Firm Profile > Thorntons Law LLP > Dundee, Scotland

Thorntons Law LLP
Whitehall House`

Agriculture and estates Tier 2

Thorntons Law LLP's 'technically astute' team advises land owners and lenders such as major banks on a range of complex acquisitions and other matters, including agricultural tenancies, purchase and sale of properties, renewables projects and succession planning. Land and rural business head Kenneth Mackay leads the team, working with partners across Perth, Forfar and Cupar. Associate Neil Darling joined the team from Wright, Johnston & Mackenzie LLP in early 2019, bringing his experience of advising on forestry acquisitions and sales throughout the UK. Former partner Linsey Barclay-Smith left to join Morton Fraser in late 2018.


“Thorntons have an excellent team of lawyers who we instruct to deal with property matters on our behalf. The whole team are extremely knowledgeable in their field, they are personable and they present in a way that is easy to understand when dealing with often complex structures/purchases.”

Key clients

Scottish and Southern Energy

Scottish Water

Education Tier 2

Thorntons Law LLP provides education sector clients with wide-ranging advice on various commercial and governance issues, academic and disciplinary appeals alongside government policy and funding matters as well as assistance with regulatory compliance, brand management and student affairs. IP expert Lesley Larg heads the 'focused' team, which includes IP lawyer Loretta Maxfield and corporate and commercial expert Robbie Francis, who were both promoted to the partnership in January 2019.


Always acts in the best interest of the client.

Excellent service.

Key clients

University of Abertay Dundee

University of Stirling

University of Strathclyde

University of the Highlands and Islands

Glasgow Caledonian University

Glasgow School of Art

Robert Gordon University

University of St Andrews

The James Hutton Institute

Dundee and Angus College

Perth College

Colleges Scotland

High School of Dundee

Intellectual property Tier 2

The Dundee-based IP team at Thorntons Law LLP covers the full spectrum of mandates including novel issues relating to new technologies, plant variety rights and music copyright. The group, which is led by Lesley Larg, recently saw the promotion of Loretta Maxfield to the partnership;  Maxfield heads up the firm's data protection sub-team. Other key names include Liam McMonagle, who focuses on the television, gambling and education sectors; and Alastair Lang, who handles technology and SME-related work.


Liam McMonagle is very pragmatic and knowledgeable, and able to respond within tight timescales.

Key clients


Cyborn Limited

University of Stirling

Hillcrest Housing Association Limited

The James Hutton Institute

Robert Gordon University

Design Dundee Limited (V&A Dundee)

Postcode Lottery Limited

St Andrews Links Trust

DF Concerts Limited

IT and telecoms Tier 2

The practitioners at Thorntons Law LLP act for a range of software and cloud companies, IT service providers, universities, and corporate and institutional buyers at a national and international level. Liam McMonagle heads up the team and has a key focus on information security and data protection compliance, a growing area of work for the firm. Other noteworthy individuals include Lesley Larg, who acts for clients in the online publishing, games and online innovation sectors; commercial expert Alastair Lang and newly promoted partner Loretta Maxfield, who is based in Dundee.


Liam McMonagle is very pragmatic and knowledgeable, and is able to respond within tight timescales.

Key clients

ThinkAnalytics (UK) Limited

ECS Group

Postcode Lottery Limited

University of Strathclyde

brightsolid Online Technology Limited

University of Abertay

Cyborn Limited

SkillsScorecard Pty (trading as Performance Leader)

BTL Group

Sportsmate International (UK) Limited

Media and entertainment Tier 2

Thorntons Law LLP acts for media organisations, public and private sector bodies, music producers and games developers, advising on matters relating to defamation claims, licensing, copyright and intellectual property infringements. The team advised ThinkAnalytics on its collaboration with the BBC to incorporate its personalization software into BBC iPlayer. Lesley Larg , who represents a range of clients including games companies, music promoters and newspaper publishers, advises the V&A Museum in Dundee on all aspects of its development.

Key clients

Carnoustie Golf Links Management Committee

Ged Grimes

Design Dundee Limited

DC Thomson & Co Ltd

St Andrews Links Trust

People’s Postcode Lottery

Runrig Touring Limited

ThinkAnalytics Limited

Design Dundee Limited (V&A) Museum Dundee

All 4 Games Limited

Personal injury: pursuer Tier 2

Aided by two solicitor-advocates, Thorntons Law LLP’s large team has notable abilities in pursuing claims for workers who have sustained life-changing injuries. Gordon McBean specialises in high value brain injuries, while ‘highly skilled’ associate Kathleen-Erin Lawson leads the industrial disease team. Solicitor advocate Michelle Adam has a wealth of experience acting for clients suffering from injuries caused by workplace accidents or clinical negligence.


‘Thorntons have a very driven and customer focused team. They are a pleasure to work with and always communicate well. ‘

‘The team’s strengths include clarity and details of instruction, feedback on reports, attention to detail and reliability when settling fees.’ 

‘Michelle Adam is a good lawyer and excellent with clients.’

