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UK Guide

Family/Matrimonial — Glasgow, Edinburgh and surrounds

From the Chambers UK guide

Basic facts about the department
- 1 partner
- 3 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Edinburgh, Glasgow

What the team is known for Covers both children and money cases, including permanence orders, financial provisions and prenuptial agreements. Also advises businesspeople and agricultural landowners through separations. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"I've been really impressed by the quality and level of advice, and their responsiveness to any question."

What's new? Janice Jones recently joined the firm from Harper Macleod.  

Notable practitioners  

Jennifer Wilkie focuses primarily on financial provisions in the Court of Session, and also offers expertise in prenuptial and cohabitation agreements. One client praises her as "empathetic, understanding and really easy to deal with," adding: "I feel she's looking out for me and my interests at all times." 

Janice Jones is a litigator with experience in financial provision, cohabitation cases and disputes concerning children. She also regularly advises on prenuptial agreements and child welfare hearings. She recently joined the firm from Harper Macleod.

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From the Chambers UK guide

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

What the team is known for Experienced in cross-border disputes and handles an array of pro bono cases, assisting clients with little money on contentious separations. Offers comprehensive service through its provision of property and private client experts. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"Everyone was great at making sure I was up to date. I had this wonderful team rooting for me." 

"Absolutely super! An old, established firm that does a lot of family work."

Notable practitioners  

Department head Shona Smith is a trained arbitrator and mediator with experience before the Sheriff Court and the Court of Session. One source says that she is "someone who's really been at the top of the family law game for a number of years," while another comments that she is "calm, knowledgeable, and manages teams and cases well." 

Collaboratively trained Kirsten Knight joined Balfour+Manson from Ledingham Chalmers in March 2016. Sources say she is "energetic, able, organised and confident." She is based in Aberdeen and advises on adoption, cohabitation disputes, divorce, and prenuptial and postnuptial agreements.

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From the Chambers UK guide

Basic facts about the department
- 4 partners
- 11 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Aberdeen, Glasgow, Edinburgh

What the team is known for Sizeable team which handles prenuptials, cohabitation disputes, high-value financial provisions and international child abduction and relocation. Well versed in alternative dispute resolution, with experts in collaborative law, mediation and arbitration. Benefits from working closely with the firm's real estate, corporate and litigation teams.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"As a whole they are very efficient and friendly, even from when you arrive at reception."

"I appreciate their support, advice and patience - they've been magnificent, really."

Work highlights Represented the father in a Hague Convention case following a mother's abduction of her two teenage children to Scotland.

Notable practitioners  

Aberdeen-based Shaun George is an accredited family law arbitrator, family law mediator and specialist in family law. He heads the family department at Brodies and is especially talented in the field of high-value divorces. One client appreciates that "he took solicitor jargon down to layman's terms," while another reflects: "I was impressed from the first meeting - there's a kindness about him, an empathy for how I'm feeling."

Scott Cochrane operates from Edinburgh and is an accredited specialist in family law and family law arbitrator. He is highly regarded within the market for his straightforward approach and has recently acted on a series of complex divorces and children law issues. One client comments: "He was very helpful, very clear, and he took the emotion out of the situation too, which was good."

Lisa Girdwood is an "extremely highly regarded family lawyer" based in Glasgow. Clients praise her accessibility and sympathetic approach, while peers consider her "sensible and nice to deal with." Sources commend her "very good knowledge of child contact issues and the law surrounding them."

Practising from the Edinburgh office, Richard Smith is trained in collaborative law and is "always a pleasure to work with." Sources laud him as "very well organised, with a strong grasp of issues and an excellent relationship with clients." An authority on separations involving farming families and corporate assets, he has lately advised on a series of high-value collaborative divorces. 

Edinburgh-based Leonie Burke is highly praised by clients, who cite her thoroughness and ability to work collaboratively. One notes: "She was totally professional, efficient and always on the ball." 

