Firm Profile > Shepherd and Wedderburn > Glasgow, Scotland

Shepherd and Wedderburn
G2 1RW

Agriculture and estates Tier 1

Shepherd and Wedderburn acts for large rural clients in Scotland, as well as private individuals and private companies, on the sale and purchase of high value estates and agricultural land, in contentious leasing matters and in family farming partnership splits involving the distribution of assets. Head or rural property Hamish Lean advises clients on the formation, structure and winding up of agricultural businesses and renewable energy projects, while recent recruit Jacqueline Moore advises rural clients on naturalization issues and their ability to hire European workers in the context of the UK’s impending departure from the EU.

Practice head(s):

Peter Misselbrook

Other key lawyers:


‘Easily accessible – the firm provides quick responses to queries with clear reasoned advice’.

‘Hamish Lean is a very strong partner – he gives clear, reasoned advice in an understandable format’.

‘The team understands priorities and can work to to very difficult deadlines’.

Key clients

Invercauld Estate

Eskdalemuir Forestry Limited

The Woodland Trust

Lothian Estates

Clan Donald Lands Trust

Landmark Trust

Duke of Westminster Trustees

Royal Highland & Agricultural Society of Scotland

Electricity Supply Nominees (Forestry) Limited

Sutherland Estates

Mr Tom Greenhill

Fleming Farmers

Mr Henry Irvine-Fortescue

The Firm of Malcolm GD Morrison

Raymond and Rosaline Sharp

Mr James Bruce

Banking and finance Tier 1

Shepherd and Wedderburn has a strong track record in financing transactions, demonstrated by its broad client roster of commercial and investment banks, corporate borrowers, sponsors and developers. The group also has varied sector expertise, acting across the energy and natural resources, real estate and infrastructure, food and drink, healthcare, hotels and leisure sectors. Fiona Buchanan heads up the group, which also fields consultant Graham Burnside, Andrew Kinnes, who specialises in banking, asset-based lending and securitisation work; and Clare Foster, who leads the firm's clean energy practice and project finance team. Hamish Patrick heads up the firm's financial sector group and has substantial expertise in the securitisation space.

Practice head(s):

Fiona Buchanan

Other key lawyers:

Graham Burnside; Andrew Kinnes; Hamish Patrick; Patrick Bell; Clare Foster; Rob MacLeod; Iain Wishart


‘The team has a deep understanding of our business and advice is always given with our commercial goals in mind’.

‘The team is more proactive and pragmatic than other firms in the market. They are always responsive and make themselves available’.

Key clients

Clydesdale Bank

Lloyds Banking Group


Scottish Enterprise

Santander UK

Nord LB

Amber Infrastructure

Green Investment Group

Yorkshire Building Society

JP Morgan

Commercial litigation Tier 1

Shepherd and Wedderburn is well placed to handle a wide range of construction and contractual disputes, including breach of warranty. Insolvency practitioner Gillian Carty heads the 'fantastic' team, which includes the frequently recommended John MacKenzie; he is particularly noted for his expertise in IP and IT disputes. Barbara Bolton left the team in November 2018 to work in-house.

Practice head(s):

Gillian Carty

Other key lawyers:

John MacKenzie; Elaine Brailsford; Iain Drummond; Alastair Frood; Colin Archibald; David Anderson


Team of really great lawyers with a wide spread of different expertise and interests.’

Key clients

TROUW (UK) t/a Skretting


Lochaber Properties

Ayr Environmental Services

Commercial property: Edinburgh and Glasgow Tier 1

Shepherd and Wedderburn counts housebuilders, funds, banks, investors and retailers as clients, and is noted for its development work, which spans mixed-use and residential developments, retail sector schemes and office developments. Hugh Smith and Jamie Grant jointly head the leisure and hospitality sub-group, which advises a roster of hotel operators, investors, financiers and managers on all aspects of hotel transactions and operations. The property group is jointly led by Andrew Hall and David Mitchell from Glasgow and Edinburgh respectively. Other key names include Nick Ryden and development expert James Dobie.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Hall (Property); David Mitchell (Property); Jamie Grant (Leisure and hospitality); Hugh Smith (Leisure and hospitality)

Other key lawyers:

Nick Ryden; James Dobie; Scott Ritchie; Elaine Todd


‘Great communicators with an ability to get to the essence of the problem. Strong ability to make complex legal issues seem simple to laypeople’.

‘Paul Donald is particularly good and makes life very easy. He is very helpful and always available to assist. Advice is concise and to the point. Vikki Henderson, Kirsteen Milne and Ian Soppitt are also very good’.

‘Good with the detail on property transactions which others can miss’.

