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Firms To Watch: Family

BLM has a strong team across London and the South East, led by the experienced and well-regarded Grainne Fahy who joined the firm in mid-2019.
Bortoft Bell was founded in late 2019 by former Vardags duo Arron Bortoft  and Charlie Bell. The team also includes highly regarded consultant Catherine Thomas, who previously worked at Dawson Cornwell, before which she was also at Vardags.
Family boutique Ribet Myles was launched in April 2021 by a trio of former Levison Meltzer Pigott partners - Julian Ribet, Alistair Myles and Laura Geraghty.
Entertainment and media specialist firm Simkins LLP launched a divorce and family department in mid-2021 with the hire of Seddons practice head Deborah Jeff.

Firms in the Spotlight Family

Hughes Fowler Carruthers

Hughes Fowler Carruthers logo

Hughes Fowler Carruthers was established in July 2001. The firm is led by Frances Hughes, who has been consistently rated as a leading individual in this publication over many years. All partners are internationally acclaimed for the exceptional standard of their work. The other partners are Pauline Fowler, Alex Carruthers, Mark Harper, Renato Labi, Caroline …

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Family in London

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP frequently acts in cases of the highest value and complexity. It has a significant international reach and head of department James Freeman ('tenacious and clever') is particularly well-known for his experience in Anglo-French cases. Miranda Fisher is recognised for her work on Anglo-Russian cases. The team also boasts particular expertise in cases involving onshore and offshore trust structures. Clients include successful business owners with substantial private businesses and family business structures. William Longrigg who 'brings gravitas and charm to any case' specialises in international divorce, financial relief matters (both pre- and post-nuptial agreements) as well as private law children cases. A number of his clients are ultra-high-net-worth individuals and members of high-profile aristocratic and international families. Sarah Anticoni is one of the leading mediators in London. Sarah Higgins is also well-regarded and has a particular focus on complex financial applications as well as complex private children applications. In addition the practice has carved out considerable expertise in surrogacy, adoption, cross-border contact arrangements for children as well as advising on the rights of trans-gender parents.

Practice head(s):

James Freeman

Other key lawyers:

Miranda Fisher; William Longrigg; Sarah Anticoni; Sarah Higgins; James Riby ;Sarah Jane Boon; Joshua Green; Jamie Kennaugh; Erica Shelton; Emily Borrowdale

Testimonials

‘CRS has a busy, well-regarded and effectively functioning financial remedy team. James Freemen is a hardworking, thoughtful and reliable talent with good bedside manner who successfully represents many high net worth clients. Sarah Jane Boon is thoughtful and hardworking, and full of intelligent ideas about the best ways to progress a client’s case‘.

They are heavyweights in the family arena, able to take on the best, yet approach cases with common sense and humanity. Jamie Kennaugh, Emily Borrowdale and Joshua Green. Sarah Anticoni- an extremely safe pair of hands as a a mediator‘.

‘CRS is a stellar team full of excellent people. The lawyers are simply a cut above the rest. Their strengths are a virtually unrivalled experience in the biggest and most complex family cases and the quality of their family team. They are enormously respected by judges and the wider profession, which is hard earned’.

‘William Longrigg: Exceptionally measured with impeccable judgment. The man for any occasion. Sarah Higgins: Exceptional intellect and eye for detail and incredibly hardworking. Sarah Anticoni: Very skilled litigator always several moves ahead of everyone else. Erica Shelton: Oozes class and confidence. Family law royalty. Sarah Jane Boon: A force to be reckoned with in any case. She has a seniority and gravitas way beyond her years and is one to watch’.

Jamie Kennaugh: Jamie is wonderful with clients and is devastatingly understated but effective in litigation. Emily Borrowdale: A rising star in family law who will get to the top. Wonderful manner with clients coupled with an impeccable instinct and judgement. Joshua Green: Another rising star. Able to get right to the heart of any case instantly and make the most complicated issues seem straightforward‘.

Excellent commercial nous and the ability to draw on a large team of other subject-areas makes the family team well placed to deal with almost any query thrown at it. James Riby is great- hardworking and dedicated. Really prepared to go the extra mile‘.

‘If my clients need assistance in the UK in family issues, the first law firm I am thinking about is CRS as the firm follows the highest professional standards and international best practices. They are client-friendly and very practical. They have Russian-speaking lawyers that provide the Russian clients with the possibility to discuss extremely sensitive matrimonial issues. Miranda Fisher: she has strategic thinking, which allows her to be two steps ahead of the clients‘.

‘A very solid family team. Lots of very good HNW clients and international cases. The lawyers are sensible and concentrate on the important issues. They are straight and you know where you are with them. Good people to have on the other side who will represent their clients’ interests fairly and sensibly. James Freeman is excellent. Very bright, on top of the law, settlement minded and able to cut through the detail to concentrate on what is important quickly. Highly pragmatic. William Longrigg. A very well known and liked operator who has huge experience – getting into Senior Statesman category. Miaranda Fisher. Well known for her navigation of Russian cases‘.

 

Dawson Cornwell

Dawson Cornwell has been involved in many ground breaking cases including 18 reported cases from March 2020 to February 2021 of which six reached the Court of Appeal and one reached the Supreme Court. The team has immense foreign expertise and has a first-rate children department which is at the forefront of private children law disputes, difficult public law cases, child abduction and other areas such as forced marriages, surrogacy and parentage arrangements. It also has a significant practice that deals with financial provision for children.  Kate Allen advises on all areas of domestic and international family law including high-net-worth financial settlements, children disputes and cohabitation. Russell Bywater is another known name for his work on difficult cases involving non-disclosure, overseas assets and offshore trusts. There have been some changes to the team - Catherine Thomas is now at Bortoft Bell and Zoe Fleetwood is at Mills & Reeve LLP. Sulema Jahangir was promoted to the partnership.  The practice 'remains at the forefront of international children cases. After the sad passing of Anne-Marie Hutchinson the children team is being led by the brilliant Carolina Marín Pedreño. It is a close knit team with a huge depth and breath of experience in children cases and in particular international children cases'.

Practice head(s):

Kate Allen; Carolina Marin Pedreño

Other key lawyers:

Russell Bywater; Jessica Reid; Colin Rogerson; Lisette Dupré; Amy Barrow; Forum Shah; Sulema Jahangir; Charlotte Image-Flower; Charlotte Conner; Amy Fullerton; Kate Brett; Aysel Akhundova

Testimonials

Dawson Cornwell is one of the premier boutique family law firms. What makes it unique is the depth of the experience and the diversity of the team to deal with all matters relating to family law, whether it be finances, children, or complex questions of international private law. All of the individuals I have worked with in the firm are fully committed to the clients and providing the best possible advice in terms of strategy to suit the clients’ needs‘.

‘Dawson Cornwell is known as one of the most prestigious family law firms in the UK. It has some of the most exciting work in the field. The individuals at Dawson Cornwell are some of the best and the brightest. Of particular note are: Carolina Marín Pedreño; Charlotte Image-Flower, Forum Shah‘.

It has one of the most unique pools of international children law talent and experience in the country which has survived in full force since Anne-Marie Hutchinson OBE QC (Hon)’s untimely death. Carolina Marin Pedreno – hardworking, tactical, impressively intelligent Head of the Children team. Particularly strong on international children cases with a real feel for the right answer or the optimal answer for a client‘.

‘The best firm for international family law. Colin Rogerson: Colin Rogerson knows everything there is to know about surrogacy law, both domestic and international.  He also has considerable experience with cases in other areas related to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008. Forum Shah: Very bright. She is is always one step ahead in litigation. She has represented a number of young  people in difficult private law  proceedings‘.

Dawson Cornwell has a deep bench of divorce law talent and experience. It is the optimally-sized firm: large enough to be at the forefront of emerging trends in divorce law, yet small enough to provide its clients with the dedicated attention of senior lawyers. Kate Allen’s stellar reputation proved to be well-deserved. From our first meeting, Kate was laser-focused on me, my position and my objectives. She adapted her approach to best reflect my changing perspectives and circumstances. At times, she saved me from myself. Kate ably combines legal rigor, steadfast advocacy and empathy‘.

‘Mr Russell Bywater: A true force of nature. He really redefines what empathy in a professional sense can look like and lives the journey with you every step of the way but always with a solution focused and forward looking ethos. He is fearless. He made me feel like a movie star in the client care he gives. He is like a true chess grandmaster and is thinking several moves ahead as always. He is calm and knows all the moves to play and can contain his clients’ emotions like nobody else‘.

Dawson Cornwell is the full Rolls Royce package for financial remedies. The whole ethos is very client-driven, deadlines are met and correspondence is forthright but solution-focused. Lay clients feel very safe. Charlotte Conner is as good as family law solicitors get. She is personable, super-intelligent and on the ball. Her correspondence is superbly written and she knows exactly when to fight and when to settle‘.

‘Lisette Dupre is immensely talented.  She is as savvy as she is intelligent, and is not afraid to ask the client the difficult questions when necessary.  When working with her, there is a real sense of a team effort, and her contributions are invaluable‘.

 

Work highlights

  • Acting for Charles Villiers in the most important financial remedy case of the year – the only one heard by the Supreme Court during 2020, and the first divorce case where the government intervened in over 200 years.
  • Acting for the father in a case addressing the forensic challenges in dealing with a significant history of coercive and controlling behaviour. As Hayden J said “the subtleties of human behaviour are not easily receptive to the confinement and constraint of a [Scott] Schedule”. The case may signal a change of approach as to whether Scott Schedules are used in such cases but it will be for the Judge and advocates in each case to decide.
  • Acting for the father in the Court of Appeal decision which concerns the complex interplay of asylum legislation within international child abduction matters. An application for asylum would usually derail 1980 Hague proceedings and their summary nature. The Court of Appeal granted the appeal. The Court has gone on to give exceptionally important guidance in this area, which is essential reading for anyone involved in international children law matters.

Family Law in Partnership Ltd

Family Law in Partnership Ltd  ‘remains the leading light for a mindful and progressive approach to family law disputes’. It has been busy advising various very high-profile individuals including members of the royal family in the UK and abroad, celebrities and ultra-wealthy business people. Recent work has involved advising on pre- and post-nuptial agreements with significant international elements in addition to complex and high-value financial relief claims on divorce with complicated cross-border tax, trusts and pensions implications. It is also skilled at advising on private children law matters and on  difficult cases involving domestic abuse. The ‘well respectedGillian Bishop and the ‘deeply experiencedDavid Allison who has a ‘keen commercial eye‘  are singled out for praise along with the ‘extremely able and savvy litigatorDaniel Coombes who is strong on high-net-worth and international finance matters. Elizabeth Hicks  is a ‘great hire and has an excellent reputation‘. The practice is renowned for its expertise across the full range of DR options from robust litigation to settlement outside the court process.  ‘Promising talentMariko Wilson and Charlotte Symes were promoted. ‘Every member of this team adopts a collaborative approach to cases, is an intelligent, empathic and highly-skilled lawyer, combining good judgement with a conciliatory approach’.

Other key lawyers:

David Allison; Gillian Bishop; Pamela Collis; James Pirrie; Bradley Williams; Daniel Coombes; Elizabeth Fletcher ; Elizabeth Hicks; Helen Greenfield; Charlotte Symes; Nicole Phillips; Mariko Wilson; Kara Swift; Grace Lawrence; Hannah Greene; Selena Arbe-Barnes

Testimonials

With Gillian Bishop at the helm this firm has championed innovation in ADR and well being. It is well known for its non confrontational approach to disputes – that is highly impactful in terms of client results. Hannah Greene is whip smart, forensic and one to watch. Helen Greenfield is very experienced, fabulous with clients, and a highly effective lawyer both as a litigator and someone who tries to settle cases. David Allison is a stellar individual‘.

Flip offers one of the best family law services in London. The partners know the law inside out. They are widely respected by their peers and the judges. They offer a truly comprehensive service from hard core litigation, mediation and arbitration which provides a holistic service – seeing their clients through what can be a traumatic process looking after their emotional wellbeing as well as their pockets‘.

David Alison stands out as one of the best negotiators in the business. He is trusted by his peers and respected. David is the antidote to the toxic world of family breakdown. He is always completely on top of his brief, calm and collected; the most difficult cases appear simple and straight forward in his capable hands. David really does get the deal done. Helen Greenfield is organised, energetic and a delight to work with. Nothing is too much trouble for her and she does what she needs to do calmly and with kindness and good humour‘.

‘The team at FLiP has great strength in depth and adopts a principled approach to the cases that puts client first. I really rate Elizabeth Fletcher, who is pragmatic, sensible and child centred in her approach to cases. James Pirrie knows everything there is to know about child maintenance and is the Guru on this topic‘.

FLiP has a strong, people-orientated team. Charlotte Symes – Charlotte gives great technical advice.  We worked together on a very challenging matter which involved cross jurisdictional advice and action.  Despite it being a very technically challenging matter, Charlotte always remained available to talk to the client and provided clear and pragmatic advice throughout with a reassuring manner for the client in what could otherwise have been an extremely stressful situation‘.

‘The firm has significant experience in dealing with high value complex financial cases, especially hotly-contested disputes with international elements and involving trust structures and groups of companies. A recent case on which I worked with the team involved assets of more than $1 billion. Bradley Williams is responsive and has an in-depth knowledge of the case. He demonstrates an astute understanding of the underlying law and and the dynamics of the dispute, and has a good feel for strategy and the practicalities of the dispute. He is also a pleasure to deal with and is good at reassuring the client‘.

The FLIP team has exceptional expertise in all areas and gives great support to lay clients. The lawyers are always ahead of the field in terms of new and better methods and its market profile is exceptional. Kara Swift, still only an Associate in title and cost, would be exceptional in whichever field of law she chose. I am particularly glad that she chose Family. I completely depended on her for calm and effective advice – in what could have been an exceptionally difficult divorce but which Kara kept on track’.

Very bright and committed team. Thorough grasp of international law. Great on money cases and children too. Provides an exceptional service. Pamela Collis is very kind, able and experienced. Grace Lawrence is a delight to deal with and on the way up‘.

‘I was extremely impressed with Selena Arbe-Barnes. She was always on top of absolutely everything in our matter (whilst at the same time probably having many other cases requiring her attention). She was always flawlessly and meticulously prepared for client conferences and made excellence look effortless.’

Farrer & Co

Farrer & Co has a stellar reputation for high-value and complex work involving substantial assets, foreign jurisdictions, complicated asset protection structures, trusts and tax issues. It provides a 'Rolls-Royce service for every client' and acts for a sophisticated client base including UHNW families and international clients that span numerous jurisdictions. It is not unusual for the group to be involved in cases with assets of up to or over £1bn and the team has played a pivotal role in numerous reported cases. It is highly rated too for its work on complex international children matters. 'Tower of strength' William Massey heads the team that has an 'exceptional range of lawyers from the most senior down to the most junior members of the team'. 'Senior statesman' Simon Bruce is routinely instructed on the highest-value cases. Claire Gordon remains a key figure for her work on cases where the assets regularly exceed £200m. Sarah Hutchinson has a busy caseload as well as being a mediator. Jeremy Posnansky QC is adept at advising on extremely complex financial cases. Amy Radnor was promoted to the partnership. It is 'a superb machine bringing together the very finest legal minds'.    

Practice head(s):

William Massey

Other key lawyers:

Simon Bruce; Claire Gordon; Sarah Hutchinson; Jeremy Posnansky QC; Caroline Holley;Amy Radnor; Flora Harragin; Alexander Woolley; Clare Serenyi; Frederick Tatham

Testimonials

‘One of the very best family law departments in London. It is impossible to praise this team more highly. Every member of the team is fantastic. Caroline Holley is a superstar. Her clients adore her for her incisive mind, strategic abilities and charming manner. You couldn’t find a better solicitor to fight your case and give you calm realistic advice. Simon Bruce remains at the top of the tree – probably the best male divorce solicitor in London. He has a brain the size of a planet with an encyclopaedic knowledge of international family law unsurpassed by any other London divorce lawyer’.

One of the premier teams in the field. All members benefit from the wide field of private client work (especially tax and trusts) within the firm and in which each member of the family team is steeped. The lawyers take a measured approach and do not “put on a show” for the sake of it. A calmness of approach belies a cast iron core of good judgement, fine black letter lawyering, approachability and fearlessness in defence of a client’s interest. Attention to detail is universal, and the department has the trust of the courts and opponents alike and the respect of the bar. The firm name is a hallmark of a quality and pedigree that is not just an artefact of the past‘.

William Massey leads consummately from the front. Softly spoken, and urbane, he is one of the most charming doing the work. Behind this sits a formidable litigation talent and fine black letter lawyer. Clients love him and opponents know they have to be on their mettle. Claire Gordon is a star, she is destined to be one of the handful in the very top tier for a very long time. Utterly charming and a pleasure to be instructed by, belies an inner focus and steel employed for the best interests of the case and client. She is intellectually formidable including on esoteric jurisdiction issues yet humane, and with superb tactical judgment‘.

Sarah Hutchinson leaves no stone unturned and is both beyond thorough and nuanced in her approach. Exceptional with clients in a crisis, or who need to be persuaded as to what is really in their best interests. She is a delight to work with, and a very fine lawyer indeed. Clare Serenyi frequently runs huge cases as the main representative, and in any other firm would be partner. She is certainly better than many more established names‘.

Preparation and approach is immaculate. Tactical and calm the firm is first tier in every way. Alex Woolley and William Massey are stand out. Calm, exceptionally bright as well as measured I would recommend them to any client‘.

‘Flora Harragin is outstanding and growing in stature as a leading member of the Farrer team. She is sensitive to client mood and anxieties yet decisive when it comes to strategic decision – ie provides the complete service a client might need.  Simon Bruce continues to provide an effortlessly first class service – clients absolutely love him. He inspires total confidence for the client‘.

This is a very solid department; from partners to the most junior solicitor. The lawyers provide exceptional client care and are well versed in representing those ultra and high net worth individuals. It has a strong practice in complex child disputes. Sarah Hutchinson is an exceptional solicitor. She has amazing client care skills and is passionate about her work and in getting the best possible result for the client. Sarah is all over the detail of a case; she is hardworking and extremely effective at what she does. A joy to work with. Flora Harrigan is super intelligent and will leave no stone unturned. She is empathetic but also a brilliant strategic thinker. She inspires confidence‘.

The team gets excellent work and are truly family experts. The lawyers understand the needs of a client and have the client at the forefront of their practice. I am excited for them in that their current partners are the next generation and are forging a great name for themselves and they have some exceptional juniors coming up – they are always a firm to reckon with but the future is very bright for them. Sarah Hutchinson – exceptionally bright lawyer. Very personable but she has razer sharp intellect. Caroline Holley – another brilliant partner who has made a great name for herself‘.

 

Work highlights

  • Acted for the wife since her separation from her husband in 2009. This is the first reported case of a second financial remedies final order being set aside on the basis of a second fraudulent non-disclosure. The wife’s financial remedy claims have now been restored and the team is acting for her in relation to the fresh determination of her claims. This has been an extremely complex matter, involving difficult and unprecedented legal issues.
  • Advised the husband in connection with his wife’s application for a financial remedy on divorce. The final hearing took place at the end of March 2020, and was the first fully contested financial remedies application to be heard remotely. The major issues for determination were (i) the valuation of the client’s shareholding in his company; and (ii) what proportion of the total assets should be considered matrimonial. The single joint expert agreed with the husband’s approach to valuation, and the judge therefore accepted the husband’s position. The judge also accepted that a considerable proportion of the overall wealth was generated post separation and was therefore non-matrimonial. This was a highly successful piece of litigation on behalf of the client and was reported as G v T [2020] EWHC 1613 .
  • Advised the beneficiaries of a family trust who intervened in hard fought High Court divorce proceedings between their parents in order to protect the substantial trust interests. As can be seen from the judgment (WX v HX (Treatment of matrimonial and non-matrimonial property) [2021] EWHC 241), the team was successful in protecting its clients’ trust interests.

Hughes Fowler Carruthers

Hughes Fowler Carruthers is one of the leading niche family law firms in London that is led by the 'phenomenal' Frances Hughes. It is 'always at the top of its game' and consists of eight excellent partners who continue to be involved in a very high number of reported cases - they are 'ferocious opponents and fearless litigators '. It receives a steady flow of instructions in the huge money cases (in excess of £1bn) and pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements where there is a significant cross-jurisdictional dimension. It also boasts substantial expertise in the legal issues surrounding same sex relationships and contested children cases. Pauline Fowler who is 'brilliant at resolving the trickiest of cases' had another busy year attracting a range of new instructions from the internationally wealthy. Alex Carruthers (a 'master tactician') continues to impress with his work for ultra-high-net-worth individuals on a wide range of matters. Mark Harper also garners praise along with the other key members of the team who include Renato Labi and Caroline Park . It remains 'one of the strongest finance litigation teams in the country'. Clients get a '6 star experience'.

Practice head(s):

Frances Hughes

Other key lawyers:

Pauline Fowler; Alex Carruthers; Mark Harper; Renato Labi; Caroline Park; Kate Brett

Testimonials

‘HFC is a first class boutique family law firm, especially focused on high value and complex financial remedy cases. Alex Carruthers is a stand-out litigator of immense experience and superior instincts‘.

‘Mark Harper is fantastic and I would highly recommend him (in fact I have already) to anyone getting a divorce. He has so much experience and is very calm, sensible, fair, detail orientated, clever and humorous. Mark was very, very strong when I needed him to be, and could see what was happening on both sides all the time. But he also was very aware of the intense personal trauma that this divorce was having on me, and was extremely sensitive to that. He guided me very well when I needed it. He was extremely well aware of the costs, and never wasted my time or money‘.

The best boutique family law firm bar none. The lawyers are also the best toe-to-toe litigators doing family work. Utterly unafraid of court, and using it to maximum advantage, they have been in every UHNW or legally complex divorce in recent times, often leaving changes in the law in their wake. Their size means nimbleness and flexibility, and an ability to turn on a sixpence when the case requires it. Wholly unfazed by any problem, it is either dismantled, diverted around or simply turned to their advantage. A hugely pragmatic yet creative approach, means they get results few would try to reach for, and even fewer would achieve. Feared by opponents, but capable of the most low key settlements rather than fighting when appropriate. You want them on your side, not against you‘.

Frances Hughes has rightly bestrode the family law world like a colossus. She achieves unlikely outcomes by pure force of personality when required. The most tactically astute mind in planning and executing a case, and loved by clients who feel utterly protected, and never led down the garden path. Alex Carruthers is a feared litigator, with an astute and brave approach to any problem. He never takes a step backwards and leaves no angle unexplored or unexploited. Renato Labi is greatly liked by all those who are on the other side, an utterly straightforward approach gains the respect of all, whilst knowing that he is a fine tactician and carefully thinker, who can take a case through to trial with relish. His advice is clear, cogent, creative and realistic, his manner charming and his understanding of legal nuances erudite. Caroline Park is a quiet star, to be underestimated at one’s peril. Supremely bright, super organised and calm and devout in the furthering of her client’s best case. Highly emotionally intelligent she can read a client, a judge or the other side to maximum effect’.

‘Huge strength in depth. Frances Hughes has a reputation which is second to none. She has achieved countless victories against the odds. She has an extraordinary drive and will to win which brings success where others would look to cut her their losses‘.

Alex Carruthers is a top choice for difficult finance cases. Renato Labi combines great charm with tenacity and tactical nous. He is especially good at dealing with complex financial remedies claims. Caroline Park is one of the best lawyers of her generation. She has a phenomenal legal brain and outstanding knowledge of the caselaw. She is very tactically astute‘.

‘I worked with Pauline Fowler in a complex cross-border marital property and inheritance matter last year. I found her extremely professional, admired her communication skills and vast experience, which led to a very fruitful collaboration and happy clients. I will certainly seek her advice again in future on cross-border matters‘.

‘Frances Hughes, Alex Carruthers and Pauline Fowler have stellar reputations which are entirely deserved. They are not only gifted lawyers but bring years of experience to each case and always approach litigation in a sensible and commercially minded way. The support they offer clients is second to none. Kate Brett is an excellent choice for both finance and children cases. She fights hard but knows when to settle’.

Key clients

Potanina

Akhmedov

Rogan

Re Q

Crowther

Work highlights

  • The firm is acting in this landmark, multi-billion pound case on the application of Part III of the Matrimonial and Family Proceedings Act 1984 (Potanin v Potanina [2019] EWHC 2956 (Fam)) .
  • In this unusual, high value case (AF v SF [2019] EWHC 1224 (Fam)), the firm was instructed by the Official Solicitor less than two months before a five-day trial to act for a husband who had been held to lack the relevant capacity to litigate, and achieved an excellent result for the client.
  • The wife obtained the largest reported award on any divorce in the English courts and her efforts to enforce the judgement have been widely covered in the press. The firm has been instructed by the parties’ son, against whom his mother is seeking orders for disclosure and to recover funds paid to him by his father. The son is challenging the funding arrangements of the wife.

Mishcon de Reya LLP

Mishcon de Reya LLP continues to successfully litigate matrimonial finance cases all the way to the Supreme Court and Privy Council and is regularly instructed in the most complex and high-value cases with significant international elements that have complicated tax and trust issues, partnerships and valuable assets. The 'client service is phenomenal- silky smooth with great end results'.  It recently launched its Anglo-French family law group and it continues to develop its surrogacy and adoption specialist practices. Barbara Reeves is 'great leader' and is an accredited Resolution specialist in the areas of financial dispute and cohabitation. Sandra Davis 'remains the grand dame of family law' and is a keen advocate for the voices of children and young people throughout the divorce and separation process. It has 'fabulous junior partners and associates' too.  Legal directors Kate Clark and Claire Yorke are well-regarded. David Lister left the team to join Rayden Solicitors. It remains a 'pre-eminent family law team that offers the best of advice from the most senior partner to the most junior solicitor. It has a strong reputation across the board from financial disputes to complex children matters'.

Practice head(s):

Barbara Reeves

Other key lawyers:

Sandra Davis; Kate Clark; Claire Yorke; Emma Willing; James Rees; Rob Hines; Antonia Felix; Dan Beattie; Rebecca Lachno; Melissa Lesson; Clare Radcliffe

Testimonials

Barbara Reeves – needs no introduction.  Doyenne of family law when it comes to UHNW individuals‘.

‘The best divorce department in London without a shadow of a doubt. The team has access to a full suite of resources in the firm’s other departments and the lawyers are always quick to take advantage of these resources for the client.  Sandra Davis has been and remains the very best divorce lawyer in London. She reassures clients with her charm and steely determination. Each client knows that they are in the very best hands‘.