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From the Chambers UK guide

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

What the team is known for Notable expertise in complex children work, high net worth financial provision, adoption and surrogacy. Active in alternative dispute resolution and has also acted on significant litigation in the Court of Session and the Sheriff Court. Dual-qualified lawyers make it well placed to advise on cross border matters.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"A very good and expert team. They've really developed their non-litigious practice to meet demands." 

Notable practitioners  

Department co-head Lesley Gordon focuses primarily on financial provision and has experience in cross-border divorces. She also comes highly recommended for her deep understanding of prenuptial agreements and the corporate implications of separation. Peers highlight her soft skills in addition to her technical expertise.

Catherine Karlin co-leads the family team and specialises in children work. Her experience includes a number of multimillion-pound matters, in addition to significant relocation cases. "A force of nature," she is known to be "supremely good with clients and very technically good."

Marjory Blair is a "very experienced solicitor and very skilled working in this field," according to market commentatorsShe focuses on children law, with an emphasis on adoption, contact, residence and cases involving abuse. She is praised by commentators for her "very pleasant, reassuring manner, which is supported by the breadth and depth of her legal experience." She also advises on divorce proceedings involving international assets and inherited wealth.

Denise Laverty has significant expertise in high-value separations and is qualified to practise in Scotland and in England and Wales. She has worked on cases with considerable international and corporate concerns. She is praised by one client for being "very easy to work with" and for her ability to "put things in a way that normal people can understand."

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From the Chambers UK guide

Basic facts about the department
- 4 partners
- Office locations ranked: Glasgow

What the team is known for Notable emphasis on alternative dispute resolution, with numerous lawyers trained in collaborative law, mediation or arbitration. Well versed in cross-border matters.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They give good advice on the best way to proceed and they are also nice people."

"There are lots of partners but there's still a personal relationship - they have quite a progressive way of working."

Notable practitioners  

Hugely respected in the market, Anne Dick is named as "the mother of family law" and "a real innovator leading the way in alternative resolutions." She specialises in mediation and collaborative procedures relating to both matrimonial and children cases. Sources praise her as "non-confrontational but very dogged, and determined to get the best result for her client."

Collaboratively trained Karen Gailey is praised for her handling of high-value divorces and complex children matters. One source notes: "The amount of work that she did was phenomenal - she just went above and beyond." 

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From the Chambers UK guide

Basic facts about the department
- 3 partners
- 2 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Glasgow

What the team is known for A popular choice among clients for divorces with significant corporate repercussions. Also well versed in prenuptial agreements, adoptions and international relocations. Offers trained collaborative lawyers and mediators, in addition to skilled litigators. 

What's new? Jenny Smith joined the firm from Family Law Matters Scotland in March 2016.

Notable practitioners  

Jenny Smith covers the full range of family law work and is particularly popular for complex financial provisions and cross-jurisdictional cases. She is "a real source of knowledge and support on English law matters." Commentators praise her as "very clear-thinking and very good on financial provision," adding: "She can see exactly how to apply the law creatively."

Karen Gibbons is building a solid reputation for her expertise on cohabitation, financial provision, child law and prenuptial and postnuptial agreements. She is known as an accredited mediator and specialist in family law. Clients are particularly impressed by her interpersonal skills, with one commenting: "I was so glad to have made contact with someone who understood my story and my aims."

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From the Chambers UK guide

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

What the team is known for Collaborative practice covering both children and financial matters. Well versed in Hague Convention cases, divorces, prenuptial agreements, adoption and contentious cohabitation issues.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"The team as a whole is fantastic, I couldn't fault them." 

"They are very professional and grounded. They know their business and communicate well with clients." 

Notable practitioners  

Alison McKee has significant experience in international child abduction, safeguarding and care proceedings. She also advises on complex financial provision matters in the context of relationship breakdowns. Sources attest that she is "really engaged, efficient, clued-up and does a very good job for her clients."

Lucy Metcalf is "constructive and pragmatic" and has significant experience in cohabitation disputes, contact and residence arrangements, and divorce. Interviewees appreciate that she is "quietly confident, without the theatrics" and that she "just gets the job done."