Key clients

British Land plc



Tilstone/Warehouse REIT

CBREGI UK Property Fund

Miller Homes

Trump Turnberry

Dakota Hotels

Balmoral Hotel

Molo Hotel (formerly Polcom Developments)

Fraser Suites

Crerar Hotel Management

BDL Select Hotels Limited

Chardon Trading


BDL Shetland Limited

HPMC Limited (owners Crowne Plaza London Docklands)

Aberdeen Standard


BAE Systems

Taylor Wimpey

Corporate and commercial: Edinburgh and Glasgow Tier 1

Shepherd and Wedderburn's corporate team is spread across Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen and is also able to draw on individuals in its London office. It is particularly well known for its expertise in the energy and natural resources, food and drink and technology sectors. The firm's enviable client roster includes high-profile Scottish and international names. Tom Swan was recently promoted to partner in the Glasgow office and has notable capabilities in the oil and gas and fintech sectors in particular. Practice head Stephen Trombala and George Boyle are other key names.

Practice head(s):

Stephen Trombala

Other key lawyers:

Andrew Blain; George Frier; Paul Hally; George Boyle; Tom Swan; Joanna Monaghan; John Morrison; Katy Barclay


‘Excellent legal knowledge coupled with a commercially pragmatic edge.’

‘The firm has regard to commercial considerations in not over-lawyering matters, and always pays attention to protect their client’s interests’.

‘John Morrison is excellent.’

Key clients


Cairn Energy

BigBlu Broadband (formerly Satellite Solutions Worldwide Group)

Eider Reserve Power

Chivas Brothers Ltd/Pernod Ricard SA

Nucleus Financial Group plc


William Grant & Sons Ltd

University of Strathclyde



Energy (excluding oil and gas) Tier 1

The energy team at Shepherd and Wedderburn focuses on its key sub-sectors of offshore wind, onshore storage, floating wind and tidal, low carbon and transmission. Practice head Clare Foster specialises in project finance work and leads the firm's multi-disciplinary practice, which includes experts from the regulatory, corporate, construction, real estate and disputes groups. Moray Thomson and Anthony McEwan joined the firm from DWF to strengthen the planning and commercial real estate teams; and James Saunders retired.

Practice head(s):

Clare Foster

Other key lawyers:

Scott McCallum; Colin Innes; Patricia Hawthorn

Key clients

Neart na GaoitheOffshore Wind Ltd


Auchrobert Wind Energy Ltd

Green Investment Group

Moray Offshore Windfarm (East) Ltd

Moray Offshore Windfarm (West) Ltd

Simec Atlantis Energy Ltd


Scottish Power Renewables (UK) Ltd


Innogy Renewables UK Ltd

Forsa Energy Ltd

Banks Renewables

Brookfield Wind Energy

Environment Tier 1

Working in close co-operation with its planning team, Shepherd and Wedderburn has carved out a strong practice handling environmental law issues arising from energy sector projects, including impact assessments, various regulatory issues and permitting and planning-related matters. The team is also experienced in environmental noise-related work. Patricia Hawthorn and Colin Innes jointly head the team, which includes planning expert Moray Thomson, who joined the firm from DWF in October 2018.

Practice head(s):

Patricia Hawthorn; Colin Innes

Other key lawyers:

Jamie Grant; Scott McCallum; Ewan Macleod; Richard Leslie; Moray Thomson

Key clients

ACCIONA Industrial

Coul Links

Mainstream Renewable Power

Neart Na Gaoithe (NnG) Offshore Wind

Moray Offshore Windfarm (West)

Moray Offshore Windfarm (East)

SP Transmission


SIMEC Atlantis Energy

EU and competition Tier 1

At Shepherd and Wedderburn, the EU and competition practice covers all aspects of competition law - transaction and behavioural, procurement and state aid, as well as litigation - and is complemented by specialist public law and commercial litigation experience. Practice head Gordon Downie is particularly experienced in a range of regulated sectors, while Glasgow-based John Grady is a specialist in dealing with energy and utilities regulators.

Practice head(s):

Gordon Downie

Other key lawyers:

John Grady; Fiona Parker


‘The team is steeped in the intricacies of energy regulation and the application of competition law to regulated utilities and rightly enjoys a strong reputation among peers and clients’.

‘John Grady has an outstanding grasp of regulatory principles applicable to regulated sectors and an encyclopaedic knowledge of regulatory precedents across the various sectors. He is very hands-on, always on top of the detail, immensely dedicated and hard-working, added to which he is a very congenial colleague to work with’.

‘Gordon Downie is an acknowledged expert in EU and UK energy regulation and the application of competition law in regulated sectors. He writes and speaks with authority and clearly knows his subject inside out. He is a fantastic team player and great to work alongside’.

Key clients

Scottish Power

Single Electricity Market Committee

Water Industry Commission Scotland

City of Edinburgh Council

ORE Catapult

Capital Document Solutions

Scottish Enterprise

Insolvency and corporate recovery Tier 1

Shepherd and Wedderburn's experience spans transactional, financial and contentious restructuring and insolvency matters for a client roster, which includes large restructuring and insolvency specialists and a number of niche practices in Scotland. The practice is led by Glasgow-based Yvonne Brady, who has a particular focus on the reorganisation and disposal of distressed and insolvent businesses in the SME and mid-market sector. Other noteworthy individuals include contentious specialist Gillian CartyFiona McKerrell, who focuses on complex financial restructurings and advising directors of distressed companies; and senior associate Allana Sweeney, who handles distressed M&A work.

