• You are now in...
  • UK

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  365
  • 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

- 4 partners
- 10 other qualified lawyers 
- Office locations ranked: Aberdeen, Edinburgh

What the team is known for Remains an exceptional banking and finance hub in Scotland. Continues to provide services spanning the entire spectrum of financial sectors.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Market standing: "Now a very powerful national franchise since the merger with McGrigors."

Visibility: "Very good, professional and friendly. It has become a larger establishment, which has increased the capabilities and general reach of the firm."

What's new? Gained a host of new clients this year, including Green Power, Rabobank and Société Générale.

Work highlights Acted for Xcite Energy with regards to USD155 million development funding for the Bentley heavy oilfield.

Advised RENERCO Renewable Energy Concepts on funding for the development of three UK wind farms, a matter valued at approximately £80 million.

Notable practitioners  

Head of department John Maciver is well liked by clients for his personable and commercial nature. They say he "probably strives the most to have a good relationship with us and offers the most tailored service," adding that he is "very experienced, very engaging and very proactive. He helps us get a good perspective of the market."

Gillian Frew led the team representing Xcite Energy. One client reports: "She has proved to be highly experienced and subtle in negotiation and she provides good and pragmatic advice."

Iain Macaulay is an experienced operator in many different aspects of corporate finance. Clients indicate that "he was aware of the dynamics of this particular transaction and he's built up a good bank of knowledge. He is good to deal with, user-friendly, and tries to make it as simple as he can by translating legalese."

Michael Watson is highly experienced in a variety of finance matters, particularly in the energy and infrastructure markets.

Significant clients Lloyds TSB, The Central Bank of Ireland, HSBC, Cairn Energy, Ithaca Energy.

Banking Litigation - Scotland

Basic facts about the department

- 4 partners
- 6 associates
- Office locations ranked: Edinburgh

What the team is known for Sizeable group with significant experience in banking and financial services litigation. Handles a broad array of work including asset recovery, professional negligence and mis-selling claims. 

What's new? Senior associate Claire Thornber joined the team from DLA Piper.

Work highlights Successfully represented Luxembourg-based investment firm Hadrian opposing an injunction in relation to secured lender disposal powers.

Instructed by a large UK bank in connection with valuable payment protection insurance claims.

Notable practitioners

Jim Cormack is the key department contact.

Significant clients Lloyds TSB, Hadrian, Calgacus Capital.

Construction - Scotland

Basic facts about the department

- 9 partners
- 28 associates/assistants

What the team is known for Market leader in Scottish construction. Established as a go-to name for transactional and contentious matters. Notably strong in the renewables and energy sectors.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Commercial awareness: "The team has a good understanding of our business and is able to tailor its advice to what we do."

Bench strength: "A large team to draw on to cover a plethora of issues."

What's new? New clients include SSC, Shepard Engineering Services and Total.

Work highlights Advised Viridor on construction matters related to the £160 million Glasgow Residual Waste Project.

Acted for Galliford Try in a high-value rail sector dispute with Lanes Group.

Notable practitioners

Clients and peers are quick to single out Fraser McMillan for praise. He leads on a number of the practice's highest-profile disputes.

Kenny Valentine is praised by clients for having the ability to "highlight potential pitfalls in an effective manner." He heads the contentious construction team and handles several significant disputes.

Michael Allan is noted by clients as being "very commercial and pragmatic" and "identifying the issues quickly." He lead the team advising Viridor on the Glasgow Residual Waste Project.

Colin Fraser is recognised for his work in the infrastructure sector. He is a key partner at the practice and is involved in a number of contentious matters. He represented Galliford Try in its dispute with Lanes Group.

Alastair Morrison is instructed on a number of contentious and non-contentious matters. He regularly works with some of the practice's key clients such as Balfour Beatty.

Brandon Nolan is described by sources as having "very extensive experience." He is a senior partner within the team and is involved on contentious matters.

Julia Maguire is noted for her work in the renewables and energy sector. She led the team advising Beatrice Offshore Wind on the development of a 1,000 MW Moray Firth wind farm.

Louise Forster is involved in a number of contentious issues. She is notably strong on international oil and gas matters.

Significant clients BP, Balfour Beatty, Carillion, Morgan Sindall.

Environment - Scotland

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

What the team is known for One of Scotland's largest environment teams. Notably strong on waste, environmental litigation and regulatory matters.  

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Communication: "They are easy to deal with; they give good advice and make it easy to understand so you can make decisions."

Market standing: "A good firm with a professional reputation and attitude."

What's new? The team has gained several new clients, including Diageo Scotland, Severn Trent Water and Ravenscraig.

Work highlights Advised E.ON on environmental matters such as contaminated land and environmental litigation.

Advised BAA on environmental aspects of its sale of Edinburgh Airport to Global Infrastructure Partners.

Notable practitioners 

Jennifer Ballantyne has a broad property practice that includes advising on environmental matters such as contaminated land. Sources say: "She is a very impressive operator; she cuts through a lot of noise."

Gordon McCreath advises clients on contentious and non-contentious environment work. He has a particular focus on the waste and water sectors, and is identified as a "very knowledgeable, hands-on and capable" practitioner.

Senior associate Ross McDowall handles work related to waste, permitting and contaminated land. Sources say: "He knows what he is doing and he is commercial."

