Firm Profile > DLA Piper > Edinburgh, Scotland

DLA Piper

IT and telecoms Tier 1

Under the leadership of John McKinlayDLA Piper Scotland LLP's IT team has substantial experience advising its client roster on major projects, particularly in the financial services and public sectors. The team has gained several new clients including BAE Systems. McKinlay is a key name for outsourcing and procurement contracts, technology licensing work and cross-border transactions; and legal director Ishbel MacPherson acts for entertainment and public sector clients.


The team at DLA Piper is very experienced in TMT work and its industry knowledge is invaluable during commercial and legal negotiations. It is a very strong part of DLA Piper’s Scottish team and is very well regarded in the sector.

With strong leadership by John McKinlay, the team is able to translate and communicate complex legal issues to a non-legal audience in a straightforward and practical manner. It is innovative,highly responsive, extremely patient and always makes clients feel like they are the only client. The team is truly commercial and takes ownership; it becomes an extension of and vital part of the client’s in-house legal team.

John McKinlay is the lead partner and is a joy to work with. He is knowledgeable, clever and attentive and is supported by a strong team of associates. He is extremely efficient and a very effective negotiator of complex contracts. The stand-out senior associate is Linzi Penman, whose youth belies her ability to produce outstanding, thoughtful results to tight timescales.

John McKinlay stands out as a stalwart adviser who draws on deep and wide ranging experience.

Ishbel MacPherson stands out. She is technically strong and extremely capable yet het ability to swap legalese for what makes commercial sense is what makes her a pleasure to deal with.

Key clients


Clydesdale Bank


Royal Bank of Scotland

Scottish Water

BAE Systems

Core HR

The Highland Council

Merlin Entertainments

Edinburgh Airport



Parliamentary and public affairs Tier 1

The 'impressive' team at DLA Piper Scotland LLP is led by the 'highly experienced' Hazel Moffat and is well equipped to guide public sector clients as well as food and drink, manufacturing and energy industry players through the full spectrum of parliamentary and public affairs issues. Much of its work pertains to judicial reviews, public inquiries, government structures and regulatory framework draftings.


Hazel Moffat is very smart, intuitive and very easy to work with.

Key clients

Institute of Apprenticeships


The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

Heineken UK

Market Operator Services

Transport for the North

Scottish Police Authority

Airbus Helicopter



Banking and finance Tier 2

In addition to advising key domestic clients including Clydesdale Bank and HSBC, DLA Piper Scotland LLP's banking team regularly receives mandates from international clients providing inward investment to Scottish assets. The group also recently expanded its high-profile client base with the addition of ICICI Bank and ABN AMRO to its client roster, and enhanced its work on the early-stage funding of technology companies. Scotland finance head David Morton, legal director Michael Urquhart and senior associate William Reid are among the key names in the team

Commercial property: Edinburgh and Glasgow Tier 2

The real estate team at DLA Piper Scotland LLP acts for developers, property funds and corporate occupiers and has particular strength in student accommodation mandates, shopping centre issues and retail matters. The department also benefits from the firm's global network and regularly acts for international clients. Real estate practice head Drew Wallace has a notable track record in the development and investment fields and Steve Edgecombe leads the firm's hospitality and leisure team; clients also praise Sheila Irvine, who focuses on leasings, investment issues and developments.


‘Known for its good legal knowledge and capabilities, DLA Piper is willing to bring in specialists – be they internal or external – to augment services and deliver results.’

‘Sheila Irvine is very well informed and gives a fair and balanced view on most transactions. She will go the extra mile to get critical transactions completed.’

‘Scott Ferrier is a senior associate who is very diligent and delivers detailed examination of transactions.’

