For the Shepherd and Wedderburn team, Aberdeen, the North East and North of Scotland is a land of opportunity, so much so that the company recently reaffirmed its commitment to the region by investing in a new office in the city.
Shepherd and Wedderburn opened the doors to its new premises in Albyn Place in December 2021, which it hopes will become a place where clients can work with highly qualified and experienced specialist lawyers from the world’s largest law firm. British lawyers headquartered in Scotland.
Accompanying clients active in all sectors (including clean energy, agriculture, food and beverage and education, as well as a growing number of private individuals who come to him for wealth advice and taxes), the firm has been present in the region for a long time but is resolutely turned towards the future.
Given the Scottish Government’s commitments to renewable energy and Shepherd and Wedderburn’s own commitments to net zero and sustainability, it is perhaps unsurprising that the firm’s lawyers see the home of oil and gas as a potential clean energy center. They believe Aberdeen offers the potential to leverage the experience accumulated in the North Sea over the past five decades to support a game-changing green energy transition.
Keir Willox, an Aberdeen-based corporate finance partner, explained: “We see huge potential for economic growth in the region, tapping into the North Sea supply chain and the many energy generation opportunities unique to Scotland, and supporting the growing number of innovative SMEs in the region.
“This is truly a pivotal time for Aberdeen and the North of Scotland and having a physical presence in the city is vital to creating and building those lasting relationships with trusted advisors that are the hallmark of the business. “
Shepherd and Wedderburn are no strangers to the energy sector, having worked on landmark projects with clients for decades, including the Moray East and Neart Na Gaoithe offshore wind farm developments.
Clare Foster, Banking Partner and Head of Clean Energy at the firm, said, “Our clean energy practice includes over 90 lawyers across all disciplines and represents approximately 25% of our revenue. Our breadth of knowledge and experience provides many opportunities and industry touchpoints – from developers and landowners to investors and many more.
With a team genuinely passionate about clean energy – many are members or officeholders of green energy organizations – Clare, who sits on the board of industry body RenewableUK, thinks they have the edge for the customers.
But it’s not just about power generation or even wind farms.
Keir explained, “The transition to net zero affects all businesses and will be at the heart of every decision businesses make.”
As the conversation around sustainability and net zero has gathered pace over the past few years, Shepherd and Wedderburn’s Board of Directors have made the decision to be the ‘Sustainable Choice’ for Legal Services.
Clare said: “It involved a lot of difficult conversations about change, but internally the support was there and that means we are walking alongside our customers. We want to demonstrate that we are playing our part in trying to make a difference, not just advising clients on how to get to net zero.
The firm is now a sustainability leader in the Scottish legal industry. It has pledged to be net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and was the first law firm to sign the Edinburgh Climate Pact.
Clare and Keir see huge potential in the North of Scotland, not only for businesses and people directly connected to the energy sector, but also for the network of infrastructure and businesses that stretches well across the -of the.
Clare added: “There is a lot to play for and we see the transition from oil and gas to clean energy over the next few decades as a major opportunity, not only for us but also for our customers.
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