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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 West > Private client > Family > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Index of tables

  1. Family
  2. Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next generation lawyers

Hall of Fame

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Leading individuals

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Next generation lawyers

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Who Represents Who

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Burges Salmon LLP β€˜provides a Rolls-Royce service’ and its team of market leading lawyers is headed by highly regarded financial remedies specialist Sarah Hoskinson (Woodsford). It further enhanced its family capacity with the hire of two β€˜first class’ family finance lawyers: consultant Alison Hawes and senior associate Nicky Howarth, both joined from Irwin Mitchell. The new additional practitioners β€˜provide practical solutions’, are β€˜technically extremely good’ and β€˜excellent with clients’. The group is best known for its expertise in complex financial settlements related to relationship breakdowns and divorces, dealing with high-value cases locally, nationally and internationally. It also has particular expertise in asset protection, particularly where international or offshore assets are involved. It delivers β€˜the best possible advice at value for money rates’. Recent highlights include acting in a divorce case where there are financial and Children Act proceedings ongoing, assisting a US client on cross-border divorce issues involving multiple jurisdictions to establish where and how the divorce can proceed, and advising on a pre-marital agreement to protect assets acquired from family trusts. Senior associate Mary Gaskins handles cohabitation and marital agreements as well as children arrangements cases. Catherine Hallam retired in April 2017.

Clarke Willmott LLP is β€˜a really excellent firm in family finance, providing top quality service at more reasonable out-of-London rates’. It has expertise in all areas of divorce work and is, according to a client, β€˜one of the best firms in the southwest for matrimonial finance’. The group has particular expertise in international work, acting for ultra-high-net-worth individuals and their spouses. Its clients also include entrepreneurs, high-level executives and farmers, which it advises on financial remedy proceedings. β€˜Superb’ Bristol-based family law specialist Gareth Schofield is β€˜extremely intelligent and charming, with a total grasp of the law and the details of the case’, his β€˜vast experience makes him a master strategist’. In Taunton, Daniel Eames is β€˜an incredible lawyer with a razor sharp mind’, β€˜very personable and approachable’. He specialises in complex financial disputes arising from marriage or cohabitation and in cases involving an international aspect. At senior associate level, Alastair MacLeod is β€˜an excellent financial remedies lawyer’ who β€˜always sees the big picture but retains an eye for the detail’, and Emma Gordon is also β€˜a name to watch’, particularly in the areas of financial arrangement for children and financial remedy proceedings involving hidden assets.

Irwin Mitchell’s β€˜well organised, efficient and highly-motivated’ team β€˜boasts genuine specialists in each of the distinct disciplines which make up family law’. It saw several changes in 2017 with Alison Hawes and Nicky Howarth joining Burges Salmon LLP as, respectively, consultant and senior associate, and the highly recommended Nicola Walker relocating from Birmingham to lead the Bristol team. Walker is β€˜an outstanding lawyer with total focus on her clients both within the proceedings and outside of the litigation’. Her β€˜hard work and down-to-earth charm permeates the whole department’. The practice focuses on high-net-worth financial cases, often with additional complexities including family businesses with private equity investment and sizeable property portfolios, and also advises on cohabitation, pre-nuptial and children cases, also working closely with its Court of Protection and serious injury teams on matters involving brain injured clients. Associate Hayley Trim is recommended for international family law matters.

Michelmores LLP is singled out for its niche expertise in surrogacy. Family and fertility specialist Louisa Ghevaert has particular expertise handling complex international commercial surrogacy cases in the High Court, making her β€˜one of the country’s small handful of top practitioners in this field’. Her knowledge is β€˜second to none’, her attention to detail is β€˜painstaking’, and her manner with clients is β€˜exemplary’. Family team head Simon Thomas is another name to note, he handles all family law issues and specialises in complex, high-value financial remedy cases. His recent instructions include acting for an entrepreneur in divorce proceedings with a number of business interests held in different jurisdictions and in different vehicles, and advising an EU resident based in Portugal on the post-divorce financial provision for his children who were resident in the UK. Associates Sue Dowen and Rachel Shearmur are also recommended.

