Family in East Anglia

Birketts LLP

Birketts LLP is well known for its mediation, collaborative law, arbitration and litigation expertise in family law matters for high-net-worth clients in East Anglia and beyond. Ipswich-based practice head Oliver Gravell saw the practice in Norwich grow with the hire of associates Lisa Cornish and Denise Findlay from Hansells. Newly promoted partner Katie Beaven in Norwich is best-known for complex and high-net-worth financial settlements and Children Act matters. Senior associates Roopa Ahluwalia  and Elisabeth Sneade are the key contacts in Cambridge.

Practice head(s):

Oliver Gravell

Other key lawyers:

Katie Beaven; Lisa Cornish; Roopa Ahluwalia; Elisabeth Sneade; Deborah Lloyd; Denise Findlay; Ginny Colman

Testimonials

‘Very professional. I was represented by Lisa Cornish who is calm and knowledgeable. My ex-husband’s solicitor was very unprofessional and Lisa remained cool at all times.’

Work highlights

  • Dealing with assets in excess of £2m and a complicated family trust structure whereby trustees were eventually made third-party interveners.
  • Acting for a partner with Ernst and Young.
  • Advising wife where assets were principally in her name in trust format.
  • Advising husband in financial dispute where there were unvested share options and total assets of approximately £1.5m.
  • Client came from using Russell Cooke and was unhappy that the millionaire’s defence had been used within a Schedule 1 Children Act claim.

Cambridge Family Law Practice

Staffed entirely by partners, Cambridge Family Law Practice is not only a leading firm in the Cambridge area, but also has a busy caseload for clients across East Anglia, London and beyond. It frequently handles high-value cross-border matters. The firm now has six partners with the recruitment of Jeremy Ford from Setfords Solicitors to join leading lights Simon BethelGail Marchant-DaisleySue VartyTricia Ashton and Adam Moghadas. Ford has specific expertise in surrogacy law, child abduction and the medical treatment of children disputes, and often appears in the High Court.

Mills & Reeve LLP

Mills & Reeve LLP advises on the full range of family law issues from cross-border finances matters involving business assets and trusts to complex children cases. It has the largest practice in the region and frequently acts for high-net-worth individuals locally, nationally and internationally. Practice heads Caitlin Jenkins in Cambridge, Nick Stone in Norwich and consultant Roger Bamber call on the firm's leading agriculture, private tax, employment, conveyancing and corporate teams to provide a holistic service in complex cases.

Practice head(s):

Caitlin Jenkins; Nick Stone; Roger Bamber

Other key lawyers:

George Sprague; Frances Bailey; Rachel Brand

Testimonials

‘The Cambridge family team are unrivalled in terms of client management, preparation and detail. They have practitioners who have expertise in all areas of financial remedies and are able to give clients excellent advice and representation from initial consultation to final resolution. Their advice is grounded on excellent legal knowledge and thorough grasp of the facts. It is given in a client friendly but firm manner.’

‘A full breadth service in complex children cases with a focus on a solution orientated approach.’

‘Caitlin Jenkins is a leader in her field with unrivalled knowledge and expertise.’

‘George Sprague gives clear and focused advice; he has a wonderful client manner. A question of when, not if, for partnership.’

‘Frances Bailey is a very detail orientated lawyer.’

‘Ania Tarasiewicz has a fantastic grasp of law, facts and what makes her clients tick.’

‘Hannah Wilson is a very clear thinker with an eye throughout on achieving, and making workable the solution to the problem desired by the client. Gives difficult advise with ease and provides unrivalled support to clients whilst maintaining the utmost professionalism.’

‘The whole team is very helpful, kind and supportive.’

‘The attention to detail in very complex cases is impressive.’

Sensible, practical advice is given kindly – good communication skills, particularly when communicating with hostile and difficult personality types.’

‘Hannah Wilson is calm, kind, efficient and very sensible but also understands when her client might be finding things hard and has a lovely way with people.’

‘Ania Tarasiewicz is a walking encyclopaedia on complex cases. Also very calm, kind, efficient and supportive.’

‘Nick Stone and Frances Bailey are clear, ambitious, realistic and calm.’

