Blackadders LLP > Edinburgh, Scotland > Firm Profile

Blackadders LLP
40 Torphichen Street

Real estate > Commercial property: elsewhere in Scotland Tier 2

Blackadders LLP fields lawyers in Dundee and Aberdeen with particular accomplishment in the development, landlord and tenant, portfolio management, acquisition and disposal fields, often acting in respect of housebuilding, student accommodation and care home assets. Practice head Emma Gray routinely acts on on-site acquisition and assembly matters, in addition to option agreements, and is especially well-regarded within the self-invested personal pension (SIPP) and affordable housing sectors.

Practice head(s):

Emma Gray

Other key lawyers:

Stuart King; Neil Robb

Key clients

Scape Homes

Curtis Banks

Morris Leslie Group

A & J Stephen Limited

James Hay Pension Trustees

Salvation Army Trading Company

Enterprise Investments (Dundee) Limited

Insights Learning and Development

George Martin Builders

Glendola Leisure Group

Work highlights

  • Advising client with an investment portfolio on a multi-million pound refinancing.          
  • Acting for client in acquisition of Scottish headquarters and subsequent refinancing.
  • Acting for private investors in several high value lettings in the Aberdeen Oil & Gas sector.

Corporate and commercial > Corporate and commercial: elsewhere in Scotland Tier 3

Present in Dundee and Aberdeen, Blackadders LLP leverages its expertise of the technology and healthcare sectors, in addition to its knowledge of employee ownership transactions, to advise on a plethora of M&A deals. Campbell Clark leads the practice and is adept on both the transactional and advisory fronts; he is supported by Kirk Dailly whose core strengths include commercial contracts, business sales and purchases, brand protection and investment rounds.

Practice head(s):

Campbell Clark

Other key lawyers:


‘Excellent understanding of employee ownership transaction needs.’

‘Extremely good response times compared to other firms I have dealt with – personal but professional service – honest and factual feedback.’

‘In our experience the team is very responsive with high partner availability and involvement, providing timely and practical advice, always with an eye to commerciality.’

‘We recommend Campbell Clark for high levels of partner availability, providing straightforward, timely advice that we trust.’

‘I have found Blackladders LLP to be a friendly, transparent and responsive law firm. The firm makes me feel as though I am their only client as their response times are unmatched by any other law firm I have worked with. There had been one particular matter that I had asked them to handle, which I knew could have been protracted for many months due to its complexity, but with the team’s strong capability and robust approach, the matter concluded very swiftly. The firm also has a dedicated team with a broad range of expertise which has provided me with much support, knowledge and analysis of various legal and commercial issues.’

‘The individuals within the firm have a very proactive, supportive and personal approach in how they engage with me.’

‘The team attempts to find solutions which are consistent with our values. This means that, unlike some other lawyers, they do not try to win a fight but help us to find a solution which suits all parties.’

‘The individuals are always very personable, they try to make themselves available and they have worked to establish relationships with us.’

Key clients

4J Studios Limited (Chroma Ventures)

The Insights Group Limited

Lippert Components Inc

RCI Europe

Broker Insights Limited

Waracle Limited

Oilfield Machinery Limited

Strathmore Foods Limited

A Proctor Group Limited

MTC Media Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Broker Insights on its £6m Series A funding round led by Mercia Asset Management.    
  • Advised Chroma Ventures who co-led a $5m investment in augmented reality studio Blippar.
  • Advised Oilfield Machinery on the sale of its OM Heavy Lift subsidiary to Forth Ports plc.

Private client > Family Tier 3

Blackadders LLP is ‘an excellent firm in Aberdeen and Dundee’, according to clients and is led by Craig Samson, who is singled out for his ‘robust and pragmatic approach’. The team is active across a range of family law issues, with strength in complex cross-border child-related matters and financial provision issues. Gareth Masson is regularly instructed on matters of adoption, permanency orders, and cohabitation.

Practice head(s):

Craig Samson

Other key lawyers:


‘Gareth Masson has provided an exceptional professional service. His tenacity in dealing with a very difficult long standing case is commendable.’

‘Gareth Masson has a relatable manner and is happy to take the time to explain matters in layman’s terms. In my experience in working with Gareth, I have found the quality that I have valued the most is his efficiency in responding to any queries and keeping excellent continuity of all communication.’

‘The team at Blackadders work well together to look after their clients. I dealt with reception staff, a partner and associate. Advice was made in my best interest through understanding.’

‘Communication was clear and kept me up to date with how things were proceeding.’

‘Billing was clearly itemised and payments made easy through the online payment system.’

‘A friendly and personal but always professional approach during a time that is particularly in difficult in life made proceedings easier.’