Royds Withy King works β€˜exceptionally hard’ and provides β€˜consistently excellent legal knowledge and support at every level within Family Court proceedings’. The firm has a strong track record in family law, particularly in Bath, Bristol and Swindon, fielding β€˜a dynamic team’, which is β€˜committed to securing the best result possible for its clients’. The group excels in cases involving child arrangement issues. Practice head Richard Ellis is highly regarded for his expertise in public and private children law matters, regularly handling issues relating to adoption, out of jurisdiction cases and third parties’ rights. Senior associate Rebecca Stevens acts for children, guardians, parents and other family members in public and private law proceedings, and is able to conduct her own advocacy in the High Court. Ellis and Stevens have β€˜considerable legal knowledge, manage court proceedings well and engage with children and their parents in a way that endeavours to represent the child’s welfare and enable parties to fully understand what is happening within the proceedings’. Family arbitrator Jon Toogood specialises in financial disputes arising out of divorce and separation proceedings, and Sharon MacDonald is strongly recommended for high-value finance matters and cohabitation disputes. Children team head and family mediator Katherine Lauder handles public and private law cases involving children and domestic abuse. Emma Young is β€˜absolutely diligent in terms of her case preparation’, β€˜very personable and a delight to work with’, β€˜undoubtedly one to watch’. New arrival Kit O’Brien, who joined as a senior associate from Slee Blackwell in November 2016, has β€˜the perfect mixture of technical excellence, pragmatism and a good eye for a deal’.

Stephens Scown LLP has β€˜an extremely strong, organised and well-led group of financial remedy practitioners who are all intelligent, knowledgeable and personable’. The team demonstrates β€˜an excellent understanding of the needs of children’. Recent work covers a diverse range of private children law issues, domestic abuse, international abduction and adoption, and high-value divorces, at times involving company issues and large pension considerations. β€˜Star performer’ Liz Allen has β€˜huge intelligence, experience, a great depth of knowledge and good judgment’. She is a trained mediator and collaborative lawyer, regularly advising on high-net-worth financial and business settlements on divorce including pensions and trusts. Andrew Barton is β€˜a fantastically energetic and efficient solicitor with excellent technical and legal knowledge and an ability to think outside the box’. He specialises in financial cases involving international assets, financial provision following a foreign divorce and jurisdiction issues. Truro-based Jo Stone is β€˜clear, practical and has a strong grasp of complex legal issues’. He is supported by β€˜knowledgeable and diligent’ senior associate Sarah Atkinson. Mark Smith and Bill Wilkins are β€˜vastly experienced in care proceedings and skilled in case management’. Wilkins is representing a teenager in care and wardship proceedings brought by the local authority in the High Court which involved liaison with the police and Foreign and Commonwealth office. Cornwall-based Michael Lowry is a key contact for distribution of financial assets on divorce. Associate Sarah Walls is β€˜a tremendously safe pair of hands’ who is β€˜sympathetic to her clients but always gives them good advice’.

TLT’s β€˜strong team’ shows β€˜strong interest in its clients’, and is widely recognised as β€˜one of the market leaders for complex divorce matters and financial remedy proceedings’. It is β€˜outstanding in its standards of realistic advice to the client’. Natalie Drew is β€˜very dynamic and personable’, β€˜knows her cases inside out’ and β€˜provides amazing backup to colleagues whenever required’. She specialises in high-value financial and Schedule 1 Children Act applications involving business, trust and international aspects, regularly in the High Court. The β€˜efficient and intelligent’ associate Sarah Green advises on private law children matters including intractable contact disputes, sexual abuse allegations, fact-finding hearings and permanent removal from jurisdiction cases. The β€˜exceptional and extremely talented’ David Wheeler has a specialist children practice and regularly advises on international cases; he is a High Court advocate, a trained mediator, and a collaborative lawyer. Joanna Newton and Terri Anson-Dean have β€˜excellent client care skills’. β€˜Superb’ associate Mark Sage specialises pension issues and high-net-worth financial cases with international elements.

