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Who Represents Who

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β€˜Fantastic lawyer’ Christine Plews heads Blake Morgan LLP’s practice, which is well respected for family finance work related to divorce and cohabitee disputes and business asset division, as well as cross-border cases relating to children or multi-jurisdictional assets. The firm’s β€˜level of service is excellent’, and associate Catherine Morgan’s β€˜professionalism is exceptional’; she is β€˜excellent’ in civil partnership proceedings, private Children Act cases and advising on pre-nuptial agreements, among other matters. A recent highlight saw the team act for an individual in a major case that successfully challenged an arbitral award arising from a divorce dispute. The firm is also recommended for mediation.

At Blandy & Blandy LLP, β€˜experienced’ practice head Andrew Don qualified as a children law arbitrator in 2016 and is praised for β€˜making clients feel completely at ease’. The majority of the team are mediators, including recently promoted firm chair Brenda Long, who routinely acts for high-net-worth individuals with Don. The team is β€˜always prepared to listen and discuss the merits of different options’ and its recent caseload included financial remedy and international divorce proceedings involving high-value assets, cohabitee property disputes and pre-nuptial agreements as well as pension sharing orders and spousal maintenance matters. Claire Dyer is also recommended.

Freeths LLP β€˜provides the quality of service that would be expected of a Magic Circle firm’ in complex and niche areas such as IVF, surrogacy and divorce cases relating to farming and agricultural matters, which is an area of strength for senior associate Gemma Nicholls-Webber. Rachael Oakes heads the β€˜top-class practice’ and β€˜is a formidable lawyer’, who acts for high-net-worth individuals in matters regarding cross-border assets, businesses, complex trust structures, tax and pension-related issues. Her varied caseload also includes children matters and pre and post-marital agreements. Lawyer and mediator Claire Colbert is β€˜exceptionally good’ and β€˜extremely hard working’ in family cases including in Child Maintenance Service appeals and Children Act relocation matters. Private financial dispute resolution hearings, divorce and Children Act proceedings were among recent mandates for the practice, where Elizabeth Stocker made senior associate. Helen Taylor departed to Turner Nicholson.

β€˜Matrimonial lawyers do not come much better’ than practice co-head Jane Mitchell at Penningtons Manches LLP, where she is widely considered to be the go-to person for financial cases and disputes regarding child arrangement orders, often involving international elements. Kerry Fretwell jointly leads the team alongside Mitchell and is β€˜very good in reading the case and people involved’. Also of note are Ruth James (β€˜very thorough in the preparation of evidence and careful in her case management’), senior associate Bethan Thomas (β€˜extremely down to earth and capable’), senior associate Claire Clarke (an β€˜impeccable’ adviser in children and family financial proceedings), and associate Stuart Webber (β€˜a measured and reassuring lawyer’, who β€˜gets to grip with issues quickly and incisively’).

Barrett & Thomson is β€˜a well-established and leading firm’ for children law, with particular expertise in cases involving sensitive allegations such as non-accidental injury and sexual abuse. Practice head Claire Fitzgerald β€˜goes over and beyond the expectations of a solicitor’ and has β€˜immense experience’ in private and public law matters, including care proceedings, leave to remove cases and adoption matters. The firm is β€˜very strong in all areas’ including high-net-worth financial remedy proceedings, separation agreements, the freezing of assets and various other matters. Representing vulnerable adults that have experienced domestic violence or have mental capacity issues is another core strength of the practice. Solicitor Tracey Haynes stands out for her β€˜excellent communication skills’ and senior solicitor Sue Scott is β€˜very knowledgeable’ and β€˜understanding’.

Brethertons LLP fields β€˜a competent and caring team of committed lawyers, who work tirelessly to get the best outcome for families’. Sally Clark heads the Bicester practice, while Simon Craddock leads the Banbury team. Craddock has β€˜top-level expertise’ in international child abduction cases but his β€˜knowledge across family law knows no bounds’; he has been particularly active in Hague Convention proceedings with associate Gemma Kelsey, who is β€˜one to watch for jurisdictional matters’. Key figures also include solicitor Anna Pugh, who β€˜works immensely hard for her clients’, and associate Matthew Montanaro. The firm experienced an uptick in divorce proceedings, civil partnership dissolution disputes and surrogacy cases. Other areas of expertise include leave to remove, cohabitee and care proceedings.

The β€˜modern and forward-thinking’ team at Clifton Ingram LLP Solicitors delivers β€˜an impressive standard of professionalism across the board’. Under the leadership of β€˜formidable litigator’ Anne Deller and Kate Grant, who is β€˜robust, independent, personable and measured’, the practice β€˜punches above its weight’ in Children Act cases, international child abduction disputes, pension sharing orders, financial remedy and other matters. Nicholas Rodriguez made partner and his expertise includes special guardianship orders and leave to remove cases. Senior consultant Sarah Benfield β€˜is a towering authority’ and someone that β€˜clients want in their corner during a tough situation’. Associate Ruby Tufail and solicitor Joanne Backwith are also recommended.

