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The Commercial Law Practice LLP

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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.

  • Number of UK partners: 78
  • Number of other UK fee-earners: 211

Above material supplied by The Commercial Law Practice LLP.

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