Family in East Anglia

Birketts LLP

Birketts LLP has ‘an empathetic and hardworking team across all of its offices. The Ipswich office is home to practice head Katie Beaven (who is ‘great with clients and good with case strategy') and legal directors Juliet Harvey, who is ‘dynamic and client-focused' and serves as the national chair of Resolution, and Ivana Radovic, who stands out for financial and children matters. ‘Patient and thoughtful' partner Sarah Overy is the key practitioner in Cambridge, where legal director Rachel Frost-Smith frequently advises high-net-worth individuals with offshore assets, entrepreneurs, and business owners. Newly promoted partner Denise Findlay, legal director Deborah Lloyd, and senior associate Lisa Cornish are the heart of the Norwich team.

Practice head(s):

Katie Beaven

Other key lawyers:

Juliet Harvey; Sarah Overy; Rachel Frost-Smith; Deborah Lloyd; Denise Findlay; Lisa Cornish; Ivana Radovic; Sarina Bailey


‘They have a big team of family lawyers with a range of experiences, meaning there is advice available at all levels for cases of simplicity or complexity and in between so clients are not paying for the wrong level of advice. Again, because it is such a big team, they handle money, children and can deal with the lot rather than only having limited expertise in one area.’

‘Sarah Overy is a partner of the highest standing. She has been doing the job for years and so has loads of experience. She is also patient and thoughtful which leads to clever and effective strategies being put in place. Her negotiation skills are spot on and she knows when to run points and when to jettison bad ones. Her clients really benefit from her approach.’

‘They have good strength and depth over a number of offices. Their legal knowledge is good and strong. People skills are excellent. Empathetic and hardworking team who are well managed.’

‘Katie Beaven is beginning to make her mark. Great with clients, good case strategy and good at managing people. Juliet Harvey is dynamic and client-focused. Lisa Cornish is quietly excellent; she doesn’t shout about her skills enough but leaves no stone unturned. Sarina Bailey is committed to clients, working very hard in the domestic abuse sphere and she is really loved by clients.’

‘The quality of this team is fantastic. Great individuals all working together for the good of their clients.’

‘The openness, willingness to engage with other professionals and their can-do attitude make this team great. Special mention to Katie Beaven, Juliet Harvey and Ivana Radovic as standout lawyers.’

‘The team can be trusted to work constructively with their opposition. They’re formidable, but sensible.’

‘Rachel Frost-Smith is a delight to work opposite. You know she’ll ‘make you work’ but she plays with a straight bat and you can pick up the phone and have a sensible discussion with her. Sarah Overy is reliable for swift and efficient MIAMS.’

Cambridge Family Law Practice

Cambridge Family Law Practice is a boutique firm with six partners who exhibit ‘refreshingly collegiate approach with deep experience of family law’. Clients remark upon the ‘care, empathy and honesty’ shown by the partners. ‘The intelligence and humour which he brought to our meetings made a huge difference’, said one client of Jeremy Ford, whose practice includes surrogacy law, child abduction, and the medical treatment of children disputes. Tricia Ashton is ‘excellent both in the strategy phase and its implementation’. Simon Bethel has ‘a pragmatic approach and an ability to cut to the nub of the issue‘. Adam Moghadas, Gail Marchant-Daisley, and up-and-coming partner Kathryn Evans, who ‘combines detailed and practical knowledge of relevant case law with genuine compassion for her clients‘, are also highly recommended.

Other key lawyers:

Simon Bethel; Tricia Ashton; Adam Moghadas; Jeremy Ford; Gail Marchant-Daisley; Kathryn Evans


‘Refreshingly collegiate approach with deep experience of family law. Clear, transparent approach to billing that builds confidence between client and lawyer.’

‘Kathryn Evans brings a detailed and practical knowledge of relevant case law, which she combines with a genuine compassion for her clients and their issues.’

‘I was recommended to Cambridge Family Law by a previous client and I have been delighted by the level of care, empathy and honesty they have shown me regarding my situation. I feel they have always been totally upfront and open about all aspects of my case.’

‘Tricia Ashton is a superb lawyer. She is excellent both in the strategy phase and its implementation. Her writing skills are also excellent, and she is very fast, working around the clock. At the same time, she is empathic, appreciating the importance of the deeply personal matters that are the centre of a case, but this does not blur her vision of what needs to be done and her ability to give frank advice.’

‘Simon Bethel has supported and advised me during a particularly long and protracted family dispute. I appreciate his pragmatic approach and his ability to cut to the nub of the issue in order to achieve resolution in what has proved to be a high-conflict dispute. Throughout this time, he has given good support, been readily available, easy to interact with, and provided clarity around the various options available and the associated pros and cons.’

‘Jeremy Ford was very approachable, reassuring but realistic, and very supportive. With a high level of professionalism, mixed with humour and a down-to-earth manner, Jeremy was the right person to act for us and win our landmark case. We would highly recommend Jeremy and CFLP to anyone with a family law case to proceed and are hugely grateful for everything they did for us.’