‘I have been working with Gareth Masson and I cannot speak highly enough of his understanding and demeanour. He is always approachable and, despite his workload, always makes time when required.’

‘Excellent firm, especially Dundee and Aberdeen. Leading firm in Dundee and one of the leading firms for family work in Aberdeen at partner level but with excellent associate level.’

Private client > Personal tax, trusts and executries Tier 3

Employment Tier 4

Finance > Insolvency and corporate recovery Tier 4

Lawyers at Blackadders LLP excel on an array of personal and corporate insolvency regimes, namely administrations, liquidations, CVAs, trust deeds and sequestrations. Ryan McKay leads the practice, acting for an increasing number of company directors in addition to his traditional forte of representing Scottish insolvency practitioners; his team also undertakes an assortment of post insolvency affairs and includes Stephanie Carr, a specialist in debt recovery matters, both secured and unsecured.

Practice head(s):

Ryan McKay

Other key lawyers:


‘All members of the insolvency/restructuring team are knowledgeable and efficient.’

‘Stephanie Carr has provided excellence service over a number of my contentious insolvency appointments. Stephanie has increased the value of assets available for distribution to creditors by approaching disputed matters from a different angle and reaching a resolution acceptable to all parties.’

‘Stephanie Carr is very experienced in insolvency work. She is very personable.’

‘Blackadders provides good insolvency advice and does so at a lower price point than the larger firms. Stephanie Carr, a partner in the team, has a strong knowledge of insolvency law. She is one of the few solicitors in Scotland to have passed the Joint Insolvency Examination Board exams. She is also on the Lexis Nexis panel of insolvency experts. The firm provides very good advice to individuals faced with insolvency.’

‘I have worked with Stephanie Carr at Blackadders. She has a strong knowledge of personal and corporate insolvency. I have been impressed by her solutions based approach. As well as being instructed by insolvency practitioners, she is often instructed by individuals with no prior experience of insolvency. When those indivduals come to see her they are often very stressed and/or scared. Stephanie provides them with good clear advice pitched at a level they can understand. Just as importantly, she does so in a friendly and reassuring manner which is hugely important with clients of that type.’

‘I am a licensed insolvency practitioner in England and Wales and have an insolvency case with assets in Scotland. Stephanie Carr has been of great assistance to me and has impressed me with her diligence, attention to detail and expert knowledge whilst also being friendly and approachable.’

‘Understanding of both the local and national markets.’

‘I’ve mostly dealt with Stephanie Carr who has all the qualities you would wish in a solicitor, e.g. technically proficient, personable, good communicator, and responds quickly.’

Key clients

William Duncan Business Recovery Ltd

180 Advisory Solutions

Interpath Advisory

Johnston Carmichael

FRP Advisory

Work highlights

    Private client > Agriculture and estates Tier 4

    At Blackadders LLPPhilip Buchan was recently appointed as the new head of rural land and business following the departure of a team to Shepherd and Wedderburn. The practice has a track record of work on land purchases and sales, agricultural tenancies and has seen increased activity in the renewable energy space, advising on solar energy development and battery storage sites.

    Practice head(s):

    Philip Buchan

    Corporate and commercial > Corporate and commercial: Edinburgh and Glasgow Tier 5

    Blackadders LLP is a long-established player in the Dundee and Aberdeen and has rapidly expanded its presence in the Central Belt of late. Peter Duff fronts the Glasgow practice, delivering particular expertise in the healthcare, technology and pharmaceutical sectors; his team is instructed on a wealth of M&A and investment round matters in addition to employee ownership transactions.

    Practice head(s):

    Peter Duff


    ‘Commercial team are very responsive and easy to contact.’

    ‘The team or person given responsibility for the project or task are always capable and any gap within their knowledge or experience can be filled by other specialists within the practice.’

    ‘The stand out partner is Peter Duff who has many years of experience and in my view always provides good practical and sound commercial advice which is very good for the client and not necessarily in line with maximising fee income for the practice will more often than not lead to long term repeat business.’


    Key clients


    M & D Green Group


    Eden Mill St Andrews

    Willis Pharmacy


    Bannerman’s Pharmacy

    Symbiosis Pharmaceutical Services



    Work highlights

    • Advised the shareholders of Eden Mill St Andrews on the sale and subsequent investment in the company by private equity firm Inverleith, resulting in their acquisition of a majority stake in the company.    
    • Advised Bannerman’s Pharmacy on the sale of the entire issued share capital of Dunblane Healthcare Limited, operating two pharmacies in Dunblane, Stirling, to Davidsons Chemists.
    • Advised Barnets & Daughters Limited on their sale of the business and assets of luxury candle making business, Shearer Candles, to Hayes & Finch.