Claire Yorke is the future. She is one of the very best partners. She is on top of her cases and her clients know it. They love her for fighting their cases hard but maintaining a good relationship with her opponents. her negotiating skills are second to none. Rob Hines is a great strategist. He is enormously intelligent and understands the human dynamic of all his cases. James Rees an upcoming star – a partner of the future. Has a brilliant mind and great with clients. He is a steady hand in all cases and a great help. Antonia Felix is an amazing lawyer with a brilliant bedside manner She handles difficult cases on her own with great skill. She is one of the very best. Her letters win cases‘.

‘First rate family law team who are committed to inclusion – big emphasis on  LGBT+ families. Claire Yorke –  She is direct but manages client expectations wonderfully. Emma Willing – Extremely knowledgeable when it comes to surrogacy law‘.

The team is strong on ultra and high net worth cases and has a huge number of heavy hitters; it is a very strong department. Sandra Davis is an exceptional practitioner within the department. She is at the top of her game. You want Sandra on your side. There is none that can match Sandra’s experience, and judgment in family law. Kate Clark is extremely personable, organised and efficient. She has fantastic judgment and is a joy to work with. Her instincts are fantastic. She is outstanding in inspiring confidence and is a real fighter‘.

Claire Yorke is one of the go to names in family law. She is calm, knowledgeable, gives great advice and is all over the detail. You want her on your side . A brilliant lawyer. Emma Willing is considered and client focused. She has a lovely manner with clients and is fantastically well organised. Emma is a really accomplished classy family lawyer who fights hard for her clients. Dan Beattie is all over the detail. Underestimate him at your peril; he is a really great lawyer who knows how to get the best results. Robert Hines gives realistic and sensible advice‘.

Rebecca Lachno has a charming manner with clients, is conscientious and works hard to get the right results . She knows her cases inside out. She impresses with her command of the facts, the organisation of the papers and her drive to get the best result possible for the client. She fights hard for her clients and I consider her one to watch. Kate Clark is brilliant. Robust and yet compassionate giving excellent advice. she is definitely a star of the future. Emma Willing is calm, with a razor sharp intelligence. James Rees is excellent with clients and has great strategic thinking. Claire Yorke is an excellent lawyer who thinks out of the box. She is who you want on your side. Claire Radcliffe – a managing associate in the ascendancy‘.

‘Top-notch law firm with a genuine breadth of talent. Modern, outward looking and commercial, it offers a first class service with charm and efficiency. The product is greatly enhanced by the firm’s company, commercial and private client teams so it is a “one stop shop” for the entrepreneur, the international businessperson and the affluent professional alike. Melissa Lesson is a wonderful solicitor: tri-lingual, sophisticated, internationally savvy with a calm manner and an eye for a great deal. Sandra Davis has a client list “to die for’, oodles of experience and person charm aplenty. A very wise head‘.

 

Payne Hicks Beach LLP

Payne Hicks Beach LLP has an immense reputation for providing specialist advice on all aspects of family law issues often with an international dimension for its wealthy clients who include celebrities, entrepreneurs, magic circle lawyers as well as investment bankers and hedge fund managers. The team frequently appears in the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal  on various high-profile and ground breaking cases. It has considerable strength in diverse areas including nuptial agreements, the treatment of inherited wealth (in the context of financial remedies) and the international relocation of children. Philip McGuirk and Rebecca Cockcroft co-head the 'exceptionally good family' department. Baroness Fiona Shackleton has a stellar reputation 'with knowledge and strategic sense that that no one can match'. Ian Airey specialises in complex cases - often involving an international element.  Nick Manners and Catherine Costley were appointed to the partnership. 'The Rolls Royce firm with the best client list in London. A top flight team that caters for the international A list but gives great client care to everyone'.

Practice head(s):

Rebecca Cockcroft; Philip McGuirk

Other key lawyers:

Baroness Fiona Shackleton; Ian Airey; Simon Beccle; Ben Parry-Smith; Matthew Booth; Nick Manners; Catherine Costley; Emily Foy; Emily Foy; Sarah Williams ; Fiona Brown; Katie Parkes; Luke Scarratt

Testimonials

Fiona Shackleton. Her dedication to the case and the client is unparalleled. She is always available. It is this that other clients would value – that sense of being a client who really matters and who will always be given the best attention. This is supported by having teams of different disciplines who can be brought into the case as necessary. Fiona’s ‘sense’ for case strategy is extraordinary. At key points in the case she will see an opportunity or a need to change tack. Such decisions can ‘make’ a case‘.

‘A first rate team with excellent lawyers at every level for every type of case. One of the country’s leading firms specialising in family law. The cases are perfectly prepared with every attention to detail. Clients receive a Rolls Royce service. There are many stand out individuals in this team. Fiona Shackleton (obviously), Philip McGuirk and Rebecca Cockcroft to name but three of the seniors. Rebecca Cockcroft is the new joint head of the family team and is an extremely accomplished family lawyer. She cares deeply about her clients and offers the best strategy to achieve their desired outcome. Also Emily Foy is one of the best senior associates around – she has excellent client care skills and has a great ability to stay calm when tensions are running high‘.

‘PHB is currently the pre-eminent high value financial remedy team in London, and is trusted with most of the highest profile disputes. It has a wealth of talent at every level and provides a Rolls Royce service. Baroness Shackleton in truly peerless. Her reputation and achievements are second to none, and her involvement in a case means that the client can be confident that they have the very best practitioner in the field running the team. Ben Parry-Smith is sharp and thoughtful, with an inventive mind which looks for and finds creative but positive solutions to the cases that he is involved in. Nick Manners is careful balanced and articulate, and can be trusted to tease out the most important and helpful elements in a client’s case. Katie Parkes has an exceptional eye for detail and a prodigious work-rate which enables her to really understand her client‘.

‘Fiona Brown is probably the most intelligent family law solicitor in London: detailed, charming; insightful. Fiona Shackleton is the doyenne of the matrimonial finance world. She has the best clients because she gives the best client care. Her USP is her commitment to her clients, and her team. Her superpower is the ability to get the feel of a case, and the right answer almost immediately. Ben Parry-Smith is a ball of energy, engaging, committed and commercially savvy. Can charm the birds out of the trees, a great skill in this area‘.

‘An excellent old school firm. Matthew Booth is an old head on young shoulders. He has excellent judgment is very calm and measured and so inspires confidence. Philip McGuirk outstandingly good and reflects the principles of the firm. Attentive to detail, careful strategists and offering a Rolls Royce service to clients. Catherine Costley is an absolute star- completely unflappable and with a razor sharp legal mind‘.

‘Arguably the strongest family law firm in the country, the lawyers are involved in the biggest cases and attract the highest level clients. Extraordinary strength in depth. Matthew Booth – the understated star of the team, he combines great intelligence with enormous insight and exceptional client-care skills. Should definitely be considered one of the leading individuals at the firm. Simon Beccle – very astute. Philip McGuirk – incredibly impressive and universally respected. Emily Foy – a future partner without doubt‘.

I deeply respect Sarah Williams who has a very interesting niche practice in all idiosyncratic areas of family law, with a particular focus on fertility law. I have worked with Sarah on some exceptionally high net worth and high profile cases‘.

The stand out associate is Katie Parkes. She is one of the junior members on the team but her contribution has been invaluable. She has a superb command of the detail of the case and often spots a nuance or a point missed by others. She is prodigiously hardworking and has been the backbone of the case. Nick Manners is a calm voice of reason. He understands the case thoroughly. Luke Scarratt is a junior well worth a mention. He is intelligent, strategic and hard working. Definitely a name for the future’.

 

Stewarts Law LLP

Stewarts Law LLP has a strong partner line up and a range of impressive associates who work on a substantial array of high-value cases – it has been described as a ‘powerhouse of the best talent‘. Many of the cases run well into the £100s of millions with a large percentage of the cases involving assets in excess of £500m and several running into billions .Stephen Foster leads a team of ‘pure quality‘ that continues to be involved in a significant cluster of major reported cases too. Foster has ‘huge commercial sense and is very pragmatic’. Other key figures include Helen Ward who remains a ‘queen bee of family law‘.  The ‘outstandingEmma Hatley along with Debbie Chism (one of the absolutely bests in the business‘) receive many plaudits. Richard Hogwood is recommended for his work on cases that involve intricate trust and tax issues as well as pre-and post-nuptial agreements. Lucy Gould and Sophie Chapman were promoted to the partnership recently. It is ‘one of the outstanding family law firms in the country. Massive talent and experience‘.

Practice head(s):

Stephen Foster

Other key lawyers:

Helen Ward; Debbie Chism; Emma Hatley; Richard Hogwood; Carly Kinch; Matthew Humphries; Toby Atkinson; Sam Longworth; Lucy Gould; Sophie Chapman Lewis Powers

Testimonials

The best divorce Firm in England by a country mile. Foster: ultra calm and savvy strategist. Kinch: workaholic. Hatley: pound for pound best divorcer in the land. Chism: tough and a brilliant team player. Longworth: in 5 years time will be number 1. Humphries: astute and careful‘.

‘This is the pre-eminent family law team, especially for financial remedies, in the country beyond doubt. It has strength in depth, and a wide range of expertise at every level. It is by far the best organised, most efficient, most expert such team. Even its paralegals are a cut above the rest, and operate on a level of experience and skill akin to seasoned associates (but with costs savings therefore for the client). Helen Ward, Debbie Chism, Emma Hatley are the amongst the best (if not the best) doing this work at the senior echelons. Stephen Foster is a strong leader, keeping a happy ship ploughing forwards and a deft handler of clients. Emma and Debbie are vastly experienced litigators. Their knowledge and understanding of the cutting edge of financial and commercial arrangements are enviable. They are uniquely commercial and pragmatic in their outlook‘.

The less senior partners (Sam Longworth, Matthew Humphreys, Lucy Gould, Carly Kinch and Toby Atkinson) are all clearly future leaders destined for the top tier. Sam is an acute and creative tactician, Matthew Humphreys is the complete package and can and does get the better of vastly more experienced opponents. He is very cerebral in his approach but never loses sight of the real life context and the client’s practical goals. Carly Kinch is a star. I have never seen a solicitor know a case and every detail like her, she is unflappable with unimpeachable cool headed judgment on what is a good point to take (or a bad point to avoid). Her work ethic is truly herculean‘.

‘Emma Hatley is the cornerstone of the team. I know clients adore her (even returning clients) she shows intense skill and knowledge in any negotiating setting at speed and shows herself to be always ten steps ahead while retaining a clear focus on her clients’ interests. Sam Longworth expertly displays a calm and measured focus with all his clients, injecting pragmatism into the case strategy and achieving a swift and successful outcome on a regular basis. Lucy Gould is a star of the future and the firm’s newest partner. Toby Atkinson intuitively responds to the the clients’ needs on both a personal and professional level as required to ensure confidence is retained and focus on outcome maintained‘.

‘The best team of family solicitors in London. There are so many stand out individuals in this team – Toby Atkinson, Stephen Foster, Emma Hatley, Richard Hogwood, Matthew Humphries, Cary Kinch, and last but clearly not least Helen Ward. Stephen Foster is not only the leader and creator of this great team but also an amazing lawyer with a stellar practice. He brings to a case a brilliant ability to strategise and plan and fine judgement to get all the important decisions right‘.

‘Stephen is the first point of call for complex high value cases. He is particularly good at managing difficult client situations and has a commerciality, unmatched by any other family lawyer in London that I have dealt with. He has a lot of common sense and his practical, results based approach, particularly resonates with business / entrepreneurial clients. I know this has been said about him before, but in my view, he must be the most commercial family lawyer in London‘.

The Stewarts team was led by Helen Ward whose experience and excellent judgment ensured that the client’s interests were at all times fully protected and advanced‘.

Toby Atkinson – utterly committed, able to diffuse the most difficult of situations.  Debbie Chism – one of the absolutely best in the business – a star. Emma Hatley – hugely experienced. Richard Hogwood – has it all – charm in abundance, huge legal knowledge, commitment – another star‘.

 

 

Work highlights

  • In XW v XH it acted for the wife who received one of the highest recorded English divorce awards at first instance, having overcome the husband’s claim that she should be held to an Italian marital agreement. Following her successful appeal to the court of appeal (where exceptionally anonymity was maintained), XW has become the leading case in severely restricting the application of the special contribution principle. The case has also enshrined the principle that the court must not discriminate against the home maker.
  • Acted for the husband in acrimonious financial remedy proceedings. The case involved (successfully) resisting the wife’s application to have the client’s business interests valued, including a business which owned a number of offshore assets. The key point in this case is that the team successfully resisted applications for the valuations of the businesses despite the uncertainty in their value caused by the impact of Covid-19.

Withers LLP

Withers LLP has a strong international offering with particular strength in the Asia Pacific in addition to Europe and the US - clients receive 'a top flight service from a great team of lawyers'. Through its wide-ranging connections with lawyers overseas it is well-placed to advise on a whole host of multi-jurisdictional cases. It is frequently involved in cases that set precedents and continues to act in many reported and landmark cases under the leadership of the 'inspirational' Suzanne Todd. Todd 'who can see around corners' is a ‘go to’ lawyer for all divorces with an Italian theme.  The team consists of many skilled practitioners who frequently advise on high-value pre and post-nuptial agreements and international child abduction matters. Diana Parker is another leading light in matrimonial finance who 'combines a fierce intellect with an acute and strategic insight'. Adele Pledger has been promoted to the partnership. 'Leaders in matrimonial finance, excellent in children cases. It is frankly an exceptional team'.  

Practice head(s):

Suzanne Todd

Other key lawyers:

Diana Parker; Claire Blakemore; Michael Gouriet; Julian Lipson; Katharine Landells ;Laura Winterbottom; Brett Frankle ;Adele Pledger; Sarfraz Ali ; Amanda Bell ; Alex Breedon

Testimonials

Withers is the standout star of the family law world, with a full team of experts who are able to deal with the most complicated technical legal matters, especially those involving trusts and companies or with international elements. Withers does not just know the leading cases; it acted in most of them. Its particular advantage to clients is that the family team can draw from other areas of the firm’s expertise, meaning they can offer in-house advice at the highest level on commercial, trusts, private client or immigration issues where they are relevant, making it the ultimate one stop shop for high net worth clients going through a separation or divorce‘.

‘Full support service with expertise in all areas for private clients. Suzanne Todd – enormously organised, scrupulously professional, combines emotional insight with pragmatic advice. A pleasure to have on a collaborative case and a respected opponent when not. Claire Blakemore is highly intelligent‘.

Deservedly one of the premier family departments in the country. There is scarcely any high value case of which it is not part of. The resources of the department appear limitless and the embracing of modern working and technology faultless. The cross-fertilisation with top tier tax and trust and wealth management departments makes for a compelling combination. Vastly commercially experienced and financially knowledgeable about the most complex of arrangements means nothing slips by unscrutinised. The department is particularly skilled with clients at the cutting edge of finance. Creative points are spotted where other firms may not, and every conceivable angle is analysed and argument stress tested’.

‘Diana Parker remains one of the best one or two doing this work. She is an intellectual giant, with skills of analysis and an ability to cut to the heart of a case like no other. Her tax knowledge and trusts expertise make her rightly the darling of the UHNW client. Utterly unflappable and is on top of every line of every page of the case. She demands and delivers the very best. Rightly held in awe (and loved) by those junior to her in the department, all have learned at her feet. Michael Gouriet is unique in being both universally liked and respected yet feared by opponents. An utter delight with no brashness, he is a details machine. Superb at keeping things low key when required, his quiet charm extracts settlements the few others can achieve. Scrupulously fair and unflappable, he deploys this to maximum advantage for the client‘.

‘Recently promoted (and not before time, if anything delayed by covid) Adele Pledger is a Diana Parker in waiting. Adored by clients, especially those with the most complex financial affairs and commercial backgrounds, she is a creative lawyer and a match for anyone doing the work. Her down to earth manner makes her approachable, inspires confidence and she spots points few others do. Brett Frankle brings a creative and lively approach. He is not afraid of the unconventional or mould breaking and wins cases that other’s would not, he gives no quarter in maximising ever appropriate advantage. Alex Breedon has a massive brain. He is super bright and analytical and utterly dependable. He sees angles where others might not, and backs it up with a total command of the facts and law. An unassuming manner and understatement in approach can be devastatingly effective‘.

This team presents as well established, with a worldwide vision for all cases and clients. The real global presence makes this firm a stand out operation. Julian Lipson is calm, inspiring loyalty of staff and clients the team comprises of different characters, Katherine Landells being the ‘rottweiller’ to Julian’s ‘german shepherd’. Amamda Bell is the unsung heroine of this team with a stellar future ahead of her‘.

I chose Withers principally as it had a Hong Kong office and was thus very au fait with the complexities there. Of course, its reputation generally as top notch operators in family law preceded them. I was represented by Michael Gouriet and his assistant, Sarfraz Ali. Both independently and as a team, I found them reassuring, professional, extremely thorough and well prepared. I felt very lucky to have been represented by them and would without hesitation recommend them‘.

‘Brett Frankle – a brilliant litigator, Brett excels in giving expert, timely advice and his judgment is second to none. Claire Blakemore – hugely able and widely admired within the profession. She is very comfortable running the most complex cases. Kate Landells – a fierce negotiator and a tough opponent‘.

 

Alexiou Fisher Philipps LLP

Alexiou Fisher Philipps LLP remains known for working with high profile clients in the most difficult financial and children law cases. It has recently been instructed on various cases that have featured household names from the fields of politics, media and sports. In addition five of its partners are mediators and it also has a qualified financial arbitrator. The team is known too for its European and Francophone case specialisms. Six members of the team team are fellows of the IAFL (International Academy of Family Lawyers). William Healing is among the key contacts. Tom Amlot has a thriving practice acting for international and other high-net-worth clients and those in the public eye.

Other key lawyers:

William Healing; Tom Amlot; Susan Philipps; Emma Harte ;Magnus Mill Sara Hannell ;Katie Longmate

Testimonials

AFP, and certainly the team under William Healing, has an unparalleled strength in cases involving French families. The lawyers are engaged and imaginative. William Healing has an excellent understanding of Anglo-French cases’.

‘A boutique firm with a small team of highly effective and expert family lawyers. They stand out amongst top tier family solicitors as equally adept at children work and financial work and unusually many of the partners are equally competent at both sides of the case. They bring a wealth of experience particularly in cases with an international element‘.

‘Sara Hannell is an outstanding family lawyer both for money and children work. Her commitment to her clients is second to none. She gives forthright and realistic advice and manages expectations with pragmatism and finesse. She combines compassion and thoughtfulness with a steely determination to get the best outcome possible whether it is through litigation or alternate dispute resolution‘.

It is a  niche matrimonial team with a collection of very bright individual solicitors who provide an excellent all round client service. Sara Hannell – she is highly intelligent, an astute tactician and exceptionally tenacious in ensuring that her clients achieve the right outcome. She is very thorough in her approach and spots points that others would miss. She is empathetic and charming and provides an excellent service all round‘.

Polished, professional and unflappable team who can cope easily with high value work and demanding clients. William Healing – an excellent and thoughtful partner who cares deeply about his cases and thinks carefully about every tactical step‘.

‘Magnus Mill has a cool head in a crisis and an eye firmly fixed on the big picture. Tom Amlot has a blend of keen intelligence, charm and experience that means he is the full package. William Healing is a dogged and imaginative litigator who simply never gives up‘.

My experience of APF relates to its matrimonial finance team. It is unrivalled in its knowledge of complex financial structures; offshore trusts, businesses and pension schemes. Magnus Mill – I continue to be amazed by Magnus’s knowledge of the finite detail of the most complicated of cases. He has a brain the size of a planet and a warmth and pragmatism that clients love. He is very much a ‘safe pair of hands’ and can fight his client’s case incredibly well against any opponent. Magnus has a very good eye for detail and for identifying early on the weaknesses in the other side’s case‘.

Emma Harte is immensely likeable, with a reassuringly calm and focused approach to her work. Her strengths include a strong strategic nous, the ability to see the bigger picture, but without sacrificing any of the detail. Although her manner is gentle, there is steel when needed‘.

Key clients

Jessie Harrington (wife of former minister Richard Harrington)

Bindmans LLP

Bindmans LLP has a first-rate reputation for its work on children and international family law through its heavyweight matrimonial and finance team. It particularly stands out for its expertise at handling the most complex children proceedings and international cases. The team is regularly instructed to intervene in cases before the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court. Another niche area of expertise is acting for foreign governments in complex cross-border cases and the team has been busy advising on international relocation cases. Amy Rowe (‘one of the standout children lawyers of her generation‘) leads the department that was pleased to add Alison Leivesley and Maud Davis to its ranks from Freemans Solicitors. ‘The team’s reputation for pushing the boundaries of law to secure access to justice for the most vulnerable is unsurpassed‘.

Practice head(s):

Amy Rowe

Other key lawyers:

Alison Leivesley; Maud Davis; Olivia Piercy; Hannah Marshall ; Clara Barry Born ;Marianna Michaelides ; Melissa Arnold

Testimonials

Bindmans has a standout reputation in international children law. It has dealt with some of the biggest cases, and is sought out to represent clients in the most complicated cases with an international element. Amy Rowe – head of the family team. She has exceptional attention to detail and a very sharp, analytical legal brain. She is creative in finding solutions for difficult problems, particularly in international cases. Olivia Piercy – excellent on private law. She is completely dedicated to each client’s case‘.

One of the best international children teams in the country. Thorough, knowledgeable, and very hardworking. Amy Rowe is one of the standout children lawyers of her generation. Olivia Piercy combines empathy for her client with a ruthless feel for tactics. Hannah Marshall is the dream solicitor to work with. Clara Barry Born is up and coming as a future star in child abduction work‘.

This firm overall has a really good reputation for consistency, responding effectively and with a positive attitude. Collaboration with clients is strong and individual cases given full consideration. Maud Davis. She remains dedicated, committed and accesses information to support cases in relation to my role as a children’s guardian. She is a remarkable advocate, effective at liaising with other parties in cases and keeping her focus on the child within the context of the law – and ensuring that the child’s voice is effectively heard in public law proceedings‘.

Alison Leivesley – exceptional client commitment, eye for detail, approachability. Fights doggedly for clients and leaves no stone unturned. The lawyer you would want fighting for you on your case‘.

‘An energetic and ambitious team who really do go the extra mile for clients. The Bindmans Family Team covers the whole range of family law disputes with expertise in family finance, children law, and international cases. The lawyers are highly experienced and highly regarded.  Olivia Piercy – highly experienced family finance practitioner with impressive knowledge and experience in complex children matters. Amy Rowe – has unparalleled expertise and experience in international children cases. A formidable opponent. Hannah Marshall – extremely good with clients and extremely thorough in her case preparation. Marianna Michaelides – A rising star in the field of children law‘.

The lawyers are strong across the board.  They have excellent and committed lawyers working in each area of family law.  They punch above their weight in international cross-border disputes involving children and have a high profile in public law and private law cases alike.  Amy Rowe is an excellent lawyer and relentlessly pursues the right result for her client. Olivia Piercy is clever, focused and tenacious. Maud Davis is hugely experienced and a first choice for many guardians. Hannah Marshall and Clara Barry Born are young practitioners to look out for’.

‘The family team at Bindmans is a force to be reckoned with. The lawyers are superb in their handling of clients and cases, offering a high quality service and thoughtful, pragmatic advice. Melissa Arnold is superb. She is fantastic with clients and tackles her cases with diligence and enthusiasm’.

It is a strong team, full of depth and well respected‘.

 

 

 

 

Key clients

The Health Service Executive of Ireland

The Child and Family Agency of Ireland

Work highlights

  • Continues to represent The Child & Agency of Ireland Family / The Health Service Executive of Ireland in a variety of complex cases, involving requests for the transfer of children proceedings and orders concerning the placement of vulnerable adults.
  • In  G (A Child : Child Abduction) [2020] EWCA Civ 1185 it represented the International Centre for Family Law, Policy, and Practice in an application to intervene in the Supreme Court in a matter involving the interplay between asylum law and abduction law.
  • In Re H – H (A Child) [2019] EWHC 1509 (Fam); R v Secretary of State for the Home Department (Disclosure of Asylum Documents) [2019] EWHC 3147 (Fam); Re H. (A Child) (Disclosure of Asylum Documents) [2020] EWCA 100 it advised on abduction proceedings involving disclosure of an asylum application into child abduction proceedings.

Forsters LLP

Forsters LLP is frequently instructed by high-profile and UHNW individuals who are well-known figures in the arts and sports sectors as well as acting for financiers and entrepreneurs. It advises on a wide range of complex matters with particular specialisms in ultra-high-value and international nuptial agreements. It is also skilled at advising on cross-border child arrangements as well as negotiating financial settlements for children. Joanne Edwards leads the team and is seen as a leading advisor for big-ticket litigation and complex mediation. Edwards is ‘achieving great things for her team’.  Rosie Schumm is also experienced at negotiating bespoke nuptial agreements often with international aspects.

Practice head(s):

Joanne Edwards

Other key lawyers:

Rosie Schumm; Simon Blain; Matthew Brunsdon Tully; Dickon Ceadel; Amanda Sandys

Testimonials

Fosters’ family team continues to go from strength to strength under the leadership of Jo Edwards. The team can offer real strength and  depth and for such a young team is doing incredibly well. It has fabulous work and is well supported by its private client team. Jo Edwards is an impressive leader. She works incredibly hard not only on her cases but also in managing the team and undertaking various business development initiatives‘.

‘Rosie Schumm is very talented, loyal and much respected by her peers. She is also very well liked and as a consequence has built a huge practice. In my view she is one of the best up-and-coming partners in the family law world and I would have no hesitation in recommending her to clients’.

‘Great team in a Central London location, offering stellar legal services to all clients in all cases, simple or complex. A real competitor in the top tiers of the family law solicitor market‘.

J Edwards, Rosie Schum, Simon Blain and Matthew Branston all excellent and very complimentary as a team. Simon Blain in particular is gaining gravitas and vg reputation in the market’.

‘Extremely hardworking.  Always available for swift responses.  Excellent communications with client.  Extremely supportive and empathetic.  First class in private law children cases. Matt Brunsdon Tully.  Practised as a barrister for many years.  A strong advocate offering excellent strategic advice. Dickon Caedel.  Very considered and realistic advice‘.

Jo Edwards and Rosie Schumm have managed to create a successful team that provides clients with a great service but with lawyers who are a pleasure to work with. This is no mean feat and there are not many firms in this category. They are innovative (podcast) and able to act for the full spectrum of clients. Joanne Edwards works tirelessly for clients and eats, sleeps and breathes family law. Dickon Ceadel is known for pre-nuptial agreements and finds creative solutions to clients’ issues‘.

