as the more traditional litigious route.’ 

‘Shona Templeton is proactive with her thoughts and suggestions. She has the ability to listen and with the knowledge and curiosity she applies she is a very highly respected and helpful in seeing solution to a problem from different angles.’

‘The solicitors at MTM are knowledgeable and skilled practitioners who carry out their work to a high standard and are respected for their skill, integrity and expertise by other professionals. ’

‘When dealing with MTM you can be assured that they will act diligently and professionally at all times and be focused on finding the best solution.’

Thorntons Law LLP

Originally a Dundee-based firm that is now making a name for itself in family law in the Central Belt of Scotland’, Thorntons Law LLP’s team possesses ‘a number of very experienced and adept family law practitioners’. Chief among them are practice lead Sandra Sutherland, whose team primarily handles high-value divorces and separations, child-related issues and cohabitation law matters, and Lucy Metcalf, who was promoted to partner in January 2021. During 2020 Amanda Wilson left to launch her own firm, while former partner Alasdair Docwra now acts as a consultant to the firm

Practice head(s):

Sandra Sutherland

Other key lawyers:

Lucy Metcalf; Angela Wipat


‘From the colleagues on reception to senior colleagues, everyone created a welcoming vibe, which really helped with the subject I was dealing with.’

‘Lucy Metcalf has helped me through difficult settlement negotiations, providing clear advice on proceedings and in answer to my (many) questions along the way. This has been done in both a thoroughly professional way and supportively, helping to make the whole process more manageable. ’

‘My experience with Thorntons has been that key capabilities stem from their progressive attitude of fairness and practicality toward family law and the client’s situation, as well as the obvious commitment to learning and combining their experience across the department between colleagues.’

‘Very approachable, friendly and they listen to you. Thorntons have a wide range of services to offer with expert advice available’

‘Excellent communicators. Proficient lawyers with detailed legal knowledge & skills. Excellent client focus and care.’

‘Thorntons are originally a Dundee based firm that is now making a name for itself in family law in the Central Belt of Scotland’

‘Lucy Metcalf is very experienced, diligent, knowledgeable and approachable. I have found her judgement to be excellent. She appears to have excellent relations with her clients. She is always very well prepared. ’

‘Sandra Sutherland is well organised, easy to deal with and very thoughtful.’

‘Lucy Metcalf is meticulous in her preparation of cases and demonstrates an impressive knowledge of applicable law, particularly in the most recent case I am dealing with where there are complex commercial issues. She is very experienced dealing with all aspects of family law cases.’

Clyde & Co

With decades of experience litigating a broad array of family, child and matrimonial cases in both the Court of Session and Sheriff Court, Caroline Gillespie spearheads Clyde & Co LLP’s family practice. Gillespie and her team concentrate on international child relocation and cohabitation cases, as well as complex financial provision cases. Key assistance is provided by Alison Nicol, who joined the team from Jones Whyte LLP in January 2020.

Practice head(s):

Caroline Gillespie

Other key lawyers:

Alison Nicol


‘BLM took my case when I was at my wits end in what turned out to be a very difficult and protracted case. They have kept me up to date timeously in a courteous manner.’

‘Caroline Gillespie’s unfailing support and handling of fragile matters are second to none. Caroline was able to put herself in my shoes and navigate clear-headed through the complexity of matters. Caroline has the ability to go right to the heart of the matter.’

‘Caroline Gillespie strikes me as a very experienced and knowledgeable operator who operates in a pragmatic and solution driven basis.’

‘Caroline Gillespie and her team are always very professional in their approach. They listen to clients from both a commercial and professional perspective. They are very easy to work with in a collaborative basis’

‘Caroline Gillespie is very knowledgeable in her field and offers a personable approach to her dealings with clients and other professionals. I have referred her to a number of clients and intend to do so in the future’

‘Alison Nicol is very knowledgeable and also has a strong understanding of the needs of parents who are involved in the family court process’

‘The BLM family law team in Glasgow are excellent, able and highly motivated. They have a good manner with clients and with agents. Their level of commitment and service is high.’

Gibson Kerr

The ‘small but excellent team of family lawyers’ at Gibson Kerr is ‘a growing force in the Scottish market, particularly with high-net-worth individuals’, Financial issues, child residence and contact issues emanating from the breakdown of relationships are focal points of the practice, which is led by Fiona Rasmusen, whose expertise lies in ‘handling divorce and legal separation‘. Senior solicitor Caroline MacBeath is another name to note.

Practice head(s):

Fiona Rasmusen

Other key lawyers:

Caroline MacBeath; Nadine Martin


‘I found all of the team members I dealt with very helpful, knowledgeable and highly professional in all matters, and correspondence.’

‘Fiona Rasmusen is very kind and considerable to her client. She provides advice based on client’s actual need and benefit not purely on fees.’

