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The Legal 500 Hall of Fame Icon The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession. In the United Kingdon, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for eight years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.
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United Kingdom > South East > Private client > Family: Thames Valley, Berks, Oxon, M4/M40 > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

Editorial

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Index of tables

  1. Family: Thames Valley, Berks, Oxon, M4/M40
  2. Leading individuals: Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next Generation Partners
  5. Rising stars

Leading individuals: Hall of Fame

  1. 1

Next Generation Partners

  1. 1

The ‚Äėoutstanding solicitors‚Äô at Barrett & Thomson¬†have wide ranging expertise across the full spectrum of family law matters, spanning divorce proceedings, injunctions in domestic violence cases to advising clients on international freezing orders. Private Child law is another key area of the expertise; the practice is able to offer advice on complex and sensitive cases related to child abuse where local authorities issue care proceedings, adoption and cross-border jurisdictional legal issues. Claire Fitzgerald¬†has ‚Äėa wealth of experience‚Äô in public and private child law, divorce and financial issues. Other key members in this sizeable team include associates Sue Scott, Tanya Melville, Tracey Haynes, Sabha Butt¬†and Rizwana Khan¬†who are all experienced in all aspects of family law and regularly represent parties in contentious proceedings, including children and vulnerable clients with mental health and learning difficulties.

Practice head(s):Claire Fitzgerald

Other key lawyers:Sue Scott; Tanya Melville; Tracey Haynes; Sabha Butt; Rizwana Khan

Testimonials

A real personal service with years of experience and expertise.’

'Barrett & Thompson stand out for their strength in depth - their experience in public law children cases is very extensive and there is a very evident underlying sense of true commitment to their clients.'

Claire Fitzgerald always very responsive and with her genuine interest, care and understanding meant we felt supported throughout our case. Claire always remained calm, focused and reverent in her dealings across the many legal teams involved in our matter. She was and remains well respected and a voice of reason.’

Claire Fitzgerald is a well-known and formidable family law practitioner. ‘

'Tracey Haynes takes the time to understand her clients dilemmas and works hard to find a potential solution.'

'Tracey Haynes is a pleasure to work with. She is easy to reach, happy to discuss cases and always ensures you are kept informed of developments.  She is hugely knowledgeable, approachable and dedicated to her cases.'

Blake Morgan LLP has expertise across the full spectrum of family law, with notable strengths in dispute resolution and mediation, including representing clients in complex and high-value divorce proceedings, often with international assets.  Mediation specialist Christine Plews leads the team which includes associates James Davies and Catherine Morgan, both of whom are experienced in high-value divorce cases.

Practice head(s):Christine Plews

Other key lawyers:James Davies; Catherine Morgan

Testimonials

Highly professional team with very good experience in handling complex divorces.

The team works well together, all members are responsive –real experts in their field.’

Very efficient, supportive and client-focused practice.

Christine Plews is highly experienced and comes across as authoritative, reassuring, calm and in control. Highly recommended for divorces and financial issues.

Blandy & Blandy LLP’s solicitors are experienced in advising on complex and often high value cases, including those involving trusts, international elements, third party interveners and appeals, as well as emergency applications and injunction work. The team also supports clients in mediation and collaborative law resolution. Firm chairman Brenda Long has considerable experience in relation to financial settlements arising out of divorce/dissolution of civil partnership, particularly in complex cases involving companies, share options, enterprise Investment schemes and trusts. Andrew Don, Gemma Kemp, Paul Linsell and Claire Dyer (who leads the team) are the key advisers in Reading.

Practice head(s):Claire Dyer

Other key lawyers:Andrew Don; Brenda Long; Gemma Kemp; Paul Linsell

Testimonials

'Blandy and Blandy are a long-established and very well regarded firm in the Thames Valley and Home Counties. The firm has a well-deserved reputation for excellence across the board in terms of family work.'

