Firm Profile > SKO > Edinburgh, Scotland


Family Tier 1

'Leading family law practice' SKO  acts for high net worth individuals, corporate clients and charities in a wide range of contentious and non-contentious matters, often relating to abduction and international adoption, and requiring in-depth knowledge of the Hague Convention. Rachael Kelsey - 'the doyen of Scots family law' is president-elect of the EU Chapter of the International Academy of Family Lawyers, and is widely considered as one of the leading authorities on the implications of Brexit on family law. The 'insightful and emotionally astute' Robert Gilmour has particular expertise in artificial reproductive technology and surrogacy and in 2017 advised on the first reported private law contested declarator of parentage case in the UK.

Practice head(s):

Rachael Kelsey

Other key lawyers:

Robert Gilmour


‘Undoubtedly the premier family law firm in Scotland. Its members provide a unique breath of expertise and experience in the whole spectrum of private family law.’

‘This practice is head and shoulders above the rest in terms of family law in Scotland. Sensible, practical, pragmatic, thoughtful, understanding, empathetic, whilst also superlatively good technically – they are really unrivalled.’

‘SKO is the leading specialist family law practice in Scotland. This is an impressive firm of dedicated and committed lawyers, who care about their clients and their work. The level of expertise is unparalleled in the Scottish market. The lawyers are supported by an excellent administrative team. Advice is always sound and client care is excellent.’

‘Very good attention to detail and excellent client care.’

‘A very intelligent and intellectually committed firm, with an awareness of the importance of rigorous research and academic engagement.’

‘Every single partner and solicitor goes above and beyond simply delivering client work. 

‘Rachel Kelsey is the doyen of Scots family law solicitors with a global reputation stemming from her involvement in the International Academy of Family Lawyers.

‘Robert Gilmore is the leading practitioner in surrogacy law in Scotland.’

‘Rachael Kelsey is an absolutely splendid solicitor. She has particular expertise in international matters. She has given a lot of her time to Brexit-related issues with various groups.’ 

‘Rachael Kelsey is the go-to person on Scottish family law issues. She has accurate working knowledge of the law, a wonderful charm and an ease at being with demanding international clients.’

‘Robert Gilmour is calm, considered in his opinion, wise, reliable, efficient and professional.’

Key clients


Scottish Government

Local Authorities in Scotland and England and Wales

Sheehan Kelsey Oswald (SKO) 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. 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. Sheehan Kelsey Oswald’s clients tend to have unusual elements in their case and/or seek bespoke, personal and partner-led advice.

The firm: Sheehan Kelsey Oswald was established in Edinburgh in 2008 and is now the largest niche family law practices 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 or continental Europe-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 four family arbitrators, four mediators and two 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, four other solicitors (ranging from newly to eight years qualified), three non-qualified fee-earners and three other support staff. The practice anticipates further growth in jurisdictional and reputation management work and corporate advisory work.

Types of work undertaken: Sheehan Kelsey Oswald 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 practises 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.

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 Sheehan Kelsey Oswald is known for and what sets the firm apart.

Other offices: London

Department Name Email Telephone
Managing partner Susan Oswald
Family law Rachael Kelsey
Family law Susan Oswald
Family law Alison Edmondson
Family law Robert Gilmour
Corporate advisory/reputation management Rachael Kelsey
Corporate advisory/reputation management Robert Gilmour
Photo Name Position Profile
 Alison Edmondson  photo Alison Edmondson Director of Sheehan Kelsey Oswald Family Law Specialists – SKO. Accredited by…
 Robert Gilmour  photo Robert Gilmour Director of SKO Family Ltd – Sheehan Kelsey Oswald Family Law Specialists.…
Ms Rachael Kelsey photo Ms Rachael Kelsey Founding director of Sheehan Kelsey Oswald Family Law Specialists – SKO. Accredited…
 Susan Oswald  photo Susan Oswald Founding director of Sheehan Kelsey Oswald Family Law Specialists – SKO. Accredited…
Number of UK partners : 4
Number of other UK fee-earners : 7