Firm Profile > BTO Solicitors LLP > Edinburgh , Scotland

BTO Solicitors LLP

Health and safety Tier 1

BTO Solicitors LLP's 'vastly experienced and professional' regulatory defence practice is a respected player in the market and acts for an impressive client roster spanning various industries including sport, agriculture, retail, transport, construction, food and drink and manufacturing, among others, while the team is also noted for its work on behalf of insurers. The 'excellent' Clare Bone, who is also 'very pleasant to work with', and the 'extremely knowledgeable' Vikki Watt jointly head the practice. Associate and regulatory defence lawyer David Cairns is 'up and coming' and associate Lindsay MacNeill, who joined the team in March 2018 from Pinsent Masons LLP, is noted for her 'straight-forward advice'.

Personal injury: defender Tier 1

BTO Solicitors LLP’s team of 'recognised masters in Scottish PI defence work' is led by solicitor-advocate Stephen Bryceland. The large practice acts for brokers, insurers and self-insured companies defending claims in all areas of personal injury, with notable strength handling claims relating to fraud, farming accidents and offshore accidents. Carly Forrest is a civil solicitor-advocate known for acting in cases with an international element.

Professional negligence Tier 1

BTO Solicitors LLP’s defendant-focused practice acts for the insurers of architects, accountants, engineers, surveyors, solicitors and construction professionals, as well as insurance brokers. The team has experience dealing with complex multi-party claims in all areas of professional negligence, with recent cases involving aspects such as breach of fiduciary duty and alleged loss of opportunity. Alan Eadie, a qualified mediator, has a track record of acting in multimillion-pound disputes arising from large construction projects and in acting for the master policy insurers in solicitor negligence claims.

Charities and not-for-profit Tier 2

BTO Solicitors LLP's 'exceptional' practice is regularly instructed by clients who wish to gain SCIO status and handles a large volume of matters for charitable registered social landlords, advising them on all aspects of their business, including employment disputes, lease arrangements and site licenses. The team shows further expertise handling employment tribunal claims on behalf of employers, such as West Lothian College, and advising a range of clients on GDPR compliance. The 'very experienced' Marion Davis takes the lead with most clients and brings a wealth of knowledge to the team in terms of SCIO compliance and constitutional matters, thanks to her OSCR secondment.

Commercial litigation Tier 2

Grant Hunter's 'strong' team at BTO Solicitors LLP is adept at handling insolvency-related, insurance and professional negligence commercial litigation while also having experience in corporate and partnership disputes. Its client base spans various industries including insurance, banking and finance, construction and property as well as renewable energy; the team also acts for individuals. David Young is recommended for property-related litigation. Tony Jones QC moved to Brodies LLP in June 2018.

Crime: fraud Tier 2

BTO Solicitors LLP is best known for representing senior executives and other individuals from the banking, accountancy and legal sectors, among others, in investigations and criminal proceedings concerning fraud and cartel allegations. Criminal solicitor advocate Clare Bone and regulatory crime defence lawyer Vikki Watt jointly head the team.

Family Tier 2

BTO Solicitors LLP's 'approachable and knowledgeable' family law team advises high net worth individuals in cohabitation and divorce disputes which relate to tax issues, dissipation of assets, property transfers, shared company interests and various other contentious points, as well as acting in child contact cases. 'Personable and skilled' practitioner Lesley Gordon is a go-to lawyer for divorce cases in which the parties are business partners.

Medical negligence: defender Tier 2

BTO Solicitors LLP has a proven track record of defending GPs and healthcare professionals on behalf of Scotland’s major defence organisations, focusing predominantly on fatal cases, misdiagnosis claims and dentist negligence. The team has taken part in every medical public inquiry in Scotland under the Public Inquries Act 2005. Laura Donald and associate Stephen Waclawski are both solicitor-advocates with extended rights of audience in the Civil Courts. Donald and the 'hugely experiencedDouglas Jessiman - who in recent years has been involved in public inquiries in Scotland, England and Northern Ireland - are described as 'the two best solicitors in this field in Scotland'.

Social housing Tier 2

BTO Solicitors LLP's wide-ranging social housing expertise leads to regular instructions from RSLs on group structure, governance, data protection, employment and construction issues alongside funding agreements, site acquisitions and contentious matters. 'Outstanding' team head Patrice Fabien is a highly regarded figure in the market.