    Real estate > Commercial property: Edinburgh and Glasgow Tier 5

    Employment >

    Based primarily out of Dundee, the private client practice at Blackadders LLP handles the full gamut of matters related to tax issues, trusts and executries for individuals, families, trustees, and businesses. The team works closely with Wealth Management LLP; a firm-owned subsidiary advising clients on investment, inheritance tax and insurance. Johnston Clark and Laura McDowall manage the team alongside Gillian Brown in Glasgow. John Dargie in Aberdeen routinely advises on incapacity matters. Tabitha Bell recently joined the team from Drummond Miller LLP.

    With six offices across Scotland, Blackadders LLP is a well-known regional player acting for employers and employees on the full range of employment law; the Edinburgh-based Donna Reynolds complements this offering with a specialism in discrimination law. Director Jack Boyle is often called upon in employment disputes and is based in Dundee together with practice head Simon Allison, who has particular expertise in the construction, manufacturing and transport sectors, while the team as a whole has recently been increasingly active advising GP practices. Due to its partnership with T C Young, the group also provides regular advice to housing associations. In September 2021, its Glasgow office received a boost with the arrival of Stephen Connolly from Miller Samuel Hill Brown Solicitors; he has recently handled various compliance and Covid-19-related HR matters and is also experienced in data protection.

    Blackadders LLP is engaged on a mixture of local and Scots law referral work, acting on cross-border and portfolio deal, acquisitions, disposals, sale-leasebacks, landlord and tenant, development and investment deals. Fraser Hardie is the contact at partner-level and is particularly well-connected within the healthcare space.

    Practice head(s):

    Johnston Clark; Laura McDowall; Gillian Brown

    Other key lawyers:


    ‘It is a large firm with a broad range of knowledge and expertise but still retains the personal touch.’

    ‘Johnston Clark is a very experienced and highly skilled solicitor with great expertise but still is so approachable and reassuring while carrying out top-class legal work.’

    ‘Johnston Clark is able to relate to clients and understand their concerns while guiding them with his outstanding legal advice.’

    ‘I would never hesitate to contact Johnston for advice when required and know that he would provide me with sound legal and practical advice and do so with a sense of humour (where appropriate!).’

    Work highlights

    • Acting for the executors of a deceased high-net-worth individual whose assets were located in different jurisdictions and in multiple different forms.
    • Advised Legal Services Agency on tax implications, tax charges, suitability and new setups for a portfolio of trusts where significant sums had been awarded under CICA claims.
    • Administering multi-million pound charitable trusts, including William S Phillips Fund and Walter Craig Charitable Trust, created in the Wills of deceased clients.

    Practice head(s):


    ‘The team comprises a very effective mixture of experienced employment law professionals and very promising young talent.’

    ‘Blackadders has a very human approach to employment law and an ability to connect with potential clients through clear communication. It not only understands the sector and the law very, very well, but also has this very human face.’

    ‘I have been working with the Blackadders employment team for the last 2 years, and cannot speak highly enough of the service and support they have provided us.’

    ‘Blackadders is an extremely engaging firm. Their connection to their clients is something that I have not encountered elsewhere. They take the time to get to know their clients personally and to fully understand the business area their clients are in. They communicate on a level that is understandable and not bombarded with legal jargon.’

    ‘Simon Allison and Jack Boyle are both extremely capable, knowledgeable and very professional in the way they undertake their work. They make it their business to understand the client and how they operate.’

    ‘Simon Allison and Jack Boyle are both extremely approachable, friendly, professional and knowledgeable in employment law. They are both excellent at explaining the risks in situations in a straight-forward and understandable way.’

    ‘I have known Donna Reynolds for more than 15 years and she is a very capable, intelligent and focused lawyer – but also one who is dedicated to continuous professional improvement and to building her skills and her network.’

    ‘Donna Reynolds is exceptional at what she does, she is very down to earth and approachable. Nothing is too much trouble for her and her turnaround time is in line with my demands. She makes herself available at short notice which is greatly appreciated.’