The β€˜excellent’ team at Field Seymour Parkes LLP has niche expertise in armed forces pension sharing orders and excels in high-net-worth financial work, including pre-nuptial agreements, dividing cross-border property assets, separation agreements and protecting business assets in divorce cases. The practice also has extensive experience in private Children Act cases as well as child abduction and leave to remove matters. Practice head Sue Baker is β€˜a very safe pair of hands’, who remains β€˜calm and good natured under pressure’; Michelle Mann is β€˜an excellent lawyer with strong technical skills’; and senior associate James Davies β€˜combines a great eye for detail with pragmatism and commerciality, which is an essential combination for operating at the top level’.

Gardner Leader LLP’s β€˜strength is in the relationship it builds with clients, who are often vulnerable individuals’. Practice head Seona Myerscough handles care proceedings and is β€˜very thorough and easy to work with’. Collette Bailey and Jenny Buchanan focus on financial matters and act for high-net-worth individuals in divorce and relationship breakdown matters. Child arrangement matters and special guardianship orders feature among the team’s recent caseload.

K J Smith Solicitors grew its presence across the Thames Valley with a new office in Abingdon. Founded by Kerry Smith, the firm specialises in private client matters and handles everything from cohabitation disputes and divorce financial settlements to Children Act proceedings. Jason Lazard has been handling multi-jurisdictional divorces involving worldwide property portfolios and high-net-worth divorces on behalf of financially dependent spouses. Recently promoted associate Samantha Archer is recommended along with chartered legal executive Chris Sutton, who divides his time between Henley-on-Thames and Abingdon. Other personnel changes saw the firm hire senior solicitor and Windsor office head Amanda Phillips-Wylds, who also works out of the London office, from Morrisons Solicitors LLP.

Royds Withy King’s recent caseload included a healthy diet of cross-border mandates involving pre-nuptial agreements and financial remedy disputes relating to spousal maintenance claims, tax matters and business assets. The β€˜genuinely collaborative, honest and compassionate’ Mark Phillips is recommended for financial matters. Practice head Simon Bassett’s recent work includes pension sharing orders, DNA testing and financial claims under the Children Act. Associate Anne Davies leads the children team and has β€˜a very steady, meticulous and humane approach’ to care proceedings, private disputes and adoption cases. Andrew Nellist recently joined from Hedges Law and James Stonham retired from practice.

Spratt Endicott β€˜provides sound legal advice and represents clients with a constructive and forward-focused approach’. Practice head and β€˜absolute class act’ Patrick Mulcare is β€˜a tough litigator who takes no prisoners’ in financial remedy cases, the dissolution of civil partnerships and other family disputes. Associate Gemma Davison (β€˜a real star in the making’) arrived from Johnson & Gaunt Solicitors to head the firm’s dedicated mediation offering; she handles financial work for married and cohabiting couples, public and private pension sharing orders and spousal maintenance, among other matters. Experienced barrister Justine Cadbury was another significant hire and is highly regarded along with solicitor Sandeep Sandhu, who specialises in children matters and β€˜always provides clients with the best advice’. Solicitor Naheed Taj is now with Shoosmiths LLP.

Herrington Carmichael LLP is β€˜faultless in every area’ and impresses with its β€˜strong and united team’, which routinely acts for high-net-worth individuals. Dividing her time between Wokingham and Camberley, department head Maria Mulroe delivers β€˜extreme professionalism, patience and frankness’ in financial cases relating to business and overseas assets. Solicitor Danielle Bentley (β€˜a good lawyer with great potential’) joined the practice from CH-R Family Solicitors. Recent work for the β€˜dedicated lawyers’ include Children Act matters, cross-border divorces and financial remedy proceedings.

The β€˜intelligent and assured’ Rita Gupta and Anne Leiper are the main contacts at Leiper Gupta Family Lawyers Ltd (LGFL Ltd), where they β€˜pursue their clients’ interests with tenacity and without fear’. Leiper specialises in high-net-worth and complex financial work, while Gupta focuses on Children Act mandates. The firm, which recently relocated from Eversley to Reading, works to an β€˜exceptionally high standard’ and has been handling variation of maintenance and capitalisation proceedings, adoption matters, leave to remove cases and various other issues.

Professionals, high-net-worth individuals and high-profile clients instruct β€˜excellent’ boutique firm Tony Roe Solicitors in the full range of children and financial matters, including Children Act proceedings, divorce cases and pension sharing orders. Providing solid experience in cross-border work, Tony Roe β€˜responds quickly and effectively to deal with any issues raised’. Tracey O'Dwyer was promoted to associate and utilises β€˜a great combination of professionalism, knowledge and support’ in cohabitation, divorce and children work. Solicitor Tracy Jefferis, who is dual-qualified in Australia and the UK, is adept in family finance and private children law, including child arrangement orders.

Turpin & Miller LLP is highly recommended for public children law but its extensive private caseload includes cross-border separation proceedings and a range of divorce matters. Dividing her time between Oxford and Reading, department head Emily Boardman also leads the public law and adoption team and is a β€˜safe pair of hands’ for care proceedings relating to non-accidental injury, death and sexual abuse allegations. Ruth Hawkins leads the private law and mediation practice and is β€˜committed to her work and clients’ in care, adoption, wardship and matrimonial cases. Consultant Melanie Barnes β€˜is one of the top solicitors in the country’ for international child maintenance claims and recently promoted partner Irena Osborne specialises in international work concerning care proceedings and child abduction. Helen Bishop became a permanent consultant in the firm.

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