Nina Taylor is a "pragmatic and solution-focused" expert on child relocation. She has experience in the Court of Session and Sheriff Court hearings. Sources commend her accessibility and willingness to "really fight her clients' corners."

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From the Chambers UK guide

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

What the team is known for Long-established team with an array of dual-qualified experts to handle complex English law matters and jurisdictional battles. Respected litigation practice and an increasingly impressive collaborative focus. Handles work ranging from cross-border permanence orders to high-value divorces with international assets.

Notable practitioners  

Department head Rhona Adams advises on financial provisions. She is dual-qualified, and impresses clients with her wealth of experience and knowledge of both Scottish and English law. One source reflects: "I'd choose her if I wanted somebody to fight my corner but also be discreet and deal with things in a calm way."

Recently promoted to partner, Lucia Clark is active in financial remedies work and is experienced advising on international disputes. She is dual-qualified and is respected as a "very efficient and accomplished" lawyer.

Fiona Sasan is noted for her work in the Court of Session. Sources also say that "she's energetic, enthusiastic and very protective of her clients." Her practice centres on contentious divorces, particularly those involving complex corporate or agricultural assets.

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From the Chambers UK guide

Basic facts about the department
- 3 partners
- 1 other qualified lawyer 
- Office locations ranked: Glasgow

What the team is known for Family law boutique with a growing profile and an emphasis on alternative dispute resolution and mediation. Fields a team of trained mediators, arbitrators and collaborative lawyers, making it a popular choice for fraught children cases and high net worth divorces.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"I'd have no qualms about recommending anyone there, they're very practical and solution-based." 

Notable practitioners  

Carolyn MacBride is a "very able lawyer" who focuses on the financial ramifications of separation. Recently she has been active in division and sale procedures, and in financial provisions following divorce. Sources comment that "she's a fighter - in a good way!"

A specialist in child law, Sara Matheson is "very experienced, practical and sensible." She has experience acting on relocation cases, child maintenance cases and cases involving allegations of abuse. She is respected by sources for "knowing the law inside out and being committed to finding a practical solution."

Head of the family team Shona Templeton is an accredited family law mediator and arbitrator with substantial experience in collaborative work. She has recently been instructed on high-value separations and complex children cases, including cases involving allegations of abuse. Interviewees mark her out as "very experienced and knowledgeable" and "one of the real brainboxes."

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From the Chambers UK guide

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

What the team is known for Highly regarded collaborative practice which frequently manages complicated arbitrations and mediations. Especially experienced in international matters, including separations and division of assets across multiple jurisdictions.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"There is an immense consideration and care for the psychological welfare of clients: I have not experienced anything like this much care at any other law firm in the UK."

"They solved a messy legal situation with great dexterity - I was really happy with them." 

Notable practitioners  

Director Rachael Kelsey is renowned for her skills in complex litigation in addition to collaborative law proceedings. Sources say she "really is a phenomenon," while clients value her warm personality, with one reporting that "her enthusiasm, consideration and genuine empathy is invaluable."

Alison Edmondson's practice centres on the financial and corporate repercussions of separation, in addition to issues relating to inheritance and child contact. Interviewees commend her "lovely manner with clients."

Susan Oswald is a director who maintains an excellent reputation for mediation work. Sources are impressed by her pragmatism, noting that she has "a sensible approach to cases and is very good with clients." Her professional remit spans divorce, child contact and relocation.

Robert Gilmour specialises in cohabitation disputes, artificial reproductive technology and surrogacy. Sources are impressed by his alternative dispute resolution and collaborative law work, with one source commenting: "He mediates incredibly well, I've been really struck by his ability." 

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From the Chambers UK guide

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

What the team is known for Frequently represents high net worth clients in financial cases. Additional expertise in tax, pensions, inherited wealth and business law. Impressive on cross-border matters, fielding several dual-qualified lawyers.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"I just felt supported, like they were meeting every challenge that came along. They are a formidable bunch." 