‘The Cambridge family team are unrivalled in terms of client management, preparation and detail.  They have practitioners who have expertise in all areas of financial remedies and are able to give clients excellent advice and representation from initial consultation to final resolution.  Their advice is grounded on excellent legal knowledge and thorough grasp of the facts.  It is given in a client friendly but firm manner’.

‘Caitlin Jenkins (Cambridge) – a leader in her field with unrivalled knowledge and expertise. George Sprague (Cambridge) – George gives clear and focused advice; he has a wonderful client manner.  A question of when, not if, for partnership. Frances Bailey (Norwich) – a very detail orientated lawyer Ania Tarasiewicz (Cambridge) – fantastic grasp of law, facts and what makes her clients tick’.

Work highlights

  • Nick Stone acted for the wife to be in the negotiation and drafting of a pre-nuptial agreement in a case where the parties’ combined assets were c. £20m.
  • Acting for a husband in a High Court financial remedy case with substantial property portfolios and several businesses, and significant income, plus pensions and a family trust.
  • Acting in a case involving a senior executive in a global company with issues around multiple properties, complex income, and pension issues.
  • Acting for a husband, a founder of a listed company, on a financial settlement with complex trust structures and significant assets overseas.

Taylor Vinters

Taylor Vinters is 'one of the top firms for family work and is increasingly making its presence felt in London, too', according to one client. Practice head Jackie Wells has 'massive experience of heavyweight family litigation and is more than capable of going up against any of the London Magic Circle firms'. The 'bright and able' Alexandra Gooden is also recommended. The firm acts regionally, nationally and internationally for entrepreneurs, family business owners, landed estate owners, City professionals and other high-net-worth individuals in the full range of high-value and complex family law matters.

Practice head(s):

Jackie Wells

Other key lawyers:

Alexandra Gooden; Rachel Bevan

Testimonials

‘An experienced and friendly team with great client care skills and commitment to securing the best outcome for their clients.’

‘Jackie Wells brings a depth of experience combined with outstanding client care skills.’

‘Alexandra Gooden is excellent. I have recommended her to friends on many occasions and would not hesitate to do so again.’

‘Alexandra Gooden is one of the brightest lawyers I know – sharp mind, excellent knowledge of the law in practice and really good at client care. A pleasure to work with.’

‘Alexandra Gooden is an extremely bright family lawyer, who always seems to spot and deal with problems long before they happen.’

‘Alexandra Gooden knew my case well, always replied promptly to my emails and was always available for a telephone conversation. She made what was a difficult and painful process easier than it could have been.’

‘Rachel Bevan – a rising star, able and committed to her clients.’

Work highlights

  • High-profile divorce for clients based in London who retained business interests in Cambridge and the US.
  • Acting for wife in case involving her family company which is AIM listed, and complex arguments around provenance and a disputed inheritance. Case based in rural Lincolnshire and includes a substantial estate and assets in France.
  • Owner-manager divorce with arguments around post-separation accrual and assets worth circa £15-£20m.
  • Representing the wife in a high-profile divorce in marriage of long standing, involving assets in Cambridge, London and France.
  • Acting for a wife who had discovered documents suggesting that her husband was planning to divorce in his native New Zealand and that he had moved assets in anticipation of doing so.

Ashtons Legal

Ashtons Legal has significant expertise in advising clients with very substantial assets and significant land and trust assets on family law matters, for which it is regarded as one of the best in East Anglia. Practice head Stephen Williams in Ipswich frequently handles family law matters with an international element for high-net-worth individuals, particularly those in the agricultural sector. Mary Pearce in Bury St Edmunds specialises in the financial aspects of breakdowns of marriages or cohabitation arrangements. Francesca Easter is also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Stephen Williams

Other key lawyers:

Mary Pearce; Francesca Easter

Testimonials

‘Responsive, understanding and practical.’

‘This team is very professional, helpful and polite. They work well together. Communication between myself and the solicitor was excellent and I was regularly updated. If the solicitor was on leave then the secretary would update me. The atmosphere was good and staff seemed happy. At any level, they were all professional. They are knowledgeable.’

‘They are probably the market leaders in the area with considerable experience in the field and knowledge of how to put together a team with the expertise to deal with any case.’

‘Stephen Williams is practical and understanding; he has sound legal knowledge, is good with clients and manages the team well.’

‘Stephen Williams is exceptional with clients; clear, sensible and robust.’

