Stronachs LLP > Aberdeen, Scotland > Firm Profile

Stronachs LLP
AB10 1YL

Corporate and commercial > Corporate and commercial: elsewhere in Scotland Tier 2

Present in Aberdeen and Inverness, Stronachs LLP is home to expertise in respect of both M&A and private equity, demonstrating particular expertise in acting for OMBs and management teams. Ross Gardner  leads the practice which is also home to Neil Forbes and Malcolm Donald, respective experts of the energy sector, including both oil and gas and renewables. The team is geared to represent clients across the full company lifecycle, from start-up through to exit, and is also knowledgeable of the transport, food and drink, technology and logistics sectors.

Practice head(s):

Ross Gardner

Other key lawyers:

Key clients

Global Energy Group

Envoy & Partners Limited

Dana Petroleum Limited

Azinor Catalyst Limited

Xodus Group Limited

Peterson (UK) Limited

Omega Well Intervention Limited

Sulmara Subsea International Limited

Verlume Limited

BritNRG Limited

Work highlights

    Private client > Personal tax, trusts and executries Tier 3

    Stronachs LLP has a ‘breadth of knowledge and skills’, and is active across bespoke estate planning for high-net worth clients, including farming businesses, multi-million-pound executries and administration of charitable trusts. Overseen by Jaclyn Russell, the team is made up of associate Karyn Richmond,who recently joined from Harper Macleod LLP and advises clients on estate planning and asset protection; Karen Oliver is also a key member of the team.

    Practice head(s):

    Jaclyn Russell

    Other key lawyers:


    ‘Highly experienced and professional team. Straight forward and friendly.’

    ‘Great depth of experience and expertise across the whole team with excellent leadership skills from Jaclyn Russell, Partner and Head of the Private Client Department. The Practice has very competent, knowledgeable and courteous staff with excellent technical skills and attention to detail.’

    ‘Gender equality is very strong with the number of highly respected, motivated and competent female Partners and Associates.’

    ‘In my experience the service levels provided by Karen Oliver have been outstanding with excellent communication channels open at all times.’

    ‘One significant factor worth noting is that when the former Partner retired after forty years service there was a seamless transition in the professional service and relationship with the client. This was due to the excellent reputation of the Practice and the exceptional quality and attributes of the staff.’

    ‘I required several complex international matters to be dealt with in my will and some more complicated family arrangements. This was dealt with smoothly and quickly to allow my husband and I to make reciprocal arrangements across jurisdictions.’

    ‘The firm was recommended to us by our financial managers as we were looking for a local firm to update our Wills and Powers of Attorney. Stronachs LLP carried out our requests efficiently and promptly, and were exceptionally professional.’

    ‘The staff we dealt with very quickly understood our requirements and executed them promptly and efficiently in a very pleasant manner.’

    Work highlights

    • Advising multiple generations of a prominent Scottish family-owned and run company (net worth in excess of £100M) in relation to multi-generational business and estate succession planning, including trust creation and management.
    • Avising landed estate owners in connection with their succession planning and lifetime gifting arrangements to begin the process of passing of the Estate down the generations
    • Avising in connection with a family investment company arrangement for a former Chief Executive of a major oil and gas company, including the creation of a family trust within the FIC arrangement

    Projects, energy and natural resources > Oil and gas Tier 3

    Stronachs LLP is home to a ‘comprehensive knowledge’ of upstream acquisitions and disposals, field developments, decommissioning issues, technology-related deals, debt refinancing and energy transition mandates. Practice head Ewan Neilson has overseen energy matters in Africa, North America, Australasia and the Far-East; he is supported by James Downie, a specialist in M&A, development and operation contract endeavours.

    Practice head(s):

    Ewan Neilson

    Other key lawyers:

    James Downie; Malcolm Donald; James Muir


    ‘All support provided by James Muir is always provided promptly and is to a very high professional standard. A high level of flexibility is also demonstrated in provision of the support. We are highly satisfied by the quality of the support provided.’

    ‘We primarily work with James Muir (partner). Excellent support provided at all times. James demonstrates a complete understanding of the contractual issues faced and works extremely well with out project management and technical personnel to develop contractual solutions that protect our interests to the fullest extent possible.’

    ‘Really good value for money and really strong, helpful and pragmatic advisors. Punch well above their weight against larger international firms operating in Scotland.’

