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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 > East Midlands > Private client > Family > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Index of tables

  1. Family
  2. Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals

Hall of Fame

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Leading individuals

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Who Represents Who

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Cartwright King handles issues such as property, business interests and pensions in divorce and relationship breakdown cases, children and childcare disputes, dissolutions of civil partnerships, maintenance matters, and prenuptial agreements. It also represents vulnerable children in neglect, abuse and injury cases. Practice head Chet Desai represented a dual-nationality parent in care proceedings involving allegations of domestic abuse and was instructed by a guardian to act for two minors in a neglect and chastisement claim against the parents. Wayne Hollingsworth is recommended for complex cases involving allegations of neglect and injury, complex family backgrounds and uncertain immigration status; Hugh Young handles multimillion-pound family finance cases, frequently including assets based abroad, multiple companies and dependent children; and Adrian Rose is another name to note.

Freeths LLP acts for high-net-worth individuals in the full spectrum of family matters, including financial arrangements following relationship breakdowns, pension issues, prenuptial agreements and complex children disputes. Team head Judith Speed recently handled divorce proceedings and subsequent distribution of assets, and a financial remedy application. She also appeared in family finance dispute resolution hearings concerning multimillion-pound estates. Also on the family finance side, Diana Copestake has acted for unmarried couples and foreign clients, among others.

β€˜Friendly and approachable’ practice head John Hooper β€˜has built a team of the highest calibre’ at John Hooper & Co. The ’absolutely brilliant’ lawyers are β€˜thoroughly professional, dedicated and committed’, and attract praise for their β€˜superb knowledge’. The firm is renowned for its expertise in family finance cases, acting for divorcing spouses as well as unmarried couples and separating cohabitees. It also assists parents with disputes involving children. Associate Timothy Quincey is also recommended.

Langleys Solicitors LLP’ team is led by John Conlon, who specialises in cases relating to children and predominantly handles public law proceedings. The group also includes matrimonial law expert Emma Lawler, who assists with complex divorce proceedings, cohabitation cases and financial settlements involving international elements, complex trusts and high-net-worth individuals. The firm is currently acting for a spouse in divorce proceedings requiring financial settlement over a large agricultural company. It has also represented children in care proceedings arising from allegations of sexual abuse.

Shakespeare Martineau LLP’s β€˜consistently reliable’ team is β€˜at the top of its game, getting swiftly to the heart of a case to provide spot-on advice’. Highly complex financial cases are an area of specialism, with clients including high-net-worth individuals such as business owners, professionals and company directors based in the UK and abroad. Family succession advice is another area of focus. Practice head Andrew Breakwell is a β€˜serious heavyweight’, who is β€˜extremely clever, tenacious and loved by clients’; β€˜brilliant’ associate Sonia Bachu is β€˜approachable, diligent and professional’; and associate partner Katherine Marshall β€˜never puts a step wrong’. The firm is advising the husband in the financial remedy case of Chai v Peng, involving a client based abroad and significant assets.

Smith Partnership’s β€˜professional and knowledgeable’ team handles public childcare cases, representing guardians, parents and local authorities in matters including serious neglect and injury, adoption orders, child arrangements and guardianship issues. On the financial side, it handles cases arising from relationship breakdowns and divorce, particularly involving dental and medical practitioners and care home owners. β€˜Effective advocate’ and childcare team head Muctar Johal is β€˜adept at handling the most complex cases involving children’; β€˜skilled and subtle negotiator’ Peter Dadswell β€˜formulates and presents first-class arguments’, while remaining β€˜client-focused’; and Ruth Jones, who leads the wider family law practice, is also recommended.

Turner Nicholson handles matters ranging from divorce proceedings and financial settlements to relocation orders. The group assisted a parent with a Schedule 1 application involving cross-jurisdictional issues, acted for a parent resisting an application for children to move long-distance, and represented a higher-earning spouse in a family finance matter. Highly esteemed Brigid Turner and John Nicholson are recommended. Helen Taylor joined the firm from Freeths LLP.

Lisa Boileau heads Wilkin Chapman LLP’s team in Lincoln and Grimsby-based Mark Carlton is also recommended. The firm has a solid track record in family finance cases and attracts instructions from high-net-worth individuals in the farming sector. Divorce proceedings involving company ownership and trusts are also an area of focus. In other work, the department acted for a grandmother in pursuing a special guardianship owner, and obtained a pension sharing order for a spouse. NFU and MOD personnel are clients.

Flint Bishop LLP’s β€˜highly regarded’ group has β€˜first-class knowledge’ and a β€˜personal touch’. Expertise ranges from complex financial arrangements involving, for example, high-value shareholding interests and foreign nationals with assets in multiple jurisdictions. The firm also handles childcare disputes. Practice head Kirpal Bidmead is an β€˜outstanding individual’, who β€˜inspires confidence’; she is representing a wife of a former MP in a financial case including multiple pension funds and substantial capital assets. The group is also drafting a prenuptial agreement for a client in Hong Kong and managing divorce proceedings for a former professional footballer whose wife and children reside abroad; the case involves assets based in Spain and the UK.

Geldards LLP’s β€˜very capable and efficient’ team acts for medium- to high-net-worth individuals in family finance cases involving businesses, complex ownership structures, inheritance matters, farms, and family-owned or controlled assets. It also assists clients with prenuptial agreements and civil partnership breakdowns, as well as children law matters, where recent work includes handling a Schedule 1 Children Act claim for a parent and managing all aspects of an international relocation of children for a father. Practice head Fiona Apthorpe has a β€˜thoroughly sound knowledge of the subject’, β€˜works hard to achieve good results for clients’ and is β€˜well versed in all aspects of alternative dispute resolution’. Senior associate Claire Dean is also recommended.

