Dundas & Wilson is one of the largest law firms in Scotland
and among the 50 largest in Great Britain. The Edinburgh-based firm
has established itself as a UK national player by building a strong
presence in London. Dundas & Wilson serves a variety of clients
across the UK and internationally, including major corporate and
public sector organisations.
Big Four firm not just big in Scotland
Dundas & Wilson has more than 250 years of experience behind
it, having been established in Edinburgh in 1759. The firm, which
also has an office in Glasgow, didn't open its London office until
1992, but has since built up its presence in England both
organically and through lateral hires.
Dundas & Wilson focuses on four core sectors: financial
services, energy and infrastructure, real estate, and government
and public sector. With substantial experience in the financial
sector in particular, the firm counts the Royal Bank of Scotland,
Halifax Bank of Scotland and Clydesdale Bank among its clients. The
firm's banking and project finance experience is also brought to
bear on acquisition finance matters for oil and gas assets, and
offshore engineering support services. The firm tackles water
industry advisory matters, acting for water companies on all
aspects of their operations. In real estate, the firm advises on an
assortment of construction, environment, joint ventures, planning,
property litigation and tax.
On the public sector side, the firm has advised the Environment
Agency on numerous projects; acted for the Glasgow City Council in
relation to a joint venture with Serco to provide IT and property
services; counselled Transport Scotland on the Borders Railway
Project; and advised the Scottish Exhibition Centre Ltd in
connection with construction of an events arena and infrastructure
for the Commonwealth Games, for which Glasgow will be the host city
Do it like Dundas
Dundas & Wilson's corporate recovery team also keeps busy.
Soon after American businessman Bernard Madoff's $50 billion
investment fraud was exposed, Dundas' corporate recovery team were
appointed to advise Grant Thornton in its role as joint provisional
liquidator of Madoff Securities International. Dundas also advised
Dunfermline Building Society, Scotland's largest mutual, in its
takeover by Nationwide Building Society in 2009. Other major
clients include British Airways, Clyde Blowers, Scottish and
Southern Energy and American billionaire Donald Trump, who turned
to the firm for advice on his application to build a Scottish golf
Increasing access to the profession
In September 2011, Dundas & Wilson joined 22 other UK law
firms to launch a new programme whose goal is to provide greater
access to the legal profession to students from less privileged
backgrounds. Law firms that join PRIME commit to providing work
experience to underprivileged state school children, experience
that offers an insight into the range of legal careers available
and the routes into those careers. The project, which is backed by
the Law Societies of England and Wales, Northern Ireland and
Scotland, and the Sutton Trust, has set a goal of providing 2,500
work experience places by 2015.
Dundas & Wilson also participates in a national programme
called the Schools LawWeb, a teacher-led initiative that introduces
young people to the legal system. As part of the programme, lawyers
visit local schools to share information about their work and help
pupils understand what lawyers actually do.
Pump it up
Dundas & Wilson served as lead legal advisor for the
industrial investment fund Clyde Blowers Capital in its agreement
to sell Clyde Union Pumps group to SPX Corporation, a Fortune 500
company, for £750 million. The deal was announced in August 2011.
The Clyde Blowers Capital private equity fund and its multinational
investee company Clyde Union Pumps are both regular Dundas clients.
In November 2010, the firm advised Clyde Blowers Capital on two
transactions: the $18 million acquisition of S&N Pump Company,
a Texas-based offshore drilling and production company; and the £24
million disposals by David Brown Gear Systems (which Clyde Blowers
had acquired in 2008) of its Benzler and Radicon group of
businesses to two Indian companies.
In July 2011, Dundas & Wilson advised on the AIM debut of
Smart Metering Systems group, the only independent provider of
integrated smart metering technology and gas infrastructure
services in Britain. The IPO netted the company £10 million. In a
second market deal, Dundas advised InterBulk, an AIM-listed
provider of intermodal logistics solutions, on its placement of 165
million shares at 11 pence per share, thereby raising gross
proceeds of more than £18 million.
In March 2011, Mark Brumwell, who leads the environmental law
group at Dundas & Wilson, was elected chair of the UK
Environmental Law Association (UKELA), a group of more than 1,200
members across the private, public and voluntary sectors, help
shape the development and reform of UK environmental law.
Hope has real value
In November 2010, Dundas & Wilson won a Supreme Court
victory for client North Lanarkshire Council in a property dispute
over a pay-and-play golf course. Multi-Link Leisure Developments
Limited had leased land near Cumbernauld from the Council for use
as a pay-and-play golf course. The lease included an option for
Multi-Link to buy the land based on its market value. Multi-Link
tried to buy the land for just £500,000, its current value as a
golf course, while Dundas & Wilson argued-successfully-that the
price should reflect the "hope value" as well-that is, the land's
potential for future development, which amounted to more than
£5,000,000. The court unanimously agreed with Dundas.