bto solicitors - Corporate & Commercial Business Lawyers Glasgow Edinburgh Scotland

  • "really fights your corner..."
    "really fights your corner..." Chambers UK
  • "Consistently high-quality work and client-friendly approach."
    "Consistently high-quality work and client-friendly approach." Chambers UK

Third Sector

The Third Sector is a growing and vital area of business in Scotland today. For BTO, the focus of our Third Sector team is on social enterprises and social firms, supported by our CharityCorporateEmployment and Social Housing teams. 

The team also works closely with Social Firms Scotland, the national support body for Social Firms in Scotland. A Social Firm is a social enterprise that focuses on work integration, so their social purpose is to create employment opportunities and provide a supportive working environment for people who are severely disadvantaged in the labour market. As a core partner in the “Acquiring Business for Good” programme, which ran from 2009 to 2012, bto worked with Social Firms Scotland providing support across Scotland for various purchases of private businesses and their conversion into social or community enterprises.

Social enterprises are businesses that trade for social and environmental purposes, operating in all markets. Social enterprises exist to make a profit, but instead of paying dividends to shareholders, any profits or surpluses made are reinvested into social and environmental purposes, for example, providing employment opportunities to the long term unemployed. Without making a profit, social enterprises cannot meet their community benefit objectives; so, to be sustainable they must trade.

Our Third Sector team draws on BTO’s corporate and business acumen, as well as our experience of working in the Third Sector over a number of years, to address relevant issues for clients operating in this area.

The team includes specialists in employmentcorporate and governance issues, as well as contract issues and other matters of day-to-day concern to Third Sector organisations. Further, many Third Sector organisations either work with charities, or are themselves registered charities and our dedicated charities  team also advise in this sector. 

Our multifaceted team collaborates to achieve commercial solutions for clients and if a solution cannot be found or agreed, BTO’s litigators are experienced in seeking judicial remedies.

Contact: Alastair Dunn, Partner T. 0141 221 8012


  • Corporate sales

Acting for McSence in a corporate sale transaction.

  • Development and implemention of employment and skills strategies on construction projects

Working with a well known and influential London based firm of solicitors to assist ConstructionSkills, the Sector Skills Council for construction, to produce guidance in relation to developing and implementing employment and skills strategies on construction projects.

  • Setting up of a charity with a trading subsidiary

Assisted a newly created urban regeneration company (URC), a company limited by guarantee, set up as a charity with a trading subsidiary, and among other things advised on community benefit provisions to ensure that the URC’s goals of improving employment opportunities and encouraging working with a sustainable community enterprise were achieved.

  • Putting significant construction contracts in place for a registered social landlord

We assisted our client to impose community benefit provisions to achieve our client’s goal of improving employment opportunities through the construction work and employment of trainees and apprentices.

  • Bespoke employment law and practice training for employers

Assisting a number of third sector clients and organisations in dealing with ongoing employment law issues.



  • "The team at BTO have all responded quickly and professionally ... Alastair Dunn and Marion Davis have both over-delivered in terms of the assistance given."

    Pauline Graham, Chief Executive, Social Firms Scotland
  • "BTO's fees have been very reasonable and highly competitive in this sector, and the value for money has been great."

    Pauline Graham, Chief Executive, Social Firms Scotland
  • "Alastair Dunn’s commercial experience is complimented by his grasp of the third sector's priorities and challenges."

    Pauline Graham, Chief Executive, Social Firms Scotland
  • "Marion Davis was very helpful and patient when finalising our participation agreement and her assistance with our own memorandum and articles was enhanced by her understanding of the various benefits and constraints in third sector legal structures."

    Pauline Graham, Chief Executive, Social Firms Scotland
“The level of service has always been excellent, with properly experienced solicitors dealing with appropriate cases" Legal 500

Contact BTO


  • 48 St. Vincent Street
  • Glasgow
  • G2 5HS
  • T:+44 (0)141 221 8012
  • F:+44 (0)141 221 7803


  • One Edinburgh Quay
  • Edinburgh
  • EH3 9QG
  • T:+44 (0)131 222 2939
  • F:+44 (0)131 222 2949