Key clients

Admiral Taverns

Aggregate Industries

Catella Parken Europa

The Ambassador Theatre Group


Osborne & Co/Vanguard Limited


Heineken UK Limited

Artisan Real Estate Investors Limited



British Airways

LaSalle Investment Management

Places for People


St Enoch Trustee Company (Blackstone and Sovereign)

Leonardo Hotel Group

Henry Boot Developments

New Waverley

Royal Bank of Scotland

Round Hill Capital UK Limited

Intellectual property Tier 2

DLA Piper Scotland LLP has substantial capabilities in Scotland and internationally, where it leverages the firm's global network to handle cross-border projects. John McKinlay heads up the practice, which also includes legal director Ishbel MacPherson, who regularly advises on commercial contracts in the technology and life sciences sectors.

Key clients

Merlin Entertainments

Shire Pharmaceuticals


Heineken UK

FA Premier League



Wm Grant & Sons



Planning Tier 2

Acting for objectors, appellants and other parties, DLA Piper Scotland LLP has substantial expertise in contentious planning matters, including judicial review challenges. The practice led by Sandy Telfer is also well versed in providing planning advice on housing developments alongside infrastructure and energy sector development projects, including those in a multi-jurisdictional setting.

Key clients

INEOS Upstream

Perth and Kinross Council

Hallam Land Management

New Waverley Advisers

Royal Bank of Scotland

Places for People

Henry Boot Developments

Dawnfresh Farming

Highways England

Hansteen Land

Commercial litigation Tier 3

DLA Piper Scotland LLP is routinely engaged in cross-jurisdictional disputes and has particular expertise in handling public sector, property and construction-related disputes. Alastair Drummond is the main contact.

Key clients



Assurant General Insurance

Babcock Group

Clydesdale Bank


British Airways


Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)

Scottish Police Authority



Corporate and commercial: Edinburgh and Glasgow Tier 3

DLA Piper Scotland LLP's team has recently been kept busy handling deals in the technology and energy sectors. The group also has a strong track record advising multinationals, FTSE 100 and Fortune 500 companies on global reorganisations and restructurings. Notable individuals include practice head Simon Rae, who is a key name for M&A, private equity and venture capital deals.


The team provides strong support and has extensive international offices.

Simon Rae manages the client relationship and his team very well.

Key clients

Business Growth Fund

Energy Ventures

Environmental Energy Fund

Energy Growth Investors

First Reserve

Infrared Capital Partners

Investec Investments UK

Proprium Capital

Secure Trust Bank

Scottish Equity Partners

Royal Bank of Scotland

Vespa Capital


Cimpress (Vistaprint)

Danaher Corporation

Element Group

Fortive Corporation

Heineken UK

Link Mobility

John Menzies

Projects Tier 3

At DLA Piper Scotland LLPLillian Mackenzie was recently appointed as head of finance, projects and restructuring in Scotland. The group acts for international clients alongside a notable domestic client base including local authorities, which it advises on procurement models; the Welsh government is a key example. The team is also active in the education sector, and recently gained several new clients in the space.


‘The diversified work in different legal sectors with qualified experts distinguishes DLA Piper’s projects experts.’

‘DLA Piper provides considerable experience in infrastructure procurement, particularly PPP.’

‘For an international practice, the personal interest taken by the partners is exceptional and allows them to comment sensibly at any given moment. The team’s genuine credibility in the market draws on many years of delivering successful projects in a practical, non-confrontational way.’

‘The projects team makes a real effort to support clients in their own business requirements beyond just the provision of legal services.’

‘Sharon Fitzgerald is a very open and cooperative person. She has very strong networking skills.’

‘Sharon has immense global experience and is a great communicator, but what makes her stand out is how personable she is and her behavourial ethics. She is someone who clients trust implicitly for impeccable and timely advice.’

‘Lillian Mackenzie is exceptionally capable and experienced, gaining her experience through the evolution of the PPP model throughout the UK. She offers practical solutions in a positive way and ensures that the client is fully informed before taking a decision – a true positive addition to any team.’

‘Sharon Fitzgerald and Peter Dornan both deserve a mention for high-quality advice and support and a very practical approach to supporting their clients with the delivery of projects.’