Practice head(s):

Yvonne Brady

Other key lawyers:

Gillian Carty; Fiona McKerrell; Hamish Patrick; John Gallacher; Allana Sweeney

Key clients

Ernst and Young (EY)

KPMG (UK and Ireland)

FRP Advisory


Johnston Carmichael



Latham & Watkins

Allen & Overy

Leonard Curtis

Sidley Austin

IT and telecoms Tier 1

At Shepherd and Wedderburn the IT, media and telecoms practice focuses on assisting its client roster of broadcasters, telecom operators, content owners and technology companies with corporate, commercial and regulatory issues. The group also has a strong contentious offering under John MacKenzie and is active in the regulated sectors of financial services and utilities. Paul Carlyle leads the media and technology team and Joanna Boag-Thomson has specialist knowledge of the utilities sector.

Practice head(s):

Paul Carlyle

Key clients



European Competitive Telecoms Association


European Bank of Reconstruction and Development

Big Blu Broadband


Asia-Pacific Carriers Coalition

Capital Document Solutions Ltd

Sainsbury’s Bank

Water Plus Ltd

Iomart Group

Satellite Solutions Worldwide

Multrees Investor Services Ltd

Scottish Enterprise/Highlands and Islands Enterprise

Spartan Solutions

Scottish Power

Baillie Gifford & Co

Pensions Tier 1

Frequently working in conjunction with various other departments, Shepherd and Wedderburn's 'strong' pensions team is recognised for its broad offering and has a fine reputation acting for corporates and pension trustee clients, most notably in the financial services, higher education and energy sectors. Recently, the team handled various employment and GDPR matters pertaining to pension schemes alongside scheme documentation and scheme reorganisations as well as transactional matters. Andrew Holehouse, Louisa Knox, who is 'very pleasant to work with', and Edwin Mustard are the main contacts.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Holehouse; Louisa Knox; Edwin Mustard

Other key lawyers:

‘ Shepherd and Wedderburn ‘ 


‘Shepherd and Wedderburn are simply the best in terms of both breadth and depth. The team is uniformly a pleasure to deal with at both a personal and business level. They are responsive, efficient and always practical’.

‘Louisa Knox makes pensions fun, has a fantastic grasp of her subject, a quick brain and is excellent at suggesting practical solutions’.

Key clients

Scottish Widows Retirement Benefits Scheme

The Standard Life Staff Pension Scheme

ScottishPower Pension Scheme

Scottish Amicable Staff Pension Scheme

A.G. Barr Retirement Benefits Scheme

The University of Edinburgh Staff Benefits Scheme

The Miller Group Pension Scheme

Universal Music Group Pension Scheme

John Wood Group Retirement Benefits Scheme

Scottish Hydro-Electric Pension Scheme (SSE)

Planning Tier 1

Shepherd and Wedderburn has carved out a strong practice acting in residential, energy and retail development projects, providing assistance with contentious and non-contentious issues including compulsory purchase and environmental law matters. Colin Innes and Ewan Macleod jointly head the team, which includes planning lawyer Moray Thomson, who joined from DWF in October 2018, together with two associates.

Practice head(s):

Colin Innes; Ewan MacLeod

Other key lawyers:

Key clients

Murray Estates

Taylor Wimpey



The Miller Group

British Land

Hallam Land Management

Gladman Developments

CALA Group



Charities and not-for-profit Tier 2

Shepherd and Wedderburn advises major universities, charity trustees and public sector clients on a range of constitutional and governance related matters, including establishing new charities, revising trust structures, safeguarding issues and employment disputes. The team has particular strength in the higher education sector. Dual-qualified accredited specialist Chris McGill advises a diverse range of clients on governance and tax matters.

Practice head(s):

Malcolm Rust

Other key lawyers:


‘The firm has a strong charities practice and makes sure to adapt the advice provided for our particular sector’.

‘Malcolm Rust has been helpful in the navigation of some of our more technical charity law queries’.

Key clients

Chaffinch Trust

The Royal Company of Merchants of the City of Edinburgh

University of Edinburgh

University of Glasgow

University of Aberdeen

The Trustees of the Children’s Heart Disease Trust

Construction Tier 2

Acting for contractors, developers and end-users, Shepherd and Wedderburn's team, led by Euan McLeod, is well versed in handling contentious and non-contentious construction and engineering matters pertaining to energy (including renewable energy), real estate and housing regeneration projects, among others. On the non-contentious side, the team is particularly experienced in handling matters at the intersection with procurement law.