‘Fiona Rasumusen stands out from all competitors – her expertise in handling divorce and legal separation are outstanding. Fiona ensures clients feel comfortable at all times and she has a wonderful skill in communicating legal terminology with clients during this very difficult time. ‘ 

‘Fiona Rasmusen is very approachable and amicable. She inspires confidence in respect of her considerable experience in divorce proceedings which is evident in her legal knowledge and the skill in her consideration of how to manage issues.’

‘Fiona Rasmusen is very capable and knowledgeable about the law. Good with clients.

‘This is a small, well organised, family law team who offer a highly personalised service to clients. ’

‘Fiona Rasmusen is highly knowledgeable, very committed, and capable of resolving potentially intractable issues by spotting them and heading them off before they develop. ’

‘A small but excellent team of family lawyers. Gibson Kerr is a growing force in the Scottish market, particularly with high-net-worth individuals.’

Work highlights

  • Acted in a divorce action involving a husband and wife with shareholdings in a number of businesses.
  • Acted in a separation case involving property and business interests and a potential buy-out.
  • Achieved a full financial settlement despite the opponent’s claim of having paid an advance.

Patience and Buchan

Patience and Buchan is a ‘highly professional and dynamic family law firm’, notably committed to alternative dispute resolution methods. Lorna Buchan attracts praise as ‘a highly effective litigator but also deals with mediation and collaboration cases’, not least high-value financial and divorce cases. Ashley Simpson - who displays an ‘impressive understanding of the law and is dogged in pursuit of her clients' interests - routinely handles children’s issues, including relocations and adoptions.

Practice head(s):

Lorna Buchan; Ashley Simpson

Other key lawyers:

Jaclyn Bolt


‘Ashely Simpson is quietly determined and strong for me, not in an aggressive way. She was the perfect choice for me.’

‘Patience and Buchan are a highly professional and dynamic family law firm. Anyone going through issues concerned with family law in the Aberdeenshire/Aberdeen area would do well to use this firm of efficient lawyers.’ 

‘Lorna Buchan is a consummate professional who leaves no stone unturned and is very thorough. Only strengths, zero weaknesses.’ 

‘Lorna Buchan is the stand-out individual. Lorna is a highly effective litigator but also deals with mediation and collaboration cases.’

‘Patience and Buchan are a boutique, specialist family law firm in Aberdeen. They are truly experts in their field. ’

‘Lorna Buchan is highly experienced, diligent, knowledgeable and very approachable. She is one of the firm’s founding partners and is justifiably very highly regarded in her field.’

‘Ashley Simpson is very experienced, a reassuringly calm presence for clients, and very well organised. She has an impressive understanding of the law and is dogged in pursuit of her clients’ interests.

‘A leading Aberdeen firm with strong reputation across the range of family law.’

Weightmans LLP

Weightmans LLP secured the services of former Turcan Connell partner Noel Ferry for the launch of new Scottish private client offering in March 2020. Ferry, who is based in the UK firm's Glasgow office, has been tasked with building out the firm's footprint in family law issues. He is a solicitor advocate with a stellar track record in high-net-worth divorces, cohabitation claims, prenuptial agreements and child relocation cases.

Practice head(s):

Noel Ferry


‘Noel Ferry has a sensible and level-headed approach, even in difficult situations, without any drama.’

‘Honestly, I cannot recommend Noel Ferry highly enough. He is sharp as a tack, a truly genuine individual with a real understanding of families and children and someone who I have been very happy to trust completely to get me the best possible outcome.’

‘Noel Ferry was very empathetic and understanding of the situation I was going through. The matter was quite pressing and he worked very quickly which also helped me deal with the entire situation and I can only highly recommend him.’

Wright, Johnston & Mackenzie LLP

Wright, Johnston & Mackenzie LLP has a track record of conducting proceedings in both the Court of Session and the Sheriff Court, spanning child issues, cohabitation claims, divorce and separation agreements, as well as pre- and post-nuptial agreements. Practice head Tom Quail frequently handles complex financial provision issues, whereas Roger Mackenzie fuses matrimonial know-how with expertise in adoption-related matters.

Practice head(s):

Tom Quail

Other key lawyers:

Roger Mackenzie; Emma Letham


‘Tom Quail is meticulous in his preparation of documents and sets out options clearly.

Scullion LAW

Boutique family law outfit Scullion LAW is headed up by Judith Higson, who has extensive experience guiding clients through complex separations and divorce and child law cases. A large proportion of instructions are successfully resolved by mediation, particularly cases involving financial dimensions and care arrangements for children. Nicola Buchanan joined the team as a senior associate from Clyde & Co LLP in March 2020.

Practice head(s):

Judith Higson

Other key lawyers:

Nicola Buchanan


‘Scullion Law is a professional practice. They inspire confidence and have handled my divorce in a professional and compassionate manner. They are knowledgeable and adapted quickly to manage a very difficult divorce.’

‘Judith Higson and Nicola Buchanan are a pleasure to work with. Both are knowledgeable and handled my divorce in a professional and compassionate manner.’