‘Forsters has real depth and is a presence in the market.  Jo Edwards’ forward facing approach to getting the message out is a lesson for other firms.  In consequence of that and the quality of the member of its team the firm has a profile which its size belies. The team is very client focused and ambitious.  Jo Edwards is rightly very highly regarded amongst her peers.  She is fast becoming one of the notable senior figures within the ranks of solicitors.  She is a fine lawyer: astute and knowledgeable.  She is thorough and tenacious, mixing a collaborative approach with a fierce sense of what she wants to achieve. The other partners in the family department, Simon Bain and Rosie Schumm, have a well deserved reputation for excellence‘.

‘This family department has the benefit of an excellent private client practice as well as a firm in which there is a great deal of expertise on other matters. The partners in the family department are all very well informed, highly competent and a pleasure to deal with. Jo Edwards draws on her considerable experience in both financial and children matters to run a very effective and well regarded practice. Simon Blain is empathetic, thoughtful and retains the confidence of his clients even under fire. Matthew Brunsdon Tully is energetic, empathetic and can always see the big picture’.

Freemans Solicitors

With the 'tactical genius' Nina Hansen at the helm at Freemans Solicitors the team is best known for its work in children’s law with a particular specialism in private law parental disputes, relocation cases as well as complex care proceedings. It is also renowned for its international adoption work and its alternate family surrogacy work. The matrimonial department that is headed by Mark Kosmin is going from strength to strength with a growing client base of HNW clients. It continues to provide a legal aid service in the area of international abduction matters and complex care proceedings. The 'exceptionally hardworking' Laura Coyle and the 'indefatigable' Hilka Hollmann are also recommended. Maud Davis and Alison Leivesley are now at Bindmans LLP .

Practice head(s):

Nina Hansen

Other key lawyers:

Mark Kosmin; Laura Coyle; Hilka Hollmann; Georgina Stavrou

Testimonials

Nina Hansen is absolutely top of the tree in children work. Decades of experience, respected by judges, sensible, caring, efficient, everything you’d want from a solicitor in this delicate field’.

This is a highly dedicated team of specialist family lawyers. It is unique in that it does highly complex public law children work as well as private law children work and financial work at the highest level, thereby providing a comprehensive family law service. Nina Hansen is a particularly impressive lawyer with a great mind and the ability to manage efficiently a large and diverse caseload of complex cases. She is a great person to work with, invariably good humoured, an excellent strategist and a team player who is always honest with her clients. Laura Coyle is also impressive, as is Hilka Holman‘.

‘The lawyers are  specialists in public and private law with international issues and complex care work particularly representing children. Laura Coyle is a dynamo of energy in presenting and pushing her case. Her judgement is impeccable‘.

‘It offers a first-class service and the lawyers are leaders in the area of children law – both in private and public law areas – often involving uniquely complicated cases. Hilka Hollmann is fabulous. Clients love her. She has a wealth of experience to call upon and is a hard hitting yet pragmatic practitioner’.

Mark Kosmin is an extremely experienced, competent and effective operator. He has contributed to the remarkable result in our case. The respondent lived in Russia. Mark had to make considerable investigations in Russia about Russian law and what the respondent was up to in that country and he carried out that task diligently and effectively‘.

Freemans offers unrivalled strength in depth across the field of private client work. An unrivalled team. Nina Hansen is head and shoulders above others in the field of international children work. What she doesn’t know isn’t worth knowing. The family finance team is growing stronger and stronger. Mark Kosmin and Georgina Stavrou and both star individuals‘.

‘A dedicated firm of specialist children practitioners who specialise in abduction and public law proceedings. Nina Hansen is an exceptional children practitioner, hugely respected by her peers. She has fantastic legal knowledge and great empathy with her clients. She is very good at acting for children’.

‘Nina Freeman is a class act. She stands out as dedicated and committed to her clients, quick to respond to their queries and ready to devote time to them whenever they feel it is needed. She is tenacious, determined, firm and empathetic and will fight to the end. Her preparation is meticulous, thorough and top class. Her understanding of the case is always impressive. It is a pleasure to be instructed by her.’

 

Goodman Ray

Goodman Ray is a boutique children and family law practice that has built up an excellent reputation for its children work in particular. The firm, under the leadership of Peggy Ray and Trudi Featherstone, has expertise across all areas including finances, private children, adoption, fertility, modern family structures as well as public law, domestic abuse and a whole host of international matters. Featherstone and Thomas Brownrigg are both trained as collaborative lawyers and seven members of the team are on the Law Society Children Panel. Jemma Dally is another notable practitioner along with Kevin Skinner. The team is a 'real force in international children law'.

Practice head(s):

Peggy Ray; Trudi Featherstone

Other key lawyers:

Thomas Brownrigg; Jemma Dally; Kevin Skinner; Catriona Allan; Emma Sherrington

Testimonials

Trudi Featherstone represented me in my divorce. I benefitted enormously from her experience and expertise but also from her skilful combination of compassion and pragmatism. She managed my expectations about what the divorce process and financial settlement would involve and prepared me for the round table meeting‘.

‘Very strong team with specialists in more areas of family practice. It has some really top players family law – particularly in complex children cases. Peggy Ray is very well regarded and is the lynchpin of the firm. She will always lend an ear to a member of a team who has a problem’.

Goodman Ray has a good reputation for a reason. The lawyers are highly skilled family practitioners and any client instructing them will be in very safe hands. The team is very knowledgeable and always fight its client’s corner. Catriona Allan is undoubtedly the best solicitor I have come across in the 12 years I have been practising as a barrister. She is highly organised and on top of all her cases. The energy she puts into defending clients never ceases to amaze me. She is meticulous in the advice she provides to clients and in the way she prepares their cases‘.

‘Goodman Ray is highly regarded amongst family lawyers for its dedication to its clients, its collaborative approach and the breadth of its services. It is the go-to firm for those involved in complex public law proceedings, particularly where there are allegations of non-accidental injury. The stand out individuals at Goodman Ray are Kevin Skinner and Emma Sherrington. Kevin is a dedicated solicitor with exceptional judgment. He is calm under pressure and gives his clients clear, insightful advice. Emma is a fighter. She goes the extra mile for her clients to ensure that they get the best outcome possible‘.

‘The team goes the extra mile in the most complex, substantive and important cases. They change the legal landscape on a regular basis. Kevin Skinner – clever, kind, humane and very, very good. He’s tactically excellent, gives spot on advice, supports clients in the toughest of corners and is an all round star. Peggy Ray – the doyenne of family law. Kind, down to earth despite being magnificent at every aspect of her role, she fights for her clients with courage and compassion‘.

‘Thomas Brownrigg is a stand out family lawyer for finance and children disputes. Very good with cohabitation and modern family cases. Technically brilliant with a fine attention to detail. Tremendous lateral thinker. Extremely good at negotiation. Always popular with clients. Very good at difficult, challenging and acrimonious mediation cases. Speaks with calmness and authority that sets the clients at ease. Trudy Featherstone has a very good reputation as a mediator. Peggy Ray is imperious as a children and human rights lawyer‘.

Emma Sherrington – tenacious advocate for her clients;  she is a pleasure to work with; always brings new ideas and is a creative lawyer’.

‘Excellent family law team which is able to compete with any of its competitors! Trudi Featherstone is the standout practitioner. She has the whole package, being an incredibly experienced and knowledgeable lawyer who is able to grasp complex issues quickly. She gives sound, pragmatic, objective and sensible advice, seeking solutions to problems at every stage in an endeavour to minimise the anxiety and stress for her clients. This is evenly tempered with the strength of purpose which is required to achieve a fair and proper outcome: Absolutely the correct balance for a matrimonial practitioner. She is a skilled and persuasive advocate’.

 

Key clients

Southhall Black Sisters

Reunite

Family Rights Group

Work highlights

  • Representing the intervener in complex care proceedings
  • Representing a father in care proceedings.
  • Advised on care proceedings issued due to the mother’s alcohol use, and the out of control behaviour of the 15 year old.

Harbottle & Lewis LLP

Harbottle & Lewis LLP has an exceptional team with Catherine Bedford 'leading from the front and inspiring the team' that  represents HNW clients with public profiles to protect. Clients include UHNW individuals from the business world and those with dynastic/family wealth as well as entrepreneurs. It continues to act in complex and unusual children matters such as child abduction; advising same sex couples and alternative families on both children and financial issues. Another area of expertise is advising on financial claims for non-married couples. Nicholas Westley specialises in complex matrimonial matters. Mark Irving is also recommended. It 'can manage the most complex litigation as if it were a walk in the park' .

Practice head(s):

Catherine Bedford

Other key lawyers:

Nicholas Westley; Mark Irving; Lidia Cantele; Eleanor Haidon

Testimonials

The family team is relatively young and has excellent energy. It is never afraid of a fight although it will try and find compromise where that is in the client’s best interests. Catherine Bedford and Nick Westley are both excellent litigators‘.

‘Excellent family/private client team, friendly and approachable,  providing first rate practical advisors and advice, dealing with the largest matters, but offering the same quality of service to all tiers.  Exceptional commitment to the interest of the clients – the lawyers really care in a way that is a pleasure to see and to work alongside. They leave no stone unturned and will work day and night (literally) for their clients. If you want a family legal team to really be not only on your side, but by your side, I cannot recommend anyone more strongly. Catherine Bedford who heads up the team is fantastic.  She is the embodiment of all that is described in the preceding section (which I could repeat here), whose validity owes a great deal to her qualities.  She is very ably supported indeed by her partner Mark Irving and assistant solicitors, senior – Lidia Cantele – and more junior – Eleanor Haidon.  Mark, Lidia and Eleanor all exhibit the same qualities, and apply the same standards that are a hallmark of the department. A pleasure to work with them‘.

‘I have been extremely pleased and impressed with Harbottle & Lewis’s thorough knowledge about every detail of my case.  The lawyers never seemed preoccupied by other cases they may have been involved with and always acted and made me feel like mine was the most important case. Lidia Cantele’s care is extraordinary.  Her thoughtfulness, patience, attention to detail and ability to see the big picture is exactly what is needed to steer a clear path through often difficult situations‘.

‘I have been very impressed by the exceptional quality of the work done by the team at Harbottle & Lewis, which is of the highest standard in terms of all relevant criteria, including knowledge of relevant law and practice, judgement on sensitive tactical questions, client care and handling of the client and sheer hard work.  The team is led by Catherine Bedford, assisted by other partners – Mark Irving. My comments also apply to a very impressive team of Associates led by Lidia Cantele. An outstanding performance all round‘.

‘The family law team at Harbottle and Lewis is one of the few truly top family law departments in London. Led by the dynamic Catherine Bedford, H&L has quickly overtaken competitors in the field over the last few years, as a result of which the biggest clients are now queuing up at the door. Given the strength in depth of the team, it is clear to see that they will continue in the ascendancy for many years to come. Harbottle and Lewis is a very strong team from top to bottom, and is blessed with a number of serious players‘.

Catherine Bedford is, quite simply, the future of family law in London. Over the last few years she has emerged as the front runner to replace the old guard of leading solicitors who are fast approaching retirement. Catherine has it all: she is charismatic, thoughtful, driven and a brilliant strategic thinker. Clients warm to her immediately and she is utterly dedicated to them‘.

Mark Irving and Lidia Cantele are both stars of the future. They are already handling very serious cases and both have all that it takes to succeed at the highest level. I expect to see both of them at the very pinnacle of family law over the next twenty years‘.

‘A good mix of both male and female and a wide spectrum of experience meant they worked well together as a team. Catherine Bedford – Excellent managerial and client management skills. Nick Westley – tough negotiator’.

Hunters Law LLP

Hunters Law LLP acts for largely HNW clients on the full range of issues arising from the inception of the relationship to the breakdown of the relationship. Henry Hood leads a talented team  that primarily advises on high-value financial claims on divorce. It is strong at advising on wealth protection through nuptial agreements and is also regularly instructed in challenging private law children matters. A significant proportion of its work is international. The team has three mediators, three collaborative lawyers and one arbitrator (Henry Hood). Richard Kershaw, Jo Carr-West , Jay Patel and Amy Scollan are among the other names to note. Hetty Gleave is now at Fladgate LLP .

Practice head(s):

Henry Hood

Other key lawyers:

Richard Kershaw; Jo Carr-West; Jay Patel; Amy Scollan; Rebecca Christie; Nicole Derham

Testimonials

‘Henry Hood was so incredibly personable and quite simply…nice. I knew in advance he was a highly regarded divorce lawyer so began our relationship slightly daunted but from the offset he was reassuring and whilst his knowledge and experience may easily be assumed – he was able to predict outcomes accurately, foresee how the ‘other side’ would react and prepare me in advance and set best and worst scenarios so that I knew what to expect from a certain situation. The divorce process went on for almost 2.5 years and I can never recall not being able to reach him – text/email/or phone were always an option‘.

‘It offers the best value for money legal advice in the country. And it is the very best advice as well. The client care is also second to none. The lawyers are exactly what a law firm should be: highly skilled, at the forefront of the law and brilliant with clients. Richard Kershaw. He is one of the best family solicitors in the country. However, he does not court publicity. He is immensely busy, successful and nice, but also a great lawyer. He has it all in spades and his clients know that. Amy Scollan is also exceptionally good. Hardworking, determined and very personable‘.

‘A classy, thoughtful firm with wonderful client care that delivers top notch service. Adopts a holistic approach to families and family problems – capable of seeing the big picture without losing sight of litigation goals. Richard Kershaw is a fantastically reassuring solicitor. He is a ferociously bright solicitor with a sure touch: measured and calm when appropriate, tenacious in the defence of his clients when needed‘.

‘A top quality upper end family law firm with a strong team on both children and finances. The partners and associates are excellent, providing outstanding client service and working collaboratively within the team and with counsel. The team has particular expertise in international and domestic relocation disputes. Jo Carr-West (Partner) – a particularly able and nuanced lawyer, Jo is technically excellent while being able to give clear and, if necessary, frank advice to clients. Henry Hood (Partner) – an excellent all-rounder with particular experience of managing difficult clients, giving clear advice and managing complex issues with ease. Rebecca Christie (Associate) – a rising star, just missing out on Family Associate of the Year at the Jordans Family Law Awards’.

The Team at Hunters is rock solid. The communication within the organisation is second to none so that if necessary another partner or associate can deal with an important matter if your allocated solicitor is not available. I think this is key – as you do not feel abandoned in what is already a rather traumatic process. They are total professionals. The two people that stand out to me are Henry Hood and Rebecca Christie. They work fabulously together. They both seem to have the perfect balance of expertise, being fair, kind and tough when necessary. They are both empathetic too which is very comforting for the client – knowing that they understand. I always felt that they were there for me 100% ‘.

‘Very helpful in explaining legal terms and concepts. Nicole Dernham was very helpful and always available to speak‘.

‘One of the unsung star firms of the family law firms. Discrete yet mega-effective. At partner level, Richard Kershaw is as sharp as nails, with shoulders broad enough for any fight, while Henry Hood has seen it all and is a rock for his clients‘.

This is a team of unique talent. Rebecca Christie is superb and wise beyond her years. Jay Patel is sage and wise and calm in the most tense and hostile case. Henry Hood is also wise and holds an encyclopaedic knowledge of the case law. It is a diverse firm and very strongly represents young women who manage hard cases with a refreshingly client focused approach. What I mean by that is, many firms of Hunter’s calibre just drive up bills by litigating over nonuser and making daft threats and firing off stupid applications all of which increase hostility. Hunters does not and refuses to do so.  The firm has a grace and an old school charm‘.

 

Work highlights

  • Acting for a mother seeking to achieve the highest ever award in a Schedule 1 case from the UHNW American father.
  • Successfully represented a client in a legally complex and very unusual case to achieve rectification of his 1997 Decree Absolute which referred to the wrong marriage ceremony.

Kingsley Napley LLP

Charlotte Bradley leads ‘a team of stars‘ at Kingsley Napley LLP that has significantly grown at a senior level recently with the promotion of Abby Buckland and Connie Atkinson to partnership and the recruitment of Will MacFarlane from Royds Withy King. It has a depth of expertise in work involving children as well as finance proceedings and it is recognised for its work with UNHW/HNW and high profile clients in highly contested and complex financial proceedings. Its work frequently involves complex and cross-jurisdictional matters and the team has a longstanding reputation for advising clients in high conflict children and relocation issues along with financial matters. ‘One of the London high-net-worth heavyweight firms. There are many strong and stand-out individuals in the team‘ including Jane Keir and Lauren Evans . Michael Rowlands is now at JMW Solicitors LLP.

Practice head(s):

Charlotte Bradley

Other key lawyers:

Jane Keir; Lauren Evans; Abby Buckland; Connie Atkinson; Will MacFarlane; Sital Fontenelle; Rachel Freeman; Stacey Nevin; Cady Pearce; Olivia Stiles ; Alexandra Bishop

Testimonials

I routinely describe Kingsley Napley as the best family team in London. It is  the team other family lawyers would wish to have acting for them, as the lawyers give excellent advice, are always thoroughly prepared and are well respected by the judiciary. They are equally comfortable working on cases with huge assets and complex issues as they are with more low key or straightforward matters, and they apply sound judgment, proportionate decision making and first rate legal advice to each case they handle. One of the great strengths of the team is the breadth of talent – the Partners can be as involved or hands-off as the case, and cost, requires as the Associates and trainees are extremely able and they are trained to be confident and capable running cases and making their own decisions when that is appropriate‘.

Charlotte Bradley is at the top of her game. She is very clever, very insightful and really understands how to make the process work for her client. She approaches her cases forensically but sees the people behind the litigation. She is solutions orientated, although when there needs to be a fight she stands her ground. She is in a class of her own. Connie Atkinson is a knowledgeable and experienced lawyer. She is empathetic and instils confidence in her clients and her team. Her clients feel hugely supported by her.  Sital Fontenelle is an excellent lawyer and understands the role of tactics and pragmatism in the toolkit of a family law solicitor. She is energetic, personable and has a steely commitment to getting the right result for her client. Jane Kier is terrifically impressive. She is a force to be reckoned with. Her poise is legendary and she can look calm and collected while working ferociously and dealing with the most challenging tasks. Abby Buckland has the winning combination of well developed soft skills with impressive legal knowledge and acumen‘.

Charlotte Bradley – Charlotte is the very best in family law, admired for sound judgment and sensitive handling of complex cases. She is trusted by clients, other lawyers and judges to make the right decisions in every case. Connie Atkinson – Connie is super bright and has a brilliant eye for detail. Clients feel incredibly safe in her hands. Sital Fontenelle – Sital has expert judgment and is a powerful fighter for all of her clients. She is fully committed to getting the best outcome for everyone she represents‘.

‘Will MacFarlane – Will is highly experienced and widely trusted by other lawyers. He is passionate about his cases and never loses sight of the bigger picture. Cady Pearce – Cady is particularly strong in financial work, and is a star of the future. Olivia Stiles – I have never failed to be impressed by Olivia’s encyclopaedic knowledge of her cases, even when they are very complex or have been going on for years. She knows every detail without needing to check, which clients love’.

Rachel Freeman is highly experienced in all areas of family law. I recommend clients to her because she identifies fundamental issues very quickly, has excellent judgment and a proactive and constructive approach to problem solving. She has exceptional client care skills. She clearly explains options and possible outcomes to clients at every stage so they fully understand and have control over the steps being taken and decisions being made on their behalf. Rachel is very approachable with natural empathy which helps clients manage a painful process. She is trusted by her clients and respected by those she works with, and against, for her specialist knowledge, good sense and practicality‘.

‘Very well regarded family department with an efficient and business like approach. Well positioned for affluent professionals and entrepreneurs. A highly professional, but very agreeable team, who are complemented by the other skill sets of the firms. Will MacFarlane is a dynamic, engaging, forward-looking solicitor with great client care skills and an unerring ability to identify the right answer quickly and efficiently‘.

The team’s strengths are numerous. The lawyers are strong across the board, from their partners to their paralegals. The Family team is all excellent, whilst also being personable and pragmatic. Uniquely, Kingsley Napley has everything: from good organisation, to good tactical decision-making, to putting up a strong fight, to knowing when concessions are vital. Sital Fontenelle, Connie Atkinson and Rachel Freeman are all fantastic. Alexandra Bishop  also stands out. Sital is calm, cool and collected, incredibly clever and wonderful to work with. Connie is a real team-player and excellent with lay clients. Rachel is driven, strong, and measured. Alexandra is very bright, hard-working and alive to every issue and eventuality‘.

‘A strong team of quality associates. Lauren Evans – leading associate, certainly partner material. I have not worked with a more diligent lawyer. Connie Atkinson – building a strong reputation in litigation and mediation‘.

 

Work highlights

  • Acting for a high profile HNW individual in contested financial remedy proceedings in the High Court following divorce, which also involve breach of privacy allegations.
  • Achieved an exceptional and unusual financial settlement for the client, which went beyond meeting her financial needs and included a rare compensation award to reflect the promising career she gave up to raise the parties’ family.
  • Representing a mother who wishes to relocate to Sweden with her two children. The children have two different fathers – one consents to the relocation and the other does not, and the first has raised various allegations in relation to abuse and mental health concerns which require a number of experts to prepare reports.

Levison Meltzer Pigott

Simon Pigott leads a 'slick machine' at Levison Meltzer Pigott that deals with all areas of family law including divorce and separation, co-habitation and paternity disputes, and all issues relating to children.  There is a strong emphasis on cases with complex financial and international aspects. The team is well-equipped to handle matters which often involve locating hidden assets, defending and attacking trust structures –these issues are frequently complicated further by jurisdictional disputes.  Jeremy Levison is vastly experienced in high-net-worth financial settlements. Alison Hayes is well-regarded. Kate Stovold and Benjamin Stowe were both promoted to the partnership. The practice is' unafraid to take on the most complex cases, it handles these with aplomb'.

Practice head(s):

Simon Pigott

Other key lawyers:

Jeremy Levison; Alison Hayes; Kate Stovold; Benjamin Stowe

Testimonials

‘This boutique family law firm really is one of the best in London. Jeremy Levison remains one of the best and most experienced lawyers in the family law world. He is a world-class strategist and has a real knack for predicting outcomes. Ben Stowe has recently been made partner. His client skills are second to none, he is clever and pragmatic and I can really see him being one of the greats of family law. His prior career as a commercial solicitor really comes through and allows him to bring an edge to his financial cases‘.

‘Excellent specialist boutique firm. Superb client care. Time given to the individual’s needs. Jeremy Levison and Simon Pigott are both extremely experienced leaders in the field. They have seen it all and so have all the answers. New partner Kate Stovold is one to watch. Her cases are meticulously prepared and carefully planned. She is calm and reasoned and clients really like her‘.

The team at Levison Meltzer Pigott is specialist and makes a painful process tolerable. The lawyers are highly professional , supportive and ensure that the outcome is fair and deliverable. The analysis is always first class and delivered clearly and concisely. Jeremy Levison is an exceptional lawyer and the team supporting him provides a high quality service. He has the experience to assess the likely result and avoid unnecessary waste action‘.

It is a very personable and humane firm. Simon listens and does not make decisions for his own gain or that of his firm, which is very rare in family law. The strategic advice and guidance was extremely thoughtful and well researched. Simon offered sensible and fair solutions, which were both reassuring thoughtful. Simon is a rare breed in family law. He has a paternal and reassuring disposition that is not patronising or undermining. He wants the best and most fair outcome for his client and is not ruthless in his approach. This probably comes from the fact that he works as a mediator and while excellent at representing his clients’ interests, looks at the other side of the coin and makes important points that allow you to come to a well rounded and thoughtful decision‘.

‘The team is a powerhouse in terms of its work ethic. The clients clearly feel that they are in safe hands. Kate Stovold is excellent. She manages her client’s expectations well and she adopts a bespoke and pragmatic strategy depending upon each client’s needs‘.

‘This is a niche firm, with specialist practitioners. They have good breadth of experience and are capable of dealing with HNW and complex matters. Ben Stowe – a young newly promoted partner with gravitas beyond his years. Very diligent and hardworking with a sound knowledge of the law. Kate Stovold – very good attention to detail and also recently promoted to partner‘.

‘A boutique law firm which boasts some heavy-hitting partners who have prepared some of the most well known cases in the country. Ben Stowe- Ben has skills beyond his years. His case load is complex and varied and clients love him for his calm manner with hard hitting tactics. Kate Stovold- a real pleasure to work with. Her cases are beautifully prepared and she is a pleasure to work with. It feels like a team effort when working with Kate‘.

‘LMP has an established history at the top of the market. Kate Stovold has an effortless class about her approach to clients and cases. Her work is meticulous. Ben Stowe has a real gift of pragmatism‘.

 

Miles & Partners LLP

Miles & Partners LLP fields a niche collection of specialist solicitors in the fields of family and relationship law, mental capacity, mental health and housing issues. There are eight partners in the 'exceptional' family team. Amanda Dench leads on international child abduction law and private children law. Kate Hammond specialises in child care law and leads the firm’s team of children panel lawyers. The matrimonial team is led by partner Michelle Uppal who is an accredited mediator, Resolution accredited specialist in advance financial provision and private children matters as well as a collaborative lawyer. It is a 'large, supportive and diverse team with strength and depth'.

Practice head(s):

Michelle Uppal; Kate Hammond; Amanda Dench

Other key lawyers:

Linda Pope; Lorraine Green; Gemma Hodder; Katie Coles

Testimonials

‘This is a very well managed firm of solicitors catering for a wide diversity of clients needing assistance  in the field of family law. There are some outstanding solicitors within the firm notably Lorraine Green and Gemma Hodder. Their knowledge of family law and client care is second to none. This leaves clients feeling that they are well represented and confident at a time when they are probably most vulnerable‘.

Miles & Partners has maintained a consistently good reputation for years due to its unwavering commitment to clients. The lawyers always put in the hours necessary to achieve the right results, often going above and beyond to assist their clients.  If you are their client you know you have someone who cares on your side. I know they have recently brought in a new system so there are always 2 case workers assigned to any case to ensure that clients have someone available with knowledge of their case even if the previously ‘lead’ solicitor is unavailable. This has undoubtedly benefited those who instruct them and provides an even better level of service‘.

‘Michelle Uppal and Linda Pope have been working together as a brilliantly efficient and dedicated team. They have ensured that clients feel supported every step of the way and always thinking one step ahead as to what may be needed to best progress a case next. They have a very collaborative approach to working with counsel, which makes them a pleasure to work with but also means that clients feel supported by an entire team’.

‘A very good team with a broad spectrum of knowledge across all of family law. Very good value for money and an excellent service from a central London location. Amanda Dench (founding partner) and Michelle Uppal (partner) are both great lawyers and conduct very complex and challenging cases with panache, assisted by a good team of associates, in particular Katie Coles‘.

