Firm Profile > Burness Paull LLP > Edinburgh, Scotland

Burness Paull LLP

Banking and finance Tier 1

Alan Soppitt leads the banking team at Burness Paull LLP, which handles the full spectrum of financing transactions including structured finance and securitisation work, fund finance, leveraged finance and real estate finance. Jonathan Heaney is the key contact for corporate lending and real estate finance work, John Kennedy is experienced in the oil and gas sector, and Gaenor Cassell focuses on real estate and leveraged financings, restructurings and securitisation work. The group recently gained a number of high-profile appointments in the renewable energy space and counts several major UK clearing banks as clients. Allan Leal made partner in 2018.


Burness Paull fields a very commercially aware team of knowledgeable individuals, who are always keen to help and proficient in doing so.

At Burness Paull, the finance lawyers are competent and give good advice.

Sophie Coffey has an excellent understanding of the energy industry and is able to combine this with her banking and finance expertise to provide solid, well-considered advice.

Jonathan Heaney and Gemma Young are both competent and have a good knowledge of market practice in the asset management sector.

Key clients

BlueGem Capital Partners

Stewart Milne Group

Tailwind Energy Limited

NatWest Markets Plc

Tuscola Group Limited

Santander UK plc

Maven Regional Buyout Fund

Charities and not-for-profit Tier 1

Burness Paull LLP acts for major charities, grant-giving bodies and development trusts, providing advice concerning governance issues, investments, employment disputes, joint ventures and compliance. The team also frequently acts in the formation of new charitable bodies, and handles complex restructuring matters, including the winding up of charitable bodies and the transfer of staff from one company to another. The 'approachable and innovative' Stephen Phillips, who holds the position of the Convener of the Charity law sub-committee of the Law Society of Scotland, has notable expertise with corporate legal structures and proved instrumental in developing the constitutional model behind the SCIO charity structure.


‘Burness Paull has provided many hours of valuable help on issues of charity law and governance.’

‘The team, led by Stephen Phillips, are all approachable and willing to help. Stephen provides an innovative and creative approach to issues, and Gillian Harkness has been a thought provoking speaker at our events.’

‘Emma Maxwell and Rhona McAdam provide thoughtful and considered advice in an easy to understand way.’

Key clients

Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

Glasgow Life

Development Trusts Association Scotland

St Andrew’s Ambulance Association

Epilepsy Scotland

Action for Children

Thistle Foundation

Standard Life Foundation


Bates Wells & Braithwaite London LLP

Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow

Archway (Respite Care and Housing) Limited

Sustrans Limited

Airdrie Citizens Advice Bureau

Victim Support Scotland

Commercial litigation Tier 1

Covering a broad range of disputes, Burness Paull LLP acts for clients across various sectors, including financial services, media and energy. The 'very calm and collectedGary Moffat heads up the 'well organised and very responsive' commercial litigation team, which includes main contact for banking and regulatory disputes Stuart Murdoch, who made partner in February 2018. Recent work includes IP and product liability disputes, banking litigation and insolvency-related disputes, among others. Dispute resolution team head Neil Smith is another key individual.


They go the extra mile to ensure the client is always aware what is going on before it happens.’

Joanna Fulton is very knowledgeable about cross-border litigation issues and excellent at dealing with the practicalities of explaining and translating Scottish court procedures for international clients and lawyers from other jurisdictions.’

Vast experience, legal knowledge and commercial acumen make Neil Smith a great man for a crisis.

A dream to work with.

What sets them apart is their quiet authority based on their extensive experience of document and data heavy disputes.

Colin Hulme provides practical business-focused advice that keeps the client’s goals in mind.

Alan McMillan is extremely knowledgeable and thinks outside the box.

Very high quality, commercially astute lawyers.

Jody Crockett is absolutely dedicated to the client and a pleasure to work with.’

Key clients

JK Rowling

Pension Protection Fund

Sky UK

AstraZeneca Group

Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS)

The Insolvency Service

The Scottish Football Association

Taylor Clark Leisure

James McFadden

Cleveland Bridge UK

Commercial property: Edinburgh and Glasgow Tier 1

Burness Paull LLP has recently acted for its client base on high-profile regeneration work and also handled matters involving foreign investment into the Scottish real estate market. Along with leisure and retail occupiers, the firm also regularly assists corporate tenants. The group's development work includes matters in the build-to-rent sector relating to social housing projects and also private-rented sector initiatives; the team also has notable expertise in real estate financing work and residential, commercial and student accommodation mandates. John Strachan leads the practice and Graeme Bradshaw is the key contact for retail, leisure and hospitality clients; other key individuals include managing partner Tamar TammesNick Naddell, who specialises in high-end investment deals, funding packages and landlord and tenant work; and Richard Rennie, who focuses on property investment and development work.


‘Clients always receive a very personal service from the real estate team at Burness Paull. Its lawyers pay particular attention to detail and are happy to assist in whatever way they can.’

