SKO > Edinburgh, United Kingdom > Firm Profile

18 George Street
United Kingdom

Private client > Family Tier 1

Praised for its ‘unrivalled breadth and depth of knowledge’, boutique firm SKO fields a strong team, whose expertise runs the full gamut of family and child law matters, with demonstrable strength in multijurisdictional work, novel child law cases and surrogacy and parentage matters. The highly regarded Rachael Kelsey, a ‘towering figure in family law’, has considerable expertise advising on both Scottish and international family law, and is a key member of the team alongside Robert Gilmour, who takes point on surrogacy, parentage and cohabitation issues, Alison Edmondson, who focuses on high-net-worth matters involving corporate and tax issues, Susan Oswald, who routinely acts for local authorities on public child law cases, and associate Seonaid Cochrane.


‘It was very reassuring to have Robert Gilmour on my side with objective yet empathetic advice to achieve what was a favourable outcome. His calm and pragmatic approach focusing on the job in hand allowed me to step back from the emotion of the situation and see the important issues.

‘Alison Edmondson is an excellent lawyer, who is extremely experienced and knowledgeable. She is able to grasp difficult issues and adopt a pragmatic approach in order to find mutually acceptable outcomes. She works well and is impressive in the context of not only acrimonious litigated cases, but also collaborative family law cases. She is also an excellent mediator as is Robert Gilmour.’

‘Rachael Kelsey: The matriarch of Scottish law; the ‘go-to’ Scottish lawyer for international work. Rachael is exceptionally collaborative and kind with an inner core of steel. She delivers a really high level of service. SKO has a heavyweight, expanding team – Susan Oswald is also excellent.’

‘Scotland’s strongest team of family lawyers. Formidable international family law experience to boot. In my view, SKO is the leading Scottish family law specialists. They have an unrivalled breadth and depth of knowledge. Their lawyers are consistently responsive, empathetic and demonstrate a deep understanding of the law.’

‘Robert Gilmour is renowned for his technical knowledge. He has been particularly helpful in relation to surrogacy matters, where he appears to be a leading expert on Scots Law. Alison Edmondson offers clients an impressive combination of empathy, legal knowledge and pragmatism.’

‘SKO is the pre-eminent family law firm in Scotland. The level of expertise from this firm is staggering, with Rachael Kelsey being an absolute powerhouse of legal knowledge with outstanding knowledge of complex international family law. She is hugely engaging and grasps tricky issues with a mastery of the subject. She is also a fantastically engaging speaker disseminating complex and dry material with impressive ease.’

‘Without a doubt, Rachael is a towering figure in family law. SKO is a top-tier family law firm – the level of knowledge is unparalleled. She is in a class of her own. I work mostly with Alison Edmondson and Robert Gilmour, who are both skilled and committed practitioners able and willing to take on difficult cases. In the last year, I have been impressed by Seonaid Cochrane, whose efficiency is rapidly becoming legendary.’

‘Rachael Kelsey stands far above her peers in this area – her legal expertise and client skills are second to none – she is indefatigable – this, alongside her contribution to international family law, is nothing short of staggering.’

Work highlights

  • Acted for a wife on a reported high-value Court of Session divorce with complex valuation and corporate structure issues.
  • Acting as Edinburgh agents on legally aided, reported public child law, judicial review case concerning privacy issues.
  • Handled a UHNW multijurisdiction prenup.

SKO Family Law Specialists has unrivalled expertise and experience in a number of areas of family law practice, delivering first-class legal advice with discretion, accessibility, sensitivity and pragmatism. Top ranked in both The Legal 500 and Chambers and Partners for many years, SKO have three of the four named lawyers in Chambers and Partners HNW 2023 Guide and they are the only Scottish family lawyers in Spears HNW Family Law Index.

Shortlisted for Boutique Law Firm of the Year in the inaugural Legal 500 Scottish Law Awards 2023, and the home of the only family lawyer shortlisted for Lawyer of the Year in the same awards. They have been one of The Times Best Law Firms since the inception of the Awards, and the only family lawyer to be profiled in The Times Scottish Lawyer of the week was from SKO.