Sport Tier 2

BTO Solicitors LLP handles a wide range of matters for the Scottish Football Association, including advising on the hosting of major sporting events, commercial contracts, acquisitions and partnership agreements between sporting bodies and rules revision exercises. The team recently advised the SFA on the high-profile acquisition of national football stadium Hampden Park from Queen’s Park Football Club. The team is led by Andrew Sleigh, who 'really understands the issues that sports clubs face', while Gary Booth provides corporate governance and commercial contracts advice to football clubs and the SFA.

Commercial property: Edinburgh and Glasgow Tier 3

The real estate practice at BTO Solicitors LLP covers the full gamut of work for a variety of clients including private overseas investors and developers; the group also assists estates with diversification projects. David Gibson leads the group and is acting for the Scottish Football Association on all property aspects of the selection of the National Stadium. Other key practitioners include Jane Steel, who focuses on the retail sector; Scott Buchan, who has notable expertise in investment and development work; and newly promoted partner Jennifer Whitelaw.

Crime: general Tier 3

Clare Bone and Vikki Watt jointly head the team at BTO Solicitors LLP, which stands out for its 'vast expertise' in representing prison officers accused of various criminal charges such as on-duty assault and sexual offences but the team including the 'excellentAlasdair Gillies also acts for other individuals and receives regular instructions arising from dangerous driving allegations.

Debt recovery Tier 3

BTO Solicitors LLP has a strong profile for property management work, which frequently involves rent arrears, while, as another key area of expertise, banks regularly instruct the 'knowledgeable' team to handle insolvency-related matters. 'Supportive' litigator Grant Hunter is the main contact and also acts in defence of debt recovery actions.

Education Tier 3

BTO Solicitors LLP handles a wide range of education sector work with a focus on sector-specific employment, cyber security and data protection matters alongside online reputation, charity law, construction and real estate issues, including litigation. Paul Motion leads the team.

Employment Tier 3

BTO Solicitors LLP serves a broad client base consisting of individuals, small and large companies alongside membership organisations and insurance companies. The team's expertise spans various sectors, but it is particularly noted for its experience in the healthcare industry including its niche advising doctors and dentists on regulatory and disciplinary issues. Much of its work pertains to contentious and non-contentious whistleblowing, discrimination, holiday pay, minimum wage and TUPE matters. 'Good advisor' Caroline Carr heads the team, which includes Laura Salmond; Salmond is 'always available and provides first-class advice' on the full range of employment law.

Licensing Tier 3

BTO Solicitors LLP handles contentious new licence applications, major and minor licence variation applications, personal licence applications and licence review hearings, among others, as stand-alone matters or part of wider transactional instructions. Handling work for hotels, pubs, clubs and restaurants counts as particular area of expertise for Nicolas McBride's team.

Media and entertainment Tier 3

BTO Solicitors LLP focuses on advising individuals and private companies on reputution management, including social media management, defamation proceedings, and strategic media advice. Solicitor advocate Paul Motion, who is dual accredited in data protection and freedom of information law, often advises clients in the music industry on artist management, recording and production contracts. The firm is also launching a music team following the hire of Jonathan Tait, who has a background in the music industry and music education.

Construction Tier 4

'Dealing with matters in a very prompt and timely manner', BTO Solicitors LLP is routinely called upon to act for clients in construction and engineering disputes involving insurance, liability and quantum matters alongside alleged defective designs, cost overruns and construction delays. The practice, led by the 'very helpfulJilly Petrie, also handles adjudications and acts for developers, contractors and industry bodies.

Corporate and commercial: Edinburgh and Glasgow Tier 4

The corporate group at BTO Solicitors LLP acts for clients in a range of sectors including leisure and licensing, property development and house building and renewable energy. The team, which is led by Jeremy Glen, has substantial experience handling complex disputes between directors, shareholders and partners, as well as complex high-value transactions.

Energy (excluding oil and gas) Tier 4

BTO Solicitors LLP's renewable energy team is jointly led by Nicolas McBride and Jeremy Glen and regularly acts for surveyors, accountants, banks and other legal firms. The group regularly leverages the firm's wider commercial litigation group and represents commercial developers and operators, community renewables groups and projects, and landowners on the diversification of landed estates for wind and hydro developments.

Insolvency and corporate recovery Tier 4

At BTO Solicitors LLP, the insolvency and corproate recovery group primarily handles insolvency litigation and shareholder and boardroom disputes. The team provides advice and representation to directors pre- and post-insolvency including directors’ duties or disqualification proceedings and personal liability claims. Dorothy Hatfield and Grant Hunter lead the insolvency litigation group, and Alastair Dunn heads up the advisory and restructuring advice.

