Firm Profile > Turcan Connell > Edinburgh, Scotland

Turcan Connell

Agriculture and estates Tier 1

Turcan Connell has a large team of dedicated land and property lawyers; the practice includes a a specialist Land Registration Unit, which deals exclusively with applications for voluntary registration, with a focus on the rural sector. The team has recently seen an increase in work deriving from foreign investment into Scotland, while other areas of focus include renewable energy, forestry and land development options and promotion agreements. Practice head Jon Robertson is currently the sole Scottish lawyer on the UK Council of the Agricultural Law Association; he works in tandem with a strong bench of partners including Grierson Dunlop and Louise Johnston.

Practice head(s):


‘Knowledgeable, helpful and very efficient.’

‘They can work to extremely tight deadlines whilst still maintaining the care and attention to detail our industry requires.’

‘Strong team throughout with good personal skills.’

‘Grierson Dunlop, along with an exceptional team, gives us first class service.’

‘Grierson Dunlop has constantly provided clear, strong advice – he clearly identifies the nub of the issue.’

Key clients


Children’s Hospice Association Scotland

Charities and not-for-profit Tier 1

Turcan Connell  handles high-value mergers and demergers, governance issues, transactions, risk and reputation management, and regulatory compliance for clients including the Royal British Legion Scotland, the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, and the National Trust for Scotland. Gavin McEwan, who leads the practice, has considerable experience in charity regulation, having assisted in the drafting of Scotland’s codes of fundraising practice, and advising the UK Charity Law Association as a member of its executive committee. Although Simon Mackintosh has stepped down as firmwide chair and retired as a partner, he has remained with the firm as a consultant, notably advising the Shetland Charitable Trust in 2019 on its disbursements. Associate Debbie McIlwraith Cameron is also highly regarded.

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Other key lawyers:


‘The team at Turcan Connell have really taken the time to get to know our operations and people, which has meant that their advice is consistently appropriate and pragmatic. They anticipate issues, and provide solutions before problems arise. It feels like a very personal service, whilst also being neutral and dispassionate when necessary.’

‘The team has a good breath of knowledge and expertise. They advise on detailed and complex matters with calmness and authority.’

‘Gavin McEwan stands out as being an excellent lawyer, and tremendous source of support. He replies quickly and prepares his advice carefully. We have been very grateful to him on several occasions for his support during contentious issues, and the care he has taken with compliance and governance matters in general.’

‘Debbie McIlwraith Cameron is hugely inspirational, she has supported our charity women leaders network and has engaged with our members in a number of ways. She is knowledgeable, approachable and a credit to the firm.’

‘Gavin McEwan is knowledgeable and provides confidence with his approach. He is detailed and thorough in his advice and in communicating issues and solutions. ‘

Key clients

National Trust for Scotland

Royal Society for the Protection of Birds

Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh

Royal British Legion Scotland

Queen Elizabeth Castle of Mey Trust

Children’s Hospice Association Scotland (CHAS)

Shetland Charitable Trust

New Lanark

The Robertson Trust

Brink Literacy Project

Family Tier 1

The family practice at Turcan Connell has particular expertise in divorce and separation agreements for extremely wealthy families. As part of a full-service firm, the team are well-equipped to assess asset division and financial provision for individuals whose financial arrangements are complex and diversified across trusts, company shares, rural and farming businesses, and are distributed across multiple jurisdictions. The firm has acted on a number of child contact and residency cases where one partner is seeking the children’s residence in a non-EU and Hague convention country. Firmwide managing partner Gillian Crandles leads the team, and advises on many of the firm’s most high-value cases, supported by well-regarded associate Jennifer Macdonald. Lindsey Ogilvie, made up to partner in 2018, is a solicitor advocate, while senior associate David Coutts is another name to note; he leads the Glasgow family team and is experienced in complex financial provision cases.

Practice head(s):


‘The team’s strength comes from the depth of knowledge, experience and leadership by Gillian Crandles. They offer clients clear and considered advice in an area that is often highly charged emotionally and guide clients through a complex legal area that often does not make sense to the lay person.’

‘Gillian Crandles offers clients clear and approachable advice. She will tell it as she sees it, is highly knowledgeable and articulate and clients will leave a consultation with all the information they need to make the right decision. Gillian’s management of the team is excellent and she allows her team to get on with their jobs but offers guidance and support when needed.’

Jennifer Macdonald has worked closely with Gillian over the years and brings that experience to any client needing advice. Her calm and reassuring personality and attention to detail combine with an ability to listen to offer a complete service to her clients.’