‘Working with Graeme Bradshaw is always a positive experience. He is approachable, listens to exactly what clients require, and does his very best with a perfect combination of professionalism and enthusiasm.’

‘This is a very strong, capable and reliable team which is very thorough in its approach with extensive experience in all aspects of residential property law.’

‘Nick Naddell and Barbara Mayne both provide a very personal service with nothing being too much trouble. Their attention to detail is excellent.’

‘Mark Patterson stands out through his simple approach to dealing with acquisitions and property-related work. He has great in-depth knowledge of the sector and delivers results.’

‘Nick Naddell and Graeme Bradshaw are a great team bringing property knowledge together with a commercial approach. Both are very approachable and are ready to think outside the box in order to get the deal done.’

Key clients

Bupa Care Homes

Deuce Acquisitions Limited


FirstGroup plc

London & Scottish Group

Miller Homes

Queensberry Properties

Scottish Enterprise

Sitel UK Limited

Supermarket Income Reit

Taylor Wimpey


Westbrook Partners

Commercial property: elsewhere in Scotland Tier 1

The real estate team at Burness Paull LLP regularly acts for blue chip corporate occupiers on asset management issues and office relocations, and assists occupiers with taking spaces in major shopping centres and high-street locations across Scotland. The firm's housebuilding group, led by Richard Goodfellow, advises housebuilders on projects as well as landowners on major residential developments. Practice head John Strachan has a notable strength in development work, regularly acting for funders on development transactions and for developers focused on delivering affordable housing; senior associate Sarah Stewart also handles development mandates.

Key clients

A & J Robertson (Granite) Limited

Aberdeen Football Club PLC

Cats Management Limited (now Kellas Midstream Limited)

Clients of 90N Real Estate Partners LLP

Countesswells Development Ltd


Duke of Fife

Esson Properties

GE Oil & Gas

John Clark Motor Group

Manse LLP

Palmer Capital

Rowett Research Institute

Stewart Milne Group

Total E&P UK

University of St Andrews

Uppermill Farms Ltd

Corporate and commercial: Edinburgh and Glasgow Tier 1

The corporate team at Burness Paull LLP has recently handled a number of matters concerning private equity, equity capital and owner-managed businesses. It has a strong mix of domestic and international clients, frequently acting for international corporations and private equity funds entering the Scottish market, as well as acting for domestic clients on cross-border work. Mark Ellis leads the team, which also includes Peter Lawson.


The culture of the firm, including that of the corporate and commercial team, is the stand out feature. Not only does the firm demonstrate legal excellence across each of the departments but it does so in an approachable, customer-focused manner. The firm also ensures that additional areas of need are recognised and match those requirements to team members not only by capability and capacity but by personality, helping to create a positive working partnership. In terms of individual deals, the team quickly understands the rationale, execution strategy and guides clients proactively through to completion.

Mark Ellis is the key contact and has demonstrated excellence in several transactions. He has become a trusted adviser not only on corporate work but in terms of advising the company on other areas of its growth strategy. Mark has also managed the relationship extremely well when the company requires advice outside the corporate team. The ability to look beyond the myopic view of an individual partner to the overarching requirements of clients, will enable the firm to continue taking market share.

Down to earth and easy to deal with. The team is available at all times and works hard to see deals complete.

Key clients

Standard Life Aberdeen

James Fisher and Sons

Scottish Power

A-Plan Insurance

Well-Sense Technology Limited

BlueGem Capital Partners

Walker Precision Engineering Group

i3 Energy

Kings Park Capital

Corporate and commercial: elsewhere in Scotland Tier 1

The corporate team at Burness Paull LLP boasts particular expertise in the areas of oil and gas, private equity, capital markets, as well as work for family-owned businesses. As a Scottish independent, the firm acts on significant deals both at home and internationally for both Scottish clients seeking to expand and foreign entities investing in Scotland. Jamie Stark , who is dual qualified in both Scotland and England and Wales, is a hugely experienced corporate finance and M&A practitioner, while director Arran Mackenzie is also well-regarded. Gary Chapman was recently made partner to cater to a upturn in M&A transactions in the oil and gas sector.


Burness Paull has a strong corporate team with experience of supporting start-ups through to multinationals.

Gary Chapman always makes himself available when needed, often at short notice. He understands his client’s business and supports the company in the decision-making process by providing contextually relevant advice whilst also ensuring current agreements are as future proof as possible.

Key clients

Standard Life Aberdeen

James Fisher and Sons

Scottish Power

A-Plan Insurance

Well-Sense Technology Limited

BlueGem Capital Partners

Walker Precision Engineering Group

i3 Energy

Kings Park Capital

Employment Tier 1

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


David Morgan is a solid practitioner with a good profile.

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

Its stability is a strong point.

Provides the most cost effective, real world advice.

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

Delivers tailored advice efficiently and clearly.