‘Miles & Partners family solicitors is always my top choice recommendation. It has some exceptional individuals, and the ethos of the team as a whole is capable, practical and empathetic. I would not hesitate to recommend them to clients seeking a quality service, with fair billing and an attitude geared towards client-care. I regard them as industry-leaders for public law care work and private law children work, with a focused smaller team who excel at financial remedies‘.

Michelle Uppal – very professional, eagle-eyed, and pragmatic in her style. She has the ability to put finance and private child clients immediately at ease knowing they are in safe and experienced hands. She gives honest advice in a palatable way. She is a delight to work with and clients love her. Amanda Dench – Amanda’s experience in children work shines through every case she does. She is creative in finding sensible solutions to tricky cases. Clients feel completely at ease and trust her wise advice. She works as a team with counsel and I love being instructed by her. Linda Pope – Linda excels at finance work. Clients can quickly tell she knows her stuff‘.

‘Very good small firm does legal aid to a high standard in London that is rare. Amanda Dench is very bright and caring‘.

I found the solicitor and her team very responsive, organised and professional. The case  was complex and the solicitor was very knowledgeable. Kate Hammond has been child focused, very knowledgeable about complex cases like the one we are working on, great communication from her and her team and an approachable, nice person to work with. She listened and understood what I thought, as the children’s guardian, and focused on the children’s experiences. She has always given strong advice and is clearly very experienced‘.

 

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP received two successful Supreme Court judgements in 2020 and has already had some success in 2021 in the High Court. It is skilled at advising trustees, family offices and other third parties in financial remedy proceedings and is experienced at advising co-habitants too. The team has vast expertise in cases involving the international relocation of children. It receives plaudits for advising on the whole spectrum of family dispute resolution including collaborative law, mediation and arbitration. Jane Craig and James Stewart head the department that has a considerable international practice. The practice has an excellent reputation for managing Part 111 claims arising from foreign divorces. It ‘offers a consistently excellent client service. The firm has a number of very strong and experienced partners’.

Practice head(s):

Jane Craig (head of department); James Stewart (co-head of private wealth sector)

Other key lawyers:

Rebecca Carlyon; Anna Worwood; Amanda Andrews; Edward Floyd; Gillian Rivers; Elizabeth Carson; Kate Molan; Tammy Knox; Lucy Clark; Linzi Bull

Testimonials

‘An excellent firm with an excellent reputation. This firm has a wide breadth of individuals to suit any case – from the complex, high net worth case to the more straightforward middle money case. Jane Craig has a wealth of experience dealing with complex, big money cases. She is completely unflappable and is a real character in the financial remedy world- she is great fun to work with; but irritatingly persistent if she is on the other side. Elizabeth Carson – a serene influence on a case. Very good at handling difficult cases with vulnerable clients. She is immensely supportive of the client and of everyone else on the legal team (including counsel) and is a pleasure to work for‘.

What makes this firm unique is that every single one of its partners and juniors are first class. There is no ‘weak link’. Everyone is simply excellent. The ethos is very much one of a team and the family department has a collaborative and close relationship with other departments within the firm, and often brings in their expertise in cases when required. Furthermore, it is a firm that excels in international family law matters, in large part because of James Stewart’s longstanding editorship of “Family Global Guide” now covering 56 jurisdictions and also because of the fact many of the partners are members of the IAFL (international academy of family lawyers)’.

‘James Stewart – a guru of international family law. Jane Craig – one of the best head of departments in the country. Edward Floyd – knows the papers back to front and pays forensic attention to detail which is much needed in financially complex cases. Elizabeth Carson – my go to for Anglo-American divorces and incredibly kind, empathetic and calm even when under pressure. Anna Worwood – my go to for international relocation or cases where both child arrangements and financial expertise is needed. Kate Molan – extremely hardworking, intelligent and a very safe pair of hands‘.

This team goes from strength to strength and has real depth of talent. Probably one of the best teams in London. To name but a few – Anna Worwood and Lucy Clarke are superb practitioners. Anna Worwood is at the top of her game with an enviable client list. She has great experience but also excellent judgement and the best client care skills of anyone in London. She is also smart and canny. Lucy is super efficient and has a mastery of every detail of her case‘.

Penningtons Manches Cooper has a powerhouse team of lawyers that are leaders in the field across multiple areas of children law. It always goes the extra mile to provide a Rolls Royce service to clients, which translates to exceptional preparation of cases for trial’.

‘James Stewart – a leading light in international family law. He is a stalwart of the IAFL and regularly presents papers both in England and abroad on complicated family law issues. He fights extremely hard for his clients, often in very sensitive and difficult situations.  Anna Worwood – supremely tactical in her approach, she always thinks two steps ahead and achieves excellent outcomes for her clients as a consequence‘.

The team was fantastic, its connections are second to none, it deals with the top barristers in family law, and made the effort to ensure that we had the right candidate for the job. Tammy Knox was absolutely invaluable to me throughout my process. She was always on hand if I needed anything, with a swift response time and even responding on days off or weekends if it was urgent. Her knowledge is fantastic and she managed to make sure that this was a stress less as possible for myself. Anna Worwood was just as brilliant and understanding, always available when Tammy wasn’t, and her knowledge and expertise are outstanding. Both Tammy and Anna have a fantastic client manner, but they are realistic and give you the likely outcome, regardless of whether it would be what you want to hear or not. Their advice has been fantastic‘.

I have used Rebecca Carlyon for legal matters over the course of several years. No matter how much time has gone between our meetings, she has always been warm, empathetic, and absolutely up-to-date on all the ins and outs of my complex case. I have particularly appreciated the fact that Ms. Carlyon is not only an extremely expert legal professional, but also has excellent interpersonal skills – an absolutely vital combination in the sector of family law’.

Russell-Cooke LLP

Russell-Cooke LLP has strength in a broad range of areas ranging from high-net-worth/international cases including child abduction to public law legal aid matters such as forced marriages. It has a wide range of clients from those with substantial wealth and modest means to those who are entitled to legal aid. The group is increasingly focusing too on the alternative family sphere covering cases concerning declaration of parentage and surrogacy arrangements. Its dedicated children team is often appointed by the court to represent children and it has a strong international children law practice covering cases such as international adoptions. James Carroll , Kate Hamilton, Fiona Read and Sarah Richardson are all highly regarded. Hannah Minty was promoted to the partnership. 'The depth and breath of experience at Russell Cooke means that clients are given an incredibly high standard of service and advice across the board'.

Practice head(s):

Kate Hamilton; James Carroll ; Camilla Thornton; Fiona Read ; Samantha Little; Sarah Richardson

Other key lawyers:

Hannah Minty; Jemma Pollock

Testimonials

‘This is a large team which offers legal services across the whole range of family law. Samantha Little is a first rate lawyer with over 25 years specialist experience in family law. Highly respected by judges and other lawyers alike for her expertise in public and private law children work. She is also a Resolution Committee member and highly effective in that role too. Sarah Richardson is a special breed – someone who over many years has been a dedicated public law children solicitor and is now at the very top of her game at this work, always achieving the best for her clients. She is also an excellent mentor for younger lawyers‘.

‘Russell-Cooke is a go-to family law department in London which has gone from strength to strength in recent years.  It is unique in that as well as routinely undertaking the high value financial remedy work, it also has a thriving legal aid children practice which is highly unusual in the market. Hannah Minty is a partner to watch in the future.  Her approach to her cases and her manner are exemplary, and she achieves superb results without any fuss or grandstanding.  Kate Hamilton is a superb practitioner and has a growing reputation as an effective and directive mediator.  Jemma Pollock is going places‘.

‘The team provides a very good service. Hannah Minty and Fiona Read are great. James Carroll is an excellent mediator‘.

There is real depth of talent in the team.  James Carroll and Fiona Read are well known – Sam Little is probably number one in her field but has now been working with Jemma Pollock who is truly exceptional – managing a challenging clients with a calm and wisdom that truly shows her to be another industry leader in the making‘.

The firm has an exceptional pool of talent.  For clients the lawyers provide clear and unequivocal advice and fight their corners extremely well, through collaboration or combat, whatever the case requires. When asked for referrals, they are always top of the list. Kate Hamilton – a no-nonsense lawyer, practical and a superb tactician. James Carroll – experienced, energetic and excellent. Hannah Minty – goes the extra mile for her clients and has excellent judgment. Jemma Pollock – extremely conscientious, very effective and a pleasure to work with‘.

A family team of strength and depth. Impressive in litigation and out of court dispute resolution. Always looking at innovative ways to resolve disputes and support clients. You always feel as if you are working as part of a team with Russell Cooke. An excellent knowledge of law and procedure that is used both tactically and effectively.  Sam Little is a stand out family lawyer for child care law and children disputes. Technically brilliant with a fine attention to detail.  Tremendous lateral thinker. Extremely good at negotiation. Always popular with clients. Very good at difficult, challenging and acrimonious  cases. Speaks with calmness and authority that sets the clients at ease. A powerful advocate‘.

‘The Russell Cooke Family Team has strength in all areas of family law from complex financial work to legal aid children care work. There are not many firms that can offer such breadth. Clients benefit from its ability to operate as a team and share the vast knowledge and experience. Kate Hamilton is liked by lawyers and clients alike for her no nonsense and honest approach. James Carroll makes daunting legal concepts sounds simple and easy to understand. Jemma Pollock has a very bright future‘.

‘Russell Cooke is a firm which has a proven track record of excellent client service and has enormous respect in the industry. The family department in London, Putney and Kingston is highly respected and handles a range of complex high end financial cases as well as complex children disputes. Camilla Thornton is a fantastic lawyer,  very clever and able to get to grips with the most complicated and demanding cases.  She is very experienced at dealing with difficult financial cases and will always be on top of all the detail. She is also very empathetic so that clients feel understood.   Camilla is very practical and focused on sorting things out in the best way possible for her clients.  She is highly respected in the field of family law‘.

The International Family Law Group LLP

The International Family Law Group LLP is a specialist law firm that looks after the needs of international and national families. It is respected for its work on children and financial matters. Clients include ultra-high net/high net-worth individuals, professionals, entrepreneurs, CEOs, media, entertainment, and sports personalities. Founding partners Ann Thomas and David Hodson OBE MCI Arb have a wealth of experience in international family law work and are fellows of the International Academy of Family Lawyers. The ‘outstanding’ Lucy Loizou was appointed managing partner in August 2021, succeeding Thomas, who is now senior partner. James Netto specialises in all areas of children law, with particular expertise in international children matters. Helen Blackburn has particular expertise in child abduction law and other children cases with an international dimension. Emma Nash is now at Fletcher Day. Overall, the team has ‘has the highest possible reputation in all areas of international family law‘.

Practice head(s):

Ann Thomas

Other key lawyers:

Lucy Loizou; David Hodson OBE; James Netto; Helen Blackburn; Michael Allum; Stuart Clark; Lucy Greenwood

Testimonials

‘Helen Blackburn was an outstanding in every regard. I had the best support and I can not imagine that my case could have been put forward in any better way. I am deeply thankful for her open ears, impressed by her thoughtful and brilliant mind, her patience with my demanding involvement. She paid attention to every detail and was able to take in a broad and complex amount of information effortlessly‘.

‘Ann Thomas is a leading international children lawyer and one of the top such specialists in London. She also brings intelligence, thought and planning to her cases and does all in her power to achieve the result her client seeks’.

‘The clue is in the name – ‘the’ go to place for international family law. David Hodson is an encyclopaedia when it comes to international family law. There are very few like him in family law‘.

‘Lucy Loizou is outstanding. I know she at all times acts in my best interest and I can trust her and her competence and experience 100%. I feel that I am not just a number and case. Lucy understands my situation, listens, takes me seriously, shows true empathy and is on my side. She always listens and tells me when she thinks I am right or wrong. Lucy‘s team is always very helpful, kind and competent.’

Michael Allum – an emerging star. One of the most knowledgeable practitioners on Part III claims (financial claims after foreign divorce). Understated but hugely effective and great to work with. Lucy Loizou – manages heavy litigation with real poise and is absolutely all over the details. Technically very able, deep knowledge and clients love her. Stuart Clark – technically very able. His correspondence is exemplary and highly effective. Good on Tolata as well as international cases‘.

‘The lawyers are specialists in cross-border family law and have a breadth that covers both children related and financial consequences of relationship breakdown occurring in families that have an international dimension to their cases.  They always impress with the dedication to detail, client service, and deep knowledge of the relevant legal framework.  Helen Blackburn -her case preparation is impeccable, and her understanding of the needs of the client always spot on.  It is clear that she has the confidence of her clients and she is always sensitive to their emotional and well as practical needs‘.

The IFLG team has extremely competent and efficient family law specialists with an in-depth knowledge of all aspects of international family law. Their contacts in the international family law community are also invaluable. They are well equipped to deal with urgent jurisdictional disputes. Lucy Greenwood and Lucy Loizou are both technically very able and also personable and responsive‘.

‘IFLG has unrivalled strength at all levels and across the whole span of family law. Helen Blackburn is a real star in children work. She is caring, empathetic and has incredible attention to detail. David Hodson is a doyen in the field. James Netto has the potential to be one of the stars of the future. His acquisition from Dawson Cornwell is a real boost to IFLG. The partners and associates are first-rate‘.

Vardags

Vardags has some of the UK’s best litigation lawyers with extensive coverage nationally through its offices in London, Manchester, Cambridge, Oxford and Winchester - it has 'herculean fire-power' . It specialises in complex, challenging, high-profile and international litigation cases for high-net-worth clients. It has a large team that includes notable practitioners such as Ayesha Vardag, Lois Rogers and the 'very clever' Simon McKirgan. Head of department is the 'outstanding' Georgina Hamblin who has particular expertise in high-value multi-jurisdictional divorce cases and jurisdictional disputes. Katherine Res Pritchard, who heads up the children department, was recently promoted to senior director. It is 'very well-suited to dealing with complex and high-net wealth cases. It is able to assemble a team at short notice. The lawyers are formidably hardworking'.

Practice head(s):

Georgina Hamblin

Other key lawyers:

Ayesha Vardag; Lois Rogers; Simon McKirgan; Sophie Groves; Katherine Res Pritchard; Claire Clarke; Tom Quinn; Antonia Barker; Alex Curran; Caroline Korah

Testimonials

‘The rise of Vardags over the past decade is clear testament to how good they are. Many say they are the Rolls Royce of family law firms, which is true, but they often run their cases more like a Ferrari: with sheer legal power, utter determination and a winning streak.   They have also been at the forefront of new legal technology and were paperless years before the Pandemic forced everyone to follow suit. Simon McKirgan: his attention to detail and legal knowledge is peerless. Georgina Hamblin: fantastic family lawyer and tactician who is a hard as nail‘.

‘Leaves no stone unturned in its efforts to achieve a successful outcome for clients. Ayesha – Flamboyant and effective. Simon McKirgan excellent judgment and extensive knowledge‘.

Katherine Res Pritchard handled my case. From the offset the speed and urgency she showed in taking my case was imperative in reaching a positive outcome. She was very transparent, direct and the strategy adopted by Katherine was outstanding. Katherine is absolutely someone who should be recognised for her high level of professionalism and expertise. She builds a high level of trust, respect and positive rapport which is essential between both parties and I can’t thank her enough for the effort she made in handling my case. She personally gave me a lot  more confidence throughout the proceedings and I can’t recommend her highly enough for the job that she has done‘.

‘Vardags offers genuine strength in depth both in terms of seasoned litigators and acute attention to detail by junior lawyers and financial specialists. Collaboration with financial analysts seems to be a common and complementary feature to the legal services in big money cases and can be of invaluable help scrutinising and presenting clients’ cases. The lawyers exhibit excellent client-care skills and tenacity. Most of my work has been with Claire Clarke, a Director in the family team. Claire is unflappable, unfailingly courteous, and tenacious.  She advances her clients’ interests robustly, demonstrates keen emotional intelligence, and goes the extra mile for each and every client she works for‘.

The team at Vardags is superbly equipped to deal with the most complex, high net worth cases. The solicitors are all keenly intelligent with a broad grasp of the current trends in court. They are supported by an in-house network of experts who can assist on difficult points namely in the area of accountancy. Antonia Barker is a fierce opponent. She is highly intelligent with excellent knowledge of in particular complex trust structures. She is my go to for anything involving nuptial agreements. One to watch. Alex Curran is an iron fist inside a velvet glove. His intelligent, eloquent approach to cases makes the unarguable appear arguable. He is a rising star in family law‘.

‘ Unquestionably they are leaders in the High Net Worth Field. Known for financial work, but also now very strong in children work. Katherine Res Pritchard – heads up the children team; pleasure to work with; she has a deep knowledge and understanding of international and tough private law cases particularly. Alex Curran – star of the present and the future; he will go far‘.

‘The lawyers strive to do the absolute best that they can for their clients. Each client is given a first class service. Their preparation for every case is flawless and they go the extra mile every time. A very impressive group of lawyers. Tom Quinn is sharp and focused. He fights his corner very hard but does not shy away from giving robust advice’.

‘Lois Rogers – One to watch for the future, Lois is an all-round star, fantastic judgement, great knowledge of the law and a head for strategy’.

Work highlights

  • Represented the Applicant Father in Wardship proceedings in the High Court. There have been 2 reported judgments made: Father v Mother [2020] EWHC 1929 (Fam) and Father v Mother [2020] EWHC 1930 (Fam).
  • Represented the mother in a high-value divorce matter with challenging children aspects. The judgement has been reported: CA v DR (Schedule 1 Children Act 1989: Pension Claim) [2021] EWFC 21

Anthony Gold Solicitors LLP

Anthony Gold Solicitors LLP runs a significant number of international and internal relocation cases. Under the leadership of Kim Beatson the group is recognised for its work on complex Children Act cases in particular. David Emmerson has a mixed practice between court work, mediation and collaborative law and specialises in complex finance and children cases as well as cohabitation and pre-nuptial work. Sarah Hughes is another key practitioner who is increasingly focusing on TOLATA matters. The group is also recommended for its strength in mediation. It is a 'very technically able and clever team, full of inspiring people'.

Practice head(s):

Kim Beatson

Other key lawyers:

David Emmerson; Sarah Hughes; Fiona Lyon ; Victoria Brown; Ruth Oyelakin; Nazia Rashid

Testimonials

‘The team is approachable and professional. I work solely with David Emmerson. David Emmerson is a powerhouse in this area of law. He is polished in his presentation. He manages to stay measured and focused in the most heated disputes. He always has time for colleagues and is a trusted mentor to junior practitioners‘.

Complete Magic Circle service at reasonable rates. They are all excellent lawyers, hardworking and efficient. Kim Beatson knows the “answer” to the case at the first meeting. She is understated in her brilliance’.

‘Consistently excellent service provided by a range of individuals – from senior to junior. It provides a Rolls Royce service but at a modest cost to the client when compared to competitors. A very strong firm. David’s knowledge of international law in particular is second to none. Kim is a very strong finance practitioner who manages to reach good outcomes by agreement in the trickiest of cases. Their experience is extensive. Sarah Hughes, Nazia Rashid and Ruth Oleyakin also deserve commendation. They are all meticulous with detail and provide an excellent client focused approach on all their cases (both children and finance). When asked for a recommendation for a London firm – they are generally top of the list for me’.

‘ Fiona Lyon is extremely knowledgeable and professional and a tremendous support to me through every step of my divorce. Fiona has got me through some very difficult times regarding my divorce proceedings and her experience has helped compile strategies in order to get the best outcome for me. She is compassionate, professional, experienced and extremely knowledgeable and I would not hesitate in recommending her to others‘.

‘The team has always been great from day one. I used them for both divorce proceedings and children. Victoria Brown – from the first consultation and throughout the whole process she has been exceptional. Her key skills have been her ability to simply listen and process things for me that made things so much easier in what felt/feels like the most traumatic experience. Her attention to detail has been exceptional. She was always available when I needed to discuss matters and has provided me with clear and concise information throughout the process. She has carried my burden (literally) over the last two years‘.

‘This is a team of intelligent and determined solicitors who are committed to their client’s goals. The team’s strength is its recruitment and retention of talented and personable professionals. Ruth Oyelakin – Ruth has an impressive command of the papers in her cases and is able to have regard to the macro and the micro throughout. Ruth’s sound advice ensures things run well throughout cases with clear rationale. Victoria Brown – Victoria is meticulous and has excellent instincts. Counsel finds her to be wise beyond her years and clients appreciate her concise, accurate advice that is always delivered with sensitivity‘.

‘Anthony Gold is without a doubt one of the leading Family Teams in the country! From the quality of the partners down to the junior solicitors it oozes quality. One of its main qualities is that although it has some of the biggest names in family law, the lawyers engage with their clients on the level. They speak their language and always deliver first rate advice‘.

The partners in particular we deal with are Kim Beatson, David Emmerson, Sarah Hughes and Fiona Lyon. All of whom have their own skill sets, but are of equal quality. Definitely the go to firm for HNW clients. It is also worth noting that during lockdown, Fiona has set up one of the most celebrated family law initiatives, namely Family Law in Lockdown, which attracts huge audiences and boasts some of the biggest names in family law as guests. Sarah Hughes has an eye for detail and is very impressive‘.

 

Boodle Hatfield LLP

Boodle Hatfield LLP has acted in a substantial number of high-level instructions many of which have multiple jurisdictions and considerable tax-based, emotional and reputational challenges and valuable assets. It is known for its work with a wide range of high-profile clients with significant family businesses as well as for its cross-border children work. Other strengths lie in pre- and post-nuptial agreements. James Ferguson heads the department that includes Emily Brand who has particular expertise in complicated financial proceedings with an international dimension. Katie O’Callaghan is a qualified family mediator and Harriet Errington is skilled across all aspects of family law. This is  team that 'combines experience, enthusiasm and hard work'.

Practice head(s):

James Ferguson

Other key lawyers:

Emily Brand; Katie O’Callaghan; Harriet Errington; Alexandra Hirst; Katie Male; Genevieve Smith

Testimonials

‘A first-rate firm which deals with some of the most complex high net worth financial remedy cases in London. This firm has an excellent reputation amongst the Family Bar. Its cases are expertly prepared. It is a pleasure to be instructed by them; but a source of anxiety if they are on the other side. James Ferguson- A fox who is both gentlemanly and cunning. He spots the weaknesses in an opponent’.

Much used by the Aristocracy and those savants who understand why the Aristocracy prefer these types of firms. James Ferguson has a military mind; focused, disciplined and keen to win‘.

‘James Ferguson – Experience and canniness. Emily Brand – Enthusiasm and intelligence. Katie Male – Hard work and intelligence‘.

Very commercial department; good value for money and control of costs; extensive experience in high-money cases usually with an international dimension. Ferguson: hugely composed and unflappable; tough. Brand: highly intelligent, good strategist and good at coming up with solutions. O’Callaghan: extremely efficient‘.

‘Close knit team who work very well together. Emily Brand has an amazing bed-side manner and is very experienced. Harriet is incredibly empathetic with her clients and on the ball. She is easy to work with and bounce ideas off. Katie O’Callaghan is very bright and hardworking. She is very responsive to issues as and when they arise. Alex Hirst and Katie Male are also both top-class. They are smart and diligent and get things done promptly‘.

‘Boodle Hatfield is first rate. The partners are all absolutely superb but that quality is maintained throughout the department: it is a brilliantly led team who all work well together (and delegate work effectively and appropriately) .Its  focus is always on getting the best possible outcome for the client, usually by resolving conflicts in the most commercially sensible way. The lawyers are a real joy to work with. Emily Brand is brilliant and highly effective. She sees through issues very clearly and has strong strategic insights. James Ferguson is very clever, completely unflappable, has excellent judgement, and is a skilled negotiator‘.

‘The high quality work it receives. The excellent client list. The strength of the team as a whole – there are no weak links. A smaller team but in terms of ability on a par with the top London family law firms. Emily Brand – is a class act. Very clever, great judgement and one of the best strategists in family law. She earns and retains her clients total trust through a mixture of hard work, commitment and results. 5* all the way. Katie O’Callaghan – is certainly a star of the future. Understated but steely; she has an encyclopaedic grasp of all the details of her cases. No one ie better prepared. Would highly recommend‘.

‘Really impressive team with some very experienced heads and some excellent new partners. Very modern in its outlook and client-orientated in its service. Emily Brand – classy lawyer with very sound instincts and a great manner. Harriet Errington – smart and assured. Katie O’Callaghan – absolutely on the ball‘.

 

Bross Bennett

Bross Bennett is a 'boutique family law practice that holds its own against the magic circle but at lower prices'. It deals with a wide spectrum of family issues ranging from complex financial disputes to complicated issues over children. In addition the firm has received a number of instructions from the Official Solicitor’s Office and is praised for its strong collaborative ethos. Sharon Bennett and Ruth Bross lead the department. Anna Wagstaff has extensive experience of dealing with various complex children disputes including leave to remove and financial matters with an international dimension. Vicky Briam was promoted to the partnership

Practice head(s):

Ruth Bross; Sharon Bennett

Other key lawyers:

Anna Wagstaff; Vicky Briam; Caroline Falkus; Adam Witkover

Testimonials

‘Bross Bennett is a niche family practice which is more than capable of taking on its larger competitors. Its key advantage over larger firms is its focus on client care. All partners are dedicated to leading clients through the process and always appear to be available to clients to provide advice and support. Sharon Bennett- brings years of experience. She is calm and provides a steady hand on the tiller through any storm. She provides pragmatic and clear advice and is trusted completely (and rightly so) by her clients‘.

‘Ruth Bross brings with her knowledge and experience. She is able to hold her own in high conflict cases and reads the situation with strategic intent . She makes her clients feel confident and supported. Adam Witkover is a calm and thoughtful presence. He quietly and efficiently pursues his client’s case‘.

‘An excellent, highly efficient and supportive knowledgeable team. Caroline Falkus was an outstanding lawyer representing me for two years in a complex family case . An excellent lawyer, I could not have done better than to be represented by Caroline. Her great strengths are her astute judgement concerning her adversary, a highly strategic approach, a meticulous attention to detail, and a ruthlessness when necessary. She has great integrity, is fair and supportive. She is highly attuned to the person she represents . She calms interpersonal relations in order to facilitate productive outcomes‘.

‘The firm is small, efficient and collaborative. I was the client of one partner Sharon Bennett, who had an excellent depth of knowledge and experience. She was energetic, personable and efficient with excellent response times‘.

Sharon Bennett is in a word, superb. She is strategically brilliant, very astute, and has terrific judgment. Vicky Briam is a real superstar. Great client management skills and an excellent lawyer. Great to work with as well. Caroline Falkus is tough and sensible and approaches cases with real wisdom‘.