'Blandy and Blandy attract clients of all levels and means but each is dealt with using the skill, professionalism and empathy that they are renowned for. They are easily one of, if not the, best Family Law firms in the area and give a service that is second to none. Lost track of the times I have recommended them and never once heard any negative feedback. Top drawer firm full stop.'

'Blandy & Blandy have an exceptional reputation and whilst they have some very senior, experienced members of the team, they certainly have one eye on the future with their succession planning with the good young exciting team they are forming to support the partners. The level of work they undertake and their excellence sets them apart from their competitors.'

'Brenda Long is a highly experienced family law solicitor. She is an excellent tactician who works exceptionally hard on her client's behalf. Brenda is always mindful of the wider 'human' issues in a case and uses her expertise as a family lawyer to assist her clients to reach the correct outcome in the context of their case.'

'Andrew Don, Brenda Long and Claire Dyer lead and inspire an impressive team. They all provide an excellent service and work tirelessly for every client doing everything they can to secure the best result. Recruitment is also important and the rest of the team are learning from the brilliant example the senior team set.'

'Claire Dyer is an exceptional lawyer. She treats each individual case and client equally and provides a first rate service.'

'Paul Linsell and Gemma Kemp are excellent lawyers and strengthen the team as a whole. I always look forward to working with them as the service they provide to their clients is what sets them apart from others.'

Clifton Ingram LLP Solicitors has a strong reputation for handling all matters relating to family law, ranging from pre-nuptial and co-habitation agreements, complex divorce with cross-border elements to cases involving children, including child abduction and abuse claims. Anne Deller has experience dealing with disputes arising between unmarried couples including claims under Schedule 1 of the Children Act for financial provision, while Kate Grant focuses on divorce and related financial cases including those involving partnerships, companies and trusts.Nick Rodriguez  is also of note for children arrangements and local authority issues, as is senior associate Rekha Joshi for financial work and acting on behalf of financially dependent spouses in separation proceedings.

Practice head(s):Anne Deller

Other key lawyers:Kate Grant; Nick Rodriguez; Rekha Joshi

Testimonials

Very impressed by their practical and logical advice. The team are very responsive, even making themselves available be it in the evenings or at weekends.’

‘The team at Clifton Ingram provide a very good service, very experienced team with fair and reasonable billings.

Kate Grant is very impressive- she is able to find and understand the issues quickly, clearly sets out the next steps and makes it clear what the costs are likely to be before going further and lays out the strengths and weaknesses of the case.’

Anne Deller and her team are excellent, responsive and understanding. Anne had a wealth of experience and shared this to my benefit.‘

'I am so grateful for the expert guidance provided by Anne Deller owing to her vast experience I felt very safe in her hands. Anne is pragmatic, hardworking and constructive in her approach and strives hard to achieve the right outcome.'

Rekha Joshi is outstanding, she gives accurate and sensible advice to clients so that their expectations have been appropriately managed.‘

 

Freeths LLP handles the full spectrum of family law matters including high- value financial cases involving farming assets, businesses, trusts, pensions and jurisdictional issues. The practice has a specialty in the area of fertility law and surrogacy. Key figures in the Oxford office include head of the national family practice, Rachael Oakes and Claire Colbert who specialises in financial matters and arrangements for children. The practice retains strong expertise in niche areas, such as Gemma Nicholls-Webber for divorce proceedings involving farming and agricultural issues; Tom Burgess for matters concerning IVF and surrogacy, and Joanne Thomas for financial remedy cases involving pre/post acquired assets, such as inheritances.

Practice head(s):Rachael Oakes

Other key lawyers:Claire Colbert; Gemma Nicholls-Webber; Tom Burgess; Joanne Thomas

Testimonials

The family team go several extra miles for their clients- they always make themselves available, clearly explain the issues and suggest reasonable alternatives.

'A very professional firm who provide strong, practical advice and manage cases efficiently. They are always available to discuss the best options for their clients.'