Professional and pragmatic.

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

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

Very forward thinking organisation that keeps up with the times.

Key clients



General Electric



Scottish Football Association


A.G. Barr


Health and safety Tier 1

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


Leaders in their field.

Breadth and depth of expertise is unparalleled.

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

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

Lynne Gray combines tactical approach with exceptional client handling skills.

Key clients



Repsol Sinopec

Maersk Oil



Spirit Energy

Marathon Oil

Babcock International

Arnold Clark

Insolvency and corporate recovery Tier 1

Burness Paull LLP recently hired Michael Thomson from Pinsent Masons LLP to head up the restructuring and insolvency team; his recruitment has impacted the practice's client roster with new lender appointments and city law firm clients. On the contentious side, Gary Moffat is a dedicated insolvency litigation specialist and regularly represents the Insolvency Service.


The team at Burness Paull  is known for its excellent market knowledge and presence in both non-contentious and contentious restructuring; the team has reassuringly deep expertise fronted by exceptionally approachable and commercially-minded partners.

The team has a wealth of experience at all levels. It is clear that senior members of the team take time training those that are more junior. This means that all members of the team have a strong understanding of the law and also the commercial issues at play in this area.

Michael Thomson is incredibly user-friendly and commercial. Gary Moffat is experienced and unflappable. Jonathan Heaney has deep technical experience and a very impressive profile.

Michael Thomson is a highly capable and commercially minded lawyer in whom clients have a high level of confidence. He is also extremely client-focused, and builds and retains exceptional relationships.

Gary Moffat is excellent to work with and gets to the heart of difficult issues very quickly. He takes time to understand his client’s aims and objectives and ensures that the approach taken is consistent with these.

Key clients

HSBC Bank plc as lender and Ernst & Young as administrators of House of Fraser

Lujo Properties Limited.

The Royal Bank of Scotland plc, Lombard North Central PLC and Lombard Technology Services Limited

T.O.M. Group (comprising ten distressed companies within the group) and Deloitte

The trustees of the pension scheme of Havelock Europa PLC (now in administration)

The Insolvency Service

Pension Protection Fund

James McFadden

Zhuoli Imaging Technology Co., Ltd

Intellectual property Tier 1

The dedicated IP group at Burness Paull LLP acts for a diverse client roster spanning a wide array of industry sectors including technology, oil and gas, financial services and healthcare. The team's contentious offering advises on trade mark, copyright, trade secret disputes. Colin Hulme leads the practice and focuses on IP litigation, while David Goodbrand and Callum Sinclair handle non-contentious work; Goodbrand also heads up the fintech group and Sinclair leads the firm's technology and commercial division. Neeraj Thomas departed to CMS.


Burness Paull provides excellent IP advice. The team’s knowledge of substantive and procedural rule is fantastic and is always used to get the best commercial results for its clients.

Burness Paull is the leading IP firm in Scotland with a top team of knowledgeable and approachable experts.’

The firm’s intellectual property lawyers have extremely good legal knowledge, coupled with a sound commercial approach and quick response times.

The team at Burness Paull stands out from the crowd for its unwavering commitment to understanding the needs of the client’s business and then delivering a service that is closely aligned with the established requirements.

Burness Paull endeavours to be as flexible as it possibly can, taking into account budget, required skills, customer capabilities and cultural ethos.

Colin Hulme is THE leading IP expert in Scotland.

Key clients


Harris Tweed Authority

AstraZeneca Group

Highland Spring




Standard Life Aberdeen

Scottish Rugby Union

PPL PRS Limited

Local government Tier 1

Burness Paull LLP stands out for its expertise in assisting local authorities with public service delivery models, including the establishment and restructuring of culture and leisure trusts, shared service structures and economic development partnerships. Other key areas of expertise of Stephen Phillips's team include advising on new models for the delivery of public infrastructure projects and associated procurement, state aid, planning, property and governance matters.

Key clients

Glasgow City Council

The City of Edinburgh Council

Perth and Kinross Council

Renfrewshire Council

Falkirk Council

Scottish Futures Trust

Improvement Service

Highlands and Islands Enterprise


Media and entertainment Tier 1

Burness Paull LLP’s large team act for major broadcasters, high net worth individuals and private companies in defamation and contempt of court proceedings, intellectual property and copyright enforcement mandates and restructuring matters. In a recent case, the team advised STV on its high-profile sale of its ITV2 channel to That’s Media, a deal which involved the sale of five separate entities, each holding local broadcasting licences, as well as intellectual property considerations. The team is led by Grant Stevenson, who works alongside Colin Hulme and director Kirsteen MacDonald , who advised JK Rowling on a court action raised against the author’s former personal assistant.


“The media law team at Burness Paull has quality throughout. They work tirelessly together and go well beyond the extra mile.”

“The team are commercial in their approach and great fun to work with.They are really responsive and work seamlessly with our in-house lawyers as a team.”