Notable practitioners  

Matrimonial expert Gillian Crandles is increasingly instructed on high-value and international cases. She is well regarded by peers and clients alike, with one client commenting: "She was supportive, she understood, she gave me encouragement, which was something I needed. On the legal side, she was very thorough and this gave me a lot of confidence."

Department head Alasdair Loudon is a respected authority on high-stakes divorces and separations. He has significant experience advising on relationship breakdowns involving businesses, overseas assets and pensions. One source remarks: "I have a huge amount of respect for him; he's very well known and highly regarded."

Sally Nash is dual-qualified and trained in collaborative law. She has experience in complex matrimonial cases and private law children issues. Sources describe her as an associate who is "doing a quality of work that partners elsewhere can't reach."

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Brodies LLP

From the Chambers UK guide

Scott Cochrane operates from Edinburgh and is an accredited specialist in family law and family law arbitrator. He is highly regarded within the market for his straightforward approach and has recently acted on a series of complex divorces and children law issues. One client comments: "He was very helpful, very clear, and he took the emotion out of the situation too, which was good."

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Turcan Connell

From the Chambers UK guide

Matrimonial expert Gillian Crandles is increasingly instructed on high-value and international cases. She is well regarded by peers and clients alike, with one client commenting: "She was supportive, she understood, she gave me encouragement, which was something I needed. On the legal side, she was very thorough and this gave me a lot of confidence."

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Addleshaw Goddard LLP

From the Chambers UK guide

Leading the Scottish family law team from HBJ Gateley's Edinburgh office, Philippa Cunniff is recognised as a "really constructive" lawyer who "always knows exactly what she's doing." She is especially well regarded for her work on high-stakes divorce. One source comments: "By virtue of her brilliance, I'd be happy to refer anything to her. She's so sharp, clever and practical."

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Family Law Matters Scotland LLP

From the Chambers UK guide

Hugely respected in the market, Anne Dick is named as "the mother of family law" and "a real innovator leading the way in alternative resolutions." She specialises in mediation and collaborative procedures relating to both matrimonial and children cases. Sources praise her as "non-confrontational but very dogged, and determined to get the best result for her client."

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Brodies LLP

From the Chambers UK guide

Lisa Girdwood is an "extremely highly regarded family lawyer" based in Glasgow. Clients praise her accessibility and sympathetic approach, while peers consider her "sensible and nice to deal with." Sources commend her "very good knowledge of child contact issues and the law surrounding them."

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BTO Solicitors LLP

From the Chambers UK guide

Department co-head Lesley Gordon focuses primarily on financial provision and has experience in cross-border divorces. She also comes highly recommended for her deep understanding of prenuptial agreements and the corporate implications of separation. Peers highlight her soft skills in addition to her technical expertise.

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SKO Family Law Specialists

From the Chambers UK guide

Director Rachael Kelsey is renowned for her skills in complex litigation in addition to collaborative law proceedings. Sources say she "really is a phenomenon," while clients value her warm personality, with one reporting that "her enthusiasm, consideration and genuine empathy is invaluable."

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Turcan Connell

From the Chambers UK guide

Department head Alasdair Loudon is a respected authority on high-stakes divorces and separations. He has significant experience advising on relationship breakdowns involving businesses, overseas assets and pensions. One source remarks: "I have a huge amount of respect for him; he's very well known and highly regarded."

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Brodies LLP

From the Chambers UK guide

Practising from the Edinburgh office, Richard Smith is trained in collaborative law and is "always a pleasure to work with." Sources laud him as "very well organised, with a strong grasp of issues and an excellent relationship with clients." An authority on separations involving farming families and corporate assets, he has lately advised on a series of high-value collaborative divorces. 

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Balfour+Manson LLP

From the Chambers UK guide

Department head Shona Smith is a trained arbitrator and mediator with experience before the Sheriff Court and the Court of Session. One source says that she is "someone who's really been at the top of the family law game for a number of years," while another comments that she is "calm, knowledgeable, and manages teams and cases well." 