The Family Law Practice is β€˜a small niche family law firm that demonstrates the merits of specialism’. Established in 2012, it continues to expand with the recent hiring of associates Bessie Hanson and Zoe Sproull who joined from Bobbetts Mackan and Wards Solicitors respectively. The group acts for high-net-worth individuals, often advising on issues relating to commercial assets, pensions, trust assets and offshore assets, and excels in financial remedy work acting for both married and unmarried couples. It also advises on cohabitation agreements, pre and post-nuptial agreements and complex children cases. The group has expertise in mediation and collaborative law, where Ashley Palminteri is a key contact. Sharon Mahmood handles disputes involving children, particularly in cases with an international element while Elizabeth Bruce is a key contact for TOLATA proceedings involving unmarried couples. Consultant Anna Heenan is also recommended.

β€˜Excellent firm’ Ellis Jones Solicitors LLP has β€˜a strong reputation in multijurisdictional cases’ and β€˜specialises in disputes involving children as well as financial remedy cases’. It is β€˜first rate in Bournemouth and the surrounding area’, notably thanks to its β€˜very good understanding of complex matters’ and β€˜fantastic client care skills’. Joint practice heads Deborah Leask and Sean McNally are β€˜extensively experienced family lawyers’, well respected by peers and clients alike. Leask is β€˜careful and conscientious’, and has β€˜a wonderful manner with her clients, while being robust’ and the β€˜eminently experienced’ McNally is β€˜a firm and knowledgeable litigator’. The group is also β€˜excellent at associate level’; β€˜exceptionally bright’ Katie Taft is β€˜one to watch’ and is considered as β€˜a leading solicitor in the field of international children law’. She has β€˜excellent knowledge of international child abduction and leave to remove from the jurisdiction’. Ian Butterworth is recommended for matrimonial finance and cohabitee disputes. The individuals mentioned above are based in Bournemouth office but also work from London office.

Gregg Latchams LLP’s hire of James Myatt from Thrings LLP in January 2017 adds further weight to an already established family platform which is strong across the board, with particular experience in high-value financial litigation with a cross-border element and private law children’s matters. With expertise in litigious as well as collaborative matters, new practice head Myatt handles the full range of high-value matrimonial finance involving substantial assets, business interests and pensions, as well as Children Act matters including leave to remove from the jurisdiction. Victoria Daniell β€˜works hard for her clients while giving sound and realistic advice’. Hannah Petherick and Sarah Comley are also key contacts.

Harrison Clark Rickerbys β€˜provides clients with an excellent service in terms of results achieved and day-to-day support and communication’. The team handles high-value cases which involve assets such as pension funds, family businesses, AIM listed companies and foreign properties. The firm, according to a client, is β€˜unrivalled by any others in the Gloucestershire and Worcestershire area’. Carolyn Green, who is a family arbitrator and collaboratively trained, recently acted in a number of high-net-worth financial disputes. Sensitive Children Act matters specialist Mathew Waddington, who is also collaboratively trained, handles cases heard in the family courts as well as the higher courts. Associate Rebecca Pike has expertise in financial ancillary relief, private children’s law, injunction proceedings, civil partnerships and assisting on cohabitee matters.

Lester Aldridge LLP is β€˜one of the top firms in Bournemouth’, with, according to one client, an overall level of service provided and calibre of team that β€˜remains unrivalled’ and a client base and level of expertise that β€˜is comparable to that of a central London specialist family practice’. It is β€˜a very safe pair of hands when it comes to any financial proceedings, capable of handling the most demanding of high-net-worth clients’. The firm has a growing practice in advising on pre- and post-nuptial agreements, catering to the concentration of wealthy individuals and families on the South Coast. It also has a strong presence in niche children law areas such as surrogacy and other alternative parenting structures. Jane Porter β€˜blends rigour and a strong client-focused approach with a healthy dose of pragmatism’, β€˜a stand-out regional star’ that is β€˜the match of any London-based matrimonial practitioner’. She has strong experience in advising on divorce matters involving family companies and pension schemes, and regularly acts in cohabitation claims and disputes relating to children under Schedule 1 of the Children Act. Porter is ably assisted by Joanne Clarke who is β€˜an extremely competent and forward thinking family lawyer’. Clarke advises on surrogacy law and other related fertility law issues, and is a mediator, as is Davies who focuses on surrogacy law relating to same-sex couples.