“Kirsteen MacDonald is a standout performer in the media law field. Her knowledge of the law, tactical nouse and exceptional hard work make her the person to turn to in Scotland for media law related matters.”

Key clients

STV plc

Independent Television News

ACF Sports Promotions Limited

BBC Scotland

Wildcat Haven Enterprises CIC


Sky UK Limited

Performing Right Society Limited

JK Rowling

Ms Julie McAnulty

Phonographic Performance Limited

Oil and gas Tier 1

Burness Paull LLP is recognised for handling the acquisition and disposal of oil and gas licence interests, as well as advising on the negotiation of the agreements required for the development of oil and gas fields through facilities owned by third parties. The group has notable strength in domestic matters and also has significant cross-border capabilities. Brian Hemming heads up the team, which also includes Bruce McLeod, who has experience in M&A and field development agreements.


The Burness Paull team is very customer-focused with a very broad experience base, which enables all issues to be dealt with efficiently and effectively. Documents are reviewed pragmatically and turned around quickly.

Brian Hemming is very personable, making it easy to discuss and deal with issues. He is very client-focused and always delivers documents on time.

Key clients

Tailwind Energy

CATS and Humber Gathering System Limited (both owned by private equity Antin Infrastructure Partners)

Spirit Energy (formerly Centrica)

Savannah Petroleum

Premier Oil


i3 Energy


Parkmead Group

Planning Tier 1

Burness Paull LLP's 'strong and very experienced' planning practice is regularly engaged on key construction, development and regeneration projects in the house-building, energy and infrastructure sectors. It is well versed in assisting clients with contentious and non-contentious planning permission proceedings, judicial reviews, planning inquiries and infrastructure-related compulsory purchase matters. The team includes the 'very competent and diligentTheresa Hunt, who made partner in March 2019 and covers a wide spectrum of planning matters.

Projects Tier 1

Burness Paull LLP's construction and projects team has notable structures expertise through the experience of Stephen Phillips and Gillian Harkness, including handling drafting and project structures, and funding structures. The projects practice is led by Chris MacKay and has recently acted on a number of high-profile mandates including several disputes; the group is also regularly appointed to advise on issues arising from the Scottish hub initiative. Senior associate Chris Horsley is also a key name to note.


The firm’s broad construction expertise, its understanding of the practicalities and risk profile of the construction sector, and its NEC contract experience distinguishs it from its competitors.

This is a high-class firm with strength in depth across a range of sectors. The range of knowledge the firm can bring to assist clients is exceptional!

Chris Mackay’s understanding of practical contract issues is excellent. He is also good at keeping teams on good terms in contentious disputes, and keeping everyone going until the point of resolution.

Chris Mackay and Andrew Little are standout individuals and are able to bring a depth of experience and pragmatism to assist clients.

Burness Paull is able to sit by clients as they navigate complex deals and give sound pragmatic advice on risk and market position.

Key clients

NHS Lothian

Falkirk Council

Perth & Kinross Council

Highlands and Islands Enterprise

hub West Scotland Limited

Hub Community Foundation

3 No

Scottish Futures Trust Limited

Scot Roads Partnership Project Limited

Amey Belfast Schools Partnership PFI Limited

University of St Andrews

Scrabster Harbour Trust

Galliford Try Construction (UK) Limited

John Graham Construction Limited

Ancala Water Services

Hampden Park Limited

Highland Spring

Property litigation Tier 1

Alan McMillan heads the team at Burness Paull LLP, which is best known for assisting clients with landlord and tenant disputes, development-related proceedings, commercial leasing disputes and dilapidation claims. It is also well versed in mediation and arbitration.

Key clients

Dana Petroleum

Britannia Invest A/S


Auquhirie Land Company


Elsick Development Company


NFU Mutual

Sport Tier 1

Burness Paull LLP’s team represents Scottish governing bodies, international organisations, football clubs and players, advising on matters such as disciplinary procedures, planning permissions, conduct issues and employment law. The team has further expertise in prosecuting clubs in tribunal proceedings on behalf of the Scottish FA, and in raising interdict proceedings in the Intellectual Property Court in Scotland.

Construction Tier 2

'Working tirelessly to achieve the client's desired goals', Burness Paull LLP is a regular fixture on construction projects and handles a wide range of contentious and non-contentious matters spanning various sectors including ports and harbours, health, public, education, infrastructure and energy. The team, led by the 'tactically very considerateFenella Mason, is also noted for its expertise in representing contractors.


Fenella Mason does not shy away from the truth and delivers client expectations. She has both an eye for the detail and can see the broader picture.

James Forbes has good client skills.

In-depth knowledge of the industry.

Strong in construction adjudication services.

Chris Mackay is very competent and switched on.