'Excellent family law team based in Oxford. Rachel Oakes and Claire Colbert are highly recommended.’

 

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP’s areas of expertise include divorce proceedings and negotiating children arrangements, often with an international element. It is also know for its handling of international surrogacy, trusts of land and the Appointment of Trustees Act, Children Act  and Hague Convention applications. Jane Mitchell handles complex financial and children matters with a specialisation in international trusts and company arrangements. Kerry Fretwell in Reading and Ruth James in Oxford are the other key partners. Associates Bethan Thomas and Stuart Webber are also of note.

Practice head(s):Kerry Fretwell, Jane Mitchell

Other key lawyers:Ruth James; Bethan Thomas; Stuart Webber

Testimonials

The Oxford and Reading offices are full of quality lawyers, always giving clear and accurate advice in a way that clients understand. ‘

Jane Mitchell is a lawyer that is head and shoulders above her peers. Jane displays a good manner and charm both of which appear to shield a real steel core. Jane is unafraid of highly contentious litigation and has shown nothing but patience, diligence and resolute determination. She is a really impressive lawyer.’

I am very impressed with Kerry Fretwell. She is very experienced and knows how to manage clients’ expectations well, she also clearly explained my legal position and gave me the confidence and knowledge to move forward.’

Brethertons LLP has a strong focus in child law and collaborative law, particularly in the areas of international child abduction, international and domestic relocations, surrogacy and international adoption. The team also advises clients on divorce and financial matters as well as public law issues. Matthew Montanaro, who made partner in April 2019, has court room experience representing the interests of children in cases where social services have become involved; his other specialisms include advocacy on human rights claims on behalf children, issues surrounding paternity and assessments of children’s capacity. Gemma Kelsey is recommended for child abduction and relocation cases and Simon Craddock in Banbury and Sally Clark in Bicester are the key partners.

Practice head(s):Simon Craddock

Other key lawyers:Sally Clake; Matthew Montanaro; Gemma Kelsey

Field Seymour Parkes LLP handles the full spectrum of family law issues and  also advises on property portfolios, complex business interests and rural or farming estates. Key figures in the team include Sue Baker, who specialises in medium to high-value financial cases and child law cases, and Michelle Mann for financial matters involving complex company, property assets and trusts and cross-border aspects. Associate Lindsay Davies is also of note.

Practice head(s):Sue Baker

Other key lawyers:Michelle Mann: Lindsay Davies

Gardner Leader LLP¬†has a ‚Äėsolid reputation‚Äô for divorce, financial settlements and matrimonial work. Jenny Buchanan¬†and department head Seona Myerscough‚Äôs practice spans the core aspects of family law and financial matters; Myerscough is especially well-known for her experience in matters concerning children within the care process and child arrangement cases. Suzy Hamshaw¬†and¬†Simon Fisher¬†are also a names to note for divorce proceedings, preparation of pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements and cohabitation agreements.

Practice head(s):Seona Myerscough

Other key lawyers:Jenny Buchanan: Suzy Hamshaw: Simon Fisher

Testimonials

Suzy and Jenny are a formidable team - they are exceptionally professional whilst being empathetic and patient. ‘

The team are meticulous about matching clients’ needs with the right path to desired outcomes, such as mediation, court applications, ADR or conciliation meaning better client satisfaction.’

Seona Myerscough - I value her professionalism and ability to remain balanced and calm during very complex proceedings. Gives good balanced advice.’

Royds Withy King has expanded its private client practice with the addition of a private wealth offering, providing complimentary advise in relation to international pre- and post-nuptial agreements, overseas financial claims following divorce and reputation management in family matters. Partners Mark Phillips, Simon Bassett, Andrew Nellist and associate Monicka Rai are the key advisors.

Practice head(s):Simon Bassett

Other key lawyers:Mark Phillips; Andrew Nellist; Monicka Rai

The family law practice of BDB Pitmans  regularly coordinate with the private client practice to offer a one-stop shop for family and child law non-contentious matters, dispute resolution, injunctions and trusts of land claims. Matt Heyworth is the lead practitioner.