Buckles Solicitors LLP

Buckles Solicitors LLP has two greatly respected partners in Lyn Brisley and 30-year veteran Roger Gurney. The firm has extensive experience in dealing with complex financial issues including trusts, international matters, agricultural assets and high-value business interests. It handles a busy caseload of divorce, civil partnerships, pre-nuptial agreements, financial provision, children matters, injunctions and TOLATA. In 2018, the firm launched a new local Family Mediation Service, involving a network of independent financial advisers, valuers, divorce coaches, therapists and counsellors.

Practice head(s):

Lyn Brisley

Other key lawyers:

Roger Gurney; Helen Saggers

Testimonials

‘The practice provides good attention to detail, good value and fantastic support for their clients.’

‘Roger Gurney is first-rate at financial remedy family cases. He has great judgement and fights his client’s cases with real determination.’

Butcher Andrews

Butcher Andrews has a strong following in North Norfolk and continues to extend its reach further into East Anglia. Practice head Adney Payne, who is one of the most highly respected family lawyers in Norfolk, and key partner Julia Buckingham are both collaboratively trained, and Buckingham's background as a property lawyer gives her added insight into complex cohabitation disputes. They are supported by experienced litigation executive Jean Curtis who has specialist expertise in Children Act cases.

Practice head(s):

Adney Payne

Other key lawyers:

Jean Curtis; Julia Buckingham; Ava Bazley

Gotelee Solicitors

Gotelee Solicitors has one of the leading family law practices in Suffolk and lead partner Helen Stuart is highly regarded for her advice to high-net-worth individuals on divorce, separation and other family law matters. In 2018, the firm recruited solicitor and Resolution member Juliet Gordon from Jackaman Smith & Mulley as part of an ongoing investment to grow the capacity of the practice. Legal executive Samantha Markham is recommended for her collaborative approach to family disputes.

Practice head(s):

Helen Stuart

Other key lawyers:

Juliet Gordon; Samantha Markham

Testimonials

‘Gotelee offers a very personal service.  Everyone I dealt with was up-to-date on my case, approachable and understanding.’

‘Samantha Markham provided clear and concise advice and was friendly, understanding and professional throughout the divorce process.’

Greene & Greene

Greene & Greene is 'a classy outfit that provides a level of service and legal vigour that can stand up against any firms in East Anglia and many in London'. 'There is nobody I would trust more', says a client of managing partner and head of family law Stuart Hughes. Associate Melanie Pilmer is a rising star. Both work closely with the firm's corporate and private client practices to provide a holistic service that encompasses financial and property matters, including asset protection in pre- and post-nuptial agreements.

Practice head(s):

Stuart Hughes

Other key lawyers:

Melanie Pilmer

Testimonials

‘Firstly, the team is approachable and that compares favourably to other firms. However, they are also extremely knowledgeable, having a wide array of experiences in assisting other clients and within wider case law.’

‘It is the “go-to” firm, as I know I can trust them to look after my clients’ interests and provide a service that goes above and beyond.’

‘Stuart Hughes is a standout individual. His approach to clients in what are clearly very testing times is outstanding.’

‘This is a specialised and boutique department. Stuart Hughes is fearless and aggressive in the pursuit of the right outcome for his clients. Nothing and no-one scares him and he will interrogate information assiduously to find any hidden nuggets to help the case.’

‘Melanie Pilmer is an experienced and user-friendly lawyer who undertakes in and out of court resolutions. Kind with clients, unflappable and never afraid to run a decent point, she is unfailingly polite but determined.’

‘Melanie Pilmer has impressed us with her attention to detail, responsiveness and excellent cross-border knowledge and experience.’

‘Stuart Hughes and Melanie Pilmer are both a pleasure to deal with professionally.’

“Stuart Hughes is a very good tactician. He fights very hard for his clients, yet is objective and able to take a detached view. He is an excellent team player with counsel, and a pleasure to work with.’

‘The team has the strength of several layers of experience, headed by Stuart Hughes who has a wealth of experience in family cases, both as a traditional lawyer and as a mediator. With this level of skill set and experience it allows the team to adapt to the needs of the client – which is where they stand out from other firms.’

‘Stuart Hughes has the incredible ability to retain the most complex and dense financial facts and arrangements for the duration of the case.’

