About Malcolm Mackay: the driving force behind United Employment Lawyers.
Malcolm Mackay, WS, is the founding figure of United Employment Lawyers in Scotland. For a number of years, Malcolm has wrestled with the challenge of how best to serve individuals and companies in the sphere of employment law, particularly against the backdrop of a rapidly changing legal market. The creation of UEL, with its model of law firms across Scotland working in collaboration, is the culmination and realisation of this thinking.
Malcolm is recognised as one of the leading employment practitioners in the country having advised and represented individuals, unions, SME employers and major companies on every aspect of employment law throughout the UK. He has taken Employment Tribunal appeals to the higher courts including the House of Lords and the European Court of Justice. His interest and expertise in transfer of undertakings issues has led to him to advise leading companies in the outsourcing field not just on law but on strategy.
Over the past 35 years he has founded the leading private practice, Mackay Simon, based in Edinburgh, described by Legal 500 in 2001 as the team with a ‘pre-eminent reputation’ for employment law, highlighting Malcolm’s strategic expertise in relation to European employment law, TUPE transfer and corporate restructuring. He and partner Shona Simon took an appeal to the European Court of Justice, and succeeded in overturning decisions in the UK and clarifying the law on an important aspect of pregnancy related discrimination.
This acclaimed specialist law firm later merged with Maclay Murray Spens, one of Scotland’s largest corporate firms. Malcolm continued to develop his vision and was the entrepreneurial legal mind behind the creation of Law at Work, an employment law business which works with HR managers. He created similar companies in the Channel Islands and Malta. He has extensive experience of international employment law issues.
He was one of the first solicitors to be certified as an employment law specialist and is the co-author of Green’s Guide to Employment Law, the essential starting point for newcomers to employment law. His accumulated knowledge, his private practice case work and his lecturing on the subject has built a high profile in the UK and abroad.
Following a recent life-threatening illness, and time spent in recuperation and reflection, Malcolm returned to the field of employment law in Scotland, setting up UEL which seeks to help regional law firms build up their expertise and client base for the increasingly complex field of employment law.
“I’ve always been a believer in early intervention and the resolution of disputes before they end up in court or in costly tribunals. I see this as being part of UEL’s appeal – but we also have the firepower and accumulated expertise across UEL to handle the most complex and serious legal issue that may end up in litigation,” he says.
He remains invigorated by the changing face of the modern work place, and the opportunities this brings, and he relishes the challenge of building the UEL network across Scotland and beyond.