‘Kathryn Evans has been very approachable, has explained my options thoroughly, and has guided me through every step of my divorce. I feel she has given me realistic expectations and has taken the time to listen to my concerns and to understand the complexity of my particular family dynamic.’

‘We were both extremely impressed with Jeremy Ford in particular. The intelligence and humour which he brought to our meetings made a huge difference to me and my husband, and we were able to proceed in a way which we had imagined impossible.’

Work highlights

  • Represented a same-sex couple in relation to the failure of their local registrar to record the non-biological mother on the child’s birth certificate.
  • Representing a litigation friend of a child born to a man (who was recognised as a woman at the time of his own birth) in relation to the recording of his father as ‘mother’ on the child’s birth certificate.

FM Family Law

FM Family Law, which climbs the ranking, was established 12 years ago and has expanded significantly since then. It now boasts nine lawyers, making it the largest niche family law practice in East Anglia, and has opened a new office in Newmarket to provide local services in Suffolk, as well as in Cambridge and Norwich. ‘The practice is extremely efficient, thorough and professional‘, remarks one client. The lead partner in Cambridge and Newmarket is Fiona McLeman. In Norwich, Sue Bailey leads the team, which includes associates Laura Clay-Harris and ‘efficient, friendly and kind’ Karen Fox. Their work encompasses cases involving assets located overseas, high-net-worth individuals, complex tax considerations, trusts, and business interests.

Practice head(s):

Fiona McLeman; Sue Bailey

Other key lawyers:

Laura Clay-Harris; Karen Fox; Carla Morphett; Kerry Read; Laura Tuddenham


‘FM Family Law promotes networking and collaboration in the local area. FM family law also supports diversity with events such as ‘Women in Law’.’

‘Carla Morphett is a true professional. She is extremely bright and organised. Carla is empathetic with clients and firm with opponents.’

‘FM Family Law are specialists in Family Law so their expertise is second-to-none. My cases threw up a number of challenges, but it was helpful to know that my lawyer was able to consult her team for further opinions. Almost all dialogue was via email which enabled me to review and re-review advice given.’

‘Fiona McLeman helped me through my very challenging divorce and child arrangement court hearings. My ex-husband threw curveballs at every stage, but Fiona helped me navigate this. At times I was exhausted, traumatised, and my stamina was waning, but Fiona helped keep my focus on what the court would deem to be important.’

‘Karen Fox was representing me through my court case. Over the 2 years, Karen always made me feel comfortable and safe. Karen created a safe environment where I could confidently state what had happened and the facts of it. Karen went above and beyond to present me with all the options that were available and the impact my choice may have. I felt like Karen always made sure I fully understood the decision I was undertaking which I am very grateful for.’

‘I had a very positive experience with FM Law. They were a very friendly, approachable and kind team. They explained everything well, including pricing, and I felt they went above and beyond with advice as I was incredibly naive with regards to my situation.’

‘Fiona McLeman was an incredible professional support to me. She explained everything in great detail and at no point did I feel that I was asking irrelevant or stupid questions. She was kind and I would highly recommend the company.’

‘The staff at FM family law were always supportive and understanding. Not at any point was I made to feel like my questions or emotions were invalid. There was always someone to answer a the phone and communication was always prompt. The team was also very helpful in providing suggestions of other barristers or law companies if I needed anyother services.

Mills & Reeve LLP

The members of the family law practice at Mills & Reeve LLP are praised as ‘trusted and efficient advisors'. Trained arbitrator, collaborative lawyer, and mediator Nick Stone is the lead partner in Norwich and head of the firm-wide practice. He frequently handles financial remedy cases, particularly in the agricultural and family business sectors. Also in Norwich, ‘fast, efficient, clear' principal associate Frances Bailey advises owner-managed businesses on family law and wealth protection, and senior associate and Naomi Shelton sits on the local resolution committee. The ‘tenacious and compassionate' Caitlin Jenkins leads the Cambridge family law group, in which principal associates Hannah Wilson and Rachel Brand and senior associate Ania Tarasiewicz play key roles.

Practice head(s):

Caitlin Jenkins; Nick Stone

Other key lawyers:

Frances Bailey; Naomi Shelton; Ania Tarasiewicz; Hannah Wilson; Rachel Brand; Emily Elvin-Poole; James Prothero


‘I had a complex divorce which the practice handled superbly. Recently, I remarried and required a prenuptial agreement which needed to apply in both Germany and the UK – the practice advised well and efficiently. The practice is excellent and has trusted and efficient advisors.’

‘Nick Stone and Frances Bailey are outstanding and I have recommended them to friends and colleagues on many occasions. Frances is fast, efficient, and clear; I could not have asked for more.’

‘I had a very pleasant experience from the team, and my main solicitor was very supportive, caring and helpful. I could not have wished for a better person to get me through my divorce; she was always informing me of each step, and advising me on the next plan of action that needed to be done either my telephone or email.’

‘Very informative, always made sure I was okay, and kept me updated with any new movement of the divorce and made sure what I needed was always met where possible. Emily Elvin-Poole was my solicitor and she was amazing, new exactly what I had to do with me having control with making the divorce, and helped me keep my home.’

