Garden Stirling Burnet, which traces its roots back to the creation of law firm Stirling and Burnet in the early 1900s, said the new division would offer a combined 70 years of legal experience and cover the whole of East Lothian, as well as Edinburgh and the Borders. Fronting the team with 18 years of experience is legal director Claire Christie, who started her career as a trainee solicitor at Turcan Connell. The Musselburgh local is accredited by the Law Society of Scotland as a specialist in family law and has exclusively practiced in the field since 2006.
Joining her in a consultancy role is Kathryn Wilson. Formerly of Melrose and Porteous Solicitors in Eyemouth and Duns, Wilson has 35 years of legal experience, including 25 years as a partner. Fellow consultant Angela Craig, who used to head the family team at Garden Stirling Burnet, and family law paralegal Amanda Richardson – who has 20 years of experience running high value matrimonial cases – have also joined the team.
Managing partner Tony O’Malley said: “We’ve long considered family law a real growth opportunity in East Lothian and are excited to have recruited Claire to lead the team as legal director. She has a fantastic reputation and has all the legal, management and marketing skills required to grow the department, not just in our core area of East Lothian, but beyond. She will also be a valuable member of the new senior management team. Kathryn brings many years of family law experience, but also of running her own law practice. Her experience and enthusiasm will be a benefit to Claire and the wider business.”
The new law division comes after the acquisition of Garden Stirling Burnet by Friends Legal, in September last year. The takeover created a business with an annual turnover of more than £7 million and 60 staff in six offices across Scotland, giving Glasgow-headquartered Friends Legal a significant platform to create one of the biggest specialist private client firms in Scotland.