International law firm Addleshaw Goddard is strengthening its Aberdeen team with the appointment of Robert Phillips as Legal Director.

A specialist employment and business immigration lawyer with more than 12 years’ experience in contentious and non-contentious cases, Robert joins the firm from his role as senior associate at Burness Paull, where he worked predominantly within the offshore industry, representing and advising a range of high-profile clients in the oil and gas and marine sectors.

An accomplished tribunal advocate with particular expertise in complex employment litigation, whistleblowing, discrimination and industrial relations, Robert is also part of Oil and Gas UK’s working group, responding on behalf of the industry to HMRC's proposed reforms to off-payroll working tax, commonly known as "IR35". 

Robert will play a significant role in strengthening Addleshaw Goddard’s employment and business immigration offering in the north east. His appointment marks continued growth for Addleshaw Goddard in Aberdeen following a number of key appointments. 

The firm welcomed David McEwing as energy partner from Pinsent Masons at the beginning of 2019 and Ross McKenzie as commercial and data protection partner at the start of 2018.

Further underlining Addleshaw Goddard’s growth plans for Aberdeen, the firm recently moved into larger office accommodation at Prime Four Business Park, allowing it to meet client demand while enjoying better connectivity to the AWPR and Aberdeen Airport.

It further reflects the firm’s Scotland-wide and international ambitions, particularly in the energy and digital sectors.

Commenting on his appointment, Robert said: “I am very excited to join Addleshaw Goddard's Aberdeen office and look forward to supporting businesses in the north east with all their people issues - from employment law, business immigration law to tax law reform for off-payroll contractors (IR35).  

“As the IR35 reform is extended to the private sector, Q1 and Q2 of 2020 will see significant turbulence in availability of human capital and resource to the Energy sector and Oil & Gas market in the north east. 

“Although most businesses in this market have been aware of IR35 from Q3 2017, as the implementation date looms, the impact of this reform – which aims to address a tax avoidance issue by contractors who claim to be self-employed – is now being felt.

“As an award-winning law firm recognised for its innovative application of technology to create solutions for clients, Addleshaw Goddard is a disruptor in the legal service markets. AG offers a different and exciting opportunity to businesses in the north east who want legal services done differently, particularly those struggling to ensure they will be IR35-compliant by 6 April 2020. 

“I look forward to working with the team as we explain this opportunity to businesses in the north east of Scotland and our service offering expands across sectors and locations, both domestically and internationally." 

Ross McKenzie, commercial and data protection partner, said: “Robert is a strong addition to the Aberdeen team. He brings a wealth of knowledge in the employment and immigration practice and his technical expertise stands him in good stead to strengthen the firm’s offering ahead of the IR35 reform and beyond.

“His appointment signifies Addleshaw Goddard’s wider strategy to better serve our clients providing best practice across all sectors and divisions in the north east of Scotland and internationally.”