Intellectual property Tier 4

BTO Solicitors LLP is singled out for its contentious IP work including passing off matters, trade mark and copyright infringements, database infringements, restrictive covenant breaches, domain disputes, website IP disputes and content take-downs. The team's client base spans a variety of sectors including the retail, charity, leisure, IT and media industries. Litigator Paul Motion heads up the group, which also fields newly promoted partner Lynn Richmond.

Personal tax, trusts and executries Tier 4

BTO Solicitors LLP’s team is best known for advising executors, often with significant business interests, on succession planning and tax mitigation, while it also has expertise managing contentious issues such as legal rights claims and the misappropriation of funds by beneficiaries. The team are also relied upon to set up and administer private and charitable trusts to carry forward assets in a tax-efficient manner. Ross Brown is not only skilled in the drafting and administration of powers of attorney; he also has experience dealing with executors of deceased individuals with heritable property in multiple jurisdictions. Former private client head Roddy Harrison left to join Dentons in mid-2018.

Property litigation Tier 4

BTO Solicitors LLP's client base consists of insurers, housebuilders, estate owners and property developers, who regularly retain the 'sharp' team led by Mark Morton to assist with contentious property contract matters, eviction and various damage claims, including those arising from compulsory purchase orders. David Young is recommended for various commercial property disputes.

The Firm: BTO is an independent and well respected Scottish law firm which has grown steadily for two decades. The firm provides expert legal services and caters for the Scots law needs of commercial clients and individuals, with the capability to provide international legal advice through the Mackrell International network ( and other contacts.

Clients: Range from major insurers to medical defence organisations, housebuilders, property investors, established manufacturers, well known retailers, financial institutions and public sector organisations. BTO is viewed by its clients as client-focused, pragmatic and providing value for money. The firm is committed to helping its clients reach their goals by collaborating with them and looking beyond the law.

Principal areas of work: Corporate law, commercial and insurance-related litigation, criminal defence (including corporate, personal and regulatory), commercial and residential property and services for individuals. Niche teams include: ADVantage advocacy service, banking and finance, creative industries, construction and engineering, crisis management, disease claims, data protection, education,  employment, environmental, family law, health & safety and regulatory defence, insolvency, recoveries, regeneration, renewable energy, rural business, technology and IP, third sector, social housing, sports law and on line reputation protection.

Litigation: BTO has one of the largest teams in Scotland. Experience includes:

  • Successful in judgment by UK Supreme Court in case of Dooneen Ltd t/a McGinness Associates –v- Mond involving entitlement to a successful PPI claim where there had been an intervening insolvency by virtue of a Trust Deed. PPI claimant held to be entitled to PPI payment.  Numerous cases awaited outcome as did IPs holding funds.
  • LPM Ltd v Liberty Managing Agency Ltd and Liberty Corporate Capital Ltd: Pursuing a claim for indemnity under each proprietor’s buildings insurance policy, regarding the common parts of a 50 apartment building in Edinburgh. Matter value £4.4m
  • Successful in the case of Esso Petroleum Company Limited v Scottish Ministers and Others, acting on behalf of the M74 Interlink joint venture in defending this claim (£3m).

BTO’s ADVantage advocacy team has the highest headcount of solicitor advocates in Scotland with seventeen civil and three criminal solicitor advocates.  Clients value the continuity of representation and cost benefits that this service provides. BTO also employs two former procurators fiscal, both of whom are qualified criminal solicitor advocates. They focus on white-collar crime and health and safety matters within the largest independent and dedicated Health & Safety team operating in Scotland, all of whose caseloads are 100% regulatory defence work.

Insurance: BTO’s insurance team alone has increased by on average 20% in each of the last five years and it has a 100% client retention rate. The team represents a number of major insurers and has the broadest range of specialist insurance-based legal skills in Scotland. It is frequently instructed by insurers in matters which have cross-border issues and in cases involving multi-jurisdictional claims.

Corporate: Renowned for its expertise in the SME/private company sector, the team has experience of a range of corporate and commercial matters in many jurisdictions, including cross-border mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures. The team is distinguished by its credentials in advising in some of the most high-profile issues in the worlds of football, golf and boxing. In addition, having advised some of Scotland’s best known distillers, extensive knowledge of the whisky sector gives BTO a further edge.