    Key clients

    Nairn & Nairn Limited

    Kingswood Hotel & Restaurant

    Horsecross Arts Limited

    Scotch Malt Whisky Society Limited

    Elder Homes Limited

    Symbiosis Pharmaceutical Services Limited

    Scottish Salmon Company Ltd

    Monterey Jacks Ltd

    AK Recruitment Ltd

    Macfie & Co LLP

    Welcome Eyecare Ltd

    TMS UK Ltd

    Interplex PMP Limited

    Carnegie Cars Limited

    Dell Corporation Limited

    National Express plc

    CR Smith Glaziers (Dunfermline) Limited

    The Ogilvie Group

    The Fairmont, St Andrews

    St Andrews Brewing Company Limited

    Leisure and Culture Dundee

    CoorsTek Limited

    The Insights Group Limited

    Dover Fueling Solutions Limited

    TDKMicronas Limited

    Abbeyford Leisure Limited

    Business Gateway Fife

    CJ Lang & Son Limited

    The Al Maktoum College

    Dundee Contemporary Arts Cinema

    Waracle Limited

    TSG France

    R T Stuart Limited

    Pitlochry Festival Theatre

    Barrie Knitwear Limited

    Work highlights

    • Providing advice to Dell Corporation Limited in relation to a claim of unfair dismissal and four claims of disability discrimination.
    • Acted for the Al Maktoum College in a claim lodged for unfair dismissal, harassment and direct discrimination.
    • Acted for Leisure and Culture Dundee in a claim lodged by an employee for unlawful deduction from wages.

    Practice head(s):

    Emma Gray

    Other key lawyers:

    Fraser Hardie; Azeem Arshad

    Key clients

    Hays Travel Limited

    Connection Flooring Limited

    BMI Healthcare Limited

    Highlander (Scotland) Properties Limited

    Tornado Wire Group

    ACASA Health Care Limited

    Drinkchain Limited

    Saphire Technologies Limited

    Chatham Properties (Scotland) Limited

    Fairstone Financial Management Limited

    Yaron Spector Real Estate

    Premier Housewares

    AG Restaurants Ltd (t/a McDonalds)

    DS Group (t/a Dominos and German Doner Kebab)

    MSG Group (t/a Dominos)

    Coffeepots (t/a Costa)

    Ancol International

    Arc Hospitality

    Aviat Networks

    Quadscot Engineering

    Zenta Engineering

    Land Sea Developments Limited

    Little Runway Records Limited

    Work highlights

    • Advised DS Group t/a German Doner Kebab on its expansion program throughout Scotland.  
    • Advising Hays Travel on its portfolio of Scottish stores and new acquisitions.
    • Acting for Yarron Spector real estate in two investment acquisitions.

    Blackadders can trace its roots back to 1773, and is the result of several amalgamations and acquisitions.

    The firm: Blackadders employs over 250 staff. The firm’s legal expertise, professional support staff and technical resources combine to create a first-class legal service capability for both business and individual clients.

    Blackadders’ private client practice advises on wills, executries, trusts and tax planning services.

    Blackadders has transformed the executry/probate function within its private client department by implementing a FloSuite IT solution which automates and manages its day-to-day operations. Since going live with the FloSuite executry solution, the firm’s own ROI study has recorded a range of clear business benefits, including efficiency gains of around 50% in the processing of executries.

    The firm’s business lawyers are known for their straight talking and for the delivery of agreed outcomes. They have the attitude and experience to help clients achieve their business objectives by providing responsive, clear and strategic commercial advice. The underlying aim in handling all business work is to safeguard the clients’ financial future. This is achieved by spending time learning about each client and understanding how they wish to take their business forward.

    Types of work undertaken: The firm’s emphasis is on maintaining long-term, mutually beneficial relationships with clients and this has resulted in a substantial portfolio of private individuals, SMEs and large corporate clients. The firm focuses on the following principal areas of work:

    Business: the firm’s specialist team is expert in all areas of commercial and corporate work, especially corporate finance, corporate financial planning, dispute resolution, licensing, and intellectual property and technology.

    Employment: the award-winning employment team is highly rated and is recognised for its expertise. The team offers the full range of services spanning the entire employer/employee relationship, from recruitment through to retirement.

    Private client: the team of experienced private client lawyers and client care specialists advises on a full range of issues such as wills, trusts, executries, powers of attorney and inheritance tax planning. The team works to ensure each client’s financial wellbeing is maximised, using specific wealth planning strategies tailored to fit individuals, family trusts or other private groups’ needs.

    Family/matrimonial: the family law team’s knowledge and experience combine to ensure that clients feel supported during a potentially difficult time in their lives. The team focuses on child law, separation and divorce, and collaborative mediation.

    Property: the property services division includes residential, rural, commercial, property, conveyancing and estate agency.

    Offices:  Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Perth and Arbroath

    Partner Johnston 229222
    Chairman Peter 248 1888
    Conveyancing Karen 248 1888
    Estate agency Karen 248 1888
    Private client Johnston 229222
    Family law Craig 229222
    Joint Managing Partner Emma 229222
    Commercial Campbell 229222
    Corporate Campbell 229222
    Employment Simon 229222
    Joint Managing Partner Ryan 588913
    Employment Donna 222 8000
    Rural Land and Business Philip 222 8000
    Fraser Hardie photo Fraser HardiePartner
    Donna Reynolds photo Donna ReynoldsPartner
    Number of UK partners : 29
    Number of other UK fee-earners : 114