Bross Bennett is a north London firm that packs West End punch. The quality of its work across each specialism is impressive to behold. There is not a weak link amongst the practitioners there. The lawyers are solutions orientated and focused on getting as much as what the client wants as is achievable. It is a highly skilled team and offer clients a Rolls Royce service. Caroline Falkus brings tenacity and a clear vision to her case load. She has a particular interest in matrimonial finance, but can turn her hand to children work with ease‘.

Great team. Well rounded with a lot of depth. Ruth and Sharon are titans of North London. Adam and Anna very good solicitors as well‘.

‘It is  a very happy firm. Good leadership at the top. Sharon Bennett is in a class of her own. A power brand in North London. Adam Witkover – runs rings around his opponents. Very firm. Won’t be pushed around. Ruth Bross – a formidable litigator; she lets no-one stand in her way of the result she wants. Sharon Bennett – very good judgment; calm, a negotiator, and a good egg all round’.

 

Burgess Mee Family Law

Burgess Mee Family Law has a broad practice that is adept at advising on divorce and civil partnership dissolution, financial remedy matters as well as private children disputes. The group also routinely advises on the preparation of nuptial agreements and disputes between cohabitating parties.  It is increasingly involved in cases with an international dimension and complex assets. The practice provides a 'great personal service'. The firm also has a specialist surrogacy and fertility offering. Peter Burgess’ expertise is in very high-value financial work along with his strong children practice. Antonia Mee’s expertise spans high and ultra-high value financial cases and children law matters. Natalie Sutherland joined the team from A City Law Firm Ltd and Kirsty Morris was recently promoted to the partnership.

Practice head(s):

Antonia Mee; Peter Burgess

Other key lawyers:

David Lillywhite; Natalie Sutherland; Henrietta Thomas ;Robert Micklem; Kirsty Morris

Testimonials

‘Small in size but big in the market. No longer up and coming, they have arrived. A great firm I would recommend to family and friends. Peter Burgess is a top class family lawyer. Measured, thoughtful, and respected by clients and opponents alike. Kirsty Morris is really impressive. Intelligent, robust, sensible, with the right combination of fantastic judgment and client care‘.

Peter Burgess is extremely astute, clear-headed, and strategic, but also highly responsive, completely unflappable, thoroughly humane and enormously likeable – a pretty rare combination in my opinion‘.

‘ Very strong and collaborative family law team. Excellent in cases with an international dimension. Antonia Mee and Robert Micklem have an excellent knowledge of the law and have excellent client skills‘.

‘This is a rising firm, no longer the ‘new kid on the block’ – ready to stay and holds is own amongst the more expensive magic circle option for clients. Recent wise expansion will form the foundation of its strength going forward. David Lillywhite is an exceptional recruit to partner level. He is focused, pragmatic and legally agile‘.

‘We were extremely satisfied with the service we received and have no hesitation in recommending the firm and people that we dealt with, in particular Natalie Sutherland. Natalie was the solicitor in charge of our case which was a very complicated and emotional surrogacy dispute that was quickly moved to the High Court. She and her team were phenomenal in handling our case. She knew surrogacy law inside/out and worked tirelessly to get the outcome that we needed. This included late nights and weekends, writing statements and instructing extremely experienced barristers which were needed for our case. We felt huge confidence in her expertise and were always provided information or replied to promptly. The professionalism but also empathy that we received was second to none‘.

‘Peter Burgess – thoughtful, detailed and very thorough. Antonia Mee – technically precise, well prepared and conducts her cases with poise. David Lillywhite – Able, personable, very well prepared. Natalie Sutherland – knowledgeable, proficient and an excellent lawyer. Kirsty Morris – Smart, well prepared and knows her stuff‘.

It is a relatively young, boutique firm with a far reach and a growing reputation for excellence. There is an ambition about the team and it goes from strength to strength. The lawyers cover the breadth of privately funded work and have an interest in surrogacy marked by the addition of Natalie Sutherland to their ranks. Antonia Mee, Peter Burgess and David Lillywhite, Henrietta Thomas and Natalie Sutherland each bring individual strengths to the firm. They are all fine lawyers and really go the extra mile for their clients. All of them and the team that they lead are dedicated to their clients and will find their way through the most complex issues‘.

‘This boutique family law firm is excellent. You get magic circle quality for less expense. I would not hesitate to recommend Peter Burgess to anyone. Peter Burgess is fantastic. He is incredibly kind and empathetic towards his clients and a real source of strength in their time of need. At the same time, he is sensible and pragmatic and is expert at reducing the heat in a heated situation. He is incredibly calm but at the same time, an excellent strategist‘.

 

Camilla Baldwin

Boutique Mayfair-based family firm Camilla Baldwin covers all areas of family law across complex financial and children matters. Clients are typically high-net-worth and ultra-high-net-worth individuals from all walks of life with mostly international assets. These cases frequently feature cross-jurisdictional issues. It also has a number of clients where assets are held in complex trusts and company structures. Founding partner Camilla Baldwin has considerable expertise in divorce and the issues surrounding unmarried families and separating couples. Luned Rees Williams has been accredited by Resolution with particular specialism in intricate financial remedy cases.

Practice head(s):

Camilla Baldwin

Other key lawyers:

Luned Rees Williams; Shivi Rajput

Testimonials

‘The team at Camilla Baldwin is so intuitive and understanding of its clients. Camilla has a natural affinity with her clients and promotes their specific interests to the nth degree. Camilla Baldwin is a naturally fantastic lawyer; it seems to come effortlessly. Shivi Rajput is meticulous in the preparation of her clients’ cases. She has a keen eye for cutting through detail and seeing the bigger picture‘.

‘Camilla Baldwin Ltd is simply outstanding. A client can expect to encounter one of the best sets of solicitors one could hope for. This team is uniquely committed to each and every client’s case. This is the firm to instruct if you have a complicated, high net worth or international case (both in Children and Finance). However, in recent years, the team has demonstrated a commitment to social justice, inspired by Camilla’s work. The team has been offering pro bono legal advice to women prisoners seeking contact with their children. Camilla has recently established the charity ‘Not Beyond Redemption‘.

Camilla Baldwin (Founding Partner) – Camilla is a real heavyweight in Family Law and always inspires her team to provide the same outstanding service. One can tell how much Camilla’s work means to her in the outcomes she achieves for clients. It is rare to find such a high flying and ambitious individual as personable. Camilla is consistent and clear in her advice, her intentions and her social justice advocacy. Shivi Rajput is able to see the wood for the trees when her clients cannot. Shivi is sensitive to each client’s personal needs whilst ensuring they are acting on the best possible advice‘.

Wonderful team of skilled lawyers. I was very impressed, in particular, with the practice. Camilla Baldwin: highly experienced, strong judgment, very pragmatic and results-oriented, efficient, very client-focused‘.

Camilla’s hands on approach and dedication to each and every case makes her stand out. Camilla is excellent and her years of work make her shine as an instructing solicitor. Shivi works incredibly hard‘.

‘Camilla and the team are uniquely undaunted in the face of any case. They are adept at handling ultra high net worth cases but will give the same stellar service to smaller cases. With Camilla you get a level of tactical input that you just do not get from other firms. Camilla is naturally the star of the show and she leads by example. She is relentless in her pursuit of the best outcome for her clients and has a superb knowledge of the law. Shivi Rajput very ably backs up Camilla and takes the lead on numerous cases which are themselves complex. Shivi is superb with clients and has an excellent eye for detail‘.

Camilla Baldwin and her team are indeed unique. It is a highly supportive and efficient firm of solicitors that has become very highly respected in a short period of time, particularly for high net money work. Because it is a  small team communication is excellent between them and it is led very ably and strongly by Camilla herself’.

‘Camilla is a highly skilled and respected solicitor in the field of family law. She is always realistic and proportionate in her approach and keen to do the best possible deal for the clients. She is very well supported by her team including the enormously efficient and hardworking Shivi Rajput. Her co-partner Luned Rees is also highly respected and very experienced and provides a full service to her clients’.

Work highlights

  • Acting for the homemaker wife of a Russian billionaire in relation to drafting a nuptial agreement, entered into post separation but prior to divorce.
  • Acting for the ex-girlfriend of a Premier League footballer in a highly contentious case involving the parties’ three-year-old child.
  • Advising an ultra-high-net-worth individual in relation to restructuring and protecting her worldwide wealth in anticipation of her marriage to an ultra-high-net-worth individual.

Clintons

Clintons has a highly regarded family practice that has a reputation for its work with those in the entertainment sector and in the public eye. Head of department Liz Vernon has an enviable reputation for her work on complex and high-value financial remedy cases as well as disputes relating to children. Vernon often represents clients involved in arbitrations, mediations and other forms of alternative dispute resolution. Consultant Sarah Bostock has a particular interest in private law Children Act proceedings where there are complicating factors such as jurisdictional issues or sexual abuse allegations against children.

Practice head(s):

Liz Vernon

Other key lawyers:

Sarah Bostock; Daniel Chalmers; Dom Christophers

Testimonials

‘Liz Vernon is an outstanding lawyer and a careful thinker about all of her cases. She shows great understanding of what clients need from the team whilst going through the financial aspects of the divorce process, and gets excellent results‘.

‘I’ve worked predominantly with Liz Vernon and Dom Christophers who are such a pleasure to work with. They both have incredibly good judgement from the moment they pick up the papers. The case is thereafter prepared extremely well and a significant amount of thought goes into the case. Liz has a great big picture viewpoint and Dom is brilliant on the detail. Together they are very formidable. Liz and Dom are really fun to work with. Everything is prepared brilliantly and they have excellent judgement. Nothing feels last minute, everything is very planned‘.

A respected team with a great pedigree, highly thought of throughout the profession. Capable of covering any case, from the modest to the massive, with consummate professionalism. It has a well earned niche in successfully representing high profile clients. Liz Vernon is at the top of the profession. Formidable, highly intelligent, and with great judgment. A complete star who fights her clients’ corner with the outmost skill. Dan Chalmers is talented, hardworking, and fantastic with clients. He is a rising star, a genuinely excellent solicitor’.

It is a fabulous boutique firm conducting the full-range of high net worth, family disputes. The lawyers approach all of their cases holistically, with an eye both to the finances and any children disputes, and they are an absolute delight to work with. They are on the vanguard of a solutions focused approach to family law, and are always up-to-date with the latest forms of co-parenting assistance and alternative dispute resolution. Liz Vernon is a truly exceptional lawyer. She manages to get to the core of the dispute very early on, work out what is really going on and runs the case accordingly. She is an excellent tactician. Dom Christophers is definitely one-to-watch. He has very clearly been trained by Liz! He operates well beyond his PQ level and is a joy to be instructed by. His written work is superb, as is his client management skills‘.

A small but experienced and specialist team attracting an enviable host of clients from the arts and media world. Liz Vernon and Dom Christophers often work together as a team and provide a complete and excellent service. Liz provides the vast experience and the best strategic oversight; Dom ensures no stone is unturned, the client is very well looked after and the case runs smoothly‘.

‘An extraordinarily talented team which provides great advice that is always good value for money. Particularly strong at dealing with big money cases with complex issues such as the valuation of international family businesses. It  comes into its own with high profile clients and sensitive PR issues. Liz Vernon and Dom Christophers are a particularly powerful combination of talent‘.

The team at Clintons seems to provide a truly personal service for clients, working in a way that really works for them. Daniel Chalmers epitomises the aspirations that modern practitioners should work towards. He takes each client truly on their own merits and works with them in the way that best works for them, rather than the way that works best for him as the lawyer. Daniel is also tactically astute and builds a brilliant legal team around the client. Dom Christophers punches well above his weight for his level of qualification and shows legal knowledge and emotional maturity far above expectation‘.

‘Clever and very sensible from top to bottom. Daniel Chalmers is a very talented associate. His feeling for a case is always accurate and he gives very good advice. Sarah Bostock –  has a client focused collaborative approach to her cases which ensures a good outcome for her client without the legal battle and acrimony that many clients worry over when embarking on the path to Divorce. Liz Vernon – tenacious, respected and a fountain of legal knowledge’.

Mills & Reeve LLP

Mills & Reeve LLP is a full service national firm with an excellent family team in London. It is well-equipped to advise on the full array of family issues including cases where there are complex business and trust structures. The team also excels in high conflict children proceedings. Another area of expertise is advising on legal parentage issues arising from donor conception, co-parenting arrangements and surrogacy. Joanna Grandfield specialises in complex financial cases. Zoë Fleetwood who joined from Dawson Cornwell is a specialist children lawyer. Consultant Suzanne Kingston and principal associate Tim Whitney also garner praise.

Practice head(s):

Joanna Grandfield (Key partner and Head of London Team) ; Zoë Fleetwood (Partner and Head of Children Team)

Other key lawyers:

Suzanne Kingston; Tim Whitney; Caitlin Jenkins

Testimonials

On a national basis Mills & Reeve has the best talent in family law.  The lawyers are able to offer an exceptional service to clients in each of their locations.  Very soon after establishing its family team in London it became a major player and continues to go from strength to strength‘.

‘Zoe Fleetwood is extremely competent and an excellent hire‘.

‘Zoe Fleetwood has joined and will lead the children team to great success I am sure. Zoe Fleetwood is calm and clear when others lose their head. She is wonderful with judges and with clients and a great person to work with as counsel’.

‘Suzanne Kingston stands out for her expertise in alternative dispute resolution options‘.

‘The team is at the forefront in the use of technology to improve the client experience.  It is always good news if Mills & Reeve is on the other side of a case as it means the prospects of settlement are greatly enhanced.  Joanna Grandfield is exceptional.  She always has a clear grasp of the issues and is a constructive negotiator.   Caitlin Jenkins is a star.  Always charming and articulate yet never loses sight of her client’s goals‘.

‘Mills and Reeve is an extremely talented and well respected family team with a strong ADR reputation. Tim Whitney is an outstanding lawyer and mediator. Incredibly skilled and successful. Clients love him’.

Newton Kearns LLP

Paul Newton and Patrick Kearns co-head the team at Newton Kearns LLP that particularly focuses on the resolution of complex and high-value financial disputes arising from separation or divorce. Other skills lie in advising on substantial pre- and post-nuptial agreements and the provision of financial support for children on the breakdown of cohabiting relationships. Consultant Maggie Rae is another known name whose mediation practice continues to grow. Frances Petterson and Victoria Francis  also garner praise. 'Newton Kearns is a small, niche firm specialising in matrimonial finance but is one which is accustomed to battling regularly against Magic Circle firms'.

Practice head(s):

Paul Newton; Patrick Kearns

Other key lawyers:

Maggie Rae; Frances Petterson; Victoria Francis; Fiona Davenport

Testimonials

Patrick Kearns – extremely experienced, always calm and immensely reassuring to clients. He has always anticipated every event before it happens and his judgment is second to none. Paul Newton – a very able strategist, and equally comfortable with complex financial and children work. He knows how to make the right call, and when‘.

‘Frances Petterson – Brilliant lawyer, has always considered every angle in a case. She was solely responsible for a number of early judgment calls in a case of mine which directly led to an unqualified victory for our client, and the judge said as much at the end of the case. Victoria Francis – Really intelligent and insightful lawyer. Very well-respected by other family lawyers‘.

‘The firm is very client-friendly and caring. The lawyers want to ensure they do right by their clients and are good at asking for help where they need it. They are pleasant and have good common sense.  Patrick Kearns was very good – organised, methodical and thought carefully about the legal issues. I have done a lot of work with Fiona Davenport who is very sweet and caring’.

Patrick Kearns is stand out excellent; intensely bright whilst also looking for ways to resolve matters rather than litigate‘.

‘An excellent boutique firm. Frances Petterson is a bright spark, clever, charming and exceptionally tenacious. Paul Newton is warm hearted, charming and measured. Patrick Kearns is a modern lawyer who plays fair and commands respect‘.

‘Newton Kearns is a boutique family law firm headed by two brilliant lawyers Patrick Kearns and Paul Newton. The NK team is widely respected by other family lawyers for the extraordinary ability of its members, their commitment to clients and the quality of their work. Despite being a young firm, the practice has gone from strength to strength and NK is expected to continue to thrive. They are very careful about costs being incurred as well, and at the end of every case I have ever done for them the client has been extremely satisfied with the transparency and proportionality of what has been spent, which is something of a rarity in my experience‘.

A top-notch family law boutique. A strong client base, particularly in the entertainment industry. Highly respected and likeable partners who are a pleasure to deal with. Paul Newton combines technical excellence with a warm and engaging personality. He works hard to diffuse tension and looks for solutions. He handles complex prenuptial agreements with dexterity. Maggie Ray is a shining light. She is as experienced as they come but remains down to earth and solution-focused‘.

‘Vikki Francis is calm in a storm, unflappable and exceptionally bright. Vikki is standout – have recommended her to many clients. Staggeringly bright and highly empathic and nuanced in approach. Would trust her with my own family issues‘.

 

Osbornes

Osbornes is best known for its work on HNW international divorce and finance work. It is skilled at advising on nuptial agreements and on matters where there are complicated trusts, inherited wealth and cross-border issues. It has niche expertise in confiscation orders and also has a strong practice in Children Act proceedings. Bridget Thompson leads the department that includes eminent practitioners such as the ‘unflappableMark Freedman and Lisa Pepper. The team also has considerable strength in adoption, surrogacy and fertility matters through Naomi Angell. It is a ‘really dynamic and diverse team which make it really innovative‘.

Practice head(s):

Bridget Thompson

Other key lawyers:

Mark Freedman; Lisa Pepper; David Leadercramer; Naomi Angell; Joanne Wescott; Simone McGrath; Andrew Watson; Tom Trim; Claire Andrews

Testimonials

Ability to do high end cases and smaller cases. Mark Freedman – outstanding judgement, experience, balanced approach. Mark Freedman – a very experienced and smooth operator. Hardworking and thinks creatively and intelligently about his cases. Andrew Watson – a partner who deals with cases calmly and intelligently, and is able to manage difficult clients easily‘.

Osbornes has the breadth of knowledge to tackle the range of family cases.  The family team is dynamic and always responsive. Mark Freedman – always at the top of his game‘.

‘Good family team with some excellent individuals. Naomi Angell – the doyenne of adoption and surrogacy family law, dedicated to her clients and hardworking. Tom Trim – bright young solicitor and all rounder’.

‘Osbornes is a strong family law firm with a number of particularly strong individuals. The lawyers work well as a team and have strong support for their clients. Simone McGrath (Partner) – Exceptional knowledge of international children matters, particularly 1980 Hague Convention cases. Fights hard for her clients’.

Lisa Pepper is the stand out performer of the practice.  She is pragmatic and straightforward to deal with – committed to the good outcome for the family‘.

Osbornes is a large team with expertise in private and public children. The strength and depth of the team means that every aspect of the complex cases sent to me is well prepared and properly considered. Nothing takes this team by surprise. Bridget Thompson, partner, is an exceptional lawyer: super bright; realistic; funny; friendly, and she is able to navigate the most complex cases. Human rights, ethics, and fairness are always at the front of her thinking. She is a pleasure to work for and one of my favourite women in family law – love her! David Leadercramer: knowledgeable, good judgment and very empathetic‘.

‘Simone McGrath in particular stands out for her no-nonsense approach, her sensible and realistic advice, and her tenacious attitude.  She is a fearless advocate, but manages to strike up supportive relationships with her clients.  They trust her, and so do I’.

Osbornes is firmly established as one of the top tier family departments in London. It has a range of clients and cases, many of which are notable because of their complexity. The team increasingly attracts clients who are very wealthy, or in the public eye. Osbornes has some very well known partners, and senior lawyers. It also has real strength in depth, with a solid team of lawyers at all levels. Tom Trim has really very interesting cases and an impressive client base. He is one to watch. Tom does it all from forced marriage cases to children disputes acting for ultra wealthy, international clients’.

Simons Muirhead Burton

Simons Muirhead Burton has a focus on the resolution of complex financial disputes arising from separation or divorce, nuptial agreements and private law children matters. Much of the work undertaken by the 'strong' team has an offshore or multi-jurisdictional aspect. Head of department Jane McDonagh has continued to be instructed by several ultra-high-net-worth individuals. Tom Farley-Hills regularly acts for individuals with a public profile. Lara Wulwik  is recommended for her work on cases involving complex company and trust structures. Tessa Bray has considerable experience in Anglo-French cases.

Practice head(s):

Jane McDonagh

Other key lawyers:

Tom Farley-Hills; Lara Wulwik; Tessa Bray; Teena Dhanota-Jones

Testimonials

Its thoroughness is breath taking and the team is  always one beat ahead. Level headed and pragmatic the lawyers gave me utterly sound advice. But also its human and empathetic side meant that the lawyers felt like partners rather than service suppliers‘.

‘SMB is an under-rated but truly excellent practice. It has quite an inimitable style of being slightly under the radar, compared to some of its more “shouty” competitors which clearly pays dividends. A strong and classy act.  Tessa Bray is a stellar performer.  She is bright, straight to deal with, and to the point. Tom Farley-Hills is another key individual who gets the job done without fuss. Department head, Jane McDonagh, is superb.  She leads by example and has an enviable reputation‘.

‘Tessa Bray –  was always highly professional and charming but also so amiable and pleasant. I felt from the get go that she has my very best interests at heart and her advice always reflected that.  I felt Jane McDonagh was proactive and responded to all correspondence and enquiries promptly and in detail‘.

I have worked several times with Tom Farley-Hills and found him to give excellent advice, which is then executed in a timely manner.  He is scrupulous about informing me of the pros and cons of a given situation, he gives careful and cautious advise but is open to challenge‘.

Jane McDonagh was exceptional throughout. Very experienced, thoughtful, articulate, sensitive but tough when required. She maintained a firm grasp of detail throughout whilst able to consider the bigger picture‘.

‘Tom Fairley-Hills handled my divorce with exceptional compassion and understanding‘.

‘Personal & understanding whilst being extremely professional. Teena Dhanota-Jones helped greatly with the divorce process on an emotional level she dealt with our divorce without adding stress and negative energy to an already challenging situation’.

‘A growing presence with, rightly, growing recognition as a class act of a team. Tom Farley-Hills – underneath the polite and delightful exterior lurks a master tactician and strategist.  Definitely not someone to be underestimated.  Tessa Bray – feisty and fun, clients love her, both for her approach and the results she gets‘.

Sinclair Gibson LLP

The family department at Sinclair Gibson LLP advises on all aspects of family law, but is best known for its work in advising high-net-worth clients on complex financial remedy claims and pre/post-nuptial agreements. The team is also well regarded for its work in private children matters. The firm’s clients are typically high and ultra-high net worth individuals and wealthy professionals including a significant proportion who are neither UK resident nor UK domiciled. Kathryn Peat leads the department and her practice encompasses substantial financial remedy cases, children matters, nuptial agreements and multi-jurisdictional issues. Senior associate Beth Mason is also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Kathryn Peat

Other key lawyers:

Beth Mason

Testimonials

‘This practice is unique. From the instant I contacted Kathryn Peat at Sinclair Gibson I felt in safe hands. Kathryn inspired complete trust and confidence, without which I would have really struggled to pursue the case. Kathryn Peat inspires complete trust and confidence. She has built a truly amazing team. Beth Mason was exceptional. She listened, advised clearly, reassured, guided, and responded by return.  Beth combined her forensic legal execution with unrivalled interpersonal ability. She secured a most welcome result‘.

‘Kathryn Peat has excellent judgment and great case management skills. She guides her clients with great skill, achieving the best possible outcomes‘.

‘Dynamic, hardworking and some of the best client care in London. Kathryn Peat is one of the best family lawyers working today. She has more experience than almost anyone else, she writes a formidable letter and her clients rightly worship her. She is a brilliant family lawyer with excellent judgement and takes on the hardest cases‘.

‘A top rated law firm, with a wonderfully human touch. Kathryn Peat is first class. She is able to handle complex finances at the same time as understanding the needs of clients and their children. Hard to beat‘.

One of the very best boutique firms in London offering magic circle quality at much more competitive prices. It provides a superb service for clients and clients always know they are getting the very best quality advice at all times. Kathryn Peat has enormous experience and it shows. She is on top of her game and has a wonderfully soothing and calm exterior which pours oil on the most troubled waters. Beth Mason is a fabulous lawyer and one to watch for the future. She understands her cases inside out and is always able to think outside the box‘.

‘The team goes above and beyond for clients and supports them throughout the process. There is close attention to detail, and briefs and documents are well prepared. Clients are well advised and the team balances fighting a client’s corner with sound expectation management’.

‘The family team, headed by Kathryn Peat, is a growing force in the field. Kathryn Peat is a very wise owl; she has been there and seen it so often that nothing fazes her. She is assisted by Beth Mason who is a guaranteed ‘partner-to-be’. Beth has an assured manner, and lovely client skills’.

Amazing group of lawyers. Kathryn Peat certainly stands out as the most extraordinary lawyer I have come across. Unbelievable work ethic, but also an amazing understanding of the bigger picture and how everything ties together to achieve what really matters. She is very tough, but also a highly skilled negotiator, and can bring issues to a resolution even when they look impossible. She is also very compassionate, and is truly interested in all individuals within the affected family, and so her recommendations have even more weight. I cannot recommend her highly enough’.

 

TV Edwards LLP

The family finance team at TV Edwards LLP continues to attract high-value work and has a number of excellent practitioners including two Resolution accredited specialists and one senior solicitor with the Law Society’s Family Law Advanced Accreditation. The Children team has 12 children panellists, two higher rights solicitor advocates and a deputy district judge all of whom are well-placed to advise on a myriad of issues including cross-border abduction work, honour based violence and the radicalisation of children. Emma Baillie and Hannah Perry co-head the department.

Practice head(s):

Emma Baillie; Hannah Perry

Vaitilingam Kay

Vaitilingam Kay had another successful year. Recently it has been involved in some of the most complex and unusual private children work and surrogacy cases and the full range of financial work from big money international High Court work to smaller money cases. The 'quick thinking and tenacious' Anne Kay ’s mediation practice has continued to grow. It has some 'superbly talented individuals who provide top-quality advice' among them the 'incredibly cerebral' Joe Vaitilingam.  Helen Wilby  and Thomas Duggins are also both 'outstanding' .

Practice head(s):

Anne Kay; Joe Vaitilingam

Other key lawyers:

Helen Wilby; Sara Wychrij; Thomas Duggins; Kathryn Cassells; Thomas Pavey ; Darren Hark; Kate Barnett

Testimonials

The team is very thorough in reviewing evidence, and has a sensible approach. The strategy was clear from the start, and the lawyers always took the time to thoroughly explain strategic decisions. Their work was consistently high quality and I was impressed with their attention to detail. However, it is their genuine concern and evident drive to want to achieve the very best outcome for their client which truly sets the firm apart. I always felt that both Joe Vaitilingam and Kathryn Cassells genuinely cared about the outcome of my case. They both worked tirelessly and went above and beyond in a deeply contentious children’s case and subsequently a leave to remove case. I don’t believe another firm would have achieved the same outcome‘.

