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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 > Yorkshire and the Humber > Private client > Family: Leeds and West Yorkshire; North Yorkshire > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Index of tables

  1. Family: Leeds and West Yorkshire; North Yorkshire
  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

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Clarion fields a 'very strong and wide-ranging family team' that is viewed as 'the go-to firm for business people divorcing or with children issues'. The practice, known primarily for handling complex divorce and financial settlement matters for high net worth individuals, also has significant experience dealing with multi-jurisdictional matters as well as complex children issues, surrogacy and post-nuptial and pre-nuptial agreements. The 'highly skilled' Justine Osmotherley heads the practice and attracts praise for being 'utmost professional, whilst remaining sensitive and understanding of the situation'. Legal director Jane Ingleby joined the team from Legal Studio > Leeds and since arriving at the firm has assisted Osmotherley in a cross-border surrogacy arrangement. The team is further strengthened with the arrival of senior associate Petena Carroll who joined the team in 2018 from Atkinson Firth. Associate and 'emerging star' Stephanie Douthwaite is another name to note, and has particular experience dealing with sensitive Children Act proceedings.

Irwin Mitchell has a 'thriving'and 'well-respected' Leeds-based practice that is 'a regional leader for financial arrangements, with a strong national presence'.  Leveraging the firm's strong personal injury department, the group also has a specialism in acting for clients with professional deputies and court of protection involvement as a result of catastrophic injuries. The 'extremely calm head and a hugely experienced lawyer' Teresa Davidson leads the team and is highly regarded for her 'experience and insight into dealing with complex and messy divorces'. Associate and 'star performer' David Lister moved to the practice from the firm's Sheffield office and has been 'pivotal in the strengthening of the team'. Lister has a 'natural flair for children’s  work' and 'punches well above his weight'.  Associate Sarah Buxton recently joined the team in Leeds, having previously headed up the family practice at Walker Foster.

Jones Myers LLP's 'well known and strong family law practice' is strong in handling both complex divorce proceedings and children related matters, including those with international elements.  +Richard Peaker leads the financial remedy team, specialising in the representation of high net worth individuals in divorce proceedings, often involving trusts and corporate structures. Also recommended in this area is the 'confident and competent solicitor' Sarah Dickinson. With 'excellent knowledge' of the area of law, Kate Banerjee heads the children department and is praised for 'more than going the extra mile' for her clients. The practice represents both private individuals and local authorities, and is particularly experienced in dealing with contact disputes, care proceedings, adoption, special guardianship, relocation, educational matters and child abduction. 

According to clients Lake Legal LLP provides the 'highest levels of representation' and is 'up there with the best firms in this practice and geographical area'. The 'stellar' team benefits from 'heavyweight lawyers' offering 'a no-nonsense, practical and highly informed approach'. 'Star' practice head Lyn Ayrton, is regarded as a a 'formidable opponent', and specialises in high value financial settlements. Ayrton has capabilities in cross-border matters and recently handled divorce proceedings involving properties and business interests in the UK, France and Hong Kong. 'Very knowledgeable and thorough' associate Clare Glaister  assisted on this matter.

Mills & Reeve LLP fields a team that provides 'absolutely first-rate service'. Philip Way leads the team, which handles complex financial arrangements in divorce proceedings and in drafting complex pre-marital agreements. The 'thorough, diligent and incredibly knowledgeable' David Salter is very well regarded, with one individual describing him as 'one of the best family lawyers in the world'. Other key names to note are principal associates Ellie Foster and Claudia Gilham. Edward Heaton left the practice to join Stewarts Law LLP.

The divorce and family practice at Stewarts Law LLP acts exclusively in high value disputes and provides 'excellent response times and a good level of knowledge'. Practice head Adrian Clossick is highly regarded and has significant experience in dealing with financial remedy matters, often involving cross-borderelements, business interests and complex corporate structures. The team also handles complex disputes concerning the Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act (TOLATA). Senior associate Edward Heaton joined the team in May 2017 from Mills & Reeve LLP and is recommended for his 'exceptional client care skills'.

