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Pinsent Masons LLP


Pinsent Masons - London
  • Princes Exchange
  • 1 Earl Grey Street
  • Edinburgh
  • City of Edinburgh
  • UK
  • EH3 9AQ
  • Senior Partner Richard Foley
  • Managing Partner David Ryan
  • Number of partners 390
  • Qualified lawyers 1200

The Firm Pinsent Masons is an international law firm with a long-standing reputation for delivering a high quality service and adding value for clients. The firm’s approach to doing business is structured around developing long-term relationships with its clients, its people and its local and global communities. With an international resource of over 1,500 lawyers - including 500 lawyers in its headquarters in the City of London - the firm delivers on the ground legal advice from 19 locations, advising clients on their businesses worldwide. Working with major international and UK corporations, institutions and public bodies, the firm has strong global credentials in four sectors: advanced manufacturing and technology, energy and natural resources, financial resources, and infrastructure. It also has considerable knowledge and expertise across a wide range of services which cover (for example) corporate, M&A, commercial, competition, litigation and arbitration, banking, restructuring, insurance, regulatory, construction, projects, pensions, property, planning and environmental, procurement, outsourcing, employment, share plans, technology and tax. Pinsent Masons’ emphasis on listening, understanding and building strong working partnerships has proved essential to the firm’s many successful client relationships, evidenced by the large number of FTSE350 and similar clients for which the firm acts.

International Offices Aberdeen; Belfast; Birmingham; Edinburgh; Leeds; London; Manchester; Munich; Paris; Istanbul; Dubai; Qatar; Beijing; Hong Kong; Shanghai; Singapore.


  • 30 Crown Place,
  • Earl Street,
  • London,
  • Greater London
  • UK
  • EC2A 4ES
  • Tel (020) 7418 7000
  • Fax (020) 7418 7050
  • DX 119516 Finsbury Square
  • Website : www.pinsentmasons.com

Banking & Finance - Scotland

Basic facts about the department
- 5 partners
- 10 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Aberdeen, Edinburgh

What the team is known for Multidisciplinary firm with a global reach and strong capabilities across the banking and finance spectrum. Skilled at handling major cross-border refinancings within the energy sector for a list of high-profile oil and gas corporates.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"They are every bit as good as the magic circle firms that they tend to come up against. Very practical and very responsive. Get things done quickly and are extremely good at what they do."

"Key individuals have deep experience of capital markets and project finance. They are also very focused on moving transactions forward so will structure solutions and compromises to avoid road blocks and unresolved positions."

What's new? Richard Scott was promoted to partner within the Aberdeen team.

Kier Project Investment represents a new client win.

Work highlights Advised Ithaca Energy on a USD610 million reserve-based lending facility, as well as a USD100 million corporate facility provided by a syndicate of banks, headed up by Scotiabank and BNP Paribas.

Acted for two high-profile institutional lenders on the Greater Gabbard offshore transmission operator project's £304 million bond financing.

Notable practitioners  

Aberdeen partner Richard Scott receives high praise from clients who are equally impressed by his "knowledge of the market and its competitors," and his "proactive" yet "measured approach."

According to interviewees, partner Gillian Frew already "has a well-deserved reputation" in the Scottish market, particularly for her impressive skill set in project finance. One client describes her as a "problem solver" with "excellent people skills" and a "quiet but firm style."

Head of department John Maciver has assisted on a number of deals of late, including advising a high-profile lender on the provision of a £45 million loan to North Lanarkshire Properties. Peers assert that he has a "nice way of cutting straight through to get the deal done." Clients add that it is "easy to get advice from him."

Known as a "top player in the field," Michael Watson continues to be regarded as a valuable member of the Edinburgh team. Notably, he acted as lead lawyer for two institutional lenders on a multimillion-pound financing within the oil and gas sector. Several sources attribute the practice's strong bench to Michael's leadership.

Iain Macaulay is similarly lauded for his project finance expertise. One client explains: "He's done so much work in the oil and gas sector that he was hugely invaluable to us during the process and provided us with tailored advice for what we needed."

Significant clients Deutsche Bank, Santander, UBS, Credit Suisse, Dana Petroleum.

Banking Litigation - Glasgow, Edinburgh and surrounds

Basic facts about the department
- 2 partners
- 8 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Edinburgh

What the team is known for Boasts a significant banking and regulatory client roster. Areas of focus include professional negligence, insolvency disputes, mis-selling and consumer credit claims.    