Practice head(s):Matt Heyworth

Testimonials

Personable, friendly manner and a professional approach. The whole team provided comprehensive support and efficient backup.’

I’m very impressed and confident with the advice Matthew Heyworth gave, his breadth of knowledge and ability to convey it in an understandable manner is very reassuring when faced with complex legal definitions and procedures. ‘

Matt Heyworth is an outstanding family lawyer who understands the finances and is very good with the maths. Reassuring yet professional and a lawyer who boosts your confidence.

Areas of expertise for Hedges Law include divorce and financial settlements, often with an international element, as well as pre- and post-nuptial agreements, injunctions and child law matters. Nicola Poole and Laura Mortimer are the lead advisors in Oxford, other key figures Carrie Rudge and Lauren Burbridge are based in Wallingford.

Practice head(s):Nicola Poole

Other key lawyers:Laura Mortimer: Carrie Rudge; Lauren Burbridge

Maria Mulroe¬†heads the family practice at Herrington Carmichael LLP¬†and has a ‚Äėsolid reputation‚Äô advising high-net-worth individuals with complex businesses and international assets, as well as handling child law matters. She is often assisted by associates Danielle Bentley¬†and Catherine Currie¬†in assisting clients in all areas of matrimonial and family law matters.

Practice head(s):Maria Mulroe

Other key lawyers:Maria Mulroe; Danielle Bentley; Catherine Currie

The private client practice at¬†K J Smith Solicitors¬† provides ‚Äėvery good support‚Äô to clients in all areas of family law. Chris Sutton¬†in Abingdon and Jason Lazard¬†in Henley-on-Thames are also experienced in high-value divorce and financial settlements as well as in arrangements and residences of children. Jessica Jupp, Faizah Chaudhuri¬†and Heather Jarrold-Taylor¬†are also recommended.

Practice head(s):Chris Sutton, Jason Lazard

Other key lawyers:Jason Lazard; Jessica Jupp, Faizah Chaudhuri; Heather Jarrold-Taylor

Testimonials

The team clearly discuss their cases with each other in order to provide their lay clients with the best possible service and counsel. Lay clients therefore benefit from each team members knowledge of their local judges and counsel as well as their respective legal knowledge.

Jessica Jupp takes the time to truly understand her client's position and provides accurate, realistic and thoughtful advice.’

Jessica Jupp, Chris Sutton and Jason Lazard have terrific legal knowledge and clearly espouse the ethos and values of Resolution. In addition they have first rate interpersonal skills which enable them to provide excellent client care.’

Leiper Gupta Family Lawyers Ltd (LGFL Ltd)'s boutique, partner-led practice - which is known for providing a service 'on par with any of the top City family law firms' - is led by the 'insightful' and 'tenacious' Anne Leiper and Rita Gupta, who 'delivers a "Rolls-Royce" service'. The firm, which was established in 2008, works with 'well-heeled, high net worth clients' seeking assistance in contentious family and private child law matters, as well as advising on divorce proceedings and complex financial arrangements.

Practice head(s):Anne Leiper; Rita Gupta

Testimonials

'A highly professional and slick boutique family law firm.'

'The service provided is on par with any of the top City family law firms.'

'LGFL has continued to solidify their reputation as a boutique, niche firm, specialising in high-value and complex matrimonial finance and children work. Over the past 10 years or so since its inception, the firm has managed to emerge as a strong contender to the bigger/more commercial firms in/around Reading and Hampshire. Clients receive a very high standard of service, and the two founding partners there are very hands-on and responsive (unlike many other bigger firms).

'Anne Leiper and Rita Gupta are both very approachable, diligent, know when to seek advice and then how to use and apply that advice. Both provide services tailored to individual client needs, placing the client's bests interests at the forefront of their minds. They work hard to ensure the client is placed at ease and well advised throughout the process. Both have gone the extra mile when looking after vulnerable and demanding clients.'

