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A highly professional firm’, David Gray Solicitors LLP attracts considerable praise for its ‘outstanding level of efficient and effective service’, and for its strength in representing clients from a range of cultural and ethnic backgrounds; ‘the team works closely with community resources and translators and goes the extra mile when assisting clients who have cognitive impairment and mental health difficulties’. Children specialist Lucy Mead took over as team head from Mary Shaw, who now focuses on mediation. Other key individuals include Lesley Monkhouse (who is praised for her skills with parents from disadvantaged backgrounds), Nicky Hunter and Elspeth Thomson.

Clients of Silk Family Law consistently praise the firm’s ‘excellent, proactive, commercial, and effective’ 12 fee-earner team, which includes Margaret Simpson, a collaborative lawyer who regularly acts for farming and landowner clients, and partner and qualified barrister Ian Kennerley. Kim Fellowes focuses on complex financial issues involving trusts, pensions and pre-acquired marital wealth. Wayne Lynn was promoted to the partnership and specialises in cohabitee disputes and the drafting of cohabitation agreements, and pre and post-nuptial arrangements.

Ward Hadaway’s team is headed by Jonathan Flower, ‘an extremely able family lawyer who applies meticulous attention to detail combined with a good deal of common sense’. Flower acted on behalf of two Nigerian children in High Court proceedings, which included issues of female genital mutilation. Other key figures include Teresa Davidson, who handles complex cases where parents move within or outside of the jurisdiction, Louise Cannell-Mirza, who focuses on complex care proceedings and child protection work in the health and education sectors, and associate Julia Middleton, who is a collaborative lawyer with children expertise.

The family practice at Burnetts is led by Simon Mortimer, who has extensive experience in multimillion-pound divorces involving farm business partnerships and assets. Amy Fallows focuses on childcare cases, regularly acting for grandparents; her knowledge includes special guardianship orders, child arrangements orders, child relocation and problems with contact.

Cartmell Shepherd’s team is led by Julian Nelson, who stands out for her ‘exemplary professional insight, which she couples with a welcoming and reassuring approach’. Nelson regularly represents solicitors, and is assisted by Caroline Smith, who has expertise in complicated private children’s matters and cohabitation cases. Mediator and collaborative lawyer David Kendrew joined in February 2016 as a consultant from Bendles.

Hay & Kilner acted for the husband in a financial provision dispute involving substantial assets including four properties and other investments amounting to £4m. The Nicola Matthews leads the team and focuses on high-value divorce and financial provision cases, and Rob Hart specialises in public law children cases.

Key individuals at Major Family Law include founding partner Joanne Major, who is noted for her ‘combination of technical knowledge and common sense’; finance specialist Jonathan Dunkley, who ‘is a brilliant tactician’; and Anna Hunter, who specialises in children proceedings and ‘establishes a very good rapport with the client’. Hunter’s recent instructions include acting for a mother seeking to remove a child from the jurisdiction, and a TOLATA case where the claimant was seeking to claim interest in the client’s property. Rebecca Savage acted for a wife in financial remedy proceedings which involved assets of over £5m.

Mincoffs Solicitors LLP’s practice is led by Lyn Rutherford; he has substantial experience in complicated high-net-worth financial cases. Recent work includes acting for the wife in financial and divorce proceedings, which involved issues of champerty and wasted costs.

At Sintons LLP, newly appointed team head and matrimonial specialist Steve Freeman recently negotiated a financial settlement worth over £6m on behalf of a high-net-worth client.

Andrea Hewitson leads BHP Law’s practice, which recently welcomed Gemma Holmes from Meikles; she is noted for her experience in financial disputes arising from relationship breakdowns. Consultant Terry Hamer has children expertise and Hewitson is a collaborative lawyer.

Clients rate the ‘excellent level of service’ provided by Beecham Peacock, which includes the ‘very helpful and approachable’ Charlotte Talbot and Sophia Yau-Rosher, who heads the team and ‘has a no-nonsense approach’ that her high-net-worth clients appreciate.

EMG Solicitors’ practice specialises in surrogacy issues. Key individuals include Court of Protection specialist Emma Gaudern, who heads the team, and Natalia Lalas, who is noted for her civil partnership expertise.

Swinburne Maddison’s team is led by Kath Hill ‘who reaches the best agreement for clients and will fight their corner if necessary’. Recent highlights include acting for the wife in a collaborative divorce process featuring gender reassignment issues.

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