Personal tax, trusts and executries Tier 1

Turcan Connell has a long-established reputation as a premier Scottish private client firm and is regarded as 'pre-eminent in the area of trusts and settlements'. The practice advises ultra-high-net-worth individuals and families, handling complex issues relating to trusts and estates, tax planning and business succession, and has recently seen an increase in work relating to investment in Scotland by foreign nationals. The firm's large team of top-tier partners is primarily based in Edinburgh, where Kenny MacDonald is tax services principal and Alix Storrie is head of tax and succession. Other well-regarded figures include 'top quality partner' Tom Duguid and Paul Macaulay, who is 'excellent with clients', as well as firm chairman Alexander Garden.

Practice head(s):


‘The leading private client firm in Scotland, in my view. Independent practice, one of the few remaining in the Scottish market. Provides full range of services for private individuals, including legal and tax advice, tax planning, trusts and international issues.’

‘Quiet confidence and real expertise. The practice focused from the start on private practice and real caring attention to their clients is their benchmark.’

‘Depth of knowledge and experience. Ability to advise in relation to both English and Scots law. Pre-eminent firm in Scotland in the area of trusts and settlements.’

‘Very high level of technical advice. Excellent level of service.’

‘Alexander Garden has a well established reputation in relation to trusts and taxation.’

‘Paul Macaulay is excellent with clients.’

‘Tom Duguid is very strong technically, very experienced, excellent at building client relationships and seeks to find the best practical solution to the circumstances presented to him.’

‘Paul Macaulay provides solid advice in an efficient manner. The quality of their technical knowledge makes them stand out from their competitors.’

‘Tom Duguid is a top-quality partner.’

Contentious trusts and probate Tier 2

Turcan Connell’s contentious trusts practice is headed up by Peter Littlefield and David Ogilvy. Littlefield specialises in contentious probate and executry disputes, including cases concerning capacity of the deceased and inheritance disputes predicated on prior gifts made during the deceased’s lifetime. Ogilvy leads the firm’s dispute resolution practice, and chiefly focuses on high net worth individuals and their children, including cases of significant complexity. Scott Hunter is another name to note.

Other key lawyers:


‘Their knowledge of Scottish law, their promptness and courtesy when dealing with multiple charities, their efforts to keep sending updates as matters progress and their understanding of the charity sector and its dynamics all make this team standout, as well as their willingness to discuss legal matters and share knowledge, including organising ad hoc workshops for our staff.’

‘From a client’s perspective, the team are well briefed and communications are seamless.’

‘Very accessible and sensible advice.’

‘I value Turcan Connell’s solicitors for being knowledgeable and always willing to discuss legal matters we may be faced with. They’re just a pleasure to work with. Working together, I appreciated their patience in explaining options and honesty in discussing issues.’

‘Peter Littlefield is outstanding. He gave excellent advice, and carried out his duties with dignity and honesty. In addition, he gave personal advice which was invaluable to me, and was given freely, which was above and beyond. I cannot thank him enough. His team obviously respect him highly, and are fully behind him. First class service.’

Corporate and commercial: Edinburgh and Glasgow Tier 4

Turcan Connell’s corporate team is headed by Mike Kane, who focuses on advising entrepreneurs and family businesses. The firm is particularly experienced in exits including trade sales, management buyouts (MBOs), employee buyouts (EBOs) and vendor-initiated MBOs (VIMBOs). The team takes a multidisciplinary approach, drawing on strength from the wider firm's personal tax, employment, commercial property and litigation experts.

Practice head(s):

Other key lawyers:

Key clients

Macphie Limited

Smith Anderson Group Limited

ETB Technolgies Limited

Hoddam Construction

Innlaw Limited

NAAM holdings Limited

Rabbies Trail  Burners Limited

Lyon and Turnbull Limited

The Wee Hotel Company Limited

SV Realty Limited

Turcan Connell is one of the UK’s premier private client firms with offices in Edinburgh, Glasgow and London.

The firm: Turcan Connell commands a unique position in UK professional services by providing clients with an integrated range of legal services alongside a complete range of tax services. Its success is due to the firm’s continued focus on meeting the needs of individuals, families, charities, entrepreneurs and family business owners.

Types of work undertaken
Tax and succession: with ten tax and succession partners and 21 other tax and succession lawyers, Turcan Connell’s breadth and depth of experience creates clear blue water between it and other firms. The firm has over 8,000 clients and administers some 3,000 trusts. It acts for a wide range of clients, including families with inherited assets, entrepreneurs, senior executives and owners of family businesses.