Key clients

Scottish Futures Trust

EDF Energy

Galliford Try Construction (UK)

John Graham Construction


Morgan Sindall Investments

Ferrovial Lagan


Van Oord

Kier Construction

Corporate tax Tier 2

Burness Paull LLP's tax practice regularly works in tandem with the firm's well-regarded real estate team to provide full tax support, ranging from structural advice at the outset of the deal through to post-completion issues. The team works across all asset classes and boasts a strong skill set relating to private equity and management incentives. Practice head Ronnie Brown heads the group from Glasgow and has a strong track record of acting for London businesses and Scottish accountancy firms.


Burness Paull’s team is able to cover any legal queries a client might have and can flex its approach depending on the client.

Robert Burns is very practical and works to find solutions for his clients.

Ronnie Brown has excellent technical knowledge and is able to explain and apply this to his clients.

Key clients

Taylor Wimpey

Cruden Homes

Springfield Properties

Zhouli Imaging

London and Scottish Investments

Maven Capital Partners

Standard Life



Hg Capital

Faroe Petroleum

Crime: fraud Tier 2

Burness Paull LLP's client roster consists of various financial service institutions and corporates, most notably from the oil and gas, retail and engineering sectors, as well as individuals, who instruct the team led by Rona Jamieson with matters concerning bribery and corruption, money laundering, fraud, export control and sanctions.


The firm has very strong international, corporate and compliance capabilities.

Lynne Gray is highly capable and personable.

Key clients

Ted Jacob Engineering Group

JK Rowling

Energy (excluding oil and gas) Tier 2

Burness Paull LLP's full-service energy practice consists of dedicated renewable energy experts, who handle all aspects of the renewables sector including planning and consenting issues, the development and construction of projects, operation and maintenance work, financings, sales and disposals, community aspects and energy regulatory and advisory work. Peter Ward has a strong track record in the regulatory space while newly promoted managing partner Tamar Tammes heads up the real estate sub-group. Chris Gotts leads the group.


Burness Paull doesn’t rest on its laurels. The team works hard to give clients a truly responsive service at good rates.’

This is a very joined-up team ,which is aware and takes advantage of its breadth of skills. Its practitioners are very approachable, knowledgeable and commercial.

Both Peter Ward and Neil Bruce are excellent members of the team; they are very efficient, knowledgeable and keen to help. This, combined with its overall commercial approach, makes Burness Paull a go-to for sensible advice.

Key clients

Scottish Power Renewables

EDF Energy Renewables


Statkraft UK

Ventient Energy

Invenergy Wind Europe

Close Brothers

Fred Olsen Renewables

BayWa r.e. UK

York Green Renewables

Kincardine Offshore Wind

European Marine Energy Centre

Environment Tier 2

Burness Paull LLP's contentious and non-contentious environmental practice works in close conjunction with its planning and health and safety teams and is best known for its corporate work. As a result, it frequently advises energy sector clients on environmental law aspects pertaining to transactions and project funding. Advising on regulatory and planning-related issues complements this offering.

EU and competition Tier 2

With anenviable client roster spanning the financial services, oil and gas, food and drink and public sectors, Burness Paull LLP's competition team advises on M&A transactions, state aid issues and complex commercial agreements. Graeme Palmer , who was recently promoted to the partnership, heads the firm's procurement and state aid sub-group from Glasgow. In Edinburgh, the main name to note is practice head David Goodbrand who specialises in commercial contracts, merger law and compliance and training for clients including Highland Spring, Royal London, ACCA and the Scottish Football Association.


Burness Paull fields a London-quality team right out of Edinburgh.

Michael Bryceland has excellent knowledge of the law and practical application, and is very responsive and prompt with his advice.

Key clients

Highland Spring

Oil and Gas Technology Centre

Glasgow City Council

Highlands and Islands Enterprise

Scottish Enterprise


Offshore Contractors Association

Standard Life Aberdeen

Viridian Group

Student Loans Company Limited

Health Tier 2

Burness Paull LLP's strength lies in advising private sector and public sector clients on healthcare projects. This includes assistance with property, construction, investment and procurement matters, among others, but the 'very experienced' team led by the 'pragmaticChris MacKay is noted for its care home and dentistry acquisition expertise and litigation capabilities.


Great pharmaceutical and medical device sector expertise.

Easy to work with.

The firm has an international outlook and is experienced in working with clients based elsewhere.

Very able to support NHS clients.

Excellent attention to detail.

Gives clear advice on risks and market positions.

Key clients

NHS Lothian

hub West Scotland

The Carbon and Energy Fund (CEF)


Smith & Nephew Orthopaedics

Hub Community Foundation

Xeon Smiles UK

Oasis Dental Care (Central)

Investment funds Tier 2

At Burness Paull LLP, the team of banking and finance experts, led by Alan Soppitt, is recognised for its private fund formation and partnership work, particularly regarding the structuring, establishment and operation of Scottish limited partnerships. The enhancement of the firm's regulatory team through the appointment of Stuart Murdoch to the partnership has boosted the practice's presence and capabilities in the financial services sector, especially in contentious work. Andrew Christie continues to build the funds finance sub-group, which regularly assists clients with debt and security structures. Paula Kennedy is singled out for her work acting for investors in their investments into alternative investment funds.