Howes Percival LLP’s β€˜first-class’ team is led by the β€˜impeccably thorough’ Justine Flack, who β€˜leaves no stone unturned’. Focused primarily on family finance cases, it acts for high-net-worth individuals, including legal and financial practitioners and entrepreneurs, in relationship breakdown and divorce proceedings, associated financial, pension and childcare arrangements, drafting prenuptial agreements, and handling cohabitation disputes. The firm acted for a spouse in financial proceedings involving assets based abroad, represented a parent in a Children Act dispute concerning contact with the child, and handled financial proceedings for a divorcee who held over Β£6m in business assets. Jane Cowley joined Gateley Plc.

The team at Nelsons Solicitors Limited is praised for its β€˜unwavering professionalism and commitment to clients’ that β€˜set it apart from the competition’. The workload includes high-value financial arrangement cases, proceedings concerning children and cases for high-net-worth individuals with assets in the UK and offshore. The β€˜very thoughtful and efficient’ Kelvin Henderson recently handled a case involving Β£12m in matrimonial assets, and runs both β€˜small- and big-money cases with equal skill and care’. β€˜Fearless yet caring advocate’ Melanie Bridgen is acting for an foreign national in proceedings arising from the unlawful abduction of the child from the Middle East to the UK and is assisting a parent with bringing an alienation claim. Jayne Chilvers heads the department and Victor Collins is also recommended.

Rothera Sharp Solicitors is recommended for both family finance and childcare matters. With regards to the former, practice head Paul Cobb is particularly noted, assisting clients with sizable assets in the UK and offshore, pension issues and relevant tax arrangements. Ann-Marie Bowman specialises in public childcare cases and receives instructions from guardians, family members and foster carers regarding a range of adoption and care proceedings. Recent work includes handling cross-jurisdictional financial arrangements for a spouse of a director of a multinational company, representing family members in care proceedings following negative assessments by local authorities and social services, and acting for children in injury claims.

Spearing Waite LLP’s practice head Swati Somaiya is β€˜very knowledgeable and quick to grasp the key issues in a case’; she acts for high-net-worth individuals in complex financial cases involving substantial on and offshore assets, third party loans, pension funds and trusts, as well as advising on prenuptial agreements and cohabitation issues. Disputes concerning children and arising from domestic violence are another area of expertise. The group recently assisted a spouse in financial arrangement proceedings concerning a high-value mixed portfolio of residential and commercial properties, and represented a child in a Children Act case involving allegations of domestic abuse.

Banner Jones Solicitors’ team provides an β€˜expert service’, and is led by β€˜focused and articulate advocates’ Toby Netting and Helena Downing. It assists clients with private and public law work, including divorce proceedings, prenuptial agreements, cohabitation matters and children-related cases. Although regional clients form a substantial proportion of the group’s client base, it also advises foreign nationals on cases with an international element. Recent work includes a complex childcare case involving issues of domestic violence, assisting a client with divorce proceedings on the grounds of unreasonable behaviour, and managing care proceedings issued by a local authority and arising from a child’s non-accidental injury.

Clients in the farming industry form a large proportion of the roster at Roythornes Solicitors, where lawyers handle a range of matrimonial disputes and relationship breakdown issues, which frequently involve negotiating arrangements for business and property assets. The team recently represented a spouse in Children Act proceedings and handled the divorce of a married couple who traded together as a limited company. Nick Ingrey is the name to note.

Sills & Betteridge LLP’s team β€˜fights fiercely for its clients and strives for a good result’. Chrystel Theofanous specialises in domestic abuse cases, while the β€˜exceptional’ Helen Derry is a β€˜no-nonsense professional’, who β€˜exudes confidence’ in private family finance matters. The β€˜very thorough and pragmatic’ Mo Hayes handles public law care proceedings. The group represented a respondent husband in divorce proceedings involving business assets and successfully ring-fenced endowment policies. John Mitchell heads the practice.

The team at Wilson Browne Solicitors is praised for its β€˜exemplary service’. Practice head Sally Robinson has a β€˜calming influence’ and provides β€˜robust advice in a sensitive manner’ in private children and finance cases; Deena Tate, who leads the childcare team, has β€˜encyclopaedic knowledge of cases filed by guardians’; and the β€˜phenomenal’ Helen York’s β€˜consistent and sound advice is absolutely on the mark’. Edward Rawlins and Helen York are also noted. Highlights included acting for a respondent in divorce proceedings involving wealth accrued through various inheritances, assisting a mother with the application for a non-molestation order and handling a financial case concerning a discretionary trust.

Boutique firm Woolley & Co, Solicitors assists UK residents and foreign nationals with a range of matters, such as jurisdictional challenges to divorce proceedings, child arrangement orders and financial remedy applications. It also handles complex financial cases involving business and property assets, and manages child contact disputes. Michelle Brammer is β€˜exceptionally good with clients, very capable strategically’ and β€˜gets results without inducing unnecessary acrimony’. Kate Brooks is a β€˜very solid litigator when the case gets tough’.

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Legal Developments in East Midlands for Family

  • New β€˜ROE Bill’ draft published

    Following from the recent public outcry regarding the lack of β€˜transparency’ in the UK property market, a new β€˜ROE Bill’ draft has now been published.
    - Hudson McKenzie

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