    ‘Malcolm Donald – really deep experience across oil and gas sector. Reliable, easy to communicate with and client friendly.’

    ‘The team at Stronachs has a sound and comprehensive knowledge of oil and gas law. They are proactive and responsive when dealing with work. They can be relied upon to provide sensible, pragmatic advice with a very quick turnaround time.’

    ‘James Downie is a stand out partner in the oil and gas team. His knowledge of oil and gas law is second to none. His experience of the industry means that he knows where clients’ concerns will lie. His attention to detail is exceptional but more importantly he provides pragmatic advice focusing on the real issues whilst avoiding becoming stuck in minutiae.’

    Key clients

    Harbour Energy plc

    Dana Petroleum Limited

    Black Sea Oil & Gas

    Ithaca Energy (UK) Limited

    RPS Energy Limited

    RockRose Energy

    Seplat Petroleum Development plc

    Intervention Group Limited

    Well-Safe Solutions Limited

    TOTSA OIL Trading SA

    Work highlights

    • Providing support to Black Sea in terms of its ongoing Midia Gas Development on various contractual matters. In September 2021, BSOG completed the installation of the Ana production platform, the first offshore platform built and installed in Romania in the past 30 years.

    Real estate > Commercial property: elsewhere in Scotland Tier 3

    Duncan Campbell leads the Aberdeen-based practice at Stronachs LLP and is noted for his development, re-development, transactional, leasing and investment proficiency; he serves as the go-to for numerous oil and gas entities and is supported by Liz Stewart whose core strengths include development-related land purchases, renewable energy projects and option agreements. Emma Stephen is another key figure within the group and directs particular emphasis towards title and development transactions, compulsory purchases and environmentally contaminated sites.

    Practice head(s):

    Duncan Campbell

    Other key lawyers:

    Liz Stewart; Emma Stephen; Ross Linn; David Marshall


    ‘The team have a wide skill set covering all requirements for commercial property client’s needs. The team are knowledgeable, flexible and accessible.’

    ‘Emma Stephen is highly knowledgeable, approachable and accessible. Readily available to assist in a wide range of commercial property and development transactions.’

    ‘The team at Stronachs work closely with us to understand exactly how we want to work. They will condense their queries to allow us to respond quickly which works well for us when we work in a dynamic and pro-active way to make the most of market opportunities. Their legal knowledge is comprehensive and allows us to make the commercial decision with a full understanding of the possible risks. They have adapted well to Covid-19 and there has been no loss of service due to them not being in the office and this must be due to their IT capabilities.’

    ‘We work closely with Emma Stephen, she stands out because she provides her excellent legal expertise in a personable and practical manner. Emma takes the time to understand our business and is dedicated to working to our timelines. We value her adaptability, reliability, commercial awareness and eagerness to accept a challenge.’

    Key clients

    Global Energy Group

    Strathdee Properties Limited

    Peterson (UK) Limited

    Spex Services Limited

    Xodos Group Limited

    DOF Subsea UK Limited

    Dispute resolution > Commercial litigation Tier 4

    ‘Punching above its weight‘, the Aberdeen-based litigation group at Stronachs LLP is active in the oil and gas, energy and construction sectors, receiving instructions from leading companies on international disputes. The team has extensive experience in property litigation and insolvency cases, and is led by Robert McDiarmid. In Inverness, solicitor advocate Colin Sandilands leads the dispute team there and holds various Highland businesses and investors as key clients. The group is also skilled in mediation.

    Practice head(s):

    Robert McDiarmid

    Other key lawyers:

    Colin Sandiland; Aulo Vallarino


    Colin Sandilands is a lovely guy, extremely professional, very bright and effective, and despite all of that, modest.’

    The team at Stronachs is small, but punches above its weight in terms of quality of clients and cases.’

    ‘Aulo Vallarino is an excellent lawyer. He is thorough, well prepared, measured and commercially minded. Clients like him, and rightly so. He is one to watch for the future.’

    ‘Robert McDiarmid is a very experienced litigator who is likeable, and well regarded by clients and peers.’

    Robert McDiarmid and Aulo Vallarino are the two solicitors we work with. They are very reassuring and make you confident in their ability to give the right advice.’

    They’re just a really great team. The integration between solicitors in the Aberdeen office is seamless.’