‘Clare Macpherson is good to work with and knows her stuff. ‘

‘Gordon McBean has excellent legal knowledge, is focused on delivering good client care and is always easy to contact and plan with.’

Commercial property: elsewhere in Scotland Tier 3

Thorntons Law LLP’s commercial property team includes specialists in construction and project management issues. The group assists clients across the UK from its offices in Tayside, Fife, Angus, Edinburgh and Perth. With a notably strong presence in the education and healthcare sectors, the practice has recently expanded its work in the leisure and hospitality space, handling multiple hotel acquisitions. Housebuilding expert Graham Wilson and practice head Ewan Miller are the key names to note in Dundee.

Key clients

Leopard Guernsey RSC Witham Penzance Propco Limited

Lethendy Estates Limited

Schuh Limited

The Firm of Messrs Donald Laird

Robert Adam and Sons

Angus Housing Association

Hillcrest Housing Association Ltd

Caledonia Housing Association Ltd

An East Coast Port Authority

Corporate and commercial: elsewhere in Scotland Tier 3

Thorntons Law LLP's particular expertise lies in the healthcare sector, where it has an impressive client roster of dental practices, pharmacies, veterinary practices and GP practices. Michael Royden's corporate team also acts in the high-growth technology sector and acts for universities spinning out companies, as well as angel investment syndicates.


‘The team is genuinely engaged in a collective effort to provide the best possible levels of service for their clients.’

‘Thorntons has managed to develop a culture that encourages all team members to work towards a common goal which as a client is very gratifying and very unusual.’

‘I have worked with Chris Byrne for a number of years from when he was an associate through to being a partner and the highest compliment that I can pay him is that throughout his professionalism and demeanour have not changed. I was fully expecting that when he was made partner that our account would be passed primarily to an associate, but that has not been the case – Chris has maintained direct control of the work that is undertaken on our behalf, which has provided significant comfort to the management team.’

Key clients

D.C. Thomson & Co. Group

Don & Low Limited

Walter Davidson & Sons

Design Dundee Limited (V&A Dundee)

Intelligent Growth Solutions Limited

Cyberhawk Innovations Limited

St Andrews Links Trust

EOS Technology Investment Syndicate

CGLMC Limited (Carnoustie Golf Links)

James Hutton Institute

Galedin Limited

Caledonian Dental Practice Limited

Deans Pharmaceuticals Ltd

Family Tier 3

Thorntons Law LLP's family law team handles a high volume of difficult divorce and cohabitation matters, involving complex tax considerations, investigations into the financial affairs of partners, and disputes over matrimonial property. The team also regularly represents clients pursuing or defending contact and relocation orders, and demonstrates particular expertise managing such cases where clients have suffered abuse during the course of their relationship.

Health Tier 3

Providing corporate and commercial advice to dental practices, GPs, pharmacy businesses and care homes is the core strength of Thorntons Law LLP but the 'dedicated, professional and experienced' team jointly led by 'excellent' corporate lawyer Michael Royden and commercial property expert Ewan Miller is also well versed in assisting dental corporates with NHS dental regulation matters. 'Outstanding' associate Kim Campbell is particularly active in the dental sector.


The team knows the sector very well.

The team works well together and keeps the client informed.

Kim Campbell is especially approachable and professional.

Acts with efficiency and professionalism.

They know what they’re talking about and explain complex legal speak in plain language.

Michael Royden is very knowledgeable and experienced and completely unflappable.

Key clients


Caledonian Dental Care

Walter Davidson & Sons

Deans Pharmaceuticals

Social housing Tier 3

The team at Thorntons Law LLP is led by Graham Wilson and has a strong focus on assisting registered social landlords with site acquisitions and funding arrangements.

Key clients

Hillcrest Housing Association

Caledonia Housing Association

Angus Housing Association

Abertay Housing Association

Kingdom Housing Association

Ore Valley Housing Association

Employment Tier 4

Best known for its education sector expertise, Thorntons Law LLP acts for an extensive roster of higher education institutions and research centres but the practice also represents local authorities and housing associations alongside healthcare, manufacturing and and leisure sector clients, among others. Its predominately employer-focused work frequently involves discrimination and whistleblowing cases, industrial actions, TUPE matters, collective redundancies and holiday pay litigation as well as corporate governance and regulatory issues. 'Safe pair of handsNoele McClelland heads the 'impressive' team which includes new arrival Chris Phillips; he joined the firm in April 2018 from Loch Employment Law and mainly acts for employers.


Always takes the time to understand the client’s business in order to provide tailored commercial advice.’

The team always takes a pragmatic, common sense approach and gives the full picture of options and risks.’

Debbie Fellows provides first-class advice and possesses a talent of cutting straight to the heart of the problem in order to find the correct solution.

Its assistance is consistently of a very high standard.

Prompt, professional service.

Chris Phillips provides timely, accurate information.