‘Caitlin Jenkins and her team made me feel at ease with the whole divorce process. From start to finish they were articulate, explanatory, friendly, precise, and above all, professional and compassionate. I would highly recommend the family practice department at Mills & Reeve to anyone.’

‘Caitlin Jenkins is phenomenal at her job. A highly experienced, professional, tenacious, compassionate and easy to understand team. I give full credit to her for getting me where I wished to be. I cannot thank her enough.’

‘The team in East Anglia work well together in their Norwich office and also with complimentary teams in Norwich and then with the wider family teams across the country.’

‘Frances Bailey is extremely bright and hardworking. This is combined with excellent people skills. She carries out good and careful analysis of the law, the facts and the strategy in a case and is able to explain that to her clients.’

Mishcon de Reya LLP

Mishcon de Reya LLP in Cambridge has expanded the national reach of its family law practice since its recent merger with a London firm, and frequently advises high-net-worth individuals on matters involving assets in excess of £10m. The firm has ‘a very collaborative and cohesive team with extremely strong technical knowledge and client care skills'. Jackie Wells leads the entrepreneurial wealth and family teams while managing associate Rachel Bevan provides clients with a ‘faultless service'. Senior counsel Alexandra Gooden is ‘confident and knowledgeable, and has the experience to ensure clients get the best possible outcome'.

Practice head(s):

Jackie Wells

Other key lawyers:

Rachel Bevan; Alexandra Gooden


‘I was so impressed with the way Jackie and her team steered me through that terrible time I was going through and I hold her in very high esteem. Nothing was too much trouble, they always kept me up-to-date with proceedings. I value and trust them on the advice I was given.’

‘The Taylor Vinters team was very responsive and dealt with my situation very sensitively throughout the two years I was dealing with my complicated divorce. I was reassured by their level of knowledge and breadth of experience in dealing with similar cases.’

‘Dr Alexandra Gooden was amazing in her handling of my case. She was confident and knowledgeable and had the experience required to ensure that I had the best possible outcome. Her sensitive approach was truly appreciated at a moment of significant pain and upheaval for my family. I have subsequently recommended her to two other friends and work colleagues who also need assistance with their divorces.’

‘Taylor Vinters were professional and responsive throughout my dealings with them. They operate with a high degree of integrity and were both commercial and empathetic in their dealings on a sensitive family matter.’

‘Rachel Bevan really got to grips with what we were trying to achieve and made the whole process as painless as possible. Whilst I’m sure she had many demands on her day we always received a faultless service and we trusted Rachel implicitly.’

‘Whilst a small team, it is very collaborative and cohesive with extremely strong technical knowledge and client care skills. The individual members of the team are extremely committed to their clients, with huge energy and great judgement. They are each sensitive to their client’s individual needs, but are determined and robust when needed to get the matters resolved.’

‘Jackie Wells is a great leader. A strong presence with good communication skills. Alexandra Gooden is steely and forthright with great judgement and client care. She has superb technical knowledge. Rachel Bevan is a standout associate and displays experience beyond her years. Very committed and again superb client care. Very much a team player.’

‘Alexandra Gooden is easy to deal with, pragmatic, and outcome focussed, and Rachel Bevan contributes a lot to the local community.’

Ashtons Legal

The family law practice at Ashtons Legal is ‘proactive, reliable and knowledgeable'. The firm has extensive coverage across East Anglia thanks to practice head Mary Pearce, who is an ‘expert at managing and running complex money cases', and associate Katy Rush in Ipswich, senior associate Sameena Manzar (who has ‘exceptional client skills that encourage clients to make difficult litigation manageable and successful'), and ‘dedicated and tenacious‘ associate Joanna Cotgrove in Cambridge, and associate Victoria Cole in Bury St Edmunds. Some niche international war crimes work is undertaken by Stephen Williams in Ipswich.

Practice head(s):

Mary Pearce

Other key lawyers:

Stephen Williams; Katy Rush; Victoria Cole; Joanna Cotgrove; Sameena Manzar


‘Very friendly but at the same time very professional.’

‘I feel there is individualism. There are different specialists within the firm , and so specialist support could be obtained when required.’

‘Our solicitor is professional and yet personal. I get the feeling she has an understanding of my concerns and frustrations.’

‘The family team at Ashtons Legal is proactive, reliable and knowledgeable. They work for a range of clients and always provide high-quality instructions.’

‘Joanna Cotgrove is a leader in the Cambridge Family Law Community. She is dedicated and tenacious in relation to her client’s needs and always available when they need her. She comes up with unique solutions to problems and really thinks about the best interests of those she is representing whilst reaching a practical and sensible conclusion. Sameena Manzar is equally a very skilled lawyer who also fights hard for her clients.’

‘Sameena Manzar has exceptional client skills that encourage and support a client to make difficult litigation manageable and successful.’

‘Mary Pearce is as experienced as she is expert at managing and running complex money cases, and her clear advice is given in a sympathetic and understanding way.’