    ‘You always get the feeling they all know what everyone has going on, so that everyone can pick up other matters’

    ‘I have found Colin Sandilands to be very efficient in dealing with his work and in keeping a good grip on their cases.’

    Key clients

    Weatherford International PLC

    Mr Cameron Anderson, Mrs Emily Anderson and Subsea Tooling Services UK Limited

    Airo-Tech Solutions Limited

    Marshall Errock Construction Limited

    G F Bissett (Inverbervie) Limited

    Angus Sinclair

    BritNRG Limited

    Inverness Glass Co Ltd

    Glen Mhor Ltd

    Caledonian Logistics Ltd

    Work highlights

    • Acting for Weatherford International plc and subsidiaries in respect of a high-value, multi-jurisdictional and complex series of litigations relating to breach of contract and IP issues.
    • Acting for BritNRG Limited in relation to a series of complex and inter-connected corporate disputes involving proceedings at the High Court and in the Scottish Courts with a listed company.
    • Advised Caledonian Logistics Ltd in a significant dilapidations claim in a Court of Session Commercial Action.

    Private client > Agriculture and estates

    Stronachs LLP’s agricultural practice is jointly led by David Marshall  (who was elevated to the partnership last year) and Jaclyn Russell  in Aberdeen and frequently advises large farming enterprises and landowners. The team handles property transactions and renewable energy projects.

    Stronachs LLP is one of the largest, independently managed law firms based in the North and North East of Scotland, with offices in Aberdeen and Inverness.

    The firm:  The firm is a full service law firm and whilst the majority of its activity involves servicing its commercial clients, a substantial part of its business remains the provision of services to individuals including private client, property and family law services.  The firm’s full service approach is not detrimental to the expertise it has in many areas of practice and the firm continues to service clients with varied and complex needs. The firm is committed to finding practical, cost effective solutions to legal issues, with the achievement of the client’s commercial or personal objective paramount and the legal process simply a means of achieving that.  The firm is renowned for acting for business owners in their business and personal affairs.

    Types of work undertaken:  The firm advises its commercial clients across a variety of sectors and has significant experience and expertise in areas including energy (renewables and oil and gas), food and drink, fishing, agriculture/rural, property development, construction and technology.  The firm’s corporate team acts in mergers and acquisitions (where it is well known for acting for owner-managed businesses) and a broad range of other corporate transactions including re-organisations, start-ups, equity investments and joint ventures. The firm’s restructuring group advises clients on a broad range of insolvency matters.  Its energy team acts for clients in the upstream, midstream and renewables sectors in the UK and overseas. The firm’s commercial property team has expertise covering everything from acquisitions, commercial leasing, sales development and construction work.  The dispute resolution team advises on a broad range of matters from international arbitration, contractual disputes and intellectual property disputes to straightforward debt collection.  The team includes a solicitor advocate entitled to plead cases at the Court of Session.  The firm’s rural team advises clients on a wide range of rural and agricultural matters including farm acquisitions and disposals. The firm has a highly regarded private client team which provides a full range of private client services primarily for high-net worth individual and individuals with businesses, land and/or farming interests.

    The firm has a diverse client base ranging from FTSE 100-listed companies to owner-managed private companies and also high-net-worth private individuals.  Examples of companies for whom the firm acts includes Global Energy Group, RockRose Energy, Walker’s Shortbread Ltd, Black Sea Oil and Gas SRL, Envoy & Partners Limited, Peterson (UK) Limited and Dana Petroleum plc.

    The firm has considerable experience of international work, particularly through its energy related clients.  The firm has advised on transactions in Australia, Trinidad, Singapore, the Middle East, Poland, Norway, Mexico, the US and Romania.