Berwins handles the full spectrum of contentious and non-contentious family law matters and is considered to be a 'standout practice in Harrogate'.  Sarah Smith leads the team which 'shines through for its quality and depth' and is particularly well known for its expertise in collaborative law.  The team also frequently represents clients in financial matters involving company interests, foreign assets, pensions and trusts, as well as in drafting pre- and post-nuptial agreements and in children law work. The team is also instructed in cohabitation disputes and TOLATA claims. Key names to note include Stephen Root who benefits from over 30 years of experience and associate  Danielle Day.

The 'excellent' family law practice at Blacks Solicitors LLP handles the full range of matters from divorce settlements, children arrangements, and TOLATA cases to drafting pre-marital, post-marital and cohabitation agreements. Practice heads Ann Robinson and Paul Lancaster ' are both highly impressive, provide sound advice and are capable advocates'. Robinson frequently represents high net worth individuals, particularly in matters involving international property. Lancaster is a qualified collaborative lawyer and family mediator, and is instructed by numerous high profile sports people. Another key name to note it associate Andrew Smith.

Harrogate Family Law is an 'excellent' family law boutique firm. The practice has a specialism for handling complex and high value financial and property claims on divorce, >separation and civil partnership dissolution, often involving businesses, trusts, pensions and international issues financial. Andrew Meehan, who is singled out for being 'highly experienced in dealing with high net worth clients', heads up the practice which also includes Carol Jessop, who recently joined the team from Langleys Solicitors LLP. Other changes to the team include the departures of Ellie Foster and Claudia Gliham to Mills & Reeve LLP.

Lupton Fawcett's 'solid family practice' regularly advises high-net-worth clients on relationship breakdown and handles a wide range of related issues including tax, pensions and the effects on companies and trusts. +Christopher Burns heads the practice and is 'a top-class advocate'; he handles a range of family and financial remedy matters and has a specialism for children's work. Other key names to note are Peter Foskett, who focuses on high-net-worth financial proceedings, and York-based senior associate Nicola Mitchell.  

The family practice at Raworths handles complex and high-value financial remedy matters, often involving business or personal interests and assets abroad. Carmelita Ardren leads the practice and is recommended for high-value prenuptial agreements, divorce proceedings and complex financial matters involving multiple businesses. Zoe Robinson is experienced in mediation and collaborative law. Joanna Lofthouse is singled out as being 'extremely personable, patient and professional' and recently acted on a complex financial matter involving several parties, including two intervenors and dissipated assets. Lofthouse has particular expertise representing individuals with a agricultural, farming business or rural background.

Langleys Solicitors LLP leverages its specialist family unit - which deals with matrimonial finance matters - and its separate team focusing on child matters to offer the full spectrum of family law advice. Practice head Mark Day has expertise advising on divorces, separation and financial remedies, and Sheelagh Coles is highlighted for her child public law knowledge. The practice is bolstered with the arrival of William Kaye from Harrowells Solicitors, where he previously headed the family team. Kaye regularly acts in complex and high value financial remedy proceedings and has particular experience handling matters involving an agricultural aspect.

The 'efficient and strong' family law team at LCF Law has expertise in divorce and separation, pre- and post-nuptial agreements and wealth preservation. Rachel Spencer Robb heads the practice which includes managing partner Simon Stell.

McCormicks family practice, headed up by Stephen Hopwood  handles a range of matters including financial and divorce proceedings, domestic abuse cases and children law matters. The practice is currently instructed by a father in complex Children Act proceedings involving litigation relating to parental alienation syndrome. The practice is also representing a respondent in a financial remedy case valued at £3m, this matter includes consideration of trusts, family businesses and intervening parties on behalf of the company.

Highlighted by one client as 'a top family law practice in the area', Ramsdens Solicitors LLP's team has 'considerable talent' and has been highlighted as 'a stand out firm in the field of child care law'. The team also has considerable experience handling complex financial matters. Experienced mediator Helen Thewlis leads the group 'superbly' and focuses on matters concerning the division of the relationship finances, including cases involving high value and complex assets. Thewlis is ably supported by 'many good quality family practitioners' including 'highly effective advocate' and head of childcare Joanne Coen, and  Kate Mcnally who is noted for her childcare expertise.