Work highlights

  • Advised and prepared a complex £16m pre-nuptial agreement.
  • Acting for the applicant in a case where there were serious cross-allegations involving domestic abuse, neglect, alcoholism and violence.
  • Advising where the parties asserted beneficial interests in property located in the UK and France.
  • Advising on a collaborative basis in respect of divorce involving UK and overseas assets, including trust assets, of over £3m.
  • Successful application for a prohibited steps order to prevent children’s move and change in schools.

Hunt & Coombs LLP

Hunt & Coombs LLP has a seven-lawyer family law practice based in Peterborough that also provides services to clients through the firm's St Neots, Huntingdon and Oundle offices. Practice head Farhana Butt and vastly experienced consultants Denis White and Edward Owen are strong advocates who handle complex and high-value cases. Butt is also well known as a family mediator. The firm excels in both public and private law matters. Senior solicitor Louise Ballantyne is a rising star.

Practice head(s):

Farhana Butt

Other key lawyers:

Edward Owen; Denis White; Louise Ballantyne; Sophie Scotcher; Giuseppe Pingerna

Testimonials

‘A highly efficient and supportive team offering excellent care and guidance to clients, always with a view to sensible, realistic and good results.’

‘Farhana Butt and Sophie Scotcher are impressively effective, great at understanding the needs of client’s case and able to implement steps to a good result with great efficiency.’

‘This is a busy high street practice with decades of experience in all aspects of family law. They have a detailed local knowledge and are well known in the local legal community as active and responsible professionals.’

‘Farhana Butt has a long-standing and detailed knowledge of local issues. She has experience in all aspects of family law. She is not afraid to fight for her client’s aims and objectives and is user-friendly.’

‘Sophie Scotcher is organised and empathetic with a good legal knowledge. She presents beyond her years of experience and thinks outside of the box to get things done.’

‘Farhana Butt is modernising and revitalising a long-established family law team, and working hard to build and grow a strong team around her.’

‘Farhana Butt commands great loyalty with her client base, and applies a mixture of hard work and robust common sense to everything she does.’

‘Sophie Scotcher is diligent, efficient, well-organised and unflappable and quickly establishing herself as an indispensable part of the team.’

‘Denis White and Edward Owen are often the first choice “go-to” people if there is an urgent family case at court and a party needs a lawyer urgently. Both are very experienced and ideal for this type of case because of their calm and measured approach. Louise is particularly good on her feet.’

‘An excellent firm with a very good reputation and it is always well received by other lawyers when they are involved in a case.’

Kerseys Solicitors LLP

'Always an organised sensible approach to advice, case preparation and representation', says counsel of the family law practice as Kerseys Solicitors LLP in Ipswich. The firm stands out for its expertise in public and private law children matters, as well as its expertise in financial aspects of divorce including business assets, farms and pensions. Practice head Clare Thomas, partner Elaine Webb and consultant and mediator Rosemary Carter are highly recommended. Victoria Cole is a rising star.

Practice head(s):

Clare Thomas

Testimonials

‘The team was very prompt in dealing with all my requests throughout the process, keeping me up-to-date from start to finish. They were professional at all times and made me feel a priority.’

‘Victoria Cole was my main contact and was an absolute professional at all times. She was helpful, responsive and very informative about a range of issues I faced.’

‘Victoria Cole offered a personal feel to the meetings I attended and explained any advice she offered both in legal terms as well as laymen terms for me. I have recommended Victoria and Kerseys to a number of others who have also given positive feedback about their experience.’

‘I felt I was always kept updated and the advice that was given to me was not necessarily what I wanted to hear but what I needed to hear as that is how my situation would be perceived if ended up in court. Very happy with service and would use again.’

‘The overall service was excellent and so was the outcome as Clare Thomas didn’t buckle under the pressure from the other solicitor.’

‘Clare Thomas was very professional in all aspects of the case and ran rings around the other solicitor when in court. This was because she made sure she had all the facts to hand on the day.’

‘Elaine Webb is an outstanding solicitor who is diligent and thorough in her work and representation and is always well prepared to ensure her client is represented fairly and carefully.’

Steeles Law

The 'kind, helpful, cooperative and very reliable' Amanda Owens in Norwich leads the practice at Steeles Law, in which associate Emma Alfieri in Diss plays a key role. The small practice handles high-value and complex family cases and is highly regarded among referrers in Suffolk and Norfolk, most notably in Children Act and financial remedy cases.