‘The team is very personable and adopt a hands on approach. They are specialists and work in a collaborative manner. Their focus is always on the client and the service they provide to them.’

Barr Ellison LLP

I cannot praise the company highly enough‘, says one client of Barr Ellison LLP in Cambridge, where lead partner Sarah Martin and associate Karen Anker are ‘friendly, understanding, competent, and get the job done to the best possible result'. The ‘calm, measured and clearly experienced' Anker is a specialist family and wealth protection lawyer who frequently handles mid-range financial claims on divorce. The ‘experienced, knowledgeable and thoroughly professional' Martin acts for numerous high-net-worth individuals, academics, and entrepreneurs.

Practice head(s):

Sarah Martin

Other key lawyers:

Karen Anker


‘I cannot praise the company highly enough. Their staff are friendly, understanding, competent, and get the job done to the best possible result. I have recommended Barr Ellison on numerous occasions as they sort the case out – even with a single letter – while the client’s solicitor is dawdling behind unable to get a conclusion.’

‘Karen Anker was amazing. Kind, friendly, and dealt with a difficult case that she hadn’t come across before. Her guidance was excellent and she got on with the case and had it sorted. I highly recommend her and her team.’

‘Sarah Martin is a very experienced, knowledgeable and thoroughly professional solicitor who inspires confidence. She is very aware of the cost of proceedings and endeavours to keep costs within her estimates.’

‘Karen Anker at Barr Ellison made every meeting and contact easy to understand and by being honest and thoughtful at every step, guided me to a position where I was prepared for the outcome and where I felt completely supported with clear expertise and experience, but also in a way that didn’t promise anything that couldn’t be achieved.’

‘Karen Anker is not only highly skilled and experienced, but she isn’t afraid to say when she disagrees, and more importantly, she explains why in a calm, measured and clearly experienced way. She made every effort to be the complete voice of reason and to help me focus on the important aspects of the case without making me feel like my opinion wasn’t being heard.’

‘Amazing support, advice and care on all requirements. Karen Anker was helpful and very patient through my difficult time and sensitive matters.’

‘The practice is very well organised and always prompt to respond. It adapted quickly and efficiently to cope with the additional technological challenges of Covid-19 and lockdown.’

‘Sarah Martin was very good at advising me on the issues and practicalities of my divorce settlement.’

Buckles Solicitors LLP

The Peterborough office of Buckles Solicitors LLP is a key hub for the firm-wide family law practice, which is ‘very approachable, non-intimidating and crystal clear'. Lead partner Lyn Brisley ‘has great judgement and a winning combination of empathy and professionalism'. Vastly experienced partner Roger Gurney is a skilled mediator and well-known for his ‘compassionate attitude, timely responses and considered approach‘. Associates Jane Tatlock and Helen Saggers are also recommended members of the group. The firm’s work encompasses high-value financial remedy cases, sensitive Children Act and guardian matters, and cross-jurisdictional issues.

Practice head(s):

Lyn Brisley

Other key lawyers:

Roger Gurney; Jane Tatlock; Helen Saggers; Sellina Kauser


‘Very approachable, non-intimidating and crystal clear in explaining how the process will work and the time it might take. Booking and moving meetings has been easy, as has settling invoices. From the receptionist through to the partner handling our case, the Buckles team couldn’t have been more helpful, polite and friendly.’

‘Our divorce mediation is being handled by Roger Gurney who is highly professional, kind and considerate. I feel we are in experienced hands who will point us towards a mutually satisfactory outcome.’

‘The team is generous with its time in terms of initial consultations and explaining the collaborative law process and its benefits – it does not indulge in a ‘hard sell’ approach at all.’

Gotelee Solicitors

Gotelee Solicitors in Ipswich increasingly acts for high-net-worth individuals, and it has a diverse client base through its network of offices in Felixstowe, Framlingham, Hadleigh, and Woodbridge. Practice head Demelza Butler frequently handles high-value matrimonial matters, including those involving assets in excess of £10m. Legal director and highly regarded advocate John Simpson and legal executive Samantha Markham, who ‘clearly and concisely points out what clients are able to achieve', play key roles in the practice.

Practice head(s):

Demelza Butler

Other key lawyers:

John Simpson; Samantha Markham


‘The strengths of Gotelee Solicitors is that they have a collection of different solicitors that specialise in certain areas of the law. That way, a family law solicitor knows more about family law than a general solicitor, and should the need arise for a different area of law, they bring in the expertise of a different member of the team.’

‘I was impressed that before agreeing to the firm undertaking the legal work, they were able to give what turned out to be an accurate estimate cost, and all monthly invoices have been sent on time.’

‘Samantha Markham is very professional, and has gone above and beyond my expectations. Samantha clearly and concisely points out what I am able to achieve, and more importantly has a plan, rather than being reactionary.’

Greene & Greene

The family law practice at Greene & Greene in Bury St Edmunds is ‘small but industrious, effective, and provides a very high-quality service‘. Practice head Stuart Hughes is ‘extremely bright but very down to earth', and he is supported by key partner Melanie Pilmer, who handles cross-jurisdictional issues, particularly involving Scotland. ‘Cool, calm and collected' associate and Resolution member Emma Alfieri ‘provides sensible, insightful and helpful advice‘. The firm handles national as well as regional family work, including high-value matters involving assets in excess of £30m.