Key clients

Simpson Thacher Bartlett


Kirkland & Ellis




Fried Frank

Partners Group

Aberdeen Standard Investments

IT and telecoms Tier 2

Burness Paull LLP has particularly strong contentious expertise, which covers the full gamut of disputes including cybersecurity breaches, licensing issues and regulatory violations. The group recently added several high-profile clients including Ancala Water, Brandseye and Administrate to its diverse roster. Callum Sinclair leads the technology and commercial division and is head of technology for the firm; he is particularly active in the financial, public and utilities sectors. Other key practitioners include David Goodbrand, who is an expert in fintech matters; Colin Hulme, who heads up the contentious IT practice; and solicitor Andrew Maxwell.


The team at Burness Paull is absolutely fantastic. What makes this practice unique is the very fact that it truly approachs work as a team.

David Goodbrand is knowledgeable, approachable and delivers high-quality work, often in very tight deadlines. He leads his team with a calm confidence, which is an invaluable skill in negotiations.

Andrew Maxwell does exactly what he says he will in the time frame agreed.

Key clients


Nucleus Financial


The Weir Group plc

Royal London



Viridian Group plc

ScottishPower plc

Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society

The Scottish Football Association/Hampden Park Limited

Weir Group

Oil & Gas Technology Centre

Student Loans Company Limited

The Royal London Mutual Insurance Society Limited

Phoenix Group

Highland Spring

Scottish Friendly Assurance

AG Barr

WHM – Malcolm

Pensions Tier 2

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


The team appropriately measures risks against practical consequences.’

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

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

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

Client focus is second to none.

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

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

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

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

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

Key clients

John Menzies

MGM Assurance (Trustees)

Airdrie Savings Bank

A-Plan Holdco

Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority

The Trustees of the Glenmorangie Pension Scheme

ARC Pensions Law

Nucleus Financial Group

Lloyds Banking Group

Lothian Pension Fund

Trustees of the Havelock Europa Retirement Benefits Scheme

The Trustees of the Church of Scotland Pension Schemes

Personal injury: defender Tier 2

Burness Paull LLP acts for both private companies and public sector organisations, and has aimed to differentiate itself from other firms handling volume instructions from insurer panel appointments. The team handles employer liability and public liability claims across a wide range of sectors, including aviation, oil and gas, product liability and construction. The practice, which is led by Ewan McIntyre, is also known for its successful defence of mesothelioma claims.

Key clients

Amec Foster Wheeler Group Limited

Kier Group PLC

SSE PLC/Scotia Gas Networks Limited t/a SGN

Taylor Wimpey PLC

John Wood Group PLC

Student Loans Company Limited

City of Edinburgh Council

Russell Logistics

Smith & Nephew PLC


Gard Insurance Group

Seadrill Group

Charles Taylor & Co Limited

Social housing Tier 2

'Providing a first-class service', Burness Paull LLP has a strong profile for planning, construction and transactional social housing work and acts for a large number of social housing and affordable housing providers across Scotland. Advising on private financing matters constitutes another key area of expertise. The 'very experiencedPeter Chambers is the main contact alongside property development and property finance expert Scott Peterkin.


The team has a wealth of experience in the sector and has considerable expertise in complex projects.

Inspires confidence with their immediate grasp of the client’s requirements and communicates their understanding clearly and concisely.

Peter Chambers always displays a calm and confident manner and is an excellent communicator.

Key clients

Sanctuary Housing Association

Scottish Futures Trust Investment

Cruden Group

Springfield Properties

Hillcrest Housing Association

Link Group

Miller Homes

Castlehill Housing Association

Transport Tier 2

Burness Paull LLP's 'professional' team has carved out a strong practice handling road and harbour sector work - the latter is frequently handled by practice head Chris MacKay - but its broad transport sector expertise also leads to regular instructions in the rail and aviation sphere, which includes procurement, construction and contentious issues.


Chris MacKay always goes the extra mile for his clients.

The team understands the ins and outs of civil engineering contracts and has a good understanding of civil engineering construction.

Key clients

Scot Roads Partnership Project

Improvement Service

Cleveland Bridge UK

John Clark Motor Group

Port of Cromarty Firth

Scrabster Harbour Trust

Highland Spring

National Express Group

Worldwide Flight Services

Fraserburgh Harbour Commissioners


Immigration Tier 3

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


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

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

Extremely knowledgeable.’

Key clients

Scottish Television (STV)

Scottish Enterprise

BW Offshore (UK)


Savannah Petroleum

Consumer Club

The Blair Partnership

Licensing Tier 3

Burness Paull LLP's strength lies in providing liquor, premises and public entertainment licensing assistance, including contentious matters, to restaurants and hotels. Planning expert Theresa Hunt is the main contact.