Practice head(s):

Euan McLeod

Other key lawyers:

Iain Drummond; Gareth Parry; David Anderson; Colin Archibald

Key clients

Wheatley Housing Group

British Land

BriTel Fund Trustees



BAE Systems

Taylor Wimpey

The City of Edinburgh Council


Contentious trusts and probate Tier 2

Shepherd and Wedderburn represents executors, beneficiaries, trustees and high street banks, and has a clear focus on disputes concerning the administration of estates that arise between executors and beneficiaries. The practice, which is led by Christopher McGill, also has expertise handling legal rights claims, some of which include cross-border elements, interpreting and challenging wills, and resolving complex tax disputes, especially those concerning family businesses. Associate Stephanie Hepburn has a niche managing executry disputes relating to the inheritance of agricultural and crofting tenancies.

Corporate tax Tier 2

Shepherd and Wedderburn has substantial expertise in land and buildings transactions tax issues, and represents both large corporate clients and individual shareholders across the full spectrum of tax matters. Its key strengths include corporate tax transaction advice, specialist tax advice for individual shareholders and real estate tax. The practice is led by chartered tax adviser Stephen Miller, who has spent more than a decade at the firm.

Practice head(s):

Stephen Miller; Rodger Cairns

Other key lawyers:

Douglas Sinclair


‘Exceptional attention to detail’.

Key clients

FanDuel Ltd

BigBlu Broadband plc

Miller Developments/Miller Homes

Taylor Wimpey plc

Sainsbury’s plc


British Land plc

Reach plc

BAE Systems

Chivas Brothers Ltd/Pernod Ricard SA

Education Tier 2

Neil Maclean's team at Shepherd and Wedderburn covers a broad spectrum of contentious and non-contentious education sector work. Universities, independent schools and governmental bodies receive regular assistance with procurement and construction matters pertaining to large-scale projects but clients also instruct the team with employment, immigration and pensions-related issues as well as charity law work.

Practice head(s):

Neil Maclean

Other key lawyers:

Joanna Boag-Thomson; James Dobie; Malcolm Rust; John Rutherford


‘Shepherd and Wedderburn are always responsive, with a knowledge of the issues the sector is grappling with. They are particularly strong on the employment law front and show a strong commitment to the public sector generally – demonstrated in part by their commitment to a detailed research report on the sector in recent times’.

‘The team is highly responsive and client-focused’.

‘Neil Maclean is responsive and pragmatic’.

Key clients

The University of Edinburgh

The University of Glasgow

The University of Aberdeen

South Ayrshire Council

The City of Edinburgh Council

The University of Edinburgh Staff Benefits Scheme

Craigholme School

Merchants Company of Edinburgh

Hutchesons’ Educational Trust

University of St Andrews Superannuation and Life Assurance Scheme

Health Tier 2

Acting for private and public sector clients, Shepherd and Wedderburn covers a wide range of healthcare-related restructuring, financing, project development and regulatory work, including disputes. Director and real estate lawyer John Elder heads up the team.

Practice head(s):

John Elder

Other key lawyers:

Stephen Colliston; Joanna Boag-Thomson; Nigel Sievwright


‘We are pleased with the speed and quality of the firm’s input’.

‘Elaine Hunter and Pamela Binnie work very effectively’.

Key clients

Four Seasons Health Care Group

Primary Health Properties


Spire Healthcare

Caring Homes Group

Norddeutsche Landesbank Girozentrale (Nord/LB)

Consort Healthcare

Highlands and Islands Enterprise

Dumfries and Galloway NHS

Intellectual property Tier 2

Shepherd and Wedderburn fields a dedicated media and technology team and a specialised IP litigation group. With particular expertise in the food and drink, sports, energy, entertainment, financial services and life sciences sectors, the group operates at a national and global level from its offices in Aberdeen, Glasgow and Edinburgh. Key practitioners include Joanna Boag-Thomson, who focuses on patent and technology licensing work, media issues and brand activations; Paul Carlyle, who leads the media and technology team; and John MacKenzie, who is an experienced litigator.

Practice head(s):

Joanna Boag-Thomson; John Mackenzie; Paul Carlyle

Key clients

Scottish Enterprise and Highlands & Islands Enterprise

The R&A

Pernod Ricard Group

Diet Chef Ltd

BI Wines and Spirits Ltd

Collagen Solutions plc

University of Aberdeen

The Scottish Professional Football League

Tungsten Corporation

The National Trust for Scotland

City of Edinburgh Council

Artemis Investment Management LLP

Brand IP Licensing Ltd

RSVP Design Ltd

The Tartan Army Ltd

Capital Document Solutions Ltd

Sainsbury’s Bank plc

People Can Fly

Winduna Enterprises Ltd

Fotech Solutions

Investment funds Tier 2

Shepherd and Wedderburn has a strong track record in the closed-ended listed funds space; the team also has notable strength representing its asset manager client base and Scottish limited partnerships. Practice head Paul Hally has substantial experience in the investment trust field and has recently been advising clients on the potential impact of Brexit, among other issues.