Practice head(s):

Stuart Hughes

Other key lawyers:

Melanie Pilmer; Emma Alfieri


‘The capabilities of every member of the team that I encountered inspired confidence.’

‘Stuart Hughes’ general level of command was most impressive.’

‘Stuart Hughes is phenomenal. He is experienced, bright, practical, and no-nonsense; you cannot ask for a better family lawyer. Emma Alfieri is also a star.’

‘I am regularly instructed by Greene and Greene family department. Their family team is small but industrious, effective, and provide a very high-quality service to their clients. They are always very knowledgeable about their client’s cases, and every step is taken with a focus on achieving the best outcome in the most proportionate way.’

‘Stuart Hughes is extremely bright but very down to earth and a very effective communicator and clients really respond to him. He provides very thoughtful advice to clients, guiding them in the most effective and proportionate way through proceedings.’

‘They have a breadth in the team, which provides for a range of client’s requirements. This means that they can tailor their approach to the individual clients’ needs and wishes. Melanie Pilmer is particularly progressing their offering of out of court solutions.’

‘Emma Alfieri is a a very valuable addition to the Greene & Greene family team. She provides sensible, insightful and helpful advice. She is extremely efficient and client focussed, and is a very reassuring presence at court.’

‘I consider that they are a very well organised and hardworking firm.’

Hatch Brenner LLP

Hatch Brenner LLP climbs the ranking this year, having continued to build its presence in Norwich since hiring a team from Howes Percival LLP in 2021. Practice head Amy Walpole ‘has the ability to cut through complex matters to the key issues in dispute' and senior solicitor Sophie Key ‘provides outstanding guidance and advice to navigate to the end goal'. The firm frequently handles matrimonial matters involving multimillion-pound assets. It has two distinct teams: the private family group for divorce, financial, and children matters, and the public family group for PLO cases, care proceedings, and Special Guardianship matters.

Practice head(s):

Amy Walpole

Other key lawyers:

Sophie Key


‘Efficient and accurate billing.’

‘Sophie Key has been outstanding throughout the whole divorce process, providing guidance and advice to navigate to the end goal.’

‘Amy Walpole now heads up a strong team at Hatch Brenner. Amy has the ability to cut through complex matters to the key issues in dispute.’

Hunt & Coombs LLP

The family practice at Hunt & Coombs LLP is ‘empathetic and good at listening to clients, and it puts the client at the heart of the issue'. Partner Hannah Byatt in St Neots took over leadership of the practice from Farhana Butt in Peterborough in 2023, though Butt remains an active fee earner. In Peterborough, consultants Denis White (who is ‘a legend in the field') and Edward Owen (who is ‘the calm port in a storm') remain closely involved in family law matters. The firm has 13 specialist family lawyers and frequently handles cases with multimillion-pound assets.

Practice head(s):

Hannah Byatt; Farhana Butt

Other key lawyers:

Denis White; Katie Copsey; Rachael Bridges


‘The team are proactive in signposting their clients to alternative dispute resolution resources alongside their legal services, offering a holistic approach to family matters. This I feel puts the client at the heart of the issue and it reduces the cost for the client significantly. They are empathetic and good at listening to their clients and enabling them to feel supported during what is a a challenging journey. The team are keen to learn and adopt new approaches within the family arena.’

‘I value the integrity and professionalism of the team . They provide clients with information relevant to the layperson in a way they can understand rather than legal terms which they may find difficult to process. Hannah Byatt, Farhana Butt, and Katie Copsey are a pleasure to be associated with and I have the utmost respect for them and the role they play in the family law arena.’

‘Rachael Bridges works incredibly hard and truly goes above and beyond in terms of client care. Her advice is also spot on and she is not afraid to give clients advice that they might find difficult to hear’

‘Particularly strong in public law. Denis White is a legend in the field.’

‘Denis White is incredibly knowledgeable in public children law, including in some quite niche areas.’

‘The family team is efficient and knowledgeable. As counsel, they always respond to my queries quickly and helpfully.’

‘Rachael Bridges is excellent and gives easy-to-follow advice.’

‘Hunt & Coombs is a leader in family law in Peterborough and the surrounding areas. Their work standards are extremely high and the client care is reliable and consistent.’

Prettys Solicitors LLP

Prettys Solicitors LLP joins the ranking this year and is ‘a cut above the rest', according to clients. ‘They were interested, creative, consultative, and did not take a cookie-cutter approach to their work', say clients of head of personal law Georgie Hall and head of family Georgina Rayment. The firm frequently handles complex financial cases, some involving international aspects, whether assets are modest or in the multimillion-pound range, and is also adept in matters involving children. Senior associate Victoria Mayhew is one of the few accredited mediators in the region.