Key clients

City of Glasgow Council

Welsh Government


Galliford Try


Green Africa Power

Velindre NHS Trust

Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan

Government of Ghana

Government of the Republic of Zimbabwe

National Grid


GE (General Electric)

Lloyds Banking Group

Nord LB

Property litigation Tier 3

Working in conjunction with its real estate, construction and projects team, DLA Piper Scotland LLP regularly assists developers and property investors as well as manufacturing, finance and energy sector clients with contractual disputes, contentious landlord and tenant matters, as well as lease, dilapidation and boundary issues. The 'excellentAlastair Drummond heads the team, which lost director Jonathan Gaskell to DWF in June 2018.

Key clients

Broad Sands

Computacenter (UK)


Lothian Amusements

Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)

The Coal Authority

The Edinburgh Woollen Mill

Consort Healthcare (Fife)

Construction Tier 4

Working in close co-operation with its England-based offices, DLA Piper Scotland LLP handles a variety of contentious and non-contentious issues arising from retail, commercial and mixed-use developments, hotels and leisure sector projects as well as student accommodations. Frequently handling contentious construction work, Alastair Drummond is the main contact for Scotland. Legal director Ross Campbell joined the team from Eversheds Sutherland in August 2018 and is experienced in energy, infrastructure and development projects.

Key clients

Consort Healthcare (Fife)

Lothian Amusements

New Waverley 12

Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS)

St Enoch Trustee Company

Ambassador Theatre Group

Jury’s Inn

Leonardo Hotels


Heineken UK

Employment Tier 5

DLA Piper Scotland LLP frequently acts in close conjunction with its national employment team, handling UK-wide and cross-border matters in the banking and financial services, food and drink, insurance, life sciences and technology sectors, among others, pertaining to internal restructurings, transactions and projects. Other work includes assistance with GDPR issues and employment tribunal litigation. Kate Hodgkiss is the main contact for Scotland.

Key clients



Dawnfresh Seafoods



Scottish Police Authority

Scottish Water

CPA Global Management

Charles Taylor

Elements Materials Technology

Felio Sylvania Europe



Energy (excluding oil and gas) Tier 5

The energy practice at DLA Piper Scotland LLP has expertise to advise on wind projects, photovoltaic power matters and anaerobic digestion plants. The team is notable for its planning and construction knowledge, and, as part of the firm's global network, regularly assists clients with cross-border projects and transactions.

DLA Piper’s UK offices provide a full range of legal services to meet the ongoing needs of clients wherever they do business. It is one of the largest law firms in the UK and has seven offices in the major commercial centres of Birmingham, Edinburgh, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester and Sheffield.

The firm: DLA Piper is a global law firm that provides its clients with legal and business solutions locally, regionally and internationally using integrated teams of lawyers with experience that spans a broad range of disciplines. DLA Piper is widely recognised for its pioneering approach and extensive geographic reach, which enables the practice to look after the business issues that matter to its clients – whether they are large or small. Clients of DLA Piper include single-owner startups, local and household name companies, multinationals, financial institutions, FTSE and Fortune 500 enterprises and their subsidiaries, and public bodies and governments.

Types of work undertaken:Corporate: DLA Piper is a significant operator in the UK, providing transactional and advisory work in mergers and acquisitions, private equity, capital markets, tax, and investment funds.

Employment: a market-leading practice with a strong reputation for delivering solutions-based advice and supporting clients in the day-to-day management of their people, legal issues and risk. Its lawyers work on a strategic and operational level on both contentious and non-contentious matters across the private and public sectors.

Finance and projects: includes experienced teams which advise on asset-based lending, asset finance, debt capital markets and securitisation, leveraged finance, project finance, real estate finance, and trade and commodity finance. Lawyers in this practice also advise on loan workouts and refinancings.

Intellectual property and technology: this award-winning practice is made up of experienced intellectual property, information law, technology and sourcing, commercial, telecoms, media and sports lawyers, and offers a unique, global, full-service capability.