Land and property: the land and property team is the largest rural property team in Scotland. It has six land and property partners and 27 other lawyers dealing exclusively in property work. The team’s expertise in Scottish agricultural and property law has resulted in the continuing transfer of major land-owning clients from other law firms. Clients include the owners of country estates, historic houses, national institutions and land-owning charities. The team handles large estate transactions, development land sales, agricultural law and crafting community transactions. It has particular expertise in renewable energy, rural planning, environmental law and in all aspects of land reform.

Charities: Turcan Connell’s charity group is one of the largest in the UK. It advises more than 400 charities, from national institutions and heritage charities to grant-giving trusts and private foundations. As well as acting for large charities, the firm helps small charities through Turcan Connell Charity Office, an administration service designed to help grant-making foundations reduce their overhead costs.

Divorce and family law: the team is now widely recognised as the leading family law practice in Scotland for high-net-worth divorce cases. The team handles all aspects of separation, divorce, dissolution of civil partnerships, cohabitation and issues arising from relationship breakdown, whether of a financial nature or concerning the care of children. With partner-level expertise in Scottish and English law, it acts in many cross-jurisdictional divorces and specialises in collaborative law and divorces involving business valuations and share schemes.

Entrepreneurs and family businesses: the firm’s entrepreneurs and family businesses team is an interdisciplinary team of professionals drawn from across Turcan Connell, each of whom has significant experience in advising individual family members and their business interests, taking a proactive approach to clients’ businesses and identifying appropriate legal solutions to manage risk at an early stage.

Employment and dispute resolution: the employment law practice provides employment advice and representation for private clients, charities and rural employers. The team has represented many of Scotland’s most senior business figures. Its solicitors provide clients with focused and practical dispute resolution advice on a wide range of contentious and potentially contentious issues. The dispute resolution team aims to avoid litigation where possible and has detailed knowledge and experience of alternative methods of dispute resolution, such as mediation and arbitration.

Department Name Email Telephone
Chairman/Private client/trusts Alexander Garden
Private client/trusts Tom Duguid
Charity law Simon Mackintosh
Charity law Gavin McEwan
Agriculture and estates Jonathan Robertson
Agriculture and estates Grierson Dunlop
Managing Partner/Family Gillian Crandles
Employment/litigation David Ogilvy
Business law Mike Kane
Private client/trusts Ian Clark
Photo Name Position Profile
 Ian Clark  photo Ian Clark Partner, specialist in tax and succession planning; work undertaken includes: asset protection,…
 Gillian Crandles  photo Gillian Crandles Managing Partner and Head of Family Law; specialising in high-net-worth cases, farming…
 Tom Duguid  photo Tom Duguid Partner, dual-qualified in Scottish and English law, specialising in advice to UK…
 Grierson Robert Dunlop  photo Grierson Robert Dunlop Partner dealing with all aspects of property law; specialising in rural conveyancing…
 Alexander Garden  photo Alexander Garden Chairman of Turcan Connell and Partner dealing with wills, succession, trusts, asset…
 Louise Johnston  photo Louise Johnston Partner dealing with all aspects of property law, including rural and urban…
 Mike Kane  photo Mike Kane Partner, Head of Business Law and Entrepreneurs & Family Business unit; advising…
 Peter Littlefield  photo Peter Littlefield Partner specialising in contentious and non-contentious probate, succession law, will drafting, trust…
 Paul Macaulay  photo Paul Macaulay Partner specialising in wealth, tax, succession and asset protection planning; family businesses; wills;…
 Simon Mackintosh  photo Simon Mackintosh Consultant, dividing his time between charity law and tax and estate planning…
 Don Macleod  photo Don Macleod Partner dealing with all aspects of property law for land owning clients; specialising…
 Gavin McEwan  photo Gavin McEwan Partner; head of charities legal team; accredited specialist in charity law; advises…
 Lindsey Ogilvie  photo Lindsey Ogilvie Partner and Civil Solicitor Advocate
 David Ogilvy  photo David Ogilvy Partner specialising in employment law and dispute resolution.
 Jon Robertson  photo Jon Robertson Partner, head of land and property and head of renewables, specialist in…
 Chris Sheldon  photo Chris Sheldon Partner; specialising in tax and succession advice for individuals and families, and…
 Donald Simpson  photo Donald Simpson Partner advising UK and international clients on trusts, asset protection and tax…
Miss Alix Storrie  photo Miss Alix Storrie Partner specialising in personal tax, wills, succession and executaries (domestic and cross-border);…
 Niall Stringer  photo Niall Stringer Partner specialising in property law – commercial and residential development sales and option…
Number of UK partners : 23
Number of other UK fee-earners : 94