Practice head(s):

Amanda Owens

Other key lawyers:

Emma Alfieri

Testimonials

‘A very efficient practice. A very friendly office. Staff are always polite in person or when receiving calls.’

‘Emma Alfieri is a very pleasant, approachable person. She is extremely efficient, very helpful and I felt I could trust her to look after my interests, which she did.’

‘The team is amazing. Amanda Owens who has been my solicitor for three years, as always has been so supportive friendly and helpful.’

‘I will always be eternally grateful for the professional and empathetic manner in which Amanda Owens dealt with the entire process. Amanda unconditionally delivered her calm, supporting and very personal injection of hope and reassurance into my somewhat chaotic life at the time.’

‘I cannot praise this practice enough, they were the ship in a very turbulent sea steering very steadily and safely into harbour.’

‘Amanda Owens is professional, clear, calm, warm, kind and when she needed to be tough with the petitioner, she was.’

Vardags

Nationally, Vardags is regarded as a leading matrimonial and family law firm specialising in high-net-worth and complex cases, often with an international element. The Cambridge office opened in 2016.

Woolley & Co, Solicitors

Woolley & Co, Solicitors is a nationwide family law firm that has 23 partners, four of whom operate from East Anglia. Tamara Glanvill and Abby Smith in St Neots, Nick Wiseman in Great Yarmouth and Karen Agnew-Griffith in Thetford are all 'engaging and self-motivating individuals with a lot of experience'. They handle complex cases involving leave to remove, difficult child arrangements cases, cross-border divorce, and multimillion-pound financial disputes. Their clients include include expats, high-net-worth individuals, farming families, business owners and company directors.

Clapham & Collinge Solicitors

Clapham & Collinge Solicitors is 'a well established regional firm where client care is at the top of the agenda and it provides an extremely empathetic and dedicated service to its clients'. Practice head Neale Grearson 'clearly is highly regarded by top barristers and colleagues in the profession'. The firm advises on divorce and separation, financial relief, children issues, property rights for unmarried couples, cohabitation agreements, separation agreements and pre- and post-nuptial agreements.

Practice head(s):

Neale Grearson

Other key lawyers:

Caroline Eaton; Emerald Priscott

Testimonials

‘This is a team that works well together: everyone’s contribution is valued and there is a real sense of mutual respect, trust and a commitment to getting good outcomes for clients.’

‘They are, rightly, proud of their achievements. They are unfailingly helpful and friendly when approached.’

‘I am always impressed by their commitment to achieving settlements without going to court whenever possible.’

‘The head of the family team, Neale Grearson, is a particular advocate of collaborative working. He is a leading member of the Good Divorce Group, Norfolk, and actively promotes the Good Divorce ethos. He has a genuine care for his clients’ best interests and is committed to reducing the stress associated with divorce and separation as far as he is able.’

‘Neale Grearson’s approach is calm but firm and he goes the extra mile when needed to provide support.’

‘Both Caroline Eaton and Emerald Priscott provide excellent service. Both are very thorough and dedicated to their roles.’

‘Every member of staff is highly professional in their approach to clients and make you feel that every query you have is important and will be dealt with as soon as practically possible. This is reassuring when you are going through a stressful time.’

‘Neale Grearson was exceptionally compassionate and kind whilst remaining highly professional and excellent at his job. His expertise in his field was apparent.’

‘Neale Grearson is highly experienced in all aspects of ancillary relief, tests of land and private law work. He provides the most excellent quality of client care, genuine empathy, kindness and is open and honest.’

‘Neale Grearson will try to tailor his services to meet a client’s budget. He runs an efficient team and is often looking for new ways to engage the local legal community and his team in ongoing professional development.’

‘Caroline Eaton is a leading member of local Resolution: a highly experienced and very user friendly excellent local lawyer. She is direct with clients but extremely approachable, which fits with the feel of the whole department.’

‘Client care is paramount here.’

‘Emerald Prescott is a newly qualified solicitor whose legal knowledge belies her years. She is efficient and organised.’

Fosters

Fosters in Norwich deals with divorce and ancillary relief matters, private law children matters, domestic violence applications and public law children matters. Practice head Lucy Simpson acts for high-net-worth individuals, which in 2018 included clients with assets of up to £5m with business interests and significant overseas assets. Partner Clare Sharpe frequently represents parents in private and public law children matters including those with an international element and complex cases of substantial or conflicting medical evidence.