The firm has more lawyers accredited by the Law Society of Scotland as specialists in the disciplines of family law, child law and family mediation than any other firm in Scotland and an unrivalled network of contacts in the UK and abroad. SKO’s clients tend to have unusual elements in their case and/or seek bespoke, personal and partner-led advice.

The firm: SKO was established in Edinburgh in 2008 and is now the largest niche family law practice in Scotland. The Scottish base of the firm is in Edinburgh, although work is undertaken for clients UK-wide.

The practice has had a presence in London since 2013. Name partner Rachael Kelsey now divides her time between London and Edinburgh, seeing clients who are London/Channel Islands, continental Europe or US-based and advising on cases where there are jurisdictional elements and Scottish connections. The practice advises solely on Scots law and works regularly with many of the significant English family teams when comprehensive intra-UK advice is required. The practice has extensive and close connections with firms internationally and routinely works with advisers overseas.

The firm has a preference for an independent, multi-disciplinary team approach, which allows it to work with other specialists – family lawyers in other jurisdictions; tax, family office, reputation management, corporate, immigration, property or employment lawyers and accountants, wealth management advisors and trustees. The firm specialises in pulling together highly effective teams which best serve the unique needs of the client, offering strategic and comprehensive problem-solving that complements other legal and financial advice and that works effectively in the context of complicated personal and financial circumstances. They often act as lead advisor in multi-jurisdictional matters.

The nature of the practice is broadly a third financial provision (married/partnered/cohabiting individuals); a third child law (often more unusual child work including child abduction, surrogacy/HFEA advisory work, adoption and relocation) and a third ‘other’, including DR (the practice has three family arbitrators, four mediators and three collaboratively trained lawyers), corporate advisory work for charities, local authorities and government bodies, film and TV production companies and reputation management for individuals.

The firm has developed through lateral hire and organic growth and now comprises four directors, six other solicitors (ranging from newly to eleven years qualified), three non-qualified fee-earners and two other support staff. The practice anticipates further growth in jurisdictional and reputation management work and corporate advisory work.

Types of work undertaken: SKO is an acknowledged expert in Scots family law and continues to be in the first tier in The Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners. The firm practices exclusively Scots family law, with experience in areas from cohabitation to marriage to divorce; civil partnership to dissolution; financial provision and financial claims; residence and contact issues; adoption, parental responsibilities and rights; surrogacy and ART to parentage; gender-recognition and equal treatment; relocation and abduction; mediation, collaboration and arbitration; forced marriage and faith-based issues; inter-generational gifting and family law elements of tax and succession planning; pre-nups and post-nups; pre-cips, post-cips and cohabitation contracts; parentage and child support; corporate advisory work acting for pension trustees and film and TV production companies and reputation management and privacy.

The firm understands that good legal advice cannot be delivered in a vacuum and endeavours to work with its clients’ other legal, financial and tax advisors; to solve problems and think strategically; and give clients options and advice so that they can take the decisions that affect their lives and those of their family. The firm’s lawyers are accessible, sensitive, discreet and pragmatic; lawyers who are advocates for the firm’s clients – persuasive, tenacious and effective. That amalgam of abilities and qualities is what SKO is known for and what sets the firm apart.

Other offices: London

Department Name Email Telephone
Family Law, Jurisdictional Issues and Reputation Management Rachael Kelsey
Child Law and Family Law Susan Oswald
Family law, Tax,Trust and Corporate issues, Pre-nups and Family Contracts Alison Edmondson
Family law, Surrogacy and Cohabitation Robert Gilmour
Child and Family Law Jackie Pringle
Family Law, Jurisdictional issues and Reputation Management Seonaid Cochrane
Family Law and Child law Ewan Campbell
Family Law, Child Law and Surrogacy Caroline Millar
Photo Name Position Profile
Alison Edmondson photo Alison Edmondson Director of SKO Family Law Specialists – SKO. Accredited by the Law…
Robert Gilmour photo Robert Gilmour Director of SKO Family Law Specialists. Accredited by the Law Society of…
Rachael Kelsey photo Rachael Kelsey Founding Partner of SKO. Remains the only ‘Hall of Fame’ family lawyer…
Susan Oswald photo Susan Oswald Founding director of SKO Family Law Specialists. Accredited by Law Society of…
Number of UK partners : 4
Number of other UK fee-earners : 9
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