The 'outstanding' family and matrimonial group at Ridley & Hall is highlighted for providing 'intelligent advice' that is 'commercially viable and fair value for money'. The practice regularly represents clients in matters of financial remedy, children law and domestic violence. The team has been strengthened with the additions of Emma Pearmaine in 2017 and the 'extremely talented' Melanie Webb in 2018, both from Simpson Millar LLP. Pearmaine leads the team, which includes the extremely professional Vicky Medd who handles a mix of financial and children cases, offering 'sound advice, patience, understanding and compassion'. Senior partner Nigel Priestly singled out for childcare matters.

Offering 'an excellent professional service' Simpson Millar LLP's family team have capabilities in divorce and financial proceedings, domestic violence injunctions. The practice is also considered 'strong dealing with complex matters on behalf of parents and children', particularly in public law children cases. Alison Jane Auty heads up the group and focuses on divorce, complex financial remedy cases, enforcement of financial orders and private law children cases. Auty is ably supported by Emma Hopkins - who regularly acts for clients in high value financial matters - as well as Deborah Hardy and the 'knowledgeable' Clare Linden who both have particular expertise in care and children work. There have been some changes to the practice including the departures of Peter Morris  to Shoosmiths LLP and Emma Pearmaine to Ridley & Hall.

Stowe Family Law LLP's'excellent and dynamic' family practice has four offices within Yorkshire 'with truly accessible and friendly lawyers'. With 'a well-deserved reputation for being fearless in the face of the most difficult of cases', the practice has considerable expertise in dealing with complex matrimonial matters including those involving trusts and businesses and foreign assets. The 'extremely knowledgeable and highly capable' group also includes specialist departments in international family law and children’s law. In the Leeds office, senior partner Julian Hawkhead (who has an 'admirable combination of having a great brain with street wisdom to match') and Rachel Roberts (who is considered 'a breath of fresh air with a realistic, no-nonsense appraisal of cases and a great client manner')  head the team. David Millburn ('a great tactition') leads in the Harrogate office. Another key name to note is 'splendid lawyer' Angela Sussens who attracts praise for 'her friendly yet realistic approach'. Lucy Phipps joined Harrowells Solicitors.

A 'niche family practice with solid expertise', Consilia Legal is led by the 'significant young talent' Laura Clapton. Clapton focuses on matrimonial finance cases and complex Children Act proceedings, as well as TLATA cases. Former director Sally Clark left the practice to form Clark Family Law.

The family law practice at Emsleys Solicitors Limited is headed up by Gabbie Clasper who is regularly instructed to deal with complex financial relief and divorce cases. The team additionally has experience handling matters with cross border elements. Laura Mackfall has been considered 'beyond reproach' and focuses her time predominantly on child law work.

The 'brilliant' family team at Harrowells Solicitors handles complex separation matters, often involving international assets and undisclosed pensions. It is also experienced advising on applications for variation of financial remedies years following divorce. The practice is headed up by Lucy Phipps, who joined from Stowe Family Law LLP and attracts praise for her 'excellent client care' Former practice head William Kaye left to firm to join Langleys Solicitors LLP.

Paradigm Family Law LLP's niche practice, established in 2014 by managing partners James Thornton and Frank Arndt, is regularly instructed in complex divorce, separation and financial proceedings. Thornton is experienced advising agriculture-related family issues and those involving inherited wealth, and frequently handles pre and post nuptial agreements. Arndt has particular expertise advising on cross-border matters, including financial remedy cases with offshore business interests and trust structures.

The substantial family and child care team at Switalskis Solicitors has several offices throughout West Yorkshire and frequently handles complex and sensitive child law matters. Razia Jogi, based in the Bradford office, has particular expertise handling domestic violence and private law children matters and  jointly heads the family team alongside Wakefield-based Clare Peckett. Peckett specialises in financial matters, cohabitation and pre-marriage advice. The team also includes a child care focused team which frequently acts for individuals in public law children, adoption act, and care proceedings. The group has advised on matters involving aspects of immigration law, representing clients in proceedings involving children where parents and/or other family members are abroad.

Ward Hadaway's 'highly capable' family team is led by Newcastle-based Jonathan Flower and includes the well-regarded Andrea Dyer in Leeds. Dyer 'fights her corner most effectively and with realism' and handles a full spectrum of matters from complex financial settlements and post-nuptial agreements to cohabitation disputes and children issues. Nicola Hunter is another key name to note in this area.

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