Practice head(s):

Lucy Simpson

Other key lawyers:

Clare Sharpe

Testimonials

‘I am impressed by how closely the staff work together; phone calls and messages are passed on effectively and any promised return calls or emails are always honoured promptly.’

‘The environment is professional whilst remaining welcoming. I have always felt looked after and valued, an aspect that I’ve found absent in other firms.’

‘Lucy Simpson has been excellent in managing my case. I feel like we have received exceptional service from Lucy. I have found her to be highly knowledgeable, thorough with an enviable attention to detail, caring and kind whilst remaining factual and honest at all times.’

‘Lucy Simpson is an amazing listener and makes you feel very at ease in her presence. She is driven to obtaining the very best outcome for her clients and has never let me down. I admire her directness when it’s needed, which she delivers sensitively.’

‘I believe that Lucy Simpson displayed empathy and support to me, which at a very difficult time for me was invaluable and attention to my needs felt paramount.’

‘Lucy Simpson, who is head of the family department, has been amazing. I had gone to them at a bad time in my life as access to my little boy had been restricted by my ex-wife following a new partner coming onto the scene. I always felt supported, that my case was as important as any other and there was always a prompt response.’

‘This time for me would have been a lot worse had it not been for Lucy Simpson. I can’t recommend their practice enough.’

‘The practice covers all fields and therefore has the ability to assist where specialisms overlap.’

‘Lucy Simpson has been a tower of strength to me in a very difficult situation, reassuring me with her knowledge and calmness.’

Work highlights

  • Representing an applicant wife in a complex high-value divorce where the husband had been diagnosed with terminal lung and brain tumours.  The matter involved a significant portfolio, overseas assets and two limited companies and required an unusual level of sensitivity in view of the issues involved.
  • Representing a mother in a highly complex private law children matter involving allegations of parental alienation and a fabricated illness.
  • Representing the children through their Rule 16.4 guardian in a complex private law children matter where the mother is actively alienating the children, one of whom has significant special needs.
  • Representing a disabled child in an application for discharge of a care order and an application for special guardianship in favour of his foster carers.
  • Representing a respondent mother in care proceedings in a complex case involving non-accidental injury to baby daughter.

Fraser Dawbarns

The family practice at Fraser Dawbarns excels in complex financial matters thanks to the extensive knowledge of practice head Deborah Allen, who is 'well liked and respected, which has given the family team coherence and good morale'. Senior associate Rebecca Woodley, who is 'passionate about getting a good result for her clients, for whom she works tirelessly', handles financial matters and has a wealth of experience in complex children matters. Jackie Jessiman joined the Ely office from Woodfines LLP.

Practice head(s):

Deborah Allen

Other key lawyers:

Rebecca Woodley; Jackie Jessiman

Testimonials

‘A solid department with a wealth of experience and expertise.’

‘Deborah Allen is an experienced and able solicitor with a practical and determined approach to all her cases.’

‘Rebecca Woodley is thorough and meticulous in her approach, yet sensitive and compassionate when dealing with clients.’

‘Rebecca Woodley has been extremely competent and efficient in sorting my divorce. She has been very positive and direct in getting the required answers that we have needed. I’m extremely pleased with the way she has handled every aspect in my case, and can’t thank her enough.’

Work highlights

  • Representing husband in the preparation of post-nuptial agreement to protect inherited assets worth £6m including a farm and other business interests.
  • Representing the wife in a complex £9m divorce involving multiple properties both at home and abroad, family trusts and several large companies.
  • Representing the wife in divorce proceedings in which contributions and needs of both client and disabled child were key. Negotiations were lengthy but the matter was successfully agreed.
  • Representing the wife in divorce proceedings in which inheritance had been ‘muddled’ with marital assets but the client sought to preserve the inheritance. Pension provision was significant with a value of £900,000, with the respondent refusing to make relevant enquiries of the pension provider, making a court application necessary. Settlement was successfully negotiated in the wife’s favour.
  • Children Act proceedings involving a child with a world-class go-karting career and a dispute between the parents as to how his time should be allocated.