VWV (Veale Wasbrough Vizards) mainly advises on high-value financial settlements related to divorce and unmarried family financial disputes. Clients include senior executives, entrepreneurs, landowners, property developers as well as professionals and media stars. The team was bolstered with the hire from Co-operative Legal Services of Samantha Hickman, who has a wealth of experience in acting for clients in matrimonial and cohabitation disputes as well as disputes involving children. She is β€˜an instantly engaging solicitor’ who β€˜responds promptly’, β€˜keeps clients up to date with all relevant information’, and is β€˜straightforward, very personable and easy to work with’. Senior associate Sally Rushton is recommended for handling matrimonial finance matters involving significant businesses and partnerships and inheritance issues. Michelle Rose heads the team.

Barcan+Kirby LLP is one of the main players in family law in Bristol, particularly in the matrimonial finance space. Hanni Pennelegion heads the matrimonial finance team, while family mediator Tom Powles leads the care, domestic violence and family mediation group. Senior associate Alison Whiles has experience in all areas of family law, with particular expertise in financial issues, pensions, pre and post-nuptial agreements and cohabitation agreements. Anna Wilson is a collaborative lawyer who handles both children and financial matters. Other key contacts include department head Jim Gridley, Chris Miller, Kim Joseph and Kirsten Hale.

Foot Anstey advises high-net-worth individuals across the southwest and its Truro office, which is particular strong in divorce, financial remedy proceedings and cohabitee disputes, is a key player in Cornwall. The team also has notable experience in advising clients on alternative dispute resolution methods including mediation and collaborative law. It is increasingly advising farming families and business owners on pre and post-nuptial agreements. Family finance specialist and high-value matrimonial team head Mark Chanter is β€˜a sound negotiator who is also able to remain objective under pressure’. Exeter-based senior associate Jessica Pitt, who β€˜can be relied on to provide good advice at all times’, advises on divorce matters, financial remedy proceedings pre-nuptial agreements. Consultant Nigel Gosden’s representative clients include business individuals, landowners and farmers.

Laceys handles a range of family matters including mediation arising out of cohabitation, matrimonial and child law disputes as well as cases where collaborative law expertise is required. Practice head Jonathan Talbot also acted in a number of private and public children law proceedings, and is supported by Sara Gilak. Gemma Burden is experienced in all areas of family mediation, including divorce and financial settlements, child arrangements and property disputes between cohabitees.

Within the field of complex international child abduction cases, Lyons Davidson is β€˜in the very top band of firms in the UK, holding its own against any firms in London or elsewhere’. β€˜First-rate practitioner’ Philippa Morgan is singled out for her β€˜breath-taking knowledge’, β€˜responsiveness’, β€˜calm and pragmatic approach’ and her ability to β€˜put her knowledge effectively into practice to the benefit of her clients to achieve astonishing results’. She has solid track record in ground breaking cases in all aspects of child abduction work and cases with an international element including wardship, applications to enforce foreign orders and applications to permanently remove children from the jurisdiction. Iona Phillips is recommended for her public law expertise, and forced marriage and domestic abuse work. In 2016, she acted in a number of high-profile care proceedings before the High Court. Associate Rachel Pritchard handles financial remedy cases in a β€˜calm, sensible and rational way’.

Mowbray Woodwards Solicitors is a well-respected Bath-based firm which fields a number of β€˜solid, capable and hardworking family law specialists’. Tracey Smith, who excels in handling matters arising out of separations, β€˜communicates well with clients’ and β€˜gives well organised briefs that are focused on the real issues’. The β€˜efficient, sensible and pragmatic’ Meg Moss is recommended for high-value cases involving assets, businesses, trusts and pensions as well pre-nuptial agreements, and is β€˜very easy to deal with’. Smith and Moss are collaborative law trained. Childcare specialist Daniela Nickols, who was promoted to the partnership in May 2016, has β€˜good strategic and case planning skills’. Her areas of expertise include representing children, or their guardians, on cases involving public and private law proceedings. Jennifer Hambly is noted for her β€˜extraordinary client care skills’.