    Other offices: Inverness

    Managing Partner Neil Forbesneil.forbes@stronachs.com01224 845847
    Partner, Head of Agricultural David Marshalldavid.marshall@stronachs.com01224 845945
    Partner, Head of Commercial Property Duncan Campbellduncan.campbell@stronachs.com01224 845893
    Partner, Head of Corporate Ross Gardnerross.gardner@stronachs.com01224 845879
    Partner, Head of Dispute Resolution Robert McDiarmidrobert.mcdiarmid@stronachs.com01224 845951
    Partner, Head of Employment David Chalmersdavid.chalmers@stronachs.com01224 845817
    Partner, Head of Energy (oil : gas) James Downiejames.downie@stronachs.com01224 845813
    Partner, Head of Private Client (Tax, Trusts & Executries) Jaclyn Russelljaclyn.russell@stronachs.com01224 845858
    Kirsten Anderson photo Kirsten AndersonKirsten is a Senior Associate who advises on all aspects of Private…
    Callum Armstrong photo Callum ArmstrongCallum is a Senior Associate who has more than 7 years’ experience…
    Duncan Campbell photo Duncan CampbellPartner and head of commercial property with over 20 years’ experience. Experienced…
    David Chalmers photo David ChalmersPartner in the Employment Team with more than 27 years’ experience of…
    James Downie photo James DownieHead of Energy at Stronachs LLP. Dual qualified in Scotland and England…
    Anya Duncan photo Anya DuncanPartner in the Employment Team with more than 16 years’ experience of…
    Neil Forbes photo Neil ForbesNeil is a partner in the Firm’s corporate team with over 25…
    Ross Gardner photo Ross GardnerPartner in the Corporate Department since joining Stronachs in November 2015, Ross…
    Jamie Hunter photo Jamie HunterJamie has more than 9 years’ experience in corporate law, advising domestic…
    Raiya Law photo Raiya LawRaiya is a Senior Solicitor in the Private Client department and advises clients…
    Deborah Law photo Deborah LawDeborah is a partner and has over 10 years’ experience in dispute…
    Paula Lukins photo Paula LukinsPaula is an Associate in the Private Client department and provides advise…
    David Marshall photo David MarshallDavid is a Partner with considerable experience working within the rural and renewable energy…
    Robert McDiarmid photo Robert McDiarmidRobert is a Partner and Head of the Dispute Resolution Team. Robert advises…
    James Muir photo James MuirJames is a Partner in the Energy team with more than 15…
    Ewan Neilson photo Ewan NeilsonConsultant and specialist in energy work and corporate/corporate finance and included within…
    Annika Neukirch photo Annika NeukirchAnnika is an Associate in the Employment Team with experience of providing advice…
    Patrick Norris photo Patrick NorrisPatrick is a Senior Solicitor who has more than 5 years’ experience…
    Karen Oliver photo Karen OliverKaren is a Senior Associate in the Private Client department and advises…
    David Rennie photo David RennieConsultant, with over 40 years’ corporate experience.  Specialising in acquisitions/disposals, equity investment…
    Jaclyn Russell photo Jaclyn RussellJaclyn is a Partner in the Private Client team. She advises a…
    Michelle Sharp photo Michelle SharpMichelle is a Senior Associate and has more than 10 years experience…
    Emma Stephen photo Emma StephenPartner, experienced in dealing with a wide variety of commercial property work, including…
    Liz Stewart photo Liz StewartPartner in commercial property team.  Liz has over 20 years’ experience in…
    Number of UK partners : 16
    Number of other UK fee-earners : 37
    Chartered Insitute of Arbitrators
    Employment Lawyers Association (UK)
    Energy Institute
    Law Society of England and Wales
    Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP)


    Stronachs LLP promote an inclusive culture where diversity is valued. We are committed to promoting equal opportunities in employment and ensuring that everyone receives equal treatment regardless of age, disability, gender reassignment, marital or civil partner status, pregnancy or maternity, race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation.


    • Our Third Sector committee work with and support local organisations through AVCO
    • We are on the panel of Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO)
    • We offer a programme of work experience accessible by schools in the community
    • We partner with schools in the community to provide an insight into our organisation
    • Many of our partners and staff volunteer to sit on the Board of a variety of charities
    • We have close links with local universities, providing tutoring, support and sponsorship of annual law review
    • We support and sponsor many local initiatives/clubs/events


    Stronachs engages with staff to decide upon a chosen cause and makes a firm commitment to fundraise and provide support. An internal committee meet with the charity representatives and coordinate numerous fundraising events with proactive support from the firm. Stronachs are very proud of what has been achieved over the decades and the charity partnerships that have been forged.


    The firm is committed to implementing the following environmental objectives:-

    • Reduce the carbon footprint of the firm
    • Reduce the amount of waste going to landfill Seek ways to incorporate environmental opportunities within our daily work
    • Aspire to best environmental practice
    • Reduce energy use within the firm’s offices
    • Source goods and services from local suppliers