Practice head(s):

Georgie Hall; Georgina Rayment

Other key lawyers:

Victoria Mayhew


‘We hoped that we would never have to go to family court but when all other options had been extinguished, my wife and I spent many weeks trying to find the right solicitor. Prettys was a cut above the rest. They were interested, creative, consultative, clear with their billing and you could tell from the very first call that they did not take a cookie-cutter approach to their work. I can’t recommend them highly enough.’

‘Georgie Hall is a standout lawyer. She has gone above and beyond for us, she is incredibly smart, very calm and strategic and has a wealth of experience. The first time I spoke to Georgie on the phone after meeting five or six lawyers in person, it was a real eureka moment that had we found someone who was both smart and who actually cared and was prepared to immerse herself in this case. We’ve found this throughout our engagement with her.’

‘Georgina Rayment is very efficient and determined and supportive. I look forward to seeing how she will represent me in court but I have every confidence in her.’

‘Victoria Mayhew is very understanding and reassuring.’

‘Georgie Hall is empathetic and helped us see the bigger picture in the times where we were struggling to do so. She has guided us through the points where it felt like all was against us, and calmly moved the pendulum back our way through careful thought and strategy. Sometimes it was very hard and she was sensitive to that.’

‘Georgie Hall listened and explained and held our hands through all of it. We spoke to many people who tried to tell us to not use a solicitor and just spend money on a barrister. We are absolutely clear that we would never have been able to get through the last few years without Georgie. She has been indispensable. We would not be where we currently are without Georgie and the rest of Prettys.’

‘Georgie Hall goes above and beyond to support her clients. She shows compassion and empathy, whilst also remaining pragmatic and focussed on the goal. She takes the time to explain complex matters to ensure the client understands the situation, and is supportive of the clients position whilst also offering realistic advice.’

‘The whole family team is amazing and care about their clients very much.’


Vardags remains active in high-value matters despite the departure of lead partner Silvia Devecchi to Mishcon de Reya LLP in 2023. The practice now has two associates and a graduate trainee in Cambridge, and they work closely with the London office to handle complex matters for high-net-worth individuals. Mario Fiorito, who is dual-qualified in English and Italian law, and the ‘tenacious, detail-orientated‘ Rebecca Fenner are the main contacts. The practitioners form ‘a great team that is diligent, technically sound and warm and friendly‘. The firm frequently handles cases involving assets in the £3-£20m range and above.

Other key lawyers:

Mario Fiorito; Rebecca Fenner


‘Great team who is diligent, technically sound and warm and friendly – you want them in your corner!’

‘One of the attributes I really valued was how experienced the team were, because on multiple occasions they were able to draw on their previous experience and guide me as to how certain scenarios could pan out. They presented me with extremely competent barristers and worked well with them in preparing instructions, organising conferences and providing input as to the best arguments to put forward on position papers, oral hearings, etc.’

‘Vardags is an incredibly efficient practice with access to resources on demand that allow it to provide a holistic service. The employee efficiency is mind-blowing; time efficiency, accuracy, kindness, and respect. Being able to conduct a case fully online with all the technologies to help the process.’

‘Rebecca Fenner is an effective and tenacious adovcate who goes the extra mile for her clients.’

‘Their advice was prompt, accommodating of circumstances, and factual on risk versus benefit. All parties working on the case were informed of information or updates at all times and no discrepancies in terms of senior or junior employees, all very capable and discerning.’

‘Maria Fiorito gave me such peace of mind during an exceptionally stressful time. She just had my back, supported me throughout, and her knowledge and skill were just outstanding.’

‘Maria Fiorito’s kindness, support, respect, and professionalism helped give me such a boost; not a day that I felt overwhelmed or unsupported. She always went the extra mile and their confidence gave such strength. It has been inspirational to work with her – professionalism with such grace!’

‘The team is of excellent quality and able to work on difficult cases which may involve foreign jurisdictions or children.’

Bates Wells & Braithwaite

Bates Wells & Braithwaite in Ipswich joins the ranking, having developed a family practice with a strong client base in Suffolk. The firm is known for ‘excellent, friendly and down-to-earth service’ for clients in matrimonial, public and private law children matters, and family mediation. Practice head Denise Head is ‘a seasoned and passionate advocate’. ‘His approach is one of complete diligence and effectiveness‘, say clients of partner Scott Emsden. In team news, consultant Nicky Coates, a former head of family law at Ellisons Solicitors, has come out of retirement to join the practice.

Practice head(s):

Denise Head

Other key lawyers:

Scott Emsden; Nicky Coates


‘Excellent, friendly and down-to-earth service to clients in all ways. Easy to contact and receive fast responses from all staff with messages always passed on. Client finance is regularly updated and account details are sent out, with sensitive understanding of personal financial circumstances.’

‘Denise Head was exceptional in every way in obtaining a divorce for me. She alway listened and fully advised through a very difficult divorce process, with understanding and kindness of my individual situation. Never judgmental, but always honest and positive.’

‘Well-established and experienced. Used to dealing with the whole range of clients including high-net-worth individuals. Denise Head has a well-established reputation in dealing with child care cases.’