Practice head(s):

Paul Hally


‘We worked with Shepherd and Wedderburn on a complex transaction under a very challenging timetable. They worked tirelessly to ensure the transaction complied with all the required legislation and regulatory requirements. We were very impressed’.

‘Paul Hally led from the front and coordinated a diverse team of lawyers, accountants, secretaries and brokers. He worked tirelessly on the project and brought great experience and knowledge to the table’.

Key clients

European Assets Trust NV

Baillie Gifford & Co

The Scottish Investment Trust plc

Horizon Infrastructure Partnership LLP

Canadian General Investments, Limited

Nucleus Financial Group Ltd

First State Investment Services (UK) Ltd

Schroder UK Mid Cap Fund plc

F&C Asset Management plc


Alliance Trust plc

Oaktree Opportunities Fund X, L.P

Accrue Capital Group

Hermes Real Estate Investment Management Ltd

Britel Fund Trustees Ltd

Catalyst Capital LLP

Blackstone Group LP

OLIM Property Ltd

Value and Income Trust plc

Scottish American Investment Trust Company plc

Deutsche Asset and Wealth Management

Canada Life Investments

Local government Tier 2

Shepherd and Wedderburn is well known for assisting local government clients and ALEOs owned by local governments with a wide range of project development, property, construction, procurement and planning matters. Recently, the practice has been particularly active advising on new housing, education and urban regeneration projects. Neil Maclean is the main contact following Rhona Harper's move to an in-house role in February 2018.

Practice head(s):

Neil Maclean

Other key lawyers:

Stephen Colliston; Euan McLeod; Ewan MacLeod

Key clients

West Dunbartonshire Council

West Lothian Council

The City of Edinburgh Council

East Ayrshire Council

Scottish Enterprise

South Ayrshire Council

Fife Council

Wheatley Housing

Dumfries and Galloway Council

North Lanarkshire Council

Oil and gas Tier 2

Shepherd and Wedderburn is recognised for its work acting for British independent exploration and production companies on worldwide M&A and capital markets transactions. The team also has a strong record in the upstream space, where it represents banks and sponsors, and assisting City firms with the Scottish law aspects of cross-border transactions. Corporate expert Stephen Trombala leads the team from the Edinburgh office.

Practice head(s):

Stephen Trombola

Other key lawyers:

Paul Hally; Tom Swan

Key clients

Cairn Energy plc

IGas Energy

Delonex Energy

Gulf Marine Services

Celtique Energie


OMV Petrom

North Sea Midstream Partners

ERVIA (Formerly called Bord Gais Eireann)

Cluff Natural Resources plc


TDE Services Kft.


SOCO plc

Marin Subsea Ltd

Petroineos Trading Ltd

Delphian Ballistics Ltd

Personal tax, trusts and executries Tier 2

Shepherd and Wedderburn receives a high volume of instructions from high net worth individuals, executors and beneficiaries, predominantly in relation to succession planning and applications for business tax relief and agricultural tax relief, often concerning assets held in foreign jurisdictions. The team’s expertise also lies in establishing new trusts and business partnerships, advising on and drawing up wills and providing tax compliance advice to clients who reside outside of the UK. Douglas Sinclair, who is a member of the Chartered Institute of Taxation, has a strong foothold in offshore tax matters and complex cases concerning business partnerships. Malcolm Rust leads the private client and charities teams.

Practice head(s):

Malcolm Rust

Other key lawyers:


‘Greig Honeyman is a consummate  professional and I would commend him to anyone who values expert advice, absolute honesty and integrity’.

Key clients

The Clydesdale Bank

Professional negligence Tier 2

Shepherd and Wedderburn is a leading pursuer of solicitor negligence claims arising out of alleged mortgage fraud and breaches of the CML Handbook during property transactions, demonstrated by the firm’s roles on several high value cases for lenders and liquidators in recent months. The practice also acts for pursuers and defenders in construction disputes across various different sectors, including renewable energy, roadworks, and private and public sector projects. Banking and finance litigation head Alastair Frood has a particular focus on profession negligence, while Elaine Brailsford brings 25 years’ experience in litigation and dispute resolution to the team.

Practice head(s):

Alastair Frood

Other key lawyers:

Key clients

Lochaber Properties Ltd

Ernst & Young LLC

Projects Tier 2

Shepherd and Wedderburn stands out for its ability to advise on all aspects of a project including acting across all five of the Scottish hub territories. Under the leadership of Stephen Colliston, the team handles hub projects for public sector and funder clients, and also assists with operational projects, particularly those requiring secondary market, variation and disputes advice.