'The office facilities are first class.'

'LGFL is an excellent small two-partner firm specialising in family law, providing a fantastic service.'

'Anne Leiper and Rita Gupta are two incredibly dedicated solicitors who leave no stone unturned in the pursuit of the client's interests.'

'Both Anne Leiper and Rita Gupta fight fearlessly for the best interests of their clients. They are people you would like on your side if you were ever unfortunate enough to find yourself in the divorce courts.'

'Excellent legal knowledge applied with compassion.'

'Rita Gupta is highly skilled and commercially minded - she delivers a slick, "Rolls-Royce" service.'

'Anne Leiper fights tooth and nail for her clients and no stone is left unturned.'

'Rita and Anne's different attributes gives them a perfect mix for a highly successful family law firm.'

'Rita Gupta and Anne Leiper are very experienced in both matrimonial finance and children work. The firm prides itself on being boutique, and appeals to well-heeled, high net worth clients who demand a high level of service, but do not wish to instruct London firms. I have found both Rita and Anne to be very responsive to their client's needs. They are tenacious and fight their client's corners.'

'Both Anne Lieper and Rita Gupta are very experienced in all aspects of family law. They both forge excellent relationships with their clients and have a very hands-on approach, which clients love.'

'Anne Leiper makes sure that all efforts are directed at achieving the best results for the client. Her communication skills are second to none.'

'Anne Leiper is a superb listener.  She is very insightful, grasps the salient points quickly but manages difficult conversations with compassion backed by excellent legal knowledge.'

Key areas of expertise for Reeds Solicitors' Reading and Oxford-based offices include divorce, financial claims, injunctions, care proceedings, arrangements for children and child abduction. Team head James Ferry and Rod Fowler are the key advisors.

Practice head(s):James Ferry, Rod Fowler

Spratt Endicott advises across the full spectrum of family law, with experience handling cases involving business assets, pensions, agricultural estates and international assets. The practice is also able to leverage additional expertise from the corporate, employment and private capital departments. Head of practice Patrick Mulcare is experienced in handling complex divorces and high-value financial matters. Gemma Davison and Harry White are also recommended.

Practice head(s):Patrick Mulcare

Other key lawyers:Gemma Davison; Harry White

Testimonials

The lawyers are very personable approachable, and very knowledgeable. They fight their client's corner but balance that with being sensible and pragmatic.’

Patrick Mulcare leads the team and is the figurehead for the family department. He has a very good reputation. He is very sensible and very experienced. ‘

'Patrick Mulcare, Gemma Davison and Harry White are fantastic - individually and collectively their technical knowledge is deep and broad, but what I most value is their ability to elucidate complex matters, and listen.'

 

Stowe Family Law LLP has grown its family law practice with the recruitment of Naheed Taj in July 2018, formally head of the family practice at Shoosmiths LLP. Taj and Mark Chapman are experienced in all family law matters and private law issues concerning children. Taj also has expert knowledge of Sharia law, Talaq and dowry matters.

Practice head(s):Naheed Taj

Other key lawyers:Mark Chapman

Testimonials

Stowe Family Law really care about their clients and work tirelessly to achieve the required outcome.’

Mark Chapman demonstrated an excellent ability to explain the legal process in a manner easily understood whilst confidently guiding me with his legal expertise.’

Mark Chapman is a top solicitor – he provided excellent advice, explained things in a clear, precise manner and always made himself available. ‘

Naheed Taj has been absolutely brilliant and I can’t rate her high enough. She has really given me excellent advice and has helped me plan my future more strategically than just short term.’

Naheed Taj is a warm, friendly and highly capable solicitor who goes the extra mile for clients.'

Naheed Taj is a fighter for her client and has years of experience and a depth of knowledge about the law.’

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