About Tait & Peterson  ~

History of the Firm

Tait & Peterson have been a well-established firm of Solicitors in Shetland for over 50 years.

It was in the 1930s that James M S Tait (originally of Clousta, Shetland) returned to Shetland from Edinburgh, where he had studied law. He had passed the Law Society of Scotland exams while serving an apprenticeship with an Edinburgh firm.

He took up employment with Thomas Johnston who took ill shortly thereafter and Mr Tait found himself running the practice, which he bought over on Mr Johnston’s death and built up steadily under the firm name ‘Thomas Johnston & Tait’ and latterly as ‘James M S Tait’.

George S Peterson also passed the Law Society exams after studying at Edinburgh University, while serving his apprenticeship with Shepherd & Wedderburn.

He was employed by Mr Tait and then became a partner in 1966/67, forming the firm of Tait & Peterson, the name still used to this day.

Gradual expansion of the firm resulted in taking over the factoring of most of the crofting estates in Shetland which they have represented for many years. The Shetland Islands Council has bought over several of these crofting estates when they have come up for sale.

The advent of North Sea oil in the 1970's saw the firm expand and extend their offices at the Bank of Scotland Buildings incorporating part of the then Bank house to accommodate the staff.

Eric S Peterson joined the firm in 1984 being appointed as partner, and he and his father ran the firm together until George Peterson retired.

In 2002, Tait & Peterson incorporated the firm of Morrison & Gardiner.

The Staff of Tait & Peterson

Eric S Peterson - Senior Partner

Martin Taylor – Partner

Eric Peterson

Eric Peterson is the firm’s Senior Partner, and gained his LLB from Aberdeen University and a Diploma in Legal Practice from the University of Dundee, before completing his traineeship, when returning to Shetland to take up his post within Tait & Peterson.

Eric is a general practitioner with extensive experience in many areas of practice such as conveyancing, executries, wills and trusts. He has also been accredited by the Law Society of Scotland as a specialist in Crofting Law (2006-2012), and was appointed Honorary Sheriff in 2010.

Outside the office Eric is actively involved in the Lerwick Baptist Church and his leisure pursuits include cycling and occasional trout fishing. He is also committed to several charitable organizations as well as spending time with his family.

Martin Taylor

Martin Taylor, a Partner in the firm, graduated from Oxford University and qualified as a Solicitor in England in 1979. He worked firstly in the City of London, then as a Partner in a Westminster firm, and since 1996 with Tait & Peterson when he re-qualified as a Solicitor in Scotland. While working in London he specialised in private client business.

Since joining Tait & Peterson his work has included conveyancing and crofting matters, executries, wills, trusts, commercial property transactions and some occasional civil court work.

For several years he has acted as Clerk/Treasurer to the Faculty of Solicitors in Shetland.  When he has time and the weather permits, he enjoys sailing his Shetland Model boat.

James Morris – Law Accountant


Jim Morris

Jim moved from Edinburgh to Shetland with his wife in 1985, taking up the position of Accountant within Tait & Peterson.

He later undertook two years of training in order to become a fully qualified Law Accountant and recognised member of the Society of Law Accountants in Scotland.

His role within the firm has expanded over the years, however his areas of expertise are tax planning and executry administration.

In his spare time, Jim enjoys playing volleyball as well as spending time with his four children.


Mary Tate – Cashier

Alasdair Peterson – Law Graduate

Mary Tate

Mary Tate began her work in the legal sector as an Office Junior with another Lerwick firm in 2000.

She later transferred to Tait & Peterson when the two firms incorporated in 2002, and was promoted to cashier in 2003.

When she is not at work, Mary enjoys walking, landscape gardening & taking part in local drama productions.

Alasdair Peterson

Alasdair Peterson grew up in Shetland and has worked with Tait and Peterson since 2006, while studying Law at Edinburgh University.

He graduated LLB (Hons), 1st Class, in 2012 and is now furthering his studies as a Postgraduate Research Student.

On graduating, he was awarded the Lord President Cooper Memorial Prize Scholarship which is awarded to an Honours student of outstanding distinction, on completion of his or her law degree, and is the most prestigious undergraduate prize awarded by Edinburgh Law School.

During his spare time, Alasdair enjoys reading, playing the flute and piano, as well as walking and cycling.

Kathleen Simpson – Legal Secretary

Joan Leask – Legal Secretary

Kathleen Simpson

Kathleen Simpson is currently Tait & Peterson’s longest serving member of staff, joining the firm in September 1980 as a part-time legal secretary.

In 1989, she became Mr George Peterson’s full-time secretary and took on the role as joint receptionist.

In her spare time, Kathleen likes to spend time working in her garden.

Joan Leask

Joan Leask began her work as a legal secretary for another Lerwick firm in 1991, moving to Tait & Peterson in August 1995.

She is now joint receptionist and is responsible for maintaining office supplies, as well as preparing the firm's property particulars.

While she is not at work, Joan is actively involved in running a Brownie pack, having been a leader since 1971. She is also an elder/youth worker at the Lerwick Church of Scotland and very much enjoys spending time with her grandchildren.


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Tait & Peterson
Bank of Scotland Buildings
Lerwick, Shetland, ZE1 0EB

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