Key clients

Carlton Clubs

Welcome Break Group

Cairn Hotel Group/ Station Hotel

Aberdeen Douglas Hotel

Hard Rock Café (UK)

Eden Valley Leisure

Splendid Hospitality

The Chester Hotel

Unionrow Restaurant

Professional negligence Tier 3

Burness Paull LLP's professional negligence practice works on both the pursuer and defender side of claims across a range of sectors, focusing on corporate clients rather than panel appointments for insurers. The team excels in particular in the realm of construction, receiving instructions from major firms of architects and engineers in high value cases, while also represents public bodies. Ewan McIntyre is lead partner for the firm's cross-discipline liabilities practice, which encompasses the professional negligence team, while Chris MacKay, who is has dual expert accreditation in both construction and arbitration, has niche expertise in disputes concerning harbours and ports.


‘The team displays an out of the ordinary concentration on identifying and pursuing the client’s interests in the circumstances of each case.’

Key clients

Millar & Bryce Limited

Fife Council

John Graham Construction Limited

Trustees of the Elliot of Harwood Trust

Education Tier 4

Burness Paull LLP's 'approachable and hard-working' team acts for a diverse range of education sector clients such as universities, private schools, further and higher-education institutions as well as local authorities and private-sector players. Typically, its work pertains to transactions and funding matters arising from major education sector projects but Chris MacKay's team is also experienced in charity law, employment and commercial property work.


The team has an enviable track record advising various local authorities.’

Its staff is well informed, knowledgeable and easy to engage with.

Key clients

University of St Andrews

Robert Gordon’s College

Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA)

The City of Edinburgh Council

Falkirk Council

Albyn School

Aboyne After School Club

Renfrewshire Council

Skills Development Scotland

Personal tax, trusts and executries Tier 4

Burness Paull LLP’s team stands out for its instructions by high net worth individuals seeking advice on the running of their business, whether that be succession planning or HMRC reporting obligations. In addition to these steady streams of work, the firm also represents executries in complex estate administrations, advises international clients on UK capital gains tax, and assists charities in a range of areas. Colin McKenzie heads up the firm's private capital division, while 'tenacious problem solver' Claire Macpherson has notable expertise managing the international side of cross-border estates and inheritance tax.


“Expert knowledge of complex executry matters and private client work delivered to an incredibly high standard by a team who put their clients at the heart of everything they do.”

“Technically excellent and passionate in their field.” 

“Claire Macpherson is meticulous and has a fantastic attention to detail.”

“Coming from a corporate background, Colin McKenzie is amongst a rare breed of private client solicitors who combine a private client manner in dealing with often sensitive individual and family matters with a corporate attitude in terms of speed of delivery.”

“Senior associate Fiona Clarke is exceptional, very discreet, friendly and has the ability to communicate clearly and eloquently – a real asset to the team.”

“A professional firm, with very good quality operators who have integrity and are approachable and experienced.”

The firm:
Burness Paull is one of Scotland’s leading independent commercial law firms.

With 73 partners, over 540 people, and offices in Scotland’s three largest cities: Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow, the firm is deeply resourced in every sector important to its clients in Scotland, the UK and internationally — including financial services, energy, technology, property and infrastructure, plus food and drink.

Burness Paull is the exclusive member firm in Scotland for Lex Mundi — the world’s leading network of independent law firms – and has worked in over 60 jurisdictions in the last three years.

In 2019 it topped the corporate legal deals table in Scotland for the fourth year running.

Principal areas of work:

With 60 dedicated corporate finance lawyers, Burness Paull has the largest specialist deals teams in Scotland. The firm has continued to prove its market-leading position in Scotland and expand its global reach — with a significant proportion of work done worldwide for UK based clients as well as international investors acquiring companies and equity stakes in the UK.

Combining oil and gas and renewables practice areas, Burness Paull’s energy team is led by partners with senior in-house legal and commercial management experience with major operators — a differentiator from the firm’s peers. The firm advises on work for E&P companies globally and been involved in renewable energy projects from on and off-shore wind to solar, biomass, CHP, waste to energy, and waste management.

The firm’s tier one-ranked property team is one of the largest in Scotland, with specialist expertise in retail, leisure/hospitality, investment, housebuilding, developer, renewables, public sector, agriculture and estates and real estate finance. Combined with planning, it has delivered a number of innovative projects and has a depth of experience in acquisitions, disposals, finance and development, including investment portfolios and UK-wide financing.

With one of the largest construction law teams in Scotland, Burness Paull offers a truly integrated service in both contentious and non-contentious matters. The team provides advice across the whole spectrum of construction and engineering, from offshore engineering contracts, and major public sector infrastructure projects through to traditional mixed-use commercial developments.