Practice head(s):

Stephen Colliston

Other key lawyers:

Nigel Sievwright

Key clients

City of Edinburgh Council

Norddeutsche Landesbank Girozentrale

South Ayrshire Council

States of Jersey

Acciona Industrial S.A

West Dunbartonshire Council

West Lothian Council

Ayr Environmental Services Limited

Caledonian Environmental Services Plc

Wheatley Housing Group

North Ayrshire Council

Balfour Beatty Investments Limited

Dexia Credit Local

Bank of New York Mellon

North Lanarkshire Council

Consort Healthcare (various SPVs)

Transform Schools (various SPVs)

Property litigation Tier 2

Colin Archibald's team at Shepherd and Wedderburn handles a wide range of landlord and tenant disputes, contentious property sale and purchase issues, nuisance matters and property contract litigation, among other matters.

Practice head(s):

Colin Archibald

Other key lawyers:

Elaine Brailsford; Stephen Humphreys


Elaine Brailsford has a very impressive range of clients and an excellent reputation which is most well deserved.

Key clients

Taylor Wimpey

Miller Homes

Tarmac Trading


Thomas Cook Group


Clydeport Operations

BlackRock UK Property Fund

Trinity Mirror (now Reach)

Debt recovery Tier 3

Much of Shepherd and Wedderburn's workload pertains to the real estate and financial services sectors where the team led by commercial litigator Elaine Brailsford routinely assists with the recovery of debt arising from leases, timeshare management charges and service charges as well as asset recovery and secured and unsecured debt recovery matters.

Practice head(s):

Elaine Brailsford

Other key lawyers:

Alastair Frood; Gillian Carty; Stephen Humphrey


‘We find Shepherd and Wedderburn extremely easy to deal with and very accommodating. Despite already dealing with a notable caseload, they have been able to act very promptly when called upon to do so where other firms may not be so flexible’.

‘Serena Weir has consistently shown to be extremely proficient in her field. Serena is always on hand to offer sound legal advice as well as opinion which is invaluable when our own knowledge of the Scottish legal process is limited. Serena is a pleasure to deal with’.

Key clients

Ernst & Young (EY)

Hermes Unit Property Trust


FRP Advisory

UKAR UK Asset Resolution

Close Brothers

Macdonald Resorts

Paragon Mortgages


The City of Edinburgh Council

National House Building Council (NHBC)

Clydesdale Bank

Employment Tier 3

Shepherd and Wedderburn expanded its client base in the technology sector with various new client wins adding to its broad sector expertise spanning energy, finance, education, leisure and public sectors, among others. The team led by the 'very good' Neil Maclean handles a wide range of employment law work, which frequently pertains to various commercial projects and corporate activities, but it also provides assistance with GDPR and senior management matters alongside disputes.

Practice head(s):

Neil MacLean


‘There is a real strength in depth to the team’.

Key clients


Epic Games


Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL)


University of Aberdeen




The Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland

Licensing Tier 3

Shepherd and Wedderburn is well equipped to guide clients, most notably supermarket chains, restaurants and hotels, through various liquor, gaming, public entertainment and civic government licensing procedures including contentious ones, insolvency-related licence transfers and transactional licensing matters. Hugh Smith and litigator Elaine Brailsford are the main contacts.

Practice head(s):

Hugh Smith; Elaine Brailsford


‘Very ‘can-do’ team and strong communicators. They adapt cases to individual requirements and are supportive throughout, giving strong advice’.

‘Eager to support, speedy responses and clarity of communications’.

Key clients

Sainsbury’s Supermarkets

Dakota Hotels

Balmoral Hotel

SMG Europe

Crerar Hotel Group

Dobbies Garden Centres

Scotch Malt Whisky Society

Turnberry Hotel

Fraser Suites

M D Milne

Social housing Tier 3

The team at Shepherd and Wedderburn led by litigator Stephen Humphreys is well versed in handling social housing litigation, large-scale residential regeneration projects and housing defect claims for housing associations and local authorities. In August 2018, public sector procurement expert Rhona Harper left the firm to work in-house.

Practice head(s):

Stephen Humphreys

Other key lawyers:

Elaine Hunter; Andrew Hall; Euan McLeod; Colin Archibald

Key clients

Glasgow Housing Association

The City of Edinburgh Council

Tollcross Housing Association

Southside Housing Association

Shettleston Housing Association

Molendinar Park Housing Association

Dunedin Canmore Housing

Corporate and commercial: elsewhere in Scotland Tier 4

The Aberdeen corporate team at Shepherd and Wedderburn is led by John Rutherford and handles the full spectrum of work including acquisitions and disposals of businesses and private companies, advising start-up businesses, representing shareholders and directors in corporate governance issues, private equity investment and pre-insolvency advice.