Recent work highlights include acting in relation to the following:

  • Scottish FA acquisition of Hampden Park, Glasgow
  • Angus Dundee Distillers PLC on various strategic contracts
  • Triodos Bank in the funding of a £14m wind farm
  • £6m refinance of acquisition costs of property acquired in Scotland by NZ shareholders
  • Continued acquisitions for Scott Group Ltd
  • Sale by majority shareholders of Dougall Baillie Associates Limited 
  • Query Click in relation to a multi-million pound investment by Archangels and SIB
  • Frequent advice on shareholders and boardroom disputes

Real Estate and Construction: A diversely skilled team in the property sphere. Experience includes purchasing Silvan House in Edinburgh, the headquarters of the Forestry Commission. This was a significant investment purchase for an overseas investor. In addition to mainstream property work, the team acts for a substantial number of exclusive fashion and luxury goods retailers and travel agents and has developed a niche practice in these areas. It also remains the ‘go to’ firm for commercial property work in the leisure and hospitality sector. The firm’s construction and engineering team continues to enhance its offering in both contentious and non-contentious legal matters.

Recent work includes advising:

  • Scottish Football Association on all property aspects in connection with the National Stadium;
  • Mar Estates Limited on all property work and disposal negotiations;
  • Stena Line Group’s ferry/port on property and security aspects in connection with its ferry/port interests in Scotland, including a refinance arrangement of c $750m.
  • Robert Jones Holdings Ltd in purchase of landmark multi-let office investment worth c.£11m.

Cyber Risk and Data Protection: BTO’s data protection team was involved in the first successful UK appeal against a (£250,000) monetary penalty notice served on a local authority after a widely publicised data protection breach. Paul Motion, who heads the team, is an accredited specialist in Freedom of Information and Data Protection law, one of only two such specialists in the private practice legal sector in Scotland.

Renewable energy: Acts in projects of all sizes, from those involving major international funders to others involving community-driven ventures, where it has unrivalled experience. The firm’s expanding rural business team advises farmers, landowners and estates on property, company and business law, tax and succession planning and diversification, particularly diversification of landed estates.

Media and Entertainment: A solid reputation in this area has led to the team being invited for ten consecutive years to present workshops at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.  ‘BTO BeCreative’, the firm’s Music and Creative industries team is gaining a strong reputation in the UK music industry.

Family: The team has been involved in some of the biggest financial provision cases in Scotland.  It is also regularly involved in cross-border cases dealing with both money and children. The team is highly regarded for its work on high-value estate administration, including complex restructuring for tax purposes, domicile, cross-border estates and legal rights disputes.  Providing advice in relation to surrogacy and donor conception is a growing area for the team.

Department Name Email Telephone
Chairman David Gibson 0141 221 8012
Chief Operating Officer David Walker 0141 221 8012
Commercial Dispute Resolution Grant Hunter 0141 221 8012
Corporate Gary Booth 0141 221 8012
Crime (Corporate/personal/Regulatory) Clare Bone 0141 221 8012
Creative Industries/Data Protection/Technology/IP/Media & Entertainment Paul Motion 0131 222 2939
Employment Caroline Carr 0141 221 8012
Family Lesley Gordon 0131 222 2939
Health & Safety Clare Bone 0141 221 8012
Insurance Litigation Bill Speirs 0141 221 8012
Medical Negligence (defender) Douglas Jessiman 0141 221 8012
Professional Negligence (defender) Alan Eadie 0141 221 8012
Property/Real Estate Jane Steel 0141 221 8012
Renewable energy Caroline Carr 0141 221 8012
Rural business Jane Steel 0141 221 8012
Social Housing Patrice Fabien 0141 221 8012
Sports Law Andrew Sleigh 0141 221 8012
Photo Name Position Profile
 Wendy Thomson  photo Wendy Thomson
 Jacqueline McCluskey  photo Jacqueline McCluskey
 Lynn Melville  photo Lynn Melville
 Morven Douglas  photo Morven Douglas
 Debbie Reekie  photo Debbie Reekie
 Graeme Kelly  photo Graeme Kelly
 Robin Macpherson  photo Robin Macpherson
 Elaine Del Valle  photo Elaine Del Valle
 Lynn Richmond  photo Lynn Richmond
 Karen Stachura  photo Karen Stachura
 Stephen Waclawski  photo Stephen Waclawski
Mr Mark Colquhoun  photo Mr Mark Colquhoun
 Ashley Mawby  photo Ashley Mawby
 Laura Donald  photo Laura Donald
 Lesley Gordon  photo Lesley Gordon
 Paul Motion  photo Paul Motion
 Will Cole  photo Will Cole
Number of UK partners : 48
Number of other UK fee-earners : 135 (including 13 trainees)