NGA Law is β€˜highly recommended for surrogacy law’ and also stands out for its expertise in fertility and same-sex family law issues. The team fields respected specialists who are β€˜extremely professional, knowledgeable and friendly’ as well as β€˜sympathetic to patients in an area of work that is very emotive and high pressured’, providing β€˜excellent support to parents on their journey, whether it be in the UK or overseas’. Natalie Gamble splits her time between the Salisbury and London offices, handling surrogacy cases across the UK. She advises on the full range of surrogacy matters including planning, immigration process, wills and family court applications. Through Brilliant Beginnings, its sister organisation, it assists parents on matching with surrogates and managing the US surrogacy process. It also has capabilities in matters relating to divorce, finance and private children disputes, notably where there is an assisted reproduction or LGBT element.

Plymouth-based firm Nash & Co’s family team is led by mediator William Giles and care specialist Helen Bull. The team advises on ultra-high value financial remedy proceedings, public and private law matters and care proceedings, where it represents children as well as parents. It also has notable experience in acting for individuals with farming, military or medical backgrounds on high-value divorce cases, often involving substantial assets, properties and pensions. Associate Peter Ash is another name to note.

Porter Dodson LLP is praised for its β€˜brilliant responses time’ and its β€˜professional and thorough approach’. It acts for a range of high-net-worth individuals, business owners and landowners on relationship breakdown and divorce and related financial remedy proceedings. The key contacts in the Dorchester office are the β€˜knowledgeable, professional and friendly’ Richard Baker and Nicola Scott, whose specialisms include surrogacy, adoption, fertility treatment, donor conception and co-parenting. Taunton-based mediator and collaborative lawyer Julia Perrins is a recommended divorce and matrimonial finance lawyer. In Yeovil, Rebecca Marshall and Meriel Corrigan are β€˜dedicated to achieving the right outcome for children’. β€˜Immensely capable and pragmatic’ associate Cathryn Smith β€˜puts her clients first’ and β€˜always ensures they are given solid advice’.

Sharp Family Law LTD β€˜genuinely has its client’s interests at heart’ and is singled out for its β€˜practical and collaborative approach to family law’. It advises on a broad range of family law issues and court litigation, and has a fine record of acting in alternative dispute resolution proceedings, including collaborative law and mediation. The group has experience in advising on finance matters for families and individuals with international connections, particularly in the US, Europe, the Middle East and Far East. Richard Sharp and Sharon Giles β€˜adopt a sensible, straightforward and collaborative approach to resolving disputes’. Sharp is regarded as β€˜a top divorce law specialist’ and β€˜an excellent mediator’ and Giles is recommended for collaborative divorce proceedings. Clare Webb has β€˜a friendly, practical and logical approach’.

Steele Raymond LLP’s β€˜very competent’ team focuses on financial remedy and Children Act matters, exceling at handling issues involving third parties intervening in financial remedy or cohabitation disputes. The β€˜extremely commercial and pragmatic’ Julie-Ann Harris and associate Lindsay Halliwell are the main contacts. Harris’ strength lies in matrimonial finance proceedings involving difficult corporate structures, offshore trusts and pensions, an area in which she has, according to one client, β€˜unparalleled knowledge and skill’. Halliwell has β€˜a wealth of experience and knowledge in dealing with matters relating to children’, and handles mediation issues.

Stone King LLP’s family law and mediation team has had considerable success in alternative dispute resolution and acting for high-net-worth individuals with business, trust or pension assets in the UK and abroad. The firm’s β€˜vast experience allows it to give advice that is sensitive and empathetic’, resulting in an β€˜exemplary’ level of service. Senior associate Caroline Fell was made practice head. Former practice head and consultant John Brownrigg is β€˜fantastic on collaborative law cases and mediations’, and is a recognised leader in matrimonial finance disputes. Lydia Berry has expertise in representing children in care proceedings including issues of human rights, mental health, learning difficulties, sexual abuse, fabricated or induced illness and non-accidental injury. Jayne Martins focuses on financial issues for married couples and cohabitees.