‘I think it is unique in the excellence of client-care. Having used many other law firms, I have never received such a tailored, sensitive and caring service. Great care was taken to ensure that I was well-supported and informed throughout the process. Extremely responsive, hardworking and highly professional. Anne Kay- phenomenally impressive, very knowledgeable about the surrogacy procedure, authoritative, pro-active and determined to achieve the best outcome. Kathryn Cassells – Excellent eye for detail on all the important legal points, very thorough and diligent, hardworking and reassuring‘.

The practice is made up of a team that has exceptional focus on the client’s legal and personal needs. The lawyers deliver strong advice giving the right balance to be realistic whilst trying to achieve the best outcome for you. They are empathetic to how difficult and emotional the divorce process can be. They are all very responsive.  Anne Kay was exceptional throughout the process with her advice, professionalism, approach and preparation. She was supported by Thomas Pavey, the associate, who did most of the case management and preparation work for our court appearances in both my cases. His attention to detail, writing skills, ability to summarise complex issues into constructive arguments were exceptional‘.

‘One of the best, if not the best, boutique divorce firms in London. It is the go to practice for all aspects of divorce. The team is as solid on children matters as on money matters. The lawyers have a particular expertise for cases with an international element and are brilliant at knotty questions concerning European regulations‘.

‘Joe Vaitilingam is quality through and through. A fantastic divorce lawyer with enormous experience and a wonderful manner to go with it. Clients love his ability to stay calm and provide a light touch in the most difficult circumstances. He has an answer for any problem and it is always the right answer. A star player! Darren Hark is a very bright associate who is an invaluable team player and one to be deal with even the most complex case management issues‘.

Joe Vaitilingam – Brilliant lawyer, with experience of the most complex and technical legal issues, he is immensely widely respected by judges, barristers and other solicitors. Anne Kay – Expert judgment and tactical sense, Anne steers even the most difficult cases back into safe harbour. She knows exactly how to run a case and she never puts a foot wrong. Helen Wilby – tremendous insight and a real gift for understanding what clients want. Kathryn Cassels – very able and fiercely passionate about all of her clients, Kathryn is a brilliant lawyer and a real star of the future. Tom Duggins – Tom brings real wisdom to his cases, and is equally comfortable on difficult children work as he is financial. Sara Wychrij – a dream to work with on a case. She’s always on top of the detail and clients love her‘.

One of my favourite teams of family law solicitors! They are lovely people, sensible, pragmatic and keen to achieve the best outcome for their clients when taking into account prospects, cost and the emotional strain of family law disputes. They divide work out well between them and the partners are very good at giving strategic and tactical advice to help their clients plan their paths. I have worked frequently with the partners Anne Kay, Joe Vaitilingam and Helen Wilby, who are skilled, pragmatic and very pleasant people. You would trust your own family to them. They are extremely ably supported by associates Kate Barnett, Sara Wychrij, Tom Pavey and Kathryn Cassells, all of whom I have worked with regularly and are great fun, but also clever young lawyers who work really hard for their clients’.

‘Strong and proficient family law boutique with a very good reputation in the market and with a great team of lawyers. They are straightforward, sensible and constructive but tough when necessary. Anne Kay and Joe Vaitilingam- very open, charming and sensible founding partners who are easy to deal with. Thomas Duggins and Helen Wilby – both constructive, firm but fair and very able partners who will try to find common ground and settle a case wherever possible. There are some great associates including Sara Wychrij and Kathryn Cassells – both of whom are delightful to deal with‘.

Wedlake Bell LLP

Wedlake Bell LLP is known for its skill at handling complex prenuptial agreements where the assets are worth hundreds of millions (sometimes billions) and where there are significant international issues to be considered. Head of department Charmaine Hast is an 'inspirational leader and clients love her' - she is a dual-qualified South African lawyer. Trisha Siddique specialises in Sharia law and high-net-worth divorce cases.  Conrad Adam  is now at Adler Family Law Solicitors LLP.

Practice head(s):

Charmaine Hast

Other key lawyers:

Trisha Siddique; Natasha Kurth

Testimonials

Great mix of commercial and family. Charmaine Hast is a veteran and seasoned warrior. Loved by all she works with’.

‘Charmaine Hast heads up the Wedlake Bell family team, which are all very strong and benefit from her wealth of experience and tenacious legal ability. Charmaine is vastly experienced and knows exactly when to settle or fight a case. Her clients think she walks on legal water, which is almost true. There is no one who knows the twists and turns of financial remedy law and practice like Charmaine. She is never outgunned. Natasha Kurt: an excellent Associate who will soon be a star of financial remedy work. She is more than one to watch‘.

‘Dynamic, busy department that provides a sleek, efficient and cost effective service. Trisha Siddique is an engaging, committed and talented solicitor. She is supportive when needed, fearless when required and gets great results for her clients‘.

Good, solid team of family lawyers. Charmaine Hast has been the totemic figure for this firm for years and she has garnered an impressive reputation for managing difficult, high-profile clients‘.

People, all about the people. Truly fantastic team. Charmaine Hast is an absolute master in her field. Super knowledgeable, creative, proactive and a great partner.’

‘The team at Wedlake Bell has fantastic knowledge of the law and can provide clear advice to clients about any issues in respect of relationship breakdown. Trish Siddique is a sensible, intelligent and diligent solicitor who fights firmly for her clients interests. She is a pragmatic practitioner who will always try to settle a case if at all possible‘.

‘I dealt predominantly with Charmaine and Natasha and soon referred to them as the Dream Team. Someone once described Charmaine to me as a street fighter with a heart of gold. She truly cares and whilst she doesn’t mind adopting a very direct approach at times the final result was far better than I could ever have hoped for. Both my daughter and I will be eternally grateful’.

‘Wedlake Bell has a solid reputation for high end family law cases. Charmaine Hast is an exceptionally highly-regarded family lawyer with a strong reputation for high end family law work‘.

Axiom DWFM

Axiom DWFM has a specific focus on high-net-worth ancillary relief matters relating to UK and worldwide assets and private law children applications.  It is skilled at advising on other areas of family law including pre-nuptial agreements, locating hidden assets and protecting/attacking trust structures. Team head is Sofia Dionissiou-Moussaoui who is a leading matrimonial lawyer who specialises in complex and substantial family cases with an international element – she is a ‘force of nature; tenacious, hardworking and dedicated’.

Practice head(s):

Sofia Dionissiou-Moussaoui

Testimonials

DWFM Beckman continues to provide a superior service exceeding all expectations. I can firmly count on reaching my solicitor at any given time with fast responses. Sofia Moussaoui is a super-lawyer, highly knowledgeable and driven by a painstakingly passion for excellence. Sofia never rests on her laurels and works for her clients with a solution-focused outlook. Sofia is tough yet sympathetic and never misses a beat‘.

‘An outstanding firm with excellent service from everyone. Sofia Moussaoui is the solicitor you need on your side. She is truly master in her profession with great strategy and vision, always a step ahead of the opponent, delivering faultless results. She is very professional with undivided attention to her clients making them feel at ease and safe. Sofia always manages to rise at the top in every situation whilst remaining calm and gracious, she is the absolute pinnacle of excellence‘.

‘Sofia Moussaoui is one of the go-to partners for ultra high value divorce litigation‘.

Sofia Dionissiou-Moussaoui for her exceptional leadership talents, effective and efficient case management, high ethics and sincerity towards people trusting her with most precious asset in their lives – namely, their beloved families. Trustworthiness and highest degree of professionalism, not least excellent “sixth sense” of judgement. In particular, we would like to point out, her positive attitude throughout and ability to reassure the client in the most difficult and sensitive circumstances. In a nutshell: “Sofia is the greatest intellectual & practically minded human asset any client could hope to have on their side and regret having on the opposite side’.

‘I would strongly recommend the divorce side of the firm cause it’s very professional and hardworking . I want to draw your attention particularly to Mrs Sofia Moussaoui who is an extraordinary lawyer and very reliable. She and her assistants worked on my case in such a professional way . They were relentless in their efforts to provide me with the best service and all the information we needed‘ .

‘Sofia Dionissiou-Moussaoui is the stand out partner in the family law department.  She is ruthless in her determination to leave no stone unturned in presenting the right evidence for clients to win their cases.  A real heavy-weight that you would want fighting your corner, rather than to be against‘.

‘Brilliant team. I found the team is very responsive, supportive, knowledgeable and efficient. Sofia Dionissiou-Moussaoui is exceptionally knowledgeable and she gave me excellent guidance and support throughout my case. She’s a quick and right decision maker and I continuously  feel I’m in safe hands with Sofia‘.

‘Sofia Moussaoui is a stand out family lawyer working in a small team but with a great practice. She is passionate about her work and really fights for her clients always looking for a new angle or approach. She is tenacious and extremely hardworking‘.

 

 

Work highlights

  • Acted in Children Act proceedings and successfully obtained a live with Order, internal relocation and preferred school.
  • Acting for Trust and protecting assets so that English Court does not have the power to make orders over these assets.
  • Acted for husband against wife’s claims for £300m. Wife receives no capital award.

Burges Salmon LLP

Sarah Hoskinson leads 'a great and growing team' at Burges Salmon LLP. 'With its base in Bristol and a foothold in London it neatly covers both sides of the country'. The team has particular expertise in asset protection issues (such as nuptial agreements). Hoskinson is skilled at advising on pension issues that arise on divorce and at handling financial cases with significant assets and international elements. Director Richard Handel advises wealthy individuals on divorce, private children matters and on asset protection.

Practice head(s):

Sarah Hoskinson

Other key lawyers:

Richard Handel; Mary Gaskins; Hannah Petherick

Testimonials

‘Burges Salmon is a rare example of a regional heavyweight which has made a serious impact on the central London family market. The firm absolutely holds its own against the more established central London practices, having only broken into central London in recent years. Head of department, Sarah Hoskinson, is a stand out performer. Sarah has taken the family department to the next level, assisted by Richard Handel and the excellent Mary Gaskins‘.

‘Burges Salmon has a first class family team. The lawyers handle generally high value divorce cases in a constructive and intelligent manner. Sarah Hoskinson is a star individual. She is fiercely clever and has real technical expertise, particularly in relation to pensions but at the same time is friendly and constructive‘.

‘Richard Handel deals with cases with skill, sensitivity and great expertise. He fights his clients’ corners when necessary but adopts a pragmatic and sensible approach to assist clients in reaching a resolution out of Court‘.

‘The family team  is expanding in London and offers clients excellent advice in a new location. Richard Handel is considerate and pragmatic. He knows the points to pursue on his client’s behalf and the points to concede in order to get the best possible settlement for them. He is great at looking at the bigger picture in a case‘.

‘Very committed to clients. Works to try and settle without court being involved. Sarah Hoskinson is tenacious and does everything possible to get the right outcome for her clients.  Mary Gaskin is a pleasure to work with and focuses on the most pragmatic way to bring things to a conclusion‘.

‘Richard Handel is fantastic – his calm manner complements his determination to do the best for his clients – a quiet ferocity’.

‘Sarah Hoskinson is a tour de force with boundless energy. She is someone who likes to win and will strive to achieve the best for her clients‘.

‘Under the leadership of Sarah Hoskinson this firm delivers excellent advice – value for money in a supportive and sensible manner. Sarah Hoskinson is fabulous, manages difficult clients elegantly’. 

 

Burke Niazi Solicitors & Advocates

Burke Niazi Solicitors & Advocates primarily represents vulnerable clients and regularly acts in complex child care proceedings where the local authority is involved and on other child protection matters. It is also skilled at assisting on private law proceedings relating to child arrangement orders and child abduction. It assists on issues such as domestic violence and other aspects of family breakdown including cohabitation agreements, financial relief and judicial separation. David Marcus leads the team that includes Lina Chauhan  and Abbie Huxley.

Practice head(s):

David Marcus

Other key lawyers:

Lina Chauhan; Abbie Huxley; Anna Stinton

Testimonials

‘The firm specialises in providing exceptional legal services to clients from all walks of life. In particular it has a large legal aid department which offers a range of services by skilled professionals. It has invested in technology to ensure it keeps ahead of the curve and allows for seamless home working in the covid pandemic. The fee earners regularly achieve excellent results for their clients and their files are well recorded and organised. The fee earners at Burke Niazi work hard to ensure they do all the can for their clients‘.

‘The superb David Marcus and his dedicated team go the extra mile for their clients, particularly adept at dealing with cases of legal and factual complexity, with sensitivity and creativity. David Marcus – exactly who you would want by your side at the toughest moments in the most complex of legal matters. His knowledge of the detail is second to none, as he deals with every case with careful thought. He is prepared, he plans and he gets the best possible results for his clients. Lina Chauhan – clever, tough, reasonable, humane and very very good. Gets great results in the most challenging of cases’.

The lawyers are very committed to their clients in all areas of public law child care – they care for vulnerable individuals from diverse backgrounds. They cover all types of public law including complex and sensitive cases including radicalisation. Lina Chauhan exemplifies the commitment to clients with tenacious and determined representation to ensure the very best outcome for her client. She is knowledgeable‘.

‘Anna Stinton is a hardworking and dedicated fee earner. She often works out of hours for her clients and is very sympathetic to their extremely difficult circumstances. She is passionate about her job and achieving the best result she can for each and every client. We enjoy costing her files which are well recorded and detailed and she responds promptly to any form of communication. She manages her time well and is always a pleasure to work with‘.

‘The people are remarkably organised and counsel always receives full briefs, up to date information. Cases are brilliantly prepared. Client care is exceptional. It always feels like a team effort when I work on cases with this firm. Abbie Huxley – she remembers everything. I do not know of any other solicitor that has such a command on the papers than Abbie. She recalls all the details of every case, it’s remarkable. It means that clients can completely trust she has got everything in hand. She’s a genius really. She also really cares as well, which means she’s always motivated to get the best outcome for her clients – incredibly hard working. A very rare talent‘.

Burke Niazi is a cohesive set of professionals who communicate well and act as a team. This is a real strength. I work mainly with Anna Stinton and Abbie Huxley. They are hardworking and utterly committed to their clients. Recently 2 circuit judges commented to me that Ms Huxley had been assiduous in her preparation of the case and commitment to her client. As a result of this it had made their jobs easier and she should be highly commended. A High Court judge was extremely complementary about Ms Stinton, who has been conducting a very difficult High Court matter that has been underway for over 2 years. She commented on her commitment and hard work in the case which had been invaluable in the case‘.

‘A very strong team of children/family law specialists. There is significant support throughout the team from the partners right the way through to their trainees. They are committed to family justice in an unparalleled way. They do not shy away from taking instructions at the 11th hour to represent vulnerable parents/carers and ensure that their clients’ cases are well understood. They tend to represent many parents with additional needs and are able to find experts and supports for their clients at short notice’.

Lina Chauhan – A real delight to work for. Her personable and no nonsense approach ensures that she has drilled down to the essence of her client’s case. She argues her clients’ case in an articulate and tenacious manner. She is well organised and highly efficient. Abbie Huxley – Exceptionally knowledgeable on not only family law generally but on the intricacies and regulations of the Legal Aid Agency’s funding decisions. She is an all round supportive solicitor. David Marcus – An exceptional leader and driven by his clients’ needs. An astute lawyer with a good knowledge of the law and particularly formidable in appellant cases’.

 

Collyer Bristow LLP

Collyer Bristow LLP deals with an impressive array of financial remedy and nuptial contracts. Many of its cases are high-value involving complex financial structures and foreign jurisdictions. The team, under the leadership of Toby Yerburgh, is experienced at dealing with cases involving onshore and offshore trusts, property and company structures as well as substantial pensions. The group regularly deals with family businesses, entrepreneurs and professionals. Its four partners (three of whom are Fellows of the International Academy of Family Lawyers) have a wealth of experience in dealing with complicated domestic and international divorce cases involving financial and child-related applications.

Practice head(s):

Toby Yerburgh

Other key lawyers:

Philippa Dolan; Michael Drake; Tanya Roberts; Bethany Meyrick

Duncan Lewis Solicitors

Duncan Lewis Solicitors handles all aspects of family law with particular specialism in representing victims of domestic violence, unusual divorces and securing financial settlements following the breakdown of a marriage. It is also skilled at handling the complexities of parental conflict especially parental alienation cases and also has extensive experience in Islamic law. It has, in addition, a particular specialism in advising on female genital mutilation protection orders and has a formidable reputation for its experience in international and domestic family law proceedings at the high court. It receives plaudits for its ‘outstanding client care’. The lawyers are ‘always compassionate and understanding’.

Practice head(s):

Adeeba Naseem; Alia Lewis; Emine Mehmet; Forida Hakim; Kathy Walker; Laila Bhunnoo; Ravi Kaur Mahey; Sophie Fretten; Vanket Appalakondiah

Other key lawyers:

Priyal Patel; Marilyn Edwards; Clarissa Thompson-Grobelny; Mehnaz Zanil

Testimonials

‘The team is exceptional when it comes to the breadth and depth of its experience and knowledge. It is market leading when it comes to gender and race representation within the team and it has a great reputation for diversity. The team draws in clients from the broad spectrum of society and is able to tailor its services to meet its client’s particular needs‘.

Adeeba Naseem is formidable. She is an opponent to be afraid of but a lawyer that you want on your side. She is an expert in international children matters. Priyal Patel is an all-rounder. She is meticulous, robust and utterly dedicated to her clients. She is the lawyer that you want to represent you in matters relating to your children and your finances on separation‘.

‘Duncan Lewis is a firm which stands out in the way it goes above and beyond what would normally be considered adequate or satisfactory. The clients we deal with are vulnerable parents and Duncan Lewis takes the time and trouble to support and assist them with matters which are outside of the strictly legal confines, eg with housing and welfare benefits issues. They advocate for their clients when there is no one else who is willing or able to do so, eg local authorities which refuse to deal properly with wider issues such as housing or seeking therapeutic or other support for the vulnerable clients’.

‘I do a lot of work with Marilyn Edwards and am always struck by her working practises which take her well outside of the ‘9 to 5′ office hours. She regularly continues working until the late hours to support her vulnerable clients.  She expends much time and energy pressing the local authorities to do what they should be doing in providing a wide range of resources for her clients and their children, where they are slow to do so.  Ms Edwards’ clients really her appreciate her efforts‘.

‘The department is very well run and organised as well as having lots of experience. The lawyers work together very well to assist one another. They are knowledgeable. They are contactable and open in communication. They are flexible. Alia Lewis has been very impressive‘.

‘I think the diversity of this practice is exceptional in terms of the lawyers and the counsel they use. They provide cover when they are on leave with people who have good knowledge of the case and can follow up enquiries when needed. Emine Mehmet and Laila Bhunnoo provide good balanced advice that helps me to make decisions about the case particularly when it is finely balanced. They are fun to work with and easy to talk to which helps the relationship develop‘.

Mehnaz Zanil has always been professional and diligent so I must presume her back up team offers excellent support. Mehnaz was very personable with a proactive attitude and seemed really interested in my views and feelings. This was reassuring during a very difficult time’.

 

Work highlights

  • Instructed to represent a Mother in an application for a Female Genital Mutilation Protection Order (FGMPO) issued by Hertfordshire County Court
  • Represented the Intervenor in a complex eight party High Court case.

Hanne & Co

Hanne & Co has a large family department that regularly advises on high-value and complex financial matters, complex care proceedings and cross-jurisdictional disputes. It has many international and high profile clients. The family department is split into separate public and private law teams and operates from its two offices in Battersea. It has been busy advising on child abduction matters and has seen an increase in urgent domestic violence injunctions from other firms without a legal aid contract. Through Elizabeth Francis, the group is also developing a specialism in pre-nuptial agreements. Susan Harlow and Lorna Cservenka co-head the department that has 'very good professionals'.

Practice head(s):

Susan Harlow (Head of Private Family); Lorna Cservenka (Head of Public Family)

Other key lawyers:

Elizabeth Francis; Rokeya Dangor ; Anna Gowen; Caroline Little; Paulena Panayiotou ;James Dunn; Elinor Feeny ; Susanne Seaton ; Samantha Cook

Testimonials

‘Experienced and reliable family law department who will fight client’s corner. Susan Harlow. Experienced and determined litigator who will leave no stone unturned. Great eye on detail and will give 100% for her client. Lorna Cervenka is a very experienced childcare practitioner known for her work representing children in complex child protection cases’.

‘The team is really dedicated to the client’s best interests, and is strong across both the junior and senior ends of the team. I work with Anna Gowen who is always on top of her cases, prepares thorough briefs, and produces well considered witness statements. She cares about all of her clients, works hard for them, and you would absolutely want her on your team in a case‘.

Good firm with excellent history and community links. Approachable. Small team but significant expertise. Well respected. Caroline Little – doyenne of representing parents and children, expert and agreeable, good with tricky cases, brings huge experience. Rokeya Dangor – very adept at representing vulnerable clients, extensive and well respected experience of court advocacy, easy to work with, friendly and flexible‘.

‘Sue Harlow is exactly the person you would wish for to guide you through the difficult process of divorce. After every meeting I had with her I came out feeling stronger and more positive. She provided calm and clear advice and support as well as being considerate and understanding‘.

Brilliant team who always go above and beyond! Supportive, highly effective and nothing is too much trouble. Always there to answer questions and offer great advice! James Dunn is an outstanding solicitor – I do not know what we would have done without him over the years‘.

‘Excellent interpersonal skills which made discussing sensitive matters much easier. I was pleasantly surprised with the creative approach to solutions to meet my needs, flexibility and tech savvy team. Elinor Feeny is an absolute delight to work with, she is outstanding in negotiations, proactive and made me feel at ease and very well taken care of. Elinor accommodated for my needs beyond all expectations, which also made the process a lot less stressful for me, and I highly appreciate that‘.

Susanne Seaton is adept at taking over a private law case which moves into Legal Aid. She provides an excellent service within those constraints so that the client hardly notices the difference’.

‘Samantha Cook was the first solicitor I worked with in my guardian role. She has really set a high benchmark for me in terms of what to expect from solicitors I work with since then. She has been incredibly approachable and supportive, being generous with her time explaining to me in detail about the law and court processes. She works extremely hard and always gives me the impression that she is always on top of everything to do with the children I represent. What stands out for me about Samantha is that she seems to genuinely care about the families we work with. Any parent would be lucky to have her representing them in care proceedings‘.

 

Work highlights

  • Acting in a child abduction matter resulting in an indemnity costs order against the abducting mother, which was reported without anonymisation to deter a fourth abduction
  • Acting for Australian father in a “hot pursuit” case. Damning judgment reported in pre-planned Child Abduction.
  • Acting in an exceptionally complex private law children matter with over 25 court hearings where the final outcome was successfully appealed, and the matter reported.

Hodge Jones & Allen Solicitors

Hodge Jones & Allen Solicitors regularly secures successful outcomes on behalf of a broad range of private clients. It is adept at handling financial matters and children matters as well as a variety of international issues. Clients range from professionals through to celebrities and homemakers. The team also deals with a broad range of other matters including adoption and surrogacy. Jacqueline Major leads the department that includes Bharti Shah and Vanessa Friend.

Practice head(s):

Jacqueline Major

Other key lawyers:

Bharti Shah; Vanessa Friend; Sarah Harding

Testimonials

Mrs. Jaqueline Major is an outstanding‘.

Very professional and proactive practice. Sarah Harding is a partner within the family law dept. She is an extremely professional individual who approaches everything in a client focused manner‘.

‘Bhati Shah- gives good sensible advice and always goes the extra mile for the client’.

A small specialised family law team within the practice. Vanessa Friend has excellent judgment and relates very well to clients‘.

Vanessa Friend is tremendous and is a pleasure to work with and very skilful at dealing with difficult private law issues‘.

HJA has a very well respected Family team known for providing pragmatic and solutions based family services for clients. It is a good family team to deal with as an opponent as the lawyers have a measured approach and are always looking to narrow issues and agree issues where possible giving the best opportunity to reach a settlement. The firm is diverse in its make up reflecting the community in which it trades. Vanessa Friend is the stand out Partner in the team. She is exceptionally bright and knowledgeable . She secures fantastic results for her clients. She is a very good negotiator and very personable. Her Mediation skills also assist her with seeing the greater picture and arriving at fair settlements‘.

‘Vanessa Friend  – the tone of her communications were always polite and it was an absolute pleasure working with her. She stands out to me because often when matters become contentious, the competitor’s communications become aggressive and it makes the case more acrimonious than it needs to be. I did not get this with Vanessa. She was a delight to work with and her calm approach ensured the matter was resolved quickly‘.

‘Strong in both financial and children cases with a focus on ADR. Vanessa Friend , Partner is an excellent solicitor who goes above and beyond to settle cases out of court for her clients‘.

Work highlights

  • Acting for a wife based on the Continent in a cross border postnuptial agreement with assets in excess of $80,000,000. Working closely with foreign lawyers the agreement was negotiated and executed to take into account the end of the transition period.
  • Acting for a client based in the Middle East in respect of a variation of maintenance. The team was able to provide excellent client care and support the client through a remote Arbitration to achieve a great result.
  • Acting for the 4th respondent in a complicated set of proceedings for enforcement with assets excess of £40,000,000 and trusts in the BVI. There have been 20 hearings and the case will now be heard in the Court of Appeal.

Howard Kennedy LLP

Howard Kennedy LLP works with a variety of high-net-worth clients including entrepreneurs, City workers, sports and media personalities on the full range of family issues. Head of team Lois Langton has particular expertise in dealing with complex financial remedy work involving multi-million pound matrimonial settlements. Langton’s work regularly involves tax, trusts, offshore and corporate structures.  Alan Kaufman is a collaborative lawyer and mediator who specialises in heavyweight family law disputes.

Practice head(s):

Lois Langton

Other key lawyers:

Alan Kaufman; Emma Green; Jessica Smith ; Jazmin Brown; Olalla Garcia-Arreciado

Testimonials

‘There is no department quite like it. Lois, Emma, Jaz, Jessie and Olalla are a tour de force. Always in good spirits, prepared to take on anything and will think laterally about everything to get the right outcome. Lois – a brilliant lawyer with excellent client care skills‘.

This is simply the best family law team in London. It is a high quality, tightly knit, collaborative and efficient group led by Lois Langton. The lawyers are each tactically, legally and academically brilliant. From the most junior to the most senior, they are quality all the way. Lois Langton leads the team of hardworking, effective and fun women. They offer unstinting support to each client and have a list of high value, sometimes damaged, sometimes vulnerable clients. Lois and each member of her team especially Emma Green, are outstanding. They write wickedly effective letters which are carefully thought through, tactically astute and wholly effective’.