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Morton Fraser

From the Chambers UK guide

Department head Rhona Adams advises on financial provisions. She is dual-qualified, and impresses clients with her wealth of experience and knowledge of both Scottish and English law. One source reflects: "I'd choose her if I wanted somebody to fight my corner but also be discreet and deal with things in a calm way."

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Family Law Matters Scotland LLP

From the Chambers UK guide

Collaboratively trained Karen Gailey is praised for her handling of high-value divorces and complex children matters. One source notes: "The amount of work that she did was phenomenal - she just went above and beyond." 

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Anderson Strathern

From the Chambers UK guide

Janice Jones is a litigator with experience in financial provision, cohabitation cases and disputes concerning children. She also regularly advises on prenuptial agreements and child welfare hearings. She recently joined the firm from Harper Macleod.

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BTO Solicitors LLP

From the Chambers UK guide

Catherine Karlin co-leads the family team and specialises in children work. Her experience includes a number of multimillion-pound matters, in addition to significant relocation cases. "A force of nature," she is known to be "supremely good with clients and very technically good."

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MTM Family Law LLP

From the Chambers UK guide

Carolyn MacBride is a "very able lawyer" who focuses on the financial ramifications of separation. Recently she has been active in division and sale procedures, and in financial provisions following divorce. Sources comment that "she's a fighter - in a good way!"

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MTM Family Law LLP

From the Chambers UK guide

Head of the family team Shona Templeton is an accredited family law mediator and arbitrator with substantial experience in collaborative work. She has recently been instructed on high-value separations and complex children cases, including cases involving allegations of abuse. Interviewees mark her out as "very experienced and knowledgeable" and "one of the real brainboxes."

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Morton Fraser

From the Chambers UK guide

Recently promoted to partner, Lucia Clark is active in financial remedies work and is experienced advising on international disputes. She is dual-qualified and is respected as a "very efficient and accomplished" lawyer.

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SKO Family Law Specialists

From the Chambers UK guide

Alison Edmondson's practice centres on the financial and corporate repercussions of separation, in addition to issues relating to inheritance and child contact. Interviewees commend her "lovely manner with clients."

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Shoosmiths LLP

From the Chambers UK guide

John Fotheringham recently joined Shoosmiths from bto. He is identified as a "renowned expert" on child support matters, which he "has made his absolute field of expertise." He has a wealth of experience in Scotland's Sheriff Courts and Court of Session.

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Shoosmiths LLP

From the Chambers UK guide

Marika Franceschi is based in Shoosmiths' Edinburgh office and is praised as "knowledgeable, clear-thinking and easy to communicate with" by market sources. She is held in high esteem for her work on complex financial provisions, in addition to child contact, residence and Hague Convention cases. Sources say she is "a delight to deal with" because she "knows the law inside out and is very committed to finding the best solution."

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SKO Family Law Specialists

From the Chambers UK guide

Robert Gilmour specialises in cohabitation disputes, artificial reproductive technology and surrogacy. Sources are impressed by his alternative dispute resolution and collaborative law work, with one source commenting: "He mediates incredibly well, I've been really struck by his ability." 

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BLM

From the Chambers UK guide

Head of family law at BLM in Glasgow Siobhan Kelly has been instructed on some of Scotland's highest-value divorces, as well as representing children in cases reaching the Supreme Court. Sources report that she is "not one to shirk a challenge" but that she also "has great people skills and tries to make everything amicable for both sides."

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MTM Family Law LLP

From the Chambers UK guide

A specialist in child law, Sara Matheson is "very experienced, practical and sensible." She has experience acting on relocation cases, child maintenance cases and cases involving allegations of abuse. She is respected by sources for "knowing the law inside out and being committed to finding a practical solution."

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Lindsays

From the Chambers UK guide

Alison McKee has significant experience in international child abduction, safeguarding and care proceedings. She also advises on complex financial provision matters in the context of relationship breakdowns. Sources attest that she is "really engaged, efficient, clued-up and does a very good job for her clients."