Practice head(s):

John Rutherford

Other key lawyers:

Keir Willox

Key clients

Mr and Mrs W G Robertson

Oliver Auston

Acumen Financial Planning Ltd

Ian Bremner & Shane Watt

WellEng Science & Technology Ltd

Rotojar Ltd

University of Aberdeen

Ian Brander

Wellpro Group Ltd

Rainbow Cars Ltd

Current 2 Current Ltd

Dyce Carriers Ltd

Mead Medical Holdings Ltd

Lecht Ski Company Ltd

The firm: Shepherd and Wedderburn is the largest Scottish-headquartered UK law firm, offering a comprehensive range of specialist legal services driven by the needs of its high-profile and varied client base. With offices in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, London, Dublin and Singapore, the firm is recognised by its clients for its commercial acumen, innovative approach and ability to handle complex, pioneering projects. Shepherd and Wedderburn delivers expert legal advice to commercial, public sector and private clients, with UK and global interests, across a diverse range of sectors.

With a history dating back 250 years, Shepherd and Wedderburn has earned a reputation for excellence, founded on long-term relationships of trust with its clients, its in-depth knowledge of the sectors in which its clients operate and its forward-thinking approach to supporting organisations and individuals on landmark projects. Thanks to its unremitting client focus, Shepherd and Wedderburn supports many innovative and ambitious businesses in Scotland, the UK and internationally. As a founding member of the World Services Group, an international professional services network comprising 19,000 professionals in more than 115 countries, the firm works closely with trusted independent law firms across the globe to ensure that every client receives the very highest quality specialist legal services in each jurisdiction.

Principal areas of work: Shepherd and Wedderburn’s sectoral approach harnesses the skills of specialists from across the firm — many of whom are independently recognised as leaders in their fields — to advise on the full spectrum of legal and commercial matters. The firm is recognised for its market-leading expertise in a wide variety of specialisms, including clean energy, technology, corporate M&A, banking and finance, real estate, dispute resolution, construction and infrastructure, food and drink, financial services, private client and rural business.

Energy and natural resources: the energy and natural resources sector plays a vital role in global efforts to balance economic growth with environmental sustainability. Shepherd and Wedderburn has been at the forefront of the sector – in Scotland, the UK and internationally – for over 30 years and our energy lawyers have a reputation for advising on innovative, unique, and complex projects. The energy and natural resources team has more than 90 specialist lawyers drawn from the full spectrum of legal disciplines, who advise on every aspect of energy projects – from inception through to the achievement of financial close and beyond. Our work spans the spectrum of energy technologies covering everything from clean energy to oil and gas and our team has unique knowledge of the regulatory aspects of the sector. Our clients come from all aspects of the sector and include promoters and developers, investors and funders, technology innovators and providers, the wider supply chain, industry bodies and research organisations.

Real estate and infrastructure: with a long history of acting for real estate, construction and infrastructure companies, the firm has one of the industry’s most impressive client lists. Long recognised as market leaders in Scotland, this department, combined with the firm’s London office and Scottish-based English property unit, delivers a high-quality, competitive UK-wide service. Shepherd and Wedderburn understands the distinct issues the sector faces and creates legal solutions that meet them. This skill is borne out by the prestigious clients the firm works with as it delivers an integrated service from project inception to completion and beyond. Lawyers in property; procurement; planning/environment; construction; corporate; finance; tax; health and safety; and disputes, work together to ensure clients realise their investment, development, contractual and occupational needs. Working with private, public and institutional organisations, clients value the speed at which Shepherd and Wedderburn pulls together integrated, multidisciplinary teams that use their in-depth industry knowledge to get to the heart of their needs.

Banking and finance: with major offices in both London and Edinburgh, Shepherd and Wedderburn is at the heart of the UK’s two main financial centres. Clients include a large number of major corporates and blue-chip financial institutions in both cities as well as UK-wide and internationally. With a focus on commercial banks, investment banks, asset managers and insurers, the team’s expertise allows them to get to grips with the most complex legal issues in finance and banking. The firm’s daily workload incorporates a range of differing specialisms in the financial sector, including corporate, banking, funds, ethical finance, real estate, employment, competition, regulation, pensions and dispute resolution. The firm has the largest banking team in Scotland, boasting the leading securitisation specialists. It has an excellent reputation in banking and finance, equity capital markets and listed funds.

Charities: at Shepherd and Wedderburn, we offer the same high quality, incisive legal advice to all of our clients, whether private, public or charity. We do, however, appreciate the different regulatory regimes under which our charity clients work. That’s why our charities team is cross-disciplinary, bringing together professionals from different areas of the business, such as employment, property and public sector. Our clients include high profile national charities, health care providers and universities and educational institutions. We also advise several privately endowed charities. The advice we offer includes: constitutions, the creation, reorganisation and merger of charities; governance, charity trustee duties; and compliance, including interaction with the Charities Commission, OSCR and HMRC.

Commercial dispute resolution: the firm has a leading commercial dispute resolution practice working across the UK, led by six partners. They excel in pursuing and defending high-value claims, as well as in adjudication, arbitration, mediation and expert determination.

Compliance and corporate governance: provides expert advice and guidance on compliance with global regulatory demands such as the UK Bribery Act, UK Proceeds of Crime Act and the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, as well as advising clients on planning for emerging regulation.