In the High Net Worth field, they are in my view the leading team in London. They bring a level of client service and legal knowledge which is not matched in other firms. Lois Langton – dynamic leader of the team who will fight hard for her clients. Emma Green – probably the best associate in her field in London. Simply makes the case work from start to finish‘.

‘Aggressive and thorough. Exceptional client care. Emma Green – one of the most committed solicitors I have been instructed by‘.

‘I have been very impressed by the team at Howard Kennedy and the fantastic work it attracts. Lois Langton runs the team with cool efficiency and has really enhanced its place in the market. Although it is a relatively young team it punches well above its weight. Lois Langton is a force of nature. She attracts really interesting work particularly in the sporting sector and is extremely hardworking. She wins the loyalty of her clients and it is this that has enabled her to build such a fabulous practice. She really is a leader in the field‘.

This firm is one of the forerunners in the country and yet it treats everyone as if they are their most valuable resource, whether that’s the clients or independent experts like us. They are exceptional at what they do but are humble about it. Lois is probably one of the most approachable family law partners we work with. She always creates time for us when required and adds humour to meetings where appropriate. She’s honest, responsive, helpful and supportive of our business. We predominantly liaise with the associates and Jazmin is outstanding. She is responsive; takes the initiative; she’s efficient and helpful. She’s also personable and friendly. We work with many associates and she’s in our top 3‘.

Ince

Ince has a well-regarded family and matrimonial team with John Burrell at the helm. It is skilled at advising on divorce and separation. The team routinely deals with the financial and child issues that arise following a relationship breakdown. Many of David Ruck ’s cases have an international element. Yael Selig is an experienced consultant who has particular expertise in dealing with children matters as well as nuptial and co-habitation agreements.

Practice head(s):

John Burrell

Other key lawyers:

David Ruck; Yael Selig; Emma Morris

Testimonials

‘John Burrell is a supreme family law solicitor. He is exceptional. He acts for high net worth and high-profile clients – his expertise is second to none, and he is certainly one of the top family lawyers in London‘.

‘Gordon Dadds & Ince boasts a long-standing reputation of being leaders in family law. Its proactivity and pragmatism in progressing cases, without losing the personable qualities is what makes it stand out. David Ruck is charming and has been a delight to work with when I have been against him. His knowledge and experience sets him apart.  John Burrell is still one of the foremost family lawyers in London. He is excellent with clients and personable to have on the other side‘.

‘Gordon Dadds pulls its weight against other firms. Emma Morris is unique in her experience and expertise‘.

‘Yael is competent, enthusiastic, hardworking’.

‘The team is very client focused and keen to get the best for each client. Yael Selig is a standout for client care and for being pleasant to work with‘.

‘Excellent experienced team; knowledge and access to wider professional expertise. John Burrell is a really good lawyer‘.

 

Irwin Mitchell

Irwin Mitchell fields a three partner team - the national head of department is  Ros Bever who divides her time between London and Manchester. Toby Hales  and Jenna Lucas are also recommended. It continues to focus on international and expatriate work frequently advising on high-value cases. The team is renowned for its work on modern families law and alternative dispute resolution. Hales conducts advocacy at all levels up to the High Court and his work spans all areas of family law including complex children cases. Lucas has a particular specialism in children matters that usually have an international dimension.

Practice head(s):

Toby Hales

Other key lawyers:

Ros Bever; Jenna Lucas; Kathryn Evans ; Deborah Levy; Carmel Brown

Testimonials

‘Jenna Lucas and Ros Bever are the stars of the team, showing leadership and legal acumen at all times’.

This team has one of the best reputations nationally for family work. This is a testament to (1) great leadership from Ros Bever, (2) the incredibly supportive team in London and (3) how incredibly hard they all work: this team evidently holds itself to a higher standard. Ros Bever: She has worked her way up the pecking order of the family law standouts over a long career and now sits right at the top of the tree. There is nothing that gets past her. Her clients quite rightly adore her. Jenna Lucas: I have never known someone so willing to put her heart and soul into every single case, every time. Her attention to detail and ability to think strategically from first instruction to final hearing puts her in a category of her own. One to watch‘.

‘National presence and solid brand – reliable and available. Toby Hales – a frustratingly creative solicitor to have as your opposition but he conducts all his cases with the genuine best interests of both parties and particularly any child at the forefront and minimises conflict where possible. A very unique character! Kathryn Evans – a robust litigator who refuses to take the easy way out of any situation‘.

It has wonderful people and are extremely efficient. I have worked with Jenna Lucas during my financial and child-related proceedings. It was a very stressful situation and I was extremely impressed with the time and care that Jenna gave to my case. She has great attention to detail, a very positive attitude and went above and beyond the normal expectations of care. I would highly recommend her to anyone going through a difficult divorce’.

The team can draw on experts in different areas of law when necessary beyond the area of family law as this is sometimes necessary in more complex cases. I appreciate the attention to detail and genuine commitment to the case. I also value the professional tone of the letters and the careful risk assessment when discussion strategic choices‘.

‘The family law practice combines a sensitive approach together with a knowledgeable and deep resource and a robust technology/billing platform. Kathryn Evans and Deborah Levy are examples of the integrated team based approach that combines comprehensive knowledge of relevant law together with a holistic view of client needs. Advice is provided in a commercial but sensitive manner‘.

‘Irwin Mitchell is a truly national firm, with reach across the country but also across all major practice areas. This can be crucial in complex matrimonial cases which very often touch on other areas of law. Efficiency, polish and good judgment. Deborah Levy is a consultant of experience and quality’.

‘The firm has an increasing reputation as one of the major players in the financial remedy world. It is a large firm with a wide range of solicitors to suit any case. Carmel Brown – her preparation is faultless, she anticipates every problem and covers every angle’.

 

 

Key clients

Families Need Fathers

Ketley Miller Joels Ltd

Ketley Miller Joels Ltd fields an experienced team that frequently handles complex financial cases involving multiple jurisdictions as well as having considerable expertise in Children Act, TOLATA applications and other issues such as declaration of marital status cases. Other strengths lie in child relocation and abduction cases in addition to cross-jurisdictional nuptial agreements. Clayton Miller leads the 'specialist team that deals with cases efficiently and effectively'. It was pleased to promote Laura Brown to the partnership.

Practice head(s):

Clayton Miller

Other key lawyers:

Laura Brown; Margaret Kelly-Edwards; Rachel Roberts

Testimonials

A boutique firm that punches above its weight. Offers a high class bespoke service carefully suited to the needs of each client. Clayton Miller: an experienced, no-nonsense litigator with a light touch. Very commercially aware. Rachel Roberts: destined for the top, an excellent litigator with an encyclopaedic knowledge of her cases‘.

‘A small practice which delivers an excellent service in family law, particularly in cases with an international dimension. Clayton Miller and Margaret Kelly bring particular expertise from their experience of Australian family law. Margaret Kelly also benefits from sitting as a Deputy District Judge’.

‘Young and dynamic boutique family law firm offering high-end City ethos and expertise but for reduced prices. Laura Brown – a hardworking partner who immerses herself completely in the details of a case, cares hugely about the outcome, and brings a lot of experience from her career working for top-end City firms dealing with high net worth clients‘.

The team is effective and efficient. There is a real expertise for high net worth clients and the issues that uniquely impact on them. Clayton Miller stand out partner. Astounding knowledge but so affable and supportive of the client‘.

‘The team has a wide breadth of knowledge and  is very quick to assist. Margaret Kelly has a very calm and measured approach, very pragmatic‘.

‘Talented lawyers, exceptional service, client focused. Margaret Kelly & Clayton Miller -Both technically brilliant, great customer service. Striving for the best outcomes for their clients. They work collaboratively and seek to minimize trauma for their clients‘.

I am always impressed by Ketley Miller Joels’ ability to fuse a personable service to clients with exceptional knowledge and experience on family law. Clayton Miller – Clayton and I have had a number of cases against each other over the years. One was an exceptionally large finance case that went to a final hearing. He is always a pleasure to have on the other side but of course his ability and desire to do the best for his clients make him a fierce opponent’.

‘A great team – good value, lean and committed to providing an efficient service. Clayton Miller: a good lawyer and no-nonsense. He gets the job done. Laura Brown: hugely committed to her clients. Goes the extra mile, really has their back. Rachel Roberts: up-and-coming and going places. She is really personable and clever‘.

 

Keystone Law

Keystone Law has recently been advising parties who have several billion in assets and its cases frequently involve international elements such as foreign nationals or offshore assets. In addition it regularly appears in the High Court and it has acted for and against international DJs, ‘A list’ celebrities, models and high profile business people, tech developers and landowners. The group has considerable expertise in matrimonial dispute resolution and wealth protection as well as substantial experience in children matters. Susan Apthorp; Zoë Bloom and Caroline Kelly are amongst the names to note. Hannah Cornish joined the practice from Slater and Gordon. It has some ‘fantastic lawyers'.

Other key lawyers:

Susan Apthorp; Zoe Bloom; Caroline Kelly; Richard Collins; Rachel Lemon; Ruth Abrams; Hannah Cornish; Charlotte Cuevas; Claire O’Flinn; Terrence Trainor; Sarah Thompson; Carolyn Bottomley

Testimonials

Zoe Bloom is a cut above anyone I’ve ever worked with. She is smart, creative, incisive and incredibly personable, making it a pleasure to deal with her even on the grittiest cases. Having worked alongside her looking after a mutual client, and having actually been her client, I can honestly say that it is always a pleasure to deal with her and I can’t think of a safer pair of hands‘.

Strong across the board team. Working with other disciplines makes them strong. Susan Apthorp is focused and determined. Ruth Abrams is very experienced‘.

‘Keystone operates an innovative and client focused business where the overheads are kept to a minimum and the calibre of the lawyers is kept consistently high. Richard Collins is a very experienced family law solicitor with a very loyal following. He offers a Rolls Royce service at a reasonable price. He is pragmatic and solutions focused and his clients have total confidence in him’.

I have been primarily working with Rachel Lemon from Keystone Law. She has been incredibly supportive towards me throughout my terrible ordeal. She has listened with empathy and kindness‘.

‘Hannah Cornish is bright, determined, and highly skilled – a fantastic, all round family solicitor. A star who will shine at the new firm‘.

‘Keystone Law is probably the fastest growing Family Team in the business, meaning each member has an amazing array of talent from which to advise and experience from. Hannah Cornish was an inspired recruit! One of the most underrated lawyers in the field of family law, her client skills are second to none, her ability to bring a team together is like no other, and her advice is so measured. Definitely worth a mention. Charlotte Cuevas is also worth noting for similar reasons as Hannah. A delight to work with‘.

Charlotte Cuevas is very dedicated to her clients and well prepared. A safe pair of hands. Claire O’Flinn has loads of experience and is always willing to get to grips with a case and try and approach it from a different angle if it is not resolving itself. Terrence Trainor very accomplished family lawyer with commercial sensibility and high level experience’.

‘Keystone offers a partner led service for a more cost effective price. Many of its partners are ex top flight firms and clients get the partner themselves whenever they call and the benefit of their expertise and attention throughout for the price of an associate at another firm. Its technology is excellent and has stood them in good stead in the pandemic as has working flexibly because that was already part of their culture’.

RadcliffesLeBrasseur LLP

RadcliffesLeBrasseur LLP has a wealth of experience of dealing with international cases involving jurisdictional issues, offshore trusts as well as preparing complex living together agreements and nuptial agreements. Its lawyers are skilled at handling both financial and children work. Head of department Caroline Penfold has a broad range of expertise with considerable skill in advising on high-net-worth cases with an international dimension. Carina Smith continues to deal with various high-net-worth cases in the High Court. Consultant Christopher Butler is particularly well-regarded for cases with complex financial and trust issues. Robert Emmett was promoted to the partnership.

Practice head(s):

Caroline Penfold

Other key lawyers:

Carina Smith; Christopher Butler; Robert Emmett ;Lucy Bridger

Testimonials

‘Caroline Penfold is straightforward, approachable and supportive, as well as being unflappable and incredibly focused and persistent‘.

Always contactable, with quick and thorough follow up. Felt so well supported and advised‘.

Rather than force me to work at his pace the lead solicitor worked at my pace – being patient when I needed explanations and brief when he knew I understood whatever issue we discussed well. This is the polar opposite of a cookie cutter solicitor to client relationship. Robert Emmett was the lead solicitor, a very patient, intelligent and articulate person‘.

‘The company has great attention to detail and has continued to provide accurate assessments of likely court outcomes. Alongside good advice continually the company has provided thorough emotional support to me. Carina Smith has an excellent rapport and an incredible attention to detail. She is able to keep all relevant facts to hand throughout periods of waiting, always ensuring the most appropriate facts are presented at the right time. Carina has carefully thought through all aspects. Additionally Carina did an excellent job to help me to remain calm at times of intense frustration. Each time Carina has become involved in a specific issue I have been able to rest easy knowing it is in safe hands.’

Radcliff Le Brasseur’s family team is small but a real class act. The lawyers are able to offer a very high calibre of tailored advice for a significantly lower fee than its Magic Circle colleagues. Lucy Bridger is totally committed to her case- her clients completely trust her advice and have confidence in her. She is exceptionally hardworking as well as being highly efficient. She provides a level of expertise and skill far in excess of her years of practice. She is a delight to work with‘.

‘RLB is an upmarket firm that gives a very detailed and personal service to its family law clients. Carina Smith is an excellent family solicitor who specialises in financial remedies. She gives her clients great attention to detail and an analytical mind that makes sure every option is explored‘.

‘A terrific firm full of really clever people making great strides in the family law market. Caroline Penfold – great intelligence combined with very sound judgement. Christopher Butler – super to work with, he brings vast experience to any case. Robert Emmett – a very impressive young lawyer who will go on to great things. Lucy Bridger – smart and able’.

RadcliffesLeBrasseur has a fairly small but very strong family team comprised of high quality individuals. The quality of work is very high, and the lawyers represent their clients to an excellent standard. Carina Smith is remarkably understated for such an exceptional lawyer. She manages her clients, their cases and their expectations with an easy and straightforward manner, which belies the often complex considerations that underpin her work. She manages to get to know her clients and what it is they truly wish to achieve from the proceedings, and she will go to considerable lengths to achieve it. Robert Emmett- I have been very impressed by the speed with which he grasps legal and factual issues, is able to explain things succinctly and accurately to his clients. He provides sensible, clear and robust advise, and has an excellent manner with his clients. He is very organised and presents his cases extremely well’.

Seddons

Seddons is recognised for its work on complex financial disputes on divorce which often involve significant cross-jurisdictional issues. Other strengths lie in dealing with issues such as the financial provision for children and nuptial agreements. Neil Russell recently stepped up to lead the practice following the departure of former head Deborah Jeff to Simkins LLP. Victoria Sterritt is another key member of the department, which is well regarded for its ‘real stable of talent‘.

Practice head(s):

Neil Russell

Other key lawyers:

Victoria Sterritt; Victoria Spencer; Ffion Greenfield

Testimonials

‘Extremely professional team, always ahead of the curve, knowledgeable and proactive. Perhaps the most valuable quality was that they brought a human aspect to a process that can be very nasty; I felt looked after, cared for, not alone and in safe pair of hands – which may sound simple but is extremely valuable within a corporate world and when you are going through the worst time of your life‘.

‘It provides an all round service which greatly benefits many clients. Neil Russell. He is becoming the “go to” man for all types of family law. His particular expertise is in dealing with the financial affairs of high net worth individuals. Because of his successes over the past few years, he has become much in demand’.

‘Very good firm, giving solid and reliable advice. Victoria Spencer is an excellent associate. Neil Russell’s clients love him‘.

‘A large firm with a growing family practice within it. With over 30 years of experience, Neil Russell’s profile at the top end of family law continues to grow. He has a huge wealth of experience, commercial acumen and common sense.’

A family team with a glowing reputation for excellence within a highly successful west end firm. Well connected, with an exceptional ‘bedside’ manner which soothes and reassures any client however troubled and an eye for settlement on favourable terms, Neil Russell comes highly recommended‘.

The Seddons family team attracts a broad spectrum of work and offers representation to a high standard. Victoria Sterritt: Victoria is a standout Partner at Seddons, balancing exceptional client care with encyclopaedic legal knowledge and an eye for detail second to none. Victoria’s dedication to her cases is such that clients always feel that she has gone above and beyond. Victoria’s meticulous preparation means that no stone is ever left unturned. She litigates in a measured but robust manner, epitomising good practice in family proceedings. Victoria elegantly navigates clients through the most hairy of court experiences with a calming yet effective litigation technique, ensuring the best possible outcomes. Ffion Greenfield: Excellent and diligent senior associate with a measured yet purposeful approach to proceedings‘.

Outstanding client care, attention to detail and thinking through every possible outcome before arriving on the best strategy for optimum outcome. Expectations of the client are moderated and clear, sensible advice given. Victoria Sterritt – top of her game. A real heavyweight who holds her own against the most aggressive opposition. Fights her client’s corner to the very end but with pragmatism and compassion. A real skill rarely seen‘.

 

Key clients

Boris Johnson

Work highlights

  • Advising Boris Johnson in connection with his divorce and financial settlement.

Winckworth Sherwood LLP

Katie Spooner heads the department at Winckworth Sherwood LLP. Spooner leads on complex matrimonial and financial remedy cases often comprising children and cross-jurisdictional elements. The practice is also rated for its work on nuptial agreements involving substantial business assets. Spooner’s client base increasingly includes wealthy and highly successful executives, high-net-worth individuals and entrepreneurs. The group is also skilled at advising on complex Children Act proceedings.

Practice head(s):

Katie Spooner

Other key lawyers:

Anna-Laura Lock; Hannah Gumbrill-Ward; Sarah Ingram

Testimonials

‘Katie Spooner is the sort of partner every law firm requires. Katie leads by example and inspires the best in her team. Katie is able to deliver the difficult advice clients need in order to run their case with care. Katie is also good at managing a client’s costs by providing Partner’s input only as required and requested and delegating where necessary. Katie is highly regarded by colleagues and clients alike‘.

‘The private client team is exceptionally able to deal with all complexities of family law both within the financial and child law context. The members of the firm I have worked with have demonstrated a mastery of the client’s case.’

‘This team always provides its clients with a first class service. Every solicitor I have worked with in this Firm has an impressive knowledge of the law and a flexibility of approach to suit each client. The excellent advice from the outset ensures that clients have balanced expectations and faith in their legal representatives‘.

Hannah Gumbrill-Ward stands out for having a strong practice in both children and finance. A client knows they can obtain a comprehensive and outstanding service from Hannah time after time. When instructing Counsel Hannah leaves no stone unturned and ensures that they have every paper and instruction they need to deliver. Hannah also has an extremely efficient approach to work, she ensures the work is done correctly and on time and is always on the other end of the phone for clients and Counsel‘.

‘The team seems like a confident, pragmatic and sensible group of family lawyers who are easy to work with. Anna-Laura Lock – extremely able associate.  Charming, skilled, constructive and collaborative.  She is clearly in the ascendant’.

‘Sarah Ingram deserves to be well-known in the industry: she is skilled, dedicated and possesses excellent judgement‘.

‘Sarah Ingram is excellent on the detail and very efficient‘.

Bishop & Sewell LLP

Bishop & Sewell LLP acts for professionals and entrepreneurs as well as those who are financially less well-off. The department has a specialist ‘forming families’ team that handles surrogacy and fertility cases and also offers the full range of dispute resolution including family mediation and collaborative law. Head of team Louise Barretto is skilled at handling cases with a South African connection. She has a particular emphasis on complex financial cases involving business assets and with an international dimension.

Practice head(s):

Louise Barretto

Other key lawyers:

Catherine Longshaw;David Hodgson; Philip Rutter; Victoria Maxwell ; Mike Davidson

Testimonials

A good team with an exceptional head of department nestled in a successful firm with a broad remit. Louise Barretto- head of department. Rather than join a large matrimonial department Louise has chosen to remain within a diverse practice, where she offers magic circle qualities, with a personal touch and hands on engagement with each client‘.

‘I felt incredibly safe in Louise Barretto’s hands at Bishop & Sewell. Louise took the time to thoroughly understand all the complex details of my individual case as though it were her own, and used her legal expertise to strongly present my case and articulate responses that I could never have done myself. She was always professional and caring, going above and beyond to put my best interests first’.

‘The team is accommodating and there is a diverse mix of people within the team. Cath Longshaw is diligent and very hardworking. She always puts her client’s strongest case forward whilst not losing sight of the importance of mediation and settlement outside of the Courts. Mike Davidson has an eye for detail and is always well prepared‘.

The practice has a wonderful family practice – the lawyers provide a very personal service. They are solid in their approach and have excellent expertise. Philip Rutter is amazing. – his legal knowledge in this area is unrivalled. He is simply superb in the way he tackles cases and his client handling skills are excellent. He is a very sensible lawyer – he does not play games and is straight down the line‘.

‘Bishop and Sewell is a medium sized firm offering expertise in commercial and private client areas so can meet clients’ every needs. The lawyers are very nice people and have excellent relationships with professionals in their respective fields helping clients achieve their goals with the minimum of fuss. David Hodgson is a very bright and exceptionally focused lawyer. He is down to earth and direct with clients helping them articulate their objectives so that together they can work to achieve them. Clients feel looked after and in very safe hands. David deals with high value financial cases but also complex children cases. Louise Barretto is also an excellent lawyer who gets to the nub of the matter with clear advice and she manages a talented team‘.

David Hodgson is outstanding, he is empathetic and very considerate, he also has a wealth of knowledge which gives me confidence in his advice‘.

‘Catherine Longshaw is very empathetic, sensible, level-headed and supportive, she helped me greatly through a difficult divorce and also in dealing with some very unpleasant false, but serious, allegations raised by my (now ex-) wife. She is very knowledgeable, experienced and highly competent, in my view‘.

‘A multi-disciplinary firm that is able to offer legal services for all aspects. Victoria Maxwell. Extremely knowledgeable and experienced in complicated international surrogacy cases. She has vast experience dealing with other aspects of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008. She is forensic in her analysis when it comes to dealing with difficult cases‘.

 

 

 

DMH Stallard LLP

Philip Morton is among the key members of the team at DMH Stallard LLP that has  specialist expertise in the resolution of complex financial issues arising on divorce and separation. The group also has extensive experience in private law children cases and cross-border disputes, as well as dealing with emergency applications in the High Court. The group was pleased to recently add Henry Brookman, Talitha Brookman and Aziz Malik to its ranks on its merger with Brookman Solicitors.

Practice head(s):

Philip Morton

Other key lawyers:

Henry Brookman; Talitha Brookman; Aziz Malik; Pippa Marshall; Jennifer Douglas; Gavin Yeung

Testimonials

‘The team is extremely professional at all times and is available at all times. The lawyers are extremely well versed in their subject and genuinely seem to care about their clients. I have dealt with them on a number of issues and the collaboration between lawyers has made this seamless. Philip Morton‘.

Philip Morton has the right mixture of aggression and caution‘.

‘DMH Stallard has a very strong team, led by Phil Morton. Pippa Marshall is very impressive. I think the firm is especially adept at innovation and really trying to squeeze the most efficient service for its clients. Phil Morton is hugely dedicated to his clients’ causes – really leaves no stone unturned. Pippa Marshall is also really committed to her clients – quite prepared to go toe to toe with the opposition when required – but also very good at handling difficult clients and steering them towards a sensible compromise‘.

The firm is genuinely friendly & approachable while also having the size, reach and expertise of a large law firm. Philip Morton does outstanding work for his clients and genuinely cares about the service he provides‘.

Aziz Malik: no nonsense, efficient advice‘.

‘Aziz Malik and Jennifer Douglas were stand out individuals who supported me through a traumatic and acrimonious divorce with warmth, humour and very good advice‘.

Gavin Yeung is intelligent, helpful and consistently supportive to all clients. Jennifer Douglas provides excellent and clear instructions that ensure counsel is fully up to date on any case‘.

‘ Gavin Yeung – his trial preparation and attention and detailed support throughout the trial, ensured that the case was put as forcefully and as powerfully as possible, to allow the client the best possible outcome‘.

Key clients

Insolve Plus

Work highlights

  • Acting for the daughter of an UHNW individual, domiciled in the EU. Working with the family’s international tax and legal advisors, it has prepared a pre-nuptial agreement to protect W’s pre-acquired and inherited assets in the event of a divorce. The assets have a value in the region of £30m – £50m.
  • Acted for T, a wife domiciled in the Caribbean. The Wife is a beneficiary of a family trust fund over which the husband claimed an interest. The husband operated a complex multi-jurisdictional foreign exchange bank. The wife successfully sought an upward variation and capitalisation of maintenance. The matter settled shortly before a High Court Final Hearing at a private FDR attended by the parties situated in the Caribbean and the USA
  • Acting for the Respondents in the High Court Family Division in T and S –v- L, M and J. The case involves various allegations including breach of trust and financial abuse against a high profile vulnerable individual

Fladgate LLP

Fladgate LLP advises on all aspects of relationship breakdown including the financial implications and arrangements for children. It is vastly experienced in international matters, trusts and offshore structures. Teresa Cullen heads the department that acts predominantly for many entrepreneurial HNWIs. It is adept at advising on wealth protection measures through nuptial agreements and cohabitation agreements for wealthy individuals. Hetty Gleave  joined the practice from Hunters Law LLP.

Practice head(s):

Teresa Cullen

Other key lawyers:

Hetty Gleave; Ronnie Mortimer

Testimonials

A small close team led by Teresa Cullen expertly. The niche presence makes it always a surprise to opponents but the lawyers have clear legal vision and a strong pragmatic approach to finding solutions for its client base. Teresa Cullen is highly experienced and always calm in her client management engendering unwavering confidence in her and rightly so‘.

‘I know Hetty Gleave, a partner in the family team. She is a class act with a superb knowledge of international legal issues including complex financial structures like trusts and corporate assets‘.

‘Teresa Cullen is a superb lawyer and mediator . She is very constructive and pragmatic and will always look to try to find a solution. She is a joy to work with. She has a good team around her too‘.

‘I work with Fladgate since January 2021, My lawyer is Ms Hetty Gleave, and she is really great’.

‘All the team is very collaborative in how  it works together and each individually is very personable. Teresa Cullen is a trained psychotherapist as well as a solicitor which makes her well attuned to dealing with clients and their emotions. Ronnie Mortimer is very personable and generally very helpful’.

‘This small team provides the highest quality service with the personal touch which is only possible in a team where all members work well together and are aware of everything that is going on, on all cases. Teresa provides invaluable experience with the real personal touch. She manages the team incredibly well.  Ronnie – is loved by all clients – working with him as counsel is a dream; his briefs are clear and concise with all the information you need and he anticipates the questions I am going to ask of the client before I do it and provides what information I need‘.