Significant clients BP, Forth Ports, DONG Energy, CALA, Zebec Biogas.

Intellectual Property - Scotland

Basic facts about the department

- 4 partners
- 15 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Non-contentious IP advice to clients from the life sciences, food and drink and energy sectors. Considerable expertise in contentious matters affecting the oil and gas industries.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Responsiveness: "They are able to meet even the tightest deadlines where required. Their advice is solid and pitched at the right level for the audience."

Client service: "Excellent - not just filings with the court but also with memos to us."

Industry knowledge: "The quality of work is excellent and I appreciate the industry knowledge they have accumulated over the years."

Work highlights Advised biotechnology specialist Epistem Holdings on its recent sales and marketing deal with Indian-based Xcelris. 

Advised Skyscanner on a variety of different matters including multiple development agreements and consultancy agreements.

Continues to act for US-based Albaugh in its dispute in the Court of Session regarding remedies available for infringement following the expiry of a European Patent.

Notable practitioners 

Jim Cormack is a highly regarded litigator who continues to act in the long-standing Albaugh European Patent case. Clients praise him as "very practical" and "able to come up with solutions before we even see the problem."

Associate David Woods works in IP dispute resolution matters. Clients note that with Woods, "the quality of the advice is never in question."

Significant clients Jacobs & Turner, Scottish Rugby Union, Maxxium, William Grant & Sons, MG ALBA.

Since publication, Seona Burnett has joined Vialex

Licensing - Scotland

Basic facts about the department
- 1 legal director
- 1 senior associate
- Office locations ranked: Glasgow

What the team is known for Liquor licensing and gambling advice across Scotland and the ability to tap into UK-wide expertise. Also fields its own advocacy capability and strong litigation experience. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Problem solving: "My main reason for using them is their more positive attitude: they do their damnedest to get things done, but without being aggressive."

Responsiveness: "Any query is answered very, very quickly."

What's new? The practice recently acquired Accor UK & Ireland and GB Oils as clients.

Work highlights Acted for The Gondola Group, owner of the Ask, PizzaExpress and Zizzi restaurant chains, with regard to all licensing issues in Scotland, including the securing of licences for new premises in Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Represented The Restaurant Group on all licensing issues affecting its Chiquito's, Filling Station and Frankie & Benny's chains in Scotland, including obtaining new licences in Edinburgh and Glasgow. 

Notable practitioners  

Audrey Ferrie attracts significant client and peer praise for her liquor licensing and gambling expertise. Comments include frequent references to her ability to "sum up situations and practical options very succinctly," and to her close reading of the workings of individual licensing boards and "good working relationships with the relevant officials." She is also applauded for her responsiveness, high efficiency and "fantastic wealth of knowledge," with one client remarking: "I've never had so much confidence speaking to somebody about licensing."    

Significant clients Hilton Worldwide, Molson Coors Brewing, Edinburgh International Conference Centre, YO! Sushi, Royal Yacht Enterprises.

Planning - Scotland

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

What the team is known for Acting on a range of large-scale development proposals and infrastructure projects for national and international clients. Particular expertise in the energy sector. Advises on Section 75 agreements and judicial review processes, and conducts advocacy at hearings, appeals and inquiries. 

Work highlights Continued to advise Lewis Wind Power on its application for a large-scale wind farm development valued at some £225 million, with consent being granted in 2012.

Notable practitioners

Jacqueline Harris is the key contact.

Significant clients BAA, Regeneco, Edinburgh and Midlothian Councils, DONG Energy, Eneco.

Shipping - Scotland

Basic facts about the department

- 3 partners
- 6 qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Edinburgh

What the team is known for The legacy McGrigors practice continues to shine in this area. Sources highlight its strengths in the offshore and energy aspects of shipping work. Its Falkland Islands practice is also of note.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: "Very good, professional and friendly."

Work highlights Acted for AIM-listed Falkland Oil & Gas on negotiation of a drilling rig charter contract.

Advised a large UK bank on a USD150 million multicurrency revolving credit facility for Gulfmark Americas.

Notable practitioners

Gavin Farquhar leads the firm's Scotland shipping practice. He established the Falkland Islands practice, and had a lead role on the negotiation of a drilling rig charter contract for Falkland Oil & Gas. He is highlighted as an excellent negotiator in relation to contracts connected with the offshore and energy industry.

Significant clients Stimwell Services, Forth Ports, Byron Marine, Fortuna, Port of Cairnryan.

Corporate Crime & Investigations - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department
- 8 partners
- 16 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Handles bribery investigations and potential self-reporting issues for corporate clients. Noted for its Russian expertise.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: "It is excellent: very on top of it, user-friendly and proactive."

Efficiency: "Fantastic: we needed urgent advice and we got that advice very quickly."

What's new? Anne-Marie Ottaway joined the firm as an associate in August 2012, bringing insight into the operations of the SFO.

Notable practitioners 

Thomas Stocker is considered a "leading light" in the Scottish corporate crime market. He is also qualified to practise in England and Wales, and is sought after to advise corporations on anti-bribery compliance and controls.

Barry Vitou is a Bribery Act specialist who is singled out for his "comprehensive expertise." Clients find his advice "extremely relevant and very insightful."

Anne-Marie Ottaway recently joined the firm from the SFO and has distinguished herself as an "absolutely fantastic" associate. Sources admire her clarity of mind and "conscientious" approach.