Attorney of the Thirty day period: Neil Hay

Lawyer of the Month: Neil Hay

It could be tempting soon after two a long time of setting up a profitable track record in a specific sector of the legislation to keep on to plough the very same furrow and take pleasure in the degree of regularity that brings.

Not so for Neil Hay who pivoted, as he places it, from 20 years operating in legal assist defence toward a new focus on white collar and personal criminal offense, which quickly opened the portal to a host of clean prospects.

The Edinburgh-primarily based attorney describes 2023 as “an superb year” for the increasing private crime crew at Levy & McRae Solicitors, one that saw it rated tier just one by The Authorized 500.

Mr Hay, who is anything of a pioneer in private criminal offense function in Scotland, was named as The Authorized 500 Scottish Criminal offense Solicitor of the Year and is the only Scottish legal lawyer to be advisable by the Spears 500 index for his knowledge in private criminal offense scenarios.

He says that demand from customers from shoppers necessitating a quality service carries on to expand and the group has also expanded its network of consumers in the course of Scotland, England and Wales and additional afield.

The explanation for that vital pivot was mainly to do with the constraints of authorized aid, which he experienced located sadly discouraging in the paucity of alternatives it made available. “It appeared that no make any difference how hard you worked and how many a lot more scenarios you attracted, it did not really boost the business which each individual calendar year received squeezed a bit more,” he suggests.

Some decades ago, qualified as a solicitor advocate and operating with MTM Defence Legal professionals, he commenced to analyze personal crime additional comprehensively. “I correctly commenced a non-public criminal offense company with MTM from scratch, selecting up some instances together the way and then with an assistant, a PA and one more lawyer functioning with me I grew a staff.”

Owning spoken to many law companies he believed that Levy & McRae would be a excellent suit for his exercise. “It traditionally represented a white-collar clientele – legal professionals, health professionals, accountants, enterprise, directors, enterprise house owners and significant-profile persons in govt politics or media.

“Plus high-internet-well worth consumers: people who by means of their endeavours had built some sort of profitable corporation or compact company empire. And of study course, there had been those people who have been most likely titled, from ‘old money’.”

Two a long time ago he took the final decision to transfer to Levy & McRae with his overall team, holding all his existing purchasers and functioning comprehensive time in Edinburgh. “The strategy right here is that, if we have not previously accomplished so, we intend to create the premier personal crime assistance in Scotland,” he claims.

He now has a pretty considerable referral practice and has grow to be the solicitor of choice for leading regulation companies in Scotland, England and internationally (which include magic circle firms), instructed by customers in Europe, the Center East and the United States.

“I’m mainly referred by legal professionals at primary firms in Scotland and am fortunate to have a fantastic referral practice from England and Wales for purchasers obtaining Scottish legal legislation guidance – a new consumer was referred from an lawyer in Maryland in the US just in advance of Christmas.”

He continues: “There’s a market in Scotland for folks, irrespective of whether from in other places in the Uk or from time to time overseas, who have criminal regulation troubles when right here. We had a gentleman who was involved in a quite serious street targeted visitors fatality and was dealing with a High Court docket prosecution for demise by perilous driving so there is an interesting element to our practice at Levy & McRae which is also very unconventional.”

1 diploma of commonality the instances which his team at Levy & McRae requires on share is a necessity for confidentiality. “Our customers desire a discreet services, trying to find to stay clear of the glare of publicity that can usually appear with court proceedings, specifically for persons who run in the public eye whether they’re sporting activities personnel, politicians or even a higher-profile business enterprise proprietor.”

No person, he stresses, desires a prosecution. “The ideal consequence for a consumer is always for them to stay away from court docket or if proceedings have began, to have them discontinued.

“And we’re extremely privileged with the clientele we are dealing with, getting able to provide the incredibly greatest degrees of services and treatment and getting ready each individual circumstance to give us the finest option of successful and succeeding, whichever achievement appears to be like like for a particular customer.”

This amount of support is, he states, the firm’s and his team’s USP. “Service is crucial to what we’re doing, whether it’s classic prison allegations or white-collar economical operate – fraud, embezzlement, theft, money laundering and the Proceeds of Criminal offense course of action.”

He has more and more been eyeing options in London and travels there to operate from an office environment in Chancery Lane two or a few instances a thirty day period. “There are quite a handful of Scots who operate in London in the course of the 7 days and occur property at the weekend to see their people,” he suggests.

“A number of these are now divided away from their households and potentially experiencing domestic criminal allegations. Although online video meetings experienced been about for some time, even pre-Covid they weren’t usual in the type of get the job done I do, exactly where meetings are inclined to be encounter to facial area for clear causes.”

A great deal of his perform for companies, although, is simply just advisory: “I’m at the moment doing the job for a buying and selling enterprise dependent in Asia. Although there is no illustration necessary they have a organization interest in Scotland and we’re advising them to be certain that what they are executing listed here is properly legal and doesn’t breach any component of Scottish criminal regulation.”

He describes his practice as obtaining been revolutionised in recent decades and central to that has been undertaking his homework assiduously.

“It’s been a total transform for me from schooling and performing in the authorized assist procedure, dealing with probably 10 or 15 circumstances in court docket each individual day to mainly – nevertheless not exclusively – an office-based work since the critical to accomplishment in legal circumstances is preparation and I’m capable to give my instances an entirely diverse stage of that than I applied to.

Mr Hay analyzed historical past and politics at the University of Dundee then took an LLB at the College of Glasgow and diploma in lawful exercise at the University of Edinburgh. When not engaged in the meticulous planning important for the team’s follow, he says he has resolved to return to the gym a few instances a week.

“I’m loving that and it’s a new issue for me in middle age nevertheless I do not head a glass of wine either,” he states, including that he has recently bought season tickets for Hearts FC.

The day occupation is an exacting 1 and doesn’t always put him in an simple or cozy position: “There are stresses and strains – we have some pretty demanding shoppers and exceptionally high anticipations.

“But I have the security of recognizing that in just about every case I have the time and useful resource to prepare appropriately that’s a nice place to be – I’m looking forward to new and enjoyable chances this yr.”

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