Howes Percival LLP

The family law practice at Howes Percival LLP is part of an integrated private client group that works across its offices in Cambridge, Leicester, Milton Keynes, Northampton and Norwich. Working closely with the estates and private client team, it focuses on wealth preservation where clients have business and land assets and other inherited wealth. Lead partner Amy Walpole and associate Sophie Key frequently handle divorce, financial negotiations, pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements, cohabitation issues and Children Act matters for high-net-worth individuals.

Practice head(s):

Amy Walpole

Other key lawyers:

Sophie Key; Laura Clay-Harris

Testimonials

‘The team is approachable and responsive.’

‘Amy Walpole and Laura Clay-Harris are both strong in communication and respond to emails promptly.’

‘Approachable, determined and knowledgeable, they want to achieve best possible outcomes.’

‘Amy Walpole’s standout quality was her determination to achieve a fair result for her client even when difficult problems were obstructing progress. She persisted even when I felt like giving in to demands made by the other side. She gave me the confidence to carry on and achieve a good outcome.’

Prettys Solicitors LLP

Prettys Solicitors LLP has outstanding practitioners in practice head and mediator Georgina Rayment and collaboratively trained head of private client Georgie Hall. Rayment has 20 years' experience at the firm and advises on all issues including divorce, financial resolution, children disputes, cohabitation agreements, pre-marital agreements and financial resolution. Hall is known for her excellent client care in matters relating to finances, children, and pre- or post-marriage asset division. Senior associate Matthew Clemence and associate Victoria Mayhew are also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Georgina Rayment

Rogers and Norton

The matrimonial law practice at Rogers and Norton comprises one partner, one solicitor and one trainee, who handle both litigation and family mediation. Practice head Kerry Rowell in Norwich has a strong following across Norfolk and is particularly skilled in private law children and financial enforcement matters. Solicitor Averil Ballam in Attleborough is also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Kerry Rowell

Other key lawyers:

Averil Ballam

Work highlights

  • Successfully defended a father for the second time facing allegations of sexual abuse in a case where the mother is exercising coercive control of the children and parental alienation.
  • Successfully sought the return of a child who had been removed by the mother from the father’s care through court advocacy persuading the court that the child was at risk of harm in the care of the mother who had recently been intoxicated and sexually assaulted whilst caring for the child.
  • Negotiating at court a settlement in respect of an autistic child whose father was seeking to remove her temporarily from the jurisdiction to a Non-Hague Convention country outside of the EU.
  • Advising on financial settlement with pension valued over £2m and issue of needs for periodical payments from husband’s substantial income and business interests.
  • Advising on a separation agreement involving Sharia law.

Tees Law

'To use a sporting analogy, the firm covers every blade of grass for its clients and no stone is left unturned in attempting to achieve a positive result', says a client of Tees Law in Cambridge. Partner Clare Pilsworth joined from Woodfines LLP to lead the practice. Collaboratively trained associate Deborah Hargreaves is a rising star in complex and sensitive cases involving children and financial matters.

Practice head(s):

Clare Pilsworth

Other key lawyers:

Deborah Hargreaves; David Redfern

Testimonials

‘The team worked seamlessly, with a single lead point of contact, which gave continuity and reassurance at a time of significant stress. The approach was always measured and objective, making it easy to ask for advice and to understand the various options.’

‘I have worked with Clare Pilsworth on a number of high-value and complicated matrimonial finance cases. She is an excellent lawyer with great technical abilities and has a common sense approach in all her matters. She works extremely hard on behalf for all her clients in what are often very long drawn-out difficult cases.’

‘What made them stand out was the fact that they were able to guide and lead through their legal expertise without being patronising. They acted in a way that helped defuse possible conflict whilst making me feel supported.’

‘Deborah Hargreaves genuinely strives to help her clients. She is kind, compassionate and clear-headed in the advice she provides.’

‘I was enormously impressed by the level of forethought and strategic planning which goes into their cases.’

‘The team has a high level of knowledge and gives clear and realistic advice to its clients. Well organised and easy to work with.’

‘Tees has an approachable and client-friendly team.’

‘An excellent local firm that wouldn’t be out of place operating in the City of London.’

‘David Redfern is a partner of great experience and a supreme strategic thinker.’