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"Their litigation team was good, very commercial, and they appreciated what our commercial issues were instead of getting caught up in legal points. If I had another litigation issue related to insolvency I would use them again." 

"They're good on fraud cases." 

Work highlights Acted for PwC on multiple asset recovery proceedings following the insolvency of several property companies.

Instructed by KPMG as administrators of Prestonpans to challenge the transfer of an option to purchase, and advised a UK banking group as the largest creditor.  

Notable practitioners  

Solicitor advocate and mediator Jim Cormack heads the banking litigation team. Interviewees enthuse in particular about his advocacy and find him "a good person to deal with."

Significant clients RBS.

Competition/European Law - Glasgow, Edinburgh and surrounds

What the team is known for Particularly strong in state aid and public procurement matters. Able to provide clients with advice across multiple jurisdictions.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"Their advice is clear, coherent and pitched at the right level for us to understand."

Work highlights Advised the Department for Culture, Media & Sport on state aid issues relating to wireless broadband on public transport in Edinburgh.

Notable practitioners  

Caroline Ramsay is a key contact at the firm.

Significant clients Calmac Ferries, Homes & Communities Agency, Sunderland City Council, South Tyneside Council, Amey.

Construction - Glasgow, Edinburgh and surrounds

Basic facts about the department
- 9 partners 
- 1 legal director
- 29 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Edinburgh, Glasgow

What the team is known for Remains the Scottish powerhouse for construction law, with an outstanding reputation for its contentious and non-contentious offerings. Acts for a number of energy and contractor clients.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They provide the whole picture from start to completion. They have the best capability in terms of construction law in Scotland."

"They are very responsive, flexible and knowledgeable in terms of the form of contract we operate under."

Work highlights Acted for Forth Crossing Bridge Constructors, a joint venture company, on the £900 million Forth Replacement Crossing development.

Advised developer East Anglia Offshore Wind in relation to a 1,200 MW offshore wind farm.

Notable practitioners  

Colin Fraser is recognised as one of the top construction lawyers in Scotland, particularly in the infrastructure field. Clients say: "He is very precise, user-friendly, extremely knowledgeable and a very good guy to have on your side."

Aberdeen-based partner Scott Johnston has extensive disputes experience but also acts on transactional work. Clients say he is "extremely flexible, knowledgeable, personable and industrious."

Michael Allan "knows PFI and building contracts inside out," report impressed sources. He co-ordinates a number of projects and other non-contentious work.

Louise Forster is regarded as a particularly strong litigator by market sources. Interviewees consider her to be "very knowledgeable, with great experience to provide valuable input to the strategy and tactics of managing the particular dispute."

Brandon Nolan is a key partner with particular strength in contentious cases. Sources praise his "top-quality work" and identify him as one of the leading contentious construction specialists in Scotland.

Interviewees regard Glasgow-based Fraser McMillan as one of the top construction lawyers for disputes in Scotland. He leads many of the team's key contentious matters.

Kenny Valentine is considered "an excellent lawyer" by impressed sources. He maintains his place as one of the leaders in the contentious market and is "experienced and very keen to offer the best service he can," say clients.

Peers recognise Julia Maguire as a strong player in the local market. She advises on high-value procurement matters for renewable energy clients.

Alastair Morrison continues to be very well known and highly regarded in the market. He supports a number of the team's crucial clients.

Significant clients Balfour Beatty Group, Laing O'Rourke, Galliford Try, BP, Lend Lease.

Environment - Scotland

Basic facts about the department
- 5 partners
- 12 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Glasgow, Edinburgh

What the team is known for Full-spectrum expertise covering transactions and litigation relating to areas such as waste and contaminated land issues. Particularly highly regarded for its experience in the energy sector, handling work in areas including renewables and oil and gas.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They're good at what they do - they understand the issues surrounding environmental law and aspects of transactions."

"They have great-quality environmental work." 

Work highlights Successfully represented Land Energy in its application to receive accreditation under the Renewable Heat Incentive and Renewables Obligation for its 15 MW Girvan biomass combustion plant.

Instructed by Diageo in a major group litigation claim for cleaning costs and property value loss, alleging that a fungal organism causing blackening in the area surrounding the client's whisky distilleries is a result of the fungus feeding on the angels' share.