The Family Law Company by Hartnell Chanot advises on the full spectrum of family issues and is recommended for its work with children as well as its expertise in divorce issues, matrimonial work, and pre as well as post-nuptial agreements. Within the team, which has offices in Exeter and Plymouth, managing director Norman Hartnell is experienced in all forms of family mediation, advising parents, guardians and children in private and public law cases as well as divorce and related financial issues; Jane Chanot specialises in jurisdictional matters relating to children and is a mediator and a collaborative lawyer; Kirsty Thyer has expertise in handling complex cases involving injuries to children and in taking cases up to the Court of Appeal; Stephen Sowden is particularly noted for his experience in advising parents against local authorities, and specialises in contact, residence, adoption and special guardianship order issues; and Rachel Buckley regularly advises members of the armed forces, police and fire service on divorce proceedings and financial disputes.

Thrings LLP provides β€˜a reassuringly thorough standard of representation and a guaranteed level of quality of advice’. The team is β€˜very experienced’ in handling high-net-worth matrimonial finance cases involving substantial assets as well as matters relating to international child abduction under the 1966 Hague Convention, leave to remove from jurisdiction and Section 8 of the Children Act. Team head Fiona Kellow has expertise in both litigated and collaborative matters. Matthew Kellow advises on matrimonial finance and private law children matters, with expertise in matters involving the Court of Protection. Kellow is β€˜sympathetic but always realistic’, β€˜always appearing reassuring and inspiring the client’s loyalty, whilst at the same time being a tough and robust litigator when required’. Associate Victoria Barnett β€˜always thinks of her clients’ and β€˜appreciates the myriad emotions and difficulties that they are going through as well as their involvement in the legal process’. Samantha Newton and Anna Patterson are β€˜exceptionally hard working’. The team lost family law specialist James Myatt who joined Gregg Latchams LLP in January 2017. Individuals mentioned above are based in Bath and Swindon.

Tozers Solicitors LLP has β€˜a wealth of matrimonial finance experience including complex business and trusts issues’ and gives β€˜precise accurate advice at a very competitive price’. Exeter-based Tracy Lambert, a mediator and a collaborative law practitioner, advises on public and private family law matters, high-net-worth matrimonial cases and cohabitation disputes. She recently handled a removal from jurisdiction case and a matrimonial finance matter with property, business and associated tax implications. The highly recommended Tony Wood leads the Newton Abbot family team, which also includes Mark Williams, Sarah Miller and Louise Barber. Exeter-based Caroline Ryan is also recommended.

At Trethowans LLP, team head Andrew Mercer β€˜combines being a great leader and motivator with being a first-class collaborative lawyer’, he is β€˜excellent with clients’ and β€˜has the knowledge and ability to take on complex and high value cases’ including financial and children cases. Mercer is superbly assisted by Dawn Gore whose knowledge of children law is β€˜second to none’. Emma Wilders-Pratt, who has particular expertise in representing military personnel, β€˜combines the perfect balance of strength and determination to get the very best result whilst being able to sensitively advise her clients on how to reach agreement’. Family mediator Juliet Mayhew is a key contact when it comes to advising individuals with companies or farming assets and handling cases involving trusts and inherited wealth.

Willans LLP’s impressive experience includes handling adoption and removal from jurisdiction-related matters, assisting with pre and post-nuptial as well as civil partnership agreements, and advising high-net-worth individuals on financial issues arising from separation and divorce. The β€˜excellent’ James Grigg has a good track record of representing clients before the High Court, Court of Appeal, House of Lords, European Court of Human Rights and Grand Chamber; he is a collaborative family lawyer that β€˜always seeks to achieve the best outcome for his clients’. Senior associate Jonathan Eager is another name to note.