Corporate: the corporate team works with leading domestic and international companies, investment banks, fund managers and private equity houses on major transactions throughout the UK and beyond. FTSE and AIM companies, large SMEs, and public service organisations are counted among its clients.

Corporate restructuring and insolvency: one of the largest and most established corporate, restructuring and insolvency teams in Scotland, acting for a range of banks, insolvency practitioners and businesses on all issues arising in the restructuring and insolvency sector. The firm is the preferred provider for a number of its bank and insolvency practitioner clients, which include major banks and accountancy firms.

Corporate tax: the corporate tax team are well used to highlighting potential issues before they become problematic and working alongside other specialists at the firm to provide a rounded, joined-up service to clients. With experience covering a broad range of company sizes and sectors, from specialist consultancies and niche players through to major multinationals, the team can advise on the full range of direct and indirect taxes.

EU and competition: works across the full range of competition law and regulatory regimes and has a particular track record in: mergers, acquisitions, joint ventures and public offers; cartels; monopoly infringements; leniency applications; and in public procurement and state aid. The firm also offers full support for compliance and training programmes.

Economic regulation: clients use Shepherd and Wedderburn to help design and create effective regulatory systems and for advice on how they should be applied in specific cases. As a market leader in economic regulation, the team has been closely involved in most of the major energy and water industry reforms since privatisation. Clients value the firm’s ability to cut through complicated systems of economic regulation and see the bigger picture, both from public policy and commercial perspectives.

Employee share incentives: as experts in matters relating to employee share incentives, the team focuses on the development, design and administration of share incentive plans, including work arising out of corporate transactions.

IP: the intellectual property team has the expertise to guide clients appropriately from initial trade mark registration through to responding to any eventual infringement or breach, whether online or offline.

Pensions: the pensions team has built up a bank of experience over many years through close involvement in all types of occupational pension arrangements. The team is able to consider issues from the perspective of employers, trustees and other advisers, resulting in a well-rounded practice which can support its clients in the way that suits their needs best.

Private client: the private client practice offers a range of key services, including tax planning, succession planning, international advice, probate services and effective philanthropy.

Rural: the firm deals with all aspects of rural law covering estates, forestry, farming, sporting and crofting and renewable energy. As a result, work covers a diverse range of private individuals and businesses with interests in the rural sector. Additionally the rural team works with clients involved in leisure activities, mining, energy and marine including fish farming.

To find out more about Shepherd and Wedderburn and the services it offers, visit If you wish to speak to someone with regard to a specific area of law, please contact the relevant named person.

Department Name Email Telephone
Managing partner Andrew Blain
Banking and finance Fiona Buchanan
Capital markets (AIM) Walter Blake
Charities and not-for-profit Malcolm Rust
Commercial dispute resolution John MacKenzie
Competition, regulation and public law Gordon Downie
Construction Ewan McLeod
Corporate finance George Frier
Corporate tax Stephen Miller
Debt recovery Gillian Carty
Economic regulation Gordon Downie
Employee share schemes Rodger Cairns
Employment Neil Maclean
Energy and natural resources Clare Foster
Funds and financial services Hamish Patrick
Government and public sector Stephen Colliston
Immigration Jacqueline Moore
Investment funds Paul Hally
IP Paul Carlyle
IT Paul Carlyle
Leisure, hospitality and licensing Jamie Grant
Pensions Andrew Holehouse
Personal injury Alastair Frood
PFI/PPP Stephen Colliston
Pharma and life sciences Joanna Boag-Thomson
Planning and environment Colin Innes
Private client Malcolm Rust
Professional negligence Gordon Downie
Public law Gordon Downie
Real estate and infrastructure David Mitchell
Restructuring and insolvency Yvonne Brady
Rural Hamish Lean
Technology, media and telecoms Paul Carlyle
Photo Name Position Profile
 Joanna Boag-Thomson  photo Joanna Boag-Thomson
 Yvonne Brady  photo Yvonne Brady
 Rodger Cairns  photo Rodger Cairns
 John Elder  photo John Elder
 George Frier  photo George Frier
 Alastair Frood  photo Alastair Frood
 John Gallacher  photo John Gallacher
 John Grady  photo John Grady
 Jamie Grant  photo Jamie Grant
 Andrew Hall  photo Andrew Hall
 Patricia Hawthorn  photo Patricia Hawthorn
 Michael Henderson  photo Michael Henderson
 Stephen Humphreys  photo Stephen Humphreys
 Elaine Hunter  photo Elaine Hunter
 Rod MacLeod  photo Rod MacLeod
 Scott McCallum  photo Scott McCallum
 Fiona McKerrell  photo Fiona McKerrell
 Liz McRobb  photo Liz McRobb
 Gareth Parry  photo Gareth Parry
 Colin Robertson  photo Colin Robertson
 Iain Wishart  photo Iain Wishart
Number of UK partners : 78
Number of other UK fee-earners : 211