The firm’s planning team is the largest and strongest in Scotland, working across private and public sectors on a full spectrum of developments: conventional energy, renewable energy, regeneration, retail and residential. Its work includes planning appraisals, representation on development plans, community consultations, submission of applications, discussions with planning authorities and consultees, negotiation of planning agreements, preparation and submission of appeals and reviews, appearances at public inquiries and hearings and compulsory purchase orders.

Burness Paull’s banking team is recognised for its exceptional track record of leading complex transactions and the delivery of practical solutions and advice. It acts for international and domestic financial institutions, private equity houses and corporate borrowers. Many of the team have City or in-house experience and all have exemplary credentials in a range of financings including oil and gas, renewables, acquisition, asset-backed and real estate as well as restructurings and securitisations.

The firm’s 20+ strong team is Scotland’s leading private funds practice. Its client base is made up of City and international law firms and domestic, European and North American fund managers. While the team has built its market-leading reputation on the sponsor side, the last three years have seen the growth and development of a significant investor side practice.

Commercial Dispute Resolution:
Burness Paull’s dispute resolution team is one of the strongest commercial litigation teams in Scotland. It handles high-value, complex cases for international businesses, global conglomerates, government agencies and high-profile individuals. Each of the team’s partners are specialists in their respective fields of intellectual property, property litigation, product liability, insolvency, reputation management, and marine and offshore. The IP team was named Scottish Patent Contentious Firm of the Year and also Scottish Copyright Firm of the Year at the Managing IP Awards in 2019.

Health & Safety:
The firm’s top-ranking Health and Safety practice provides strategic advice across offshore oil and gas, food and drink, shipping, marine and subsea, aviation, manufacturing and construction, healthcare and pharmaceuticals. It supports clients through every stage of H&S litigation, from emergency response and incident investigation through to representation at inquiries or criminal prosecutions. The team also advises on financial crime and is highly-experienced in representing clients in FAIs.

Burness Paull’s award-winning employment practice is the largest dedicated team in Scotland, advising some of the country’s best-known employers throughout the UK. The market-leading contentious employment litigation practice includes a number of highly-experienced litigators and solicitor advocates, and is fully capable of advising in relation to English employment law matters.

The firm’s impressive pensions practice advises on M&A, corporate restructuring, alternative funding arrangements and insolvency. It also advises trustees and local authorities on all aspects of running pension funds, and insurance companies on the pension products they provide to the market. Comprising lawyers dual-qualified in English and Scots law, the firm has the only pensions team with a full-time presence in Aberdeen.

Technology & Commercial:
Burness Paull’s tech and commercial team has market-leading expertise across a range of specialist tech areas, including outsourcing, procurement, complex commercial contracts, and the use of information. The team includes commercial lawyers with specialisms in IT, IP, information law, FinTech and financial services regulation.

Department Name Email Telephone
Chairman Peter Lawson
Managing Partner Tamar Tammes
Banking and Funds Alan Soppitt
Construction and Projects Fenella Mason
Corporate Finance Mark Ellis
Dispute Resolution Gary Moffat
Employment Mandy Laurie
Exploration and Production Brian Hemming
Health, Safety and Environmental Rona Jamieson
Pensions Sarah Phillips
Planning Alasdair Sutherland
Private Capital Colin McKenzie
Property John Strachan
Public Sector Stephen Phillips
Renewables Chris Gotts
Tax Ronnie Brown
Technology and Commercial Callum Sinclair
Number of UK partners : 73
Number of other UK fee-earners : 278
Lex Mundi Network

The Lex 100 Verdict

The 'enjoyable interview experience' at Burness Paull is a sign that the firm 'puts a lot of work and effort into recruitment'. The 'supportive approach of colleagues during the summer placement', which gave trainees 'a great feel', also swayed many a decision to join the Scottish firm. A Lex 100 Winner medal has consequently been awarded for its vacation scheme. Feedback was littered with references to the 'excellent in-house training', which is provided by specialist professional support lawyers. And a 'superior culture' is championed by 'people at all levels who are really interested in and dedicated to your development'. What's more, there is a 'constant stream of exciting work' which sees trainees 'working for top clients on major deals, often alongside Magic Circle and US firms', with recruits 'given hands-on experience from day one'. Some seats are oversubscribed, which means that because of the 'large trainee intake, it is unlikely you will get to experience all the departments you would like'. 'Unpredictable hours in some departments' also irked respondents; instances of 'working very long hours at the weekend' and 'being in the office night after night' are such examples. Fortunately, hard work is rewarded in the form of standout moments such as 'getting to take the lead on a completion', 'attending the employment tribunal' and 'completing a deal with champagne after working on it for nearly half of my seat'. 'Getting exposure to a large Brexit-related deal which involved an enormous amount of work and a number of court hearings' was another impressive highlight. To work with 'lovely people' at 'one of the most reputable law firms in Scotland', apply to Burness Paull.