Notable practitioners  

Legal director Ross McDowall's experience includes advising on contaminated land and regulatory matters. Sources comment that "he's very knowledgeable of the issues, he comes up with a sensible way forward and he's very easy to work with."

Head of department Jennifer Ballantyne brings her experience in the wider energy and property spheres to bear in advising on a range of issues including permitting, regulatory questions and contaminated land. She receives frequent instructions from clients in fields such as energy and housing.

Partner Gordon McCreath is described as "very good at being commercial, which can be difficult in the environmental field." Sources highlight his experience in issues relating to water and waste, and he is well versed in transactional work for a wide range of clients.

Significant clients BP, EON, Ravenscraig, Viridor Waste Management, Macfarlane Packaging.

Intellectual Property - Scotland

Basic facts about the department
- 4 partners
- 15 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Distinguished IP team adept at handling IP elements of large-scale corporate transactions. Also deals with IP disputes involving patents, trade marks and copyright.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They have a very well-rounded team with some excellent partners at the helm. From the different firms that I have used in Scotland I find them to be more up-to-date in their approach." 

"In the beginning they listened very carefully to our needs and requirements, and they didn't move away from what our commercial goals were."

Work highlights Counselled online dating company Cupid on its £45.1 million disposal of several dating websites, which included advising on IP licensing arrangements.

Advised Albert Bartlett on international brand protection and trade mark licensing issues.

Notable practitioners  

Jim Cormack continues to be highly rated by the market. He is a litigator with a long-established track record in IP disputes, with recent work including patent, trade mark and copyright infringement cases.  

David Woods focuses on contentious IP matters. Sources note that he gives "strong and practical" advice on trade mark disputes.

Significant clients Scottish Rugby Union, Skyscanner, ScottishPower Energy Retail, GE Oil & Gas, William Grant & Sons.

Licensing - Scotland

Basic facts about the department
- 1 legal director
- 2 other qualified lawyers
- Office location ranked: Edinburgh 

What the team is known for Distinguished licensing practice known for advising clients in the restaurant and hotel industries. Handles liquor and gambling matters across Scotland. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"The team handles anything that crops up and they can deal with tricky applications very professionally and expediently."

"The group's performance is excellent because they are efficient and know our business." 

Work highlights Obtained the premises licences for Accor UK & Ireland's two new hotels in St Andrews Square and Edinburgh Park.

Notable practitioners  

Audrey Ferrie leads the team and is praised by peers for her "very strong reputation." Clients say that "she is very knowledgeable of the Scottish licensing system and always keeps you up to date, and is extremely efficient."

Significant clients The Restaurant Group, Gondola Group, Hilton Worldwide, Yo! Sushi, Prezzo.

Planning - Scotland

Basic facts about the department
- 5 partners
- 13 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Edinburgh

What the team is known for Well recognised for its breadth of service in the planning sphere. Receives instruction on high-profile mandates across sectors such as energy, infrastructure, residential and commercial.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"The team has strength and depth, with a good few planning lawyers at all levels and some absolutely super clients."

"The lawyers advise on implementation, and they pitch themselves at the right stage."

What's new? New client wins include ReThink Energy, Scottish Community Energy and Resonance.

Work highlights Represented Patersons of Greenoakhill in an appeal to the Scottish Ministers, relating to planning permission for sand and gravel extraction at Overburns Farm.

Advised Beatrice Offshore Windfarm on consents for a proposed 1 GW offshore wind farm development.

Notable practitioners

Jacqueline Harris heads the department. 

Significant clients E.ON, Stag Energy, Patersons of Greenoakhill, Amec, Pilkington Post.

Shipping - Scotland

Basic facts about the department
- 3 partners
- 4 other qualified lawyers
Recommended office location: Edinburgh 

What the team is known for Strong in the energy sector, with a focus on transactional work. The team advises on all aspects of shipping and maritime law, with niche expertise on issues relating to the Falkland Islands.

Work highlights Negotiated with Transport for Scotland and the Scottish Government on behalf of CalMac Ferries, in order to secure extensions to its ferry services throughout Scotland.

Notable practitioners  

Gavin Farquhar is the head of both the Scottish and Falkland Island practices. He advises on the full range of shipping issues but is best known for the strength of his work in the energy sector.

Significant clients Forth Ports, Byron Marine, Falkland Oil and Gas, Fortuna, Port of Cairnryan.