Litigation and regulatory: the global litigation and regulatory group comprises over 1,800 contentious and regulatory lawyers. The practice group is dedicated exclusively to regulatory risk and dispute resolution, and includes litigators, arbitrators, criminal defence lawyers and ex-regulators, along with government relations, public policy and media relations advisers.

Real estate: this practice combines local experience with an international perspective to provide high-quality commercial and innovative advice. A full range of legal services is offered, including transactions, planning and property management. Clients include developers, investors and corporate end users.

Restructuring: the firm has one of the largest restructuring teams in the UK, with over 130 restructuring and insolvency lawyers who work as part of one of the largest global restructuring teams of any legal practice. The team regularly advises on high-profile assignments from the mid market up to the largest and most complex national and international restructurings and insolvencies.

Tax: the firm provides advice on local and national tax, as well as a commercially integrated approach to cross-border structures and tax efficiency. It offers the full range of tax services that address the challenges of international commerce and business operations, including arranging operations to reduce effective global tax rates, transfer pricing, tax disputes and post-acquisition integration.

Other offices: Abu Dhabi, Al Khobar, Albany, Amsterdam, Antwerp, Atlanta, Auckland, Austin, Baltimore, Bangkok, Beijing, Berlin, Birmingham, Boston, Bratislava, Brisbane, Brussels, Bucharest, Budapest, Calgary, Casablanca, Chicago, Cologne, Copenhagen, Dallas, Doha, Dubai, Edinburgh, Edmonton, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Helsinki, Hong Kong, Houston, Jeddah, Johannesburg, Kuwait City, Kyiv, Leeds, Lisbon, Liverpool, London, Los Angeles, Luxembourg, Madrid, Manchester, Melbourne, Mexico City, Miami, Milan, Minneapolis, Montréal, Moscow, Munich, Muscat, New Jersey, New York, Northern Virginia, Oslo, Paris, Perth, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Prague, Raleigh, Riyadh, Rome, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, San Juan, São  Paulo, Seattle, Seoul, Shanghai, Sheffield, Silicon Valley, Singapore, St Petersburg, Stockholm, Sydney, Tampa, Tokyo, Toronto, Vancouver, Vienna, Warsaw, Washington DC, Wellington, Whitehorse, Wilmington, Yellowknife.

Department Name Email Telephone
Office manager Simon Rae
Photo Name Position Profile
 John McKinlay  photo John McKinlay
 Hazel Moffat  photo Hazel Moffat
 Simon Rae  photo Simon Rae
 Sandy Telfer  photo Sandy Telfer

The Lex 100 Verdict

DLA Piper's expansive 'international office network' gives it an inescapable 'global footprint', which excites trainees. The firm offers training contracts across England, as well as in Edinburgh, and several recruits voiced their appreciation for the opportunity to 'work in a regional office and still undertake market-leading international work'. Client and international secondment opportunities were also a big draw, with the latter earning DLA Piper a Lex 100 Winner medal. One reality of the overseas placements is that regional and London remuneration is not matched, so that two trainees on the same secondment can be paid different salaries. Nevertheless, respondents in offices outside of London do feel that 'the pay is generally better than at other firms, although the hours are longer'. Despite being very large, DLA maintains a 'nice, inclusive feel where you can speak to anyone'. Encouragingly 'employees are treated well; the firm wants its lawyers to be happy and comfortable'. Clients are 'high-profile' and 'exciting' and the new London office – which 'grows micro herbs in the canteen' – also deserves a special mention! Complaints tended to centre on the 'unpredictability of the hours', which can be 'lengthy', occasionally requiring trainees to 'work a 22-hour day' or 'until the early hours to meet deadlines'. But work highlights such as 'going on secondment to a renowned drinks manufacturer', 'assisting with work for the Afghanistan embassy' and 'delivering good news to a pro bono client' (on which we were told 'there is a big focus in the firm') were impressive. If you're looking for a firm which has a 'regional as well as a global presence', which is 'inclusive, exciting, challenging and fun', DLA Piper might well be the place for you.