Key clients

Robert Gordon University

University of Stirling

Glasgow School of Art

University of Abertay

Caledonia Housing Association

Don & Low

University of Strathclyde

Perth College

Scot JCB

A.M. Phillip

Thorntons can trace its roots back to 1857 when Sir Thomas Thornton began a legal practice in Dundee. Through the generations, Thorntons has grown to become Scotland’s fourth largest independent law firm, and it now has a network of fourteen offices in eleven towns and cities, covering Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Fife, Perthshire and Angus.

The firm:  Thorntons has grown significantly over the last five years following a number of strategic mergers and investments. Throughout its successful expansion, the focus has remained the same, to always provide the highest quality legal advice and service, when and where clients need it. It has built a strong reputation for dependable, innovative advice and a clear focus on client service, with a broad client base including private individuals, universities, start-ups and entrepreneurs, SMEs, farming and rural businesses and large corporate clients.

Thorntons treats every client as unique. Each client’s needs are fully assessed so bespoke advice is delivered to suit individual circumstances. This gives clients confidence that the decision they make is right for them now and for the future.

Types of work undertaken: 

Private Client:  The team can help with effective planning for individuals and families, dealing with issues such as Wills and Powers of Attorney, trusts and inheritance tax planning, as well as supporting clients through executry administration.

Family Law: Thorntons offers clear, expert legal advice on all Family Law matters, including divorce or civil partnership dissolution and issues involving children, and alternative dispute resolution options.

Personal injury: the team of expert Personal Injury Solicitors understand the huge impact a personal injury can have individuals and families, and work, usually on a no win no fee basis, to help get clients the maximum compensation.

Employment Law: Thorntons Employment Law team offers practical, commercially focused solutions for employers and HR professionals, and clear legal guidance and support for employees.

Property: the extensive property team provides a full estate agency and legal service to individuals and businesses buying and selling private and commercial properties, as well as support for landlords and leasing arrangements.

Business: Thorntons is organised to reflect the sectors that their clients operate in, which include land and rural, education, social housing, manufacturing, health, life sciences, banking, golf and leisure and food and drink. This means the team has a full understanding of the sector challenges and opportunities that exist for their clients. The firm offers a full range of business law services, covering corporate and commercial, real estate, construction, employment, debt recovery, intellectual property, banking and finance, commercial dispute resolution, business succession, land and rural business, energy and renewables and charity law.

Other offices: Edinburgh, Glasgow, Perth, St Andrews, Kirkcaldy, Cupar, Anstruther, Forfar, Arbroath and Montrose

Department Name Email Telephone
Chairman Colin Graham
Chief Operating Officer Helen Archibald
Managing Partner Craig Nicol
Head of Dispute, Resolution and Claims Gillian Buchanan
Head of Private Client Murray Etherington
Head of Thorntons Property Services - Legal Kenneth Thomson
Head of Business Law Ewan Miller
Number of UK partners : 57
Number of other UK fee-earners : 256

CLIENT: Anonymous
TESTIMONIAL: While I sat in the foyer of your offices watching the Thorntons mottos of ‘We do what’s right’ and ‘We do tough’ scroll by, I only hoped it was all true. You achieved the seemingly impossible – increased the settlement offer and I achieved some feeling of success, and all within a ridiculous 10 day deadline. You certainly lived up to those promises and more. I would not hesitate for a moment to recommend you to anyone else.

CLIENT: Ray D’Cruz
COMPANY/FIRM: CEO, Performance Leader
TESTIMONIAL: Like many organisations, we knew GDPR would have a significant effect on our business. We turned to Thorntons for help to update our business contracts and agreements. The team at Thorntons understood our business and international customer base. Their GDPR expertise and commercial awareness meant their approach was exactly what we wanted. Their practical advice and responsive service gave us exactly what we needed, when we needed it.

CLIENT: Mark Beaumont
COMPANY/FIRM: Athlete, Broadcaster and Ambassador
TESTIMONIAL: Thorntons has supported my broadcasting and sports business, as well as my family life brilliantly for the past five years. The nature of my business requires careful planning and negotiation of global media rights, and bespoke solutions when it comes to provision of my ambassadorial services. I have often asked the team to turn around work quickly, which they have always managed to a very high standard. Personally, setting up the family charitable Trust and arranging properties, I have also been well supported by different parts of the Thorntons team.

CLIENT: Aileen and Alastair McCulloch
TESTIMONIAL: After many decades of a great deal of sweat and tears building up our dental practice we decided it was time to retire and sell our practice. With hindsight the key to success is twofold – an accurate valuation and a lawyer you can absolutely rely on to protect your interests.
We decided on the team at Thorntons who specialises in dental practice sales, and little did we appreciate how good our decision was!
The team were professional and totally ‘on the ball’ throughout. If we had to go through this again, which thankfully we don’t, we wouldn’t hesitate in choosing the team at Thorntons.

Thorntons pledges to do what’s right.

We care about our people and our clients, and respect is at the heart of our values.

We are committed to promoting equality and valuing diversity and we always aim to treat colleagues, clients and others fairly.

As well as working together to deliver excellent advice and client care, every colleague’s individuality and personal characteristics have an important part to play in the life and success of the firm.