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Russells Gibson McCaffrey

From the Chambers UK guide

Russells Gibson McCaffrey's Clair McLachlan is a divorce expert skilled in both litigation and mediation. Describing her as "very good on her feet," interviewees respect her as "somebody who will argue a case very well." She is based in Glasgow.

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Johnson Legal Solicitors

From the Chambers UK guide

Edinburgh-based Fiona Mundy of Johnson Legal Solicitors is a solicitor advocate with a focus on child and family law. She offers "a broad knowledge of the system, including the difficult international issues," and has acted in the Court of Session, the Sheriff Court and the UK Supreme Court.

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SKO Family Law Specialists

From the Chambers UK guide

Susan Oswald is a director who maintains an excellent reputation for mediation work. Sources are impressed by her pragmatism, noting that she has "a sensible approach to cases and is very good with clients." Her professional remit spans divorce, child contact and relocation.

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Morton Fraser

From the Chambers UK guide

Fiona Sasan is noted for her work in the Court of Session. Sources also say that "she's energetic, enthusiastic and very protective of her clients." Her practice centres on contentious divorces, particularly those involving complex corporate or agricultural assets.

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Harper Macleod LLP

From the Chambers UK guide

Jenny Smith covers the full range of family law work and is particularly popular for complex financial provisions and cross-jurisdictional cases. She is "a real source of knowledge and support on English law matters." Commentators praise her as "very clear-thinking and very good on financial provision," adding: "She can see exactly how to apply the law creatively."

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Up and Coming

Lindsays

From the Chambers UK guide

Nina Taylor is a "pragmatic and solution-focused" expert on child relocation. She has experience in the Court of Session and Sheriff Court hearings. Sources commend her accessibility and willingness to "really fight her clients' corners."

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Star Associate

Lindsays

From the Chambers UK guide

Lucy Metcalf is "constructive and pragmatic" and has significant experience in cohabitation disputes, contact and residence arrangements, and divorce. Interviewees appreciate that she is "quietly confident, without the theatrics" and that she "just gets the job done."

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Associates to watch

BTO Solicitors LLP

From the Chambers UK guide

Marjory Blair is a "very experienced solicitor and very skilled working in this field," according to market commentatorsShe focuses on children law, with an emphasis on adoption, contact, residence and cases involving abuse. She is praised by commentators for her "very pleasant, reassuring manner, which is supported by the breadth and depth of her legal experience." She also advises on divorce proceedings involving international assets and inherited wealth.

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Associates to watch

Brodies LLP

From the Chambers UK guide

Edinburgh-based Leonie Burke is highly praised by clients, who cite her thoroughness and ability to work collaboratively. One notes: "She was totally professional, efficient and always on the ball." 

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Associates to watch

Harper Macleod LLP

From the Chambers UK guide

Karen Gibbons is building a solid reputation for her expertise on cohabitation, financial provision, child law and prenuptial and postnuptial agreements. She is known as an accredited mediator and specialist in family law. Clients are particularly impressed by her interpersonal skills, with one commenting: "I was so glad to have made contact with someone who understood my story and my aims."

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Associates to watch

BTO Solicitors LLP

From the Chambers UK guide

Denise Laverty has significant expertise in high-value separations and is qualified to practise in Scotland and in England and Wales. She has worked on cases with considerable international and corporate concerns. She is praised by one client for being "very easy to work with" and for her ability to "put things in a way that normal people can understand."

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Associates to watch

Turcan Connell

From the Chambers UK guide

Sally Nash is dual-qualified and trained in collaborative law. She has experience in complex matrimonial cases and private law children issues. Sources describe her as an associate who is "doing a quality of work that partners elsewhere can't reach."

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Associates to watch

Anderson Strathern

From the Chambers UK guide

Jennifer Wilkie focuses primarily on financial provisions in the Court of Session, and also offers expertise in prenuptial and cohabitation agreements. One client praises her as "empathetic, understanding and really easy to deal with," adding: "I feel she's looking out for me and my interests at all times." 

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