Fosters has a family law practice spanning across Norfolk with its head office in Norwich. The team is ‘always very helpful and patient, and responds very quickly to any queries‘. Lucy Simpson, a member of the Children Panel of Specialist Solicitors, leads the practice, which is also home to Clare Sharpe, who deals with complex private and public law children matters. The firm frequently advises high-net-worth individuals on divorce and ancillary relief claims, and handles both private and public law children disputes.

Practice head(s):

Lucy Simpson

Other key lawyers:

Clare Sharpe; Ian McClay


‘Always very helpful and patient. Responds very quickly to any queries.’

‘Very understanding and listens well.’

‘Fosters has a very long and distinguished history with an embedded place in the psyche of Norfolk and Suffolk. It is a trusted local brand.’

Fraser Dawbarns

Fraser Dawbarns has a prominent family law practice that serves West Norfolk and East Cambridgeshire. The team frequently handles high-value divorce and pre-nuptial agreements, complex children matters including guardianship orders, cohabitation agreements, and TOLATA applications. ‘Approachable and accessible‘ practice head and senior partner Deborah Allen in King’s Lynn focuses exclusively on the financial aspects of marriage and relationship breakdowns, and in particular matters involving family businesses and trusts. Senior associate Rebecca Woodley in Downham Market is ‘hugely experienced and gives calm, pragmatic and sensible advice'.

Practice head(s):

Deborah Allen

Other key lawyers:

Daniel Sims; Emma Stearman; Rebecca Woodley; Jackie Jessiman


‘Engaging the services of Deborah Allen was certainly the right decision as her experience and efficiency was well worth it.’

‘Deborah Allen was very approachable and accessible, even when she was on annual leave she took the time to look out for correspondence that needed attention. All of her team were always very attentive and dealt with all matters in a timely and efficient manner.’

‘Rebecca Woodley is hugely experienced and gives calm, pragmatic and sensible advice in family matters.’

‘Good personal service.’

‘Rebecca Woodley really cares about her clients.’

‘They are a well-respected firm in North Norfolk.’

‘ Deborah Allen and Rebecca Woodley have good reputations and are well respected.’

‘Jackie Jessiman is sensible, down-to-earth, and speaks the client’s language.’

Work highlights

  • Advised an East Anglian resident with multimillion-pound assets in UK, Dubai, and Singapore following the breakdown of a long marriage.

HCR Hewitsons

HCR Hewitsons joins the rankings this year having recruited ‘sensible and approachable‘ partner Roopa Ahluwalia from BDB Pitmans in 2022. The firm is ‘well known for providing sound family law advice and representation at the highest levels'. Clients of Ahluwalia ‘value her clear advice and the ability to be realistic about outcomes. She predominantly handles high-value divorce and financial remedy work, often for clients in the technology, agriculture, and higher education sectors.

Other key lawyers:

Roopa Ahluwalia


‘The firm is well known for providing sound family law advice and representation at the highest levels. A good quality firm.’

‘Roopa Ahluwalia is very well known. She is sensible and approachable.’

‘HCR have a growing presence in Cambridge and have gone from a standing start of no permanent family lawyers to build a growing team.’

‘Roopa Ahluwalia is exceptional. She is pragmatic, takes time to listen to what her clients want to achieve and looks at all options available to resolve the issues. Clients value her clear advice and the ability to be realistic about outcomes.’

‘HCR Hewitsons is a multidisciplinary firm with very strong local foundations, as well as an important presence in London. Not every firm can offer the same breadth and reach that they can.’

‘Roopa Ahluwalia is a particular favourite of mine. Roopa is very hands on. Client’s love her and appreciate her direct but empathic approach. In my experience, she is calm, thoughtful and kind. As a qualified mediator and collaborative lawyer, where possible she prefers to find a solution without resorting to contentious litigation.’

‘Roopa Ahluwalia can turn her hand to anything, be it financial remedy, private law children, or the more esoteric. She is very experienced in cases involving interveners; many of them with an international element. When not leading from the front, Roopa is very involved in her local legal communities; she chairs the Cambridge & West Suffolk Resolution pod. She’s absolutely first class.’

Howes Percival LLP

The family law practice at Howes Percival LLP is led from Leicester, but the Norwich office is home to considerable talent, notably Sally Harris. Also in Norwich, senior associate Caroline Eaton plays a central role in the practice. Together, they are ‘a strong team that works well to support each other and maintain top-quality client care'. The firm is best known for its expertise in complex financial cases involving businesses, land, pensions, and trusts, and many of its clients are high-net-worth individuals.

Other key lawyers:

Sally Harris; Caroline Eaton


‘They are a well-respected firm.’

‘They are a strong team who work well to support each other and maintain top-quality client care.’

‘This is a full-service firm with an excellent reputation.’

‘A dynamic team. All hardworking members with integrity.’

Irwin Mitchell

Irwin Mitchell is a key adviser to entrepreneurs, landed gentry, high-net-worth individuals, senior executives, and vulnerable clients in matrimonial matters. ‘Dependable and straight-talking‘ lead partner Carmel Brown works in both Cambridge and London, as does associate Alexandra Schippers. The firm has a large practice that is skilled in mediation, litigation, and financial settlements. ‘Clients get sound, pragmatic and commercial advice‘, says one market source.