Work highlights

  • A family dispute over the proceeds of a sale of a property.
  • A complex claim for financial provision under Schedule 1 of the Children Act, acting for a respondent father.
  • Collaborative law case nearing conclusion by lodging agreed minute of consent.
  • Acting for a non-biological father in respect of his application for a child arrangement order for twin children born to his subsequent wife, whom he was not married to at the time of conception through IVF treatment. Applying for a declaration of parentage for him to be a legal parent.
  • Acting for a father in Children Act proceedings to obtain a child arrangements order setting out the basis on which the children would live and spend time with the two parents.

BDB Pitmans

BDB Pitmans has one partner who works between the London and Cambridge offices, but David Thompson has a growing client base in East Anglia. The firm, which is in the process of significantly expanding its regional family law offering, has a particular focus on complex financial and international issues including complex  leave-to-remove children cases. Thompson is chair of London Region of Resolution.

Practice head(s):

David Thompson

Blocks

The family practice at Blocks has a strong client following around Ipswich, and frequently advises on divorce and separations, financial remedies for high-net-worth individuals, child arrangement cases and pre-nuptial agreements.

Cozens-Hardy LLP

Cozens-Hardy LLP in Norwich has a team of three highly experienced partners, all of whom are collaboratively trained. Iain WhiteJane Anderson and Sandra Nunn are all members of Resolution, as is solicitor Sophie Smith. White and Anderson frequently handle high-net-worth financial remedy proceedings. The firm has a legal aid contract for public law children’s advocacy and White and Smith also have a strong reputation for their work in private children cases.

Practice head(s):

Iain White; Jane Anderson; Sandra Nunn

Other key lawyers:

Sophie Smith

FM Family Law

FM Family Law is a niche firm that focuses purely on divorce, family law and mediation. It has a team of four specialist family lawyers and mediators in Cambridge and Norwich. Founder Fiona McLeman and the vastly experienced Sue Bailey are the two partners and they are supported by senior associate Christina Hale and legal executive Karen Fox.

Practice head(s):

Fiona McLeman

Other key lawyers:

Sue Bailey; Karen Fox; Christina Hale

Hayes + Storr Solicitors and Notaries

New to the ranking is Hayes + Storr Solicitors and Notaries, which operates a busy family law department from Fakenham that delivers services through the firm's seven offices in North and West Norfolk. Practice head Rob Colwell specialises in mid- to high-value asset divorce cases, while solicitor Maria Endall, who joined after working as a registrar for Norfolk County Council, focuses on private law child cases.

Practice head(s):

Rob Colwell

Work highlights

  • Represented petitioner in emotive divorce and financial matters, successfully settling with assets of over £1.7m.
  • Represented respondent in a multimillion-pound family farming marriage breakdown case without issuing formal proceedings, saving the client tens of thousands of pounds and the associated stress.
  • Helped a director of a regional multimillion-pound family franchise business with outstanding financial matters following a historical divorce.
  • Represented respondent through to a successful £1.1m outcome against an applicant that refused to cooperate at first with disclosure of matrimonial assets in her name.
  • Skilful negotiation at short notice of complex child matters with a litigant in person, involving a cross-jurisdictional element, which settled by amicable agreement and only involved the court as a paper exercise for sealing.

Hegarty LLP

Hegarty LLP has a team of seven practitioners across its Peterborough, Stamford and Oakham offices. Associate Chris Brown , solicitor Jane Tatlock, veteran family law executive Carl Russell and legal executive Lesley Knight, who is recommended for domestic violence and Children Act matters, are the key contacts in Peterborough. Pavinder Khela in Stamford and Julia Weber in Oakham are recommended for divorce and separation matters, matrimonial finances, cohabitation agreements, pre-nuptial agreements and child arrangement orders.

Spire Solicitors LLP

Spire Solicitors LLP joins the ranking having seen a growing workload of family matters for the lawyers in its Norwich, Dereham and Wymondham offices. The practice led by Sarb Gosal and Richard Bevan continued to expand in 2018 with the hire of associate Kira Arden from Rudlings Wakelam. The deep bench of lawyers handles a diverse range of matters for clients in Norfolk including childcare law, collaborative law, divorce or dissolution, cohabitation agreements and domestic violence.

Practice head(s):

Sarb Gosal; Richard Bevan

Other key lawyers:

Amanda Maruca; Kira Arden; Nisha Jandu