Family law specialist firm Woolley & Co, Solicitors has β€˜comprehensive and specialist knowledge of family law’. The β€˜extremely professional and efficient’ team has a number of offices in the region, including Bournemouth, Bristol, Truro and Wells. Judith Buckland, β€˜a skilled solicitor who is very good at understanding what the client is going through’, handles expat divorce and finance cases involving properties and overseas assets. Susan Harwood is β€˜a highly competent and experienced practitioner’, β€˜giving practical and client-focused advice’. She handles cases with an international element. Recent instructions include acting on an international nullity case and handling leave to remove applications.

BPE Solicitors LLP’s team is now led by Helen Cankett following the departure of Elizabeth Saunders who joined Tanners Solicitors LLP in November 2016. Cankett is a family mediator, advising on pre and post-nuptial agreements and cohabitation agreements. She is also, along with senior associate Jemma Jones, a collaborative lawyer. Jones has experience of advising on private children law proceedings and assisting clients with divorce and separation-related financial matters.

Battens Solicitors Limited’s team is led by senior associate Louise Gidley, who assists high-net-worth individuals on matrimonial disputes and cases involving children. The team is, according to a client, β€˜the go-to firm in the Dorchester area for cases involving allegations of serious injury to children’, and is regularly instructed by children’s guardians in difficult and complex non-accidental injury matters. According to a client, β€˜whether appearing for families or Cafcass, the level of preparation prior to hearings stands out, as does the realistic and careful advice given to clients’. β€˜Fearless advocate’ and associate Gareth Bishop is singled out for his β€˜impeccably calm, personable and effective approach’, β€˜excellent public law children proceedings knowledge’, and β€˜intellectual as well as tenacious approach to all cases’. Hollie Knapman is β€˜committed to the client’s best interests’ and β€˜gives very realistic advice’.

Kitsons LLP specialises in financial proceedings on divorce and cohabitee disputes, and regularly assists with pre and post-nuptial agreements. Practice head Tony Hunt β€˜takes time to understand the client’s position’, and has particular expertise in advising business owners on high-value matrimonial finance cases. Carolyn Croft is another key contact.

Mogers Drewett LLP's team is led by Victoria Strode, who handles a broad range of family matters, and specialises in financial matters involving agricultural and farming disputes. Collaborative practitioner Rebecca Silcock has strong expertise in financial disputes, particularly those involving businesses, pensions and trusts. The team also assists on pre-nuptial and cohabitation agreements and has experience of advising on private children law matters including removal from the jurisdiction, residence and contact issues. Another name to note is Sherborne-based Anne-Marie Hamer, who focuses on surrogacy planning and fertility matters and has experience of assisting on Children Act proceedings with an international element.

Pardoes Solicitors LLP fields β€˜a number of efficient lawyers with excellent personal and organisational performance’ and β€˜excellent attention to detail’, enabling them to provide β€˜a tailor-made service for all clients’. Practice head Maggie Roberts is β€˜a consummate professional and extremely good with clients’. She is recommended for representing children, parents and grandparents on public law child law cases, and is β€˜dedicated to achieve the right outcome for children’. Amy Langford and Amanda Shaw are further names to note. The team is spread across Taunton, Dorchester, Bridgwater, Yeovil and Bridport.

Simpson Millar LLP excels at handling high-profile public law proceedings. Clients appreciate its β€˜quick response times when matters are urgent and the calmness displayed in the critical moments of child protection proceedings’. Greg Moss is β€˜a highly experienced solicitor’ who β€˜offers clear, helpful advice’, and that has β€˜very strong advocacy skills’ as well as β€˜a great eye for the gaps in the case’. John Pratley heads the team, and focuses on financial remedy cases involving unmarried relationships and enforcement of financial orders.

Stokes Partners LLP’s wide-ranging practice handles all aspect of children law and financial remedy work. Key individuals in its Crewkerne-based team include Joanne Butler, who specialises in separation issues affecting children, and David Stokes, who handles financial remedy work involving pensions, business considerations and agricultural issues.

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