Practice head(s):

Carmel Brown

Other key lawyers:

Alexandra Schippers; Taler Kelly


‘Knowledgeable on a range of subjects and advice given from the start to the final outcome was spot on.’

‘Excellent case preparation and understanding of individual client needs. All of the team go above and beyond for clients and counsel alike, which is evidenced in good results and happy clients.’

‘Alexandra Schipphers has excellent organisational skills and client handling.’

‘Taler Kelly goes above and beyond for clients and counsel. The knowledge and awareness of clients’ concerns is second-to-none. Fantastic interpersonal skills and client handling.’

‘Good all rounders with some standout lawyers.’

‘Carmel Brown is dependable and straight-talking.’

‘The team has internal resources that exceed those of any other firm.’

‘Irwin Mitchell is an approachable and practical practice. One of the firms who you are happy to have involved with a case as you know their client is getting sound, pragmatic, and commercial advice.’

Spire Solicitors LLP

Spire Solicitors LLP is 'keen to serve its clients well and offer a more bespoke service than other larger firms'. Sarb Gosal in Dereham leads the family law practice, working closely with Norwich-based partner Amanda Maruca. Gosal is 'very much on the side of the client and where possible negotiates a settlement, rather than having to enter the court arena'. The firm has a broad client base in Norfolk and increasingly handles matters involving assets exceeding £1m.

Practice head(s):

Sarb Gosal

Other key lawyers:

Amanda Maruca


‘A family department keen to serve their clients well and offer a more bespoke service than other larger firms/departments, offering the clients value for money. A friendly and approachable firm. Listens to their staff to ensure they are getting the best return by affording them a voice on internal matters.’

‘Sarb Gosal is not only a very approachable Solicitor/Partner but very much on the side of the client and where possible negotiates a settlement, rather than having to enter the court arena, where often nobody wins, due to the extra cost involved.’

‘Spire Solicitors are a highly dedicated and experienced team with vast experience in all areas of family law. The team are reliable and hardworking to ensure the best possible outcome for their clients.’

Work highlights

  • Advised client in relation to complex cohabitation dispute which concerned proceedings under The Trusts of Land and Trustees Appointment Act 1996 to include representation at three separate Hearings.
  • Representation of client in complex financial remedy proceedings concerning pension assets worth over £1m to include the instruction of a pension actuary and obtaining a Financial Remedy Order at the Financial Dispute Resolution stage.
  • Representing grandparent in Children Act Proceedings 1989 which were contested by the parents of the child resulting in an Order being obtained at the First Hearing Dispute Resolution stage on behalf of the grandparent.

Tees Law

The family law practice at Tees Law in Cambridge is ‘very approachable, and always willing to help and offer great advice‘. Practice head Clare Pilsworth is ‘excellent at cutting through a lot of the noise to pick out what is relevant and important‘. Associate Anna Jones is ‘an excellent solicitor for children cases‘. The firm is praised for its work on mid-market matrimonial and children matters, though it frequently handles cases involving assets in excess of £1m.

Practice head(s):

Clare Pilsworth

Other key lawyers:

Anna Jones


‘They are very approachable and always willing to help and offer great advice.’

‘Claire Pilsworth is still helping with the odd anomaly that is being thrown up and nothing ever seams to much trouble.’

‘I have experience of the Family, Probate and Wills teams. I can honestly say that all those I have been dealing with have been incredibly professional and knowledgeable, and most importantly have taken the time to listen. I have had dealings with the Family team for over a year, and I have been totally reassured that they have the skills and capabilities to support a very complex situation. They work closely with barristers who also have specialist skills to support. Where there has been a requirement for other skill sets, I have been very quickly contacted by relevant people.’

‘Meetings have been held by telephone or on virtual meeting systems, and this has always worked smoothly. The difference I have found between this law firm and the many others I have worked with in the past, both personally and professionally is that they conduct all business from a start point of kindness and understanding, which has been fantastic when dealing with difficult and emotive topics.’

‘I have developed a really good, open and honest relationship with Clare Pilsworth, and find her to be so kind, as well as able to give me advice and guidance in a professional and understanding manner. I feel so lucky to have Clare on my side, and totally believe she ‘has my back’. I trust her implicitly and would highly recommend her to anyone facing a difficult family matter.’

‘In my experience the team are friendly, approachable and whilst professional they are also caring and supportive too. The billing and other communication is easily understandable and very open.’

‘My Solicitor is Anna Jones. Anna has always been easy to contact, available for a call or visit whenever required. Anna’s advice is thorough and clearly explained, so I have always felt very prepared. I do appreciate Anna’s kind and sincere manner.’

‘Very supportive and accessible team of professionals that have been able to advise and represent me over the last 2 years or so. Their approach is deliberately relaxed but no less informative to ensure I am comfortable and understand things as and when they arise. There is always somebody available as a support whenever I have had to speak with Tees and I would have no hesitancy in recommending them in the future.’