Teresa Cullen is an exceptional lawyer with not only excellent legal skills but also a great deal of emotional intelligence’.

‘A great family team within a full service, national firm. Teresa Cullen leads the small but perfectly formed family practice. Teresa Cullen – charismatic and capable. Ronnie Mortimer – definitely on the rise and one to watch. Very able‘.

 

Grayfords

Grayfords ’ clients are primarily based in London and the Home Counties- it also has a significant international client base. The primary focus of the practice is on financial matters in addition to international child abduction matters and Children Act Schedule 1 cases. Sheata Karim heads the department that provides clients with a 'first-rate service' - it is also adept at helping clients deal with abusive and harassing situations. Neil Graham is also vastly experienced.

Practice head(s):

Sheata Karim

Other key lawyers:

Neil Graham; Haroop Ahluwalia

Testimonials

Grayfords is unique in that the lawyers completely cater to the individual’s needs. The entire team is always at hand providing reassurance at the most difficult times when you really need to speak to someone and get advice. The team is extremely efficient working round the clock to meet deadlines. Communication and reliability is extremely important and I would say Grayfords provides this in abundance. The entire team has an empathetic and highly professional approach providing you with a high level of confidence‘.

I first spoke to Sheata Karim to get some advice and after a 30-minute phone conversation I knew that I would be in good hands. Sheata took her time to give me some invaluable advice and I felt very comfortable and confident with Grayfords to handle my case. I have now been working with Haroop Ahluwalia  and I cannot praise him enough. He has always been at hand regardless of the day and time. There has been times when I have needed reassurance and advice and he has always been at hand without delay. His honest, professional, understanding and empathetic approach has helped me navigate through an extremely difficult time of my life. I have complete confidence in his advice and judgement, which in return has given me both the strength and confidence in my case’.

‘Grayfords’ strengths lie in its response time and client engagement, and transparency with billing. The lawyers respond incredibly quickly to any and all email queries and phone calls, and ensure that clients feel able to ask for clarification when needed without a sense of judgement or frustration. Regular updates from the billing department with a very detailed breakdown of costs enables clients to see exactly what is being done to work on their case‘.

‘Sheata Karim has gone above and beyond to help clients with international disputes by arranging conference calls that suit those in different time zones at hours that may not be convenient for her. She offers frank advice and is understanding that her high hourly fee requires succinct discussions. It never seems that she is trying to stretch phonecalls longer than necessary, but she does not make you feel rushed. Haroop Ahluwahlia is gifted at taking complex legalese and making sure clients fully understand what is happening in their case. He has a very calming manner and provides excellent transparency when discussing future moves to take‘.

The team’s attention to detail and managing clients is exceptional. Neil Graham is a family layer of exceptional ability and he obtains exemplary outcomes for his clients with whom he has a superlative relationship. Neil Graham is one of the best family lawyers. It is as simple as that‘.

‘Neil is charming, conscientious and provides a great value service for clients. He has top level experience and provides an excellent service for clients‘.

It has a strong international practice so that it is a go to place where there are any cross border issues. Neil Graham is fantastic – gives very clear advice going straight to the heart of the issue and is one of the most empathetic partners you can find‘.

‘It is a small but experienced team offering a similar standard of legal expertise of larger city firms. Neil Graham and Haroop Ahluwalia are both well respected and a pleasure to work with. Neil brings a wealth of experience to cases and knows his stuff inside out. My experience of Haroop is that he is a rising star. He is modest, understated but very competent’.

 

ITN Solicitors

ITN Solicitors has an established client base of lay clients, children’s guardians and non-government organisations. It is regularly instructed on private law children matters as well as representing parents in public law care proceedings. Other strengths lie in advising on financial remedy cases as well as domestic abuse matters including forced marriages.  Mitali Zakaria heads the department.

Practice head(s):

Mitali Zakaria

Other key lawyers:

Somia Siddiq; Alexandra Wilks ; Priyanka Chakravarty

Testimonials

Mitali Zakaria is an extremely popular and sought after lawyer for whom nothing is too much trouble in terms of achieving desired results or going that extra mile for the client. The lawyers at ITN solicitors work in a collaborative way to achieve the desired outcome for clients. Somia Siddiq is a very hardworking, conscientious lawyer who is skilled in anticipating any complex issue which may arise during the course of the proceedings‘.

‘Alex Wilks is rising up through the ranks, and although quite junior is running an innovative Declaration of Incompatibility in the High Court.  Mitali Zakaria is a force to be reckoned with.  She is forward-thinking, and involved in many reported authorities. This is a progressive, up and coming firm‘.

‘ITN is a great firm of solicitors that really cares about what it does and strives to get the best outcomes for clients. The team is small but heavy hitting. All four of its members are excellent and give excellent practical and tactical advice to the client who know that they are valued‘.

‘It is an ambitious team continuing to make its mark in the field. Mitali Zakaria is exceptional. She is a very able lawyer- both with her extensive knowledge of case law and her tactical nous; able to look ahead and consider the implications of decisions made.  Her client skills are excellent and her clients feel listened to and supported‘.

‘Alexandra Wilks is a very talented private law solicitor who understands the needs of her clients and really fights for them going the extra mile to provide them with the support that they need often at her time and expense. She is hardworking and driven. You would want to have her on your side rather than the other. Somia and Priyanka follow the same mould. Always  quick to respond and highly efficient and capable. The team supports each other in a collaborative way’.

ITN Solicitors does Public Law Children, Private Law Children and financial remedy work.  It is a diverse firm and has bilingual solicitors which has helped with clients. It is an excellent firm and if I am instructed by the firm I am always confident that the case will have been prepared well and the client has been properly advised. I work primarily for Mitali Zakaria and Somia Siddiq.’

Mitali is a partner, she commands respect from clients and the wider legal profession.  She and I have had to communicate about cases in the evenings and over the weekend and she is always available. I represented a 16 year old mother for Somia who only answered the phone, if at all, after 8pm and so that is when Somia called her‘.

‘This firm goes the extra mile for clients‘.

JMW Solicitors LLP

JMW Solicitors LLP has a ‘brilliant team of lawyers who have outstanding expertise’ under the leadership of Michael Rowlands . It has a strong international reach on both finance and children matters. Rowlands enjoys a steady flow of work from the Middle East in particular. The practice has been on a ‘hiring spree' with 'the recruitment of some good names’ including Philip Cooper. Other recent additions to the ‘high calibre’ team include Patrick Hart  from Royds Withy King Tracey Rodford from Camilla Baldwin  and David Thompson from BDB Pitmans. Clients include HNW and UHNW individuals, professionals and expatriates from around the world.

Practice head(s):

Michael Rowlands

Other key lawyers:

Patrick Hart; Philip Cooper; Tracey Rodford; David Thompson; Jonathan Day

Testimonials

Michael Rowlands- hugely experienced, tireless, committed and so light on his toes when it comes to tactics that he is known as the legal equivalent of Fred Astaire‘.

‘A large firm with a nationwide team. Michael Rowlands is vastly experienced, urbane and wise. He will fight for his clients

‘A fast-growing firm that is recruiting well and really going places in the family law field. Tracey Rodford – a real coup for JMW to have landed her – a very impressive lawyer with excellent client-care skills‘.

Really good client engagement. I work with the London offshoot of a predominantly Manchester firm but it is very good. Tracey Rodford is excellent with clients. Exceptional people-skills. Jonathan Day is also extremely hardworking‘.

‘Michael Rowlands heads the London team. He has vast experience and gives his clients a first rate service. He champions their causes and fights hard to achieve their objectives. One would always want him on one’s side. Tenacious and always willing to go the extra mile‘.

‘Michael Rowlands  is a brilliant strategist and master tactician. He has recruited Patrick Hart from Royds RDW who is one of the best divorce solicitors in the country. He has an instinctive grasp of the strengths and weakness of his client’s case and is able to identify which points to press and which to leave well alone.’

Michael Rowlands is very bright, hugely experienced, a fierce negotiator who fights the client’s corner tenaciously. Patrick Hart is very experienced – a very steady hand on the tiller guiding clients through tricky cases. He is a brilliant negotiator and super to work with. Jonathan Day is a junior member of the team who works extremely hard and does a lot of the ‘heavy lifting’ in the background‘.

 

Katz Partners

Katz Partners has wide ranging expertise in separation, divorce and finance cases in addition to advising on any issues that arise on cohabitation and unmarried relationships. Other strengths include advising on complex private children law matters and marital agreements. It primarily acts for ultra-high-net-worth international families in relation to high-value financial claims that are brought before the English family courts. It also has a track record of helping clients mitigate any media interest and reputational fallout that can stem from divorce proceedings. Davina Katz is a 'strong leader'.

Practice head(s):

Davina Katz

Other key lawyers:

David Greer; Emily Kapoor; Miranda Nairn

Testimonials

‘The practice has the personal touch and you feel that the lawyers care for you. Billing is always spot on as predicted. Caring. Clear. No false promises. To the point. Clear strategy and no unnecessary diversions or issues‘.

‘Katz and Partners is a specialist family boutique practice.  It has some excellent clients and a number of reported cases. It does cases at the highest level with skill and assuredness. Davina Katz is not afraid to represent her clients firmly and does not shy away from a court battle when necessary.  She is an excellent strategist and attracts high quality clients.  She is bright and has good judgement.  She knows when to fight and when to back off.  She handles clients very well. David Greer is an excellent technician.  I have been impressed by his attention to detail, forensic skills and his tenacity‘.

‘This is a small, specialist team with fantastic experience and credentials. The individuals I have interacted with at this firm are engaging, really knowledgeable and have an excellent grasp of complex financial matters. Emily Kapoor is excellent – commercial, pragmatic and great to work with’.

Small team. Highly effective, easy to deal with, able to manage emotions sensitively and get results. Realistic, sensible, balanced, intelligent and good people to work with Davina Katz and Emily Kapoor. What a fantastic combination of talent.  Davina and Emily managed to keep everything professional, sensible and were ruthlessly effective in securing the right result‘.

‘The lawyers are honest and fair. They do not promise what they can not deliver and they are emotionally fluent and savvy. Davina Katz is not only bright and extremely strategic but she is also  empathetic and compassionate. She is a consummate professional with high ethics and an incredibly sharp intellect aligned with a gentle and kind touch, it is the best combination for dealing with very sensitive often broken people and in my view, rare in the legal profession‘.

This is a strong team of lawyers, each having had impressive careers already at highly-rated firms (in fact having built and led the family practice at those firms).  They’ve struck out on their own to create a highly-skilled, focused practice ideally suited to clients needing experienced advice with the capability of handling unforeseen complexity or adversity.   The most evident innovation is a refreshing return to client-focused lawyering, from partners to associates to staff. Emily Kapoor is a standout for her considered, experienced, and calm approach.   She knows the law, understands how it applies, and adopts a practical approach to her advice.  I cannot recall having enjoyed so much being challenged or steered in a direction different from my initial instincts.  She is a superb client-lawyer‘.

‘It is a highly polished, boutique firm specialising exclusively in family law and high value complex financial cases in particular. Davina Katz is a class act who knows what high net worths need and how they think. David Greer scores highly on emotional intelligence, essential in this area of the law. Emily Kapoor has a laser like eye for the detail of a case‘.

‘The firm attracts excellent quality UHNW clients and is ably led by Davina Katz, continuing her pragmatic and client focused approach from her days at Schillings. She is ably supported by Emily Kapoor and Miranda Nairn. They are a proactive and resolution focused practice, who are sensible opponents. Davina  is creative, direct and assertive. Miranda Nairn is excellent – approachable and works sensibly and collaboratively with her opponent. A superstar of the future’.

 

 

 

Work highlights

  • Acted for the husband in WX v HX (Treatment of Matrimonial and Non-Matrimonial Property) [2021] EWHC 241 (Fam)  – the case concerned the proper treatment of non-marital wealth after a long marriage where the parties had amassed wealth together in excess of £50m.  

Pinsent Masons LLP

Pinsent Masons LLP  advises on the full array of matters for predominantly high-profile and very wealthy international individuals with substantial assets often located across multiple jurisdictions that are frequently held in complex corporate and trust structures. The vast majority of its clients are either resident but non-domiciled or non-resident and domiciled in the UK and therefore benefit from the firm’s international reach. Michael Pulford heads the department.

Practice head(s):

Michael Pulford

Testimonials

‘Very commercial excellent support from other departments good litigation strategists. Michael Pulford is very experienced and composed.’

‘Approachable partners and associates and with the deep resources, expertise and experience one would expect from a leading international firm. My main experience of the firm is with Michael Pulford. He is very able and with an excellent reputation for acting for ultra-high-net-worth individuals in high-profile proceedings for financial relief following a divorce and the subsequent fallout from divorce settlements. In my estimation he pays great attention to the important factors that will will lead to settlement and is always very sensitive to the changing needs and demands of these discerning clients‘.

Royds Withy King

Royds Withy King has been expanding its London offering. Ursula Danagher   now heads the department and joined from Child & Child while Joanna Toloczko joined from Meaby & Co recently too. It is well-regarded for its work for high-net-worth individuals on divorce and separation in cases that often involve business structures, trusts, overseas assets and cross-jurisdictional issues.

Practice head(s):

Ursula Danagher

Other key lawyers:

Joanna Toloczko; Natalie Lemonides

Testimonials

Very good family law team with a dominant presence in the South West of England as well as a London base. It has a breadth of talent, and is very committed to getting the right results for clients.’

‘Within the family team there is a wealth of experience and knowledge, ensuring the clients’ needs are met at the right level. Joanna Toloczko is excellent in her field, she takes the time to listen to her clients and provides her advice in a practical, sensible manner. Joanna is always looking to broaden her knowledge and the contacts she has, always with the clients at the forefront of her mind to ensure they receive the best information and advice’.

Great team with solid family experience. Joanna Toloczko is a brilliant lawyer and deals with clients sympathetically and professionally’.

‘Joanna Toloczko is a very experienced, compassionate and knowledgeable family lawyer‘.

‘A very friendly and professional team. Extremely helpful and knowledgeable and will go the extra mile to help‘.

‘Ursula Danagher and Natalie Lemonides. I have rarely seen a combination of partner and associate more ready to put every ounce of their skill into a case. Have only done one case for them but they were magnificent‘.

‘This is a diverse practice undertaking all family work, including international and complex finances. A fairly sized team with each individual offering expertise in different areas‘.

‘RWK is renowned as an efficient and friendly firm with a wealth of expertise throughout its solicitors and staff. I work with Joanna Toloczko who recently joined from another firm. It’s a great move for her as she is a friendly, but driven and hardworking individual who always tries to do the best for her clients. She is very approachable, but with a steely core‘.

Russells Solicitors

Russells Solicitors acts for various celebrities particularly those in the music and arts industry as well as wealthy individuals working in the financial services sector and other UHNW professionals. The team has built up a reputation for its discreet advice and is also dedicated proponents of collaborative law in settling family matters when advising on pre- and post-nuptial agreements. Carol Ellinas heads the department.

Practice head(s):

Carol Ellinas

Other key lawyers:

Lucy Hoare; Andrew Miles

Testimonials

The firm is a huge resource to high profile clients going through family breakdown – this is a media savvy business that understands its clients’ needs for low impact, confidential, solutions away from the eyes of the press. Carol Ellinas brings unrivalled experience and a wealth of business good sense. She gets to the heart of issues straight away and is ingenious at finding the solutions. She is no nonsense and forthright with her opponents and her clients know that she will fight their corner fearlessly. Lucy Hoare is a growing talent. Under the careful tutelage of Carol Ellinas, Lucy has become a formidable lawyer. She is fast, efficient and effective. One to watch‘.

Personal service as well as obviously legal knowledge. Old fashioned service but in a good way! Carol Ellinas for family law‘.

‘A really hardworking team who puts the hours in for clients. Carol Ellinas – fantastic way with clients. Lucy Hoare- former young solicitor of the year proves that her accolade was not a flash in the pan.  Dedicated and talented with a phenomenal work ethic. Andrew Miles – young and bright with loads of potential’.

‘Have only done one case recently for this firm.  Dealt with Carol Ellinas who did a valiant job with a hugely difficult client’.

‘I have always found Russells to be very warm and approachable‘.

‘The whole team is knowledgeable, approachable & gives you the feeling that it is engaged and wants the best possible outcome.  The advice is realistic but driven by achieving the end goal. Carol Ellinas is sympathetic, empathetic, driven and engaged.  She is always available for even the smallest issues and ensures that her and her team around her have the same values‘.

‘I have only worked with Lucy Hoare from this team. I understand that the family team within Russells, has an exceptional reputation. Lucy Hoare is clear sighted and a very tough but very polite opponent, well respected, sensible, intelligent and diligent. Her case preparation is exceptional; she knows her cases inside and out’. 

‘Great service to clients. Strong, commercial advice, very competent , able and commercial in its opinions‘.

Work highlights

  • Continued to act during 2020 for the long-term partner of a UHNWI, the former partner is currently resident in another country for tax purposes, in a complex Schedule 1 Children Act 1989 matter.

Sheridans

Sheridans provides a bespoke service to high profile and high-net-worth clients and most of its cases have an international component. The team is well-placed to advise those who are susceptible to press exposure. Head of department Andrea Plum is a Resolution Accredited Specialist in complex financial and property matters and financial arrangements for children.

Practice head(s):

Andrea Plum

Testimonials

‘I found the quality of service outstanding. All of the individuals I encountered were extremely impressive – very on the ball legally and extremely responsive. It is not a budget choice but it is worth every penny. I worked with Andrea Plum. She is incredibly switched on, intensely practical and always kind. I am hoping not to require such services again, but would work with her again in a heartbeat’.

‘Professional and knowledgeable. Very helpful and concentrates on what is absolutely needed, which in a divorce is very welcome‘.

It has extensive experience in family law so we felt comfortable having it do the work for us. Very thorough and also explained everything very clearly. We found the process fairly baffling before but Andrea made it all very easy to understand. She also was good at dealing with our high profile client and understanding of our working processes‘.

‘Efficient and dynamic. Andrea Plum – is the solicitor that you want in your corner. Andrea is hugely experienced, she manages her client’s expectations brilliantly and she thinks holistically to give her client’s advice that they can really trust‘.

Andrea Plum is an excellent family lawyer who really goes the extra mile for her clients. She is kind and compassionate, doesn’t take silly points, works hard to reach a settlement where possible but is not afraid to have a fight in court if necessary. I do not hesitate to refer work to her because I know that she will look after my clients and provide a first class service’.

Stowe Family Law LLP

Stowe Family Law LLP has a wealth of experience in advising individuals with complex assets and businesses, family trusts and properties that are held both in the UK and overseas. It advises on a broad range of issues including divorce, nuptial agreements and international child abduction matters. It is also skilled at helping same sex and co-habiting couples. The team has two specialist mediators.  Phoebe Turner heads a team where 'its commitment to achieving the best outcomes for  clients is evident in its approach from the start to the finish of the case'.

Practice head(s):

Phoebe Turner

Other key lawyers:

Gavin Scott; Sarah Jane Lenihan; Phoebe Hill; Alice Wightman

Testimonials

‘Stowe Family Law- I am impressed with the talent it consistently boasts throughout, which is rare for a firm of its size.  It is strong in all departments, and I believe it will continue to go from strength to strength. We are often instructed by Stowe Family Law on cases involving cross border and/or international elements. The firm’s ability to assist clients with such cases is second to none. It has a strong abduction, leave to remove and international finance team. The lawyers are fully equipped to deal with the most complex of cases involving jurisdiction issues. I have worked closely with Sarah Jane Lenihan on two particular cases, and she managed to achieve great results for both of her clients’.

‘A very experienced and dedicated family law firm that specialising in high-value cases. Phoebe Turner is the standout practitioner in this firm. Calm and composed, and incredibly realistic in her advice’.

Broad spectrum of very good lawyers in a forward-looking, modern law firm of national reputation. Phoebe Turner (Partner) and Phoebe Hill (Solicitor) are stand-out names in the London office. They are both very on the ball, fight hard for their clients and give good advice‘.

‘Consistent and high quality service offered to clients across all of its offices. Sarah Jane Lenihan – fantastic! Down to earth and extremely approachable. Clients love her!’.

A strong all round set up with good lawyers from top to bottom. Gavin Scott is a reassuring and calming presence who is brilliant at supporting clients’.

‘Stowe has a very strong reputation all over the country. My main experience is with London offices and I have always been very impressed with both the level of work and service given to clients. Sarah-Jane Lenihan has always been very efficient and reassuring. She is very calm and has a strong relationship with both clients and Chambers. Phoebe Hill’s profile has grown recently and she also has a strong reputation with Chambers. Gavin Scott has taken on Sarah-Jane’s case load whilst on maternity and again, the transition has been seamless‘.

SFL is a specialist family law firm with huge coverage nationally and has a wealth of experience in all offices. The firm is modern and innovative and despite its size provides exceptional personal service. Sarah-Jane Lenihan is  very impressive. She is down to earth, efficient, accessible and a pleasure to work with. She really cares about her clients and achieving the best possible outcome for them, but is not afraid to give practical and commercial advice‘.

Located all over the country. This is an exceptional team of family lawyers who are approachable, thorough and always there for the client. There is a long list of excellent lawyers at this firm. The standouts include Alice Wightman and Sarah Jane Lenihan. They are brilliant. Efficient, always there for the client and thoroughly prepared. Some of the best that I have worked with. Leaders in the field‘.

 

Wilson Solicitors LLP

Wilson Solicitors LLP is vastly experienced in all areas of family, matrimonial and childcare law. It routinely advises on divorce and financial settlements as well as private children law and domestic abuse cases. In addition it frequently advises on nuptial agreements, international adoptions and other areas such as forced marriage and surrogacy cases. Aysen Soyer heads the department that includes a number of highly rated practitioners such as Patricia Beckett and Amna Khaliq.

Practice head(s):

Aysen Soyer

Other key lawyers:

Patricia Beckett; Amna Khaliq; Baljit Bains; Felicity Jones; Juanita Kareer

Testimonials

Aysen Soyer and her team at Wilsons are outstanding, caring and responsive‘.

‘One of the few firms outside central London who can mix it with the ‘magic circle’ firms of inner London. Aysen Soyer is vastly experienced and capable. She offers her HNW clients a real alternative to the vastly expensive firms of central London which is every bit as good and probably far more direct. She is incredibly engaging with her clients but can pack a punch with the best of them. Juanita Kareer is incredibly hardworking and diligent about her clients. She is passionate about ensuring everyone has access to legal advice, regardless of their financial circumstances‘.

Always good back-up when dealing with senior staff; go the extra distance for clients; good instructions; know cases very well indeed. Amna Khaliq is always available to deal with queries or chase maters up; Patricia Beckett prepares her cases immaculately‘.

‘It has  amassed over the last few years an impressive depth and experience in relation to international child abduction. Amna Khaliq (Partner) is a pleasure to work with – an efficient and highly effective lawyer. Felicity Jones (Solicitor) very conscientious and able‘.

‘I have never needed a legal team before, and so this was a scary experience. Wilson and co, helped myself and my family through a very difficult time. Felicity Jones is one of the most caring, sensitive, kind and knowledgeable professionals I have worked with‘.

‘All of its solicitors work proficiently, expertly and successfully. All of the solicitors at Wilsons are a pleasure to work with and appear against in court. They are always bright, well prepared and keen to work collaboratively. They approach the most complex cases with ease and enthusiasm. The following people regularly instruct me and are excellent: Baljit Bains; Felicity Jones Juanita Karee‘.

‘I have been consistently impressed by the commitment all members of the family team have towards their clients. They are genuinely interested and caring as well as being effective in the service they deliver. I have worked most closely with Baljit Bains over the last year and found her to have an intelligent, thoughtful approach to her cases. She is very easy to work with as she’s responsive and proactive in ensuring that I have what I need to deliver my part of the service to her clients‘.

‘Baljit Bains is what makes this team unique. She is undoubtedly one of the finest lawyers in London. She is intelligent, insightful, hardworking and committed. She pursues her cases with skill and vigour. Her influence ensures that those working under her follow the same pattern. Baljit Bains is the beating heart of this firm, she is what makes it so good’.

 

A City Law Firm Ltd

A City Law Firm Ltd is an established and specialist firm that has close ties with  LGBTQ+ community. It advises on issues such as fertility law, co-parenting, transgender human rights and adoption. The team has considerable international capabilities. Founding partner Karen Holden is a known name for her work on many surrogacy cases as well as domestic and international parental orders and transgender rights.

Practice head(s):

Janette Johnson; Karen Holden; Bianca Martin

Testimonials

‘Specialisation in surrogacy law, young energetic team. Competitive costs compared to others. Excellent communicators. Karen Holden is able to articulate in consumer-friendly language how the legal process interfaces with domestic and cross-border surrogacy, by providing case study examples and clarity in what can be a confusing area. She is warm and engaging’.

The team was very supportive during this very difficult time. The lawyers have answered all of my questions and I am really grateful for all of their advice. Bianca Martin has gone far and beyond for me and I am incredibly grateful. She is a very hardworking lawyer. She is a super woman‘.

‘This practice has a very unique personal touch. Nothing is ever a problem, not even out of office hours and I am always made feel very welcome and confident.  My solicitor is very personable. I am made to feel as part of the family and know I can always rely on my solicitor. She has been incredibly efficient and fast, with great and quite unique suggestions as for the way of approaching the problems – thinking out of the box is a standard. Janette always listens patiently to my suggestions and if they could be used, she would make all in her power to incorporate them. I feel there is mutual trust that is also quite unique. Most importantly, Janette’s heart is in it – her calm and understanding personality has made quite a difference for me‘.

‘Female founded which brings a refreshing change. The team is a smaller one and therefore comes across as more entrepreneurial which is more relatable to most of the clients that it serves. Karen Holden has struck me by her entrepreneurial way of thinking and communicating with audiences that we have worked on together. That relatability is something that makes her stand out from the majority of competing legal professionals’.

A City Law Firm is incredibly approachable, friendly and forward-thinking.  They don’t just understand the law, they are always looking for ways to challenge it. Innovation is at the heart of everything they do and I love the way they work.  I admire Karen Holden hugely.  She is a sensational lawyer and a successful business woman who has been running an award winning law firm for over 10 years.  The reason for her success is sheer hard graft, determination and an innovative approach.  Karen is ahead of the curve in everything she does, which is why she was invited to Freedom of the City, an honour previously bestowed upon Florence Nightingale and Margaret Thatcher’.

Karen breaks the mould and is fearless when it comes to fighting for clients but she does it in such a nice, intelligent way.  She is honest, nurturing and unlike any other lawyer I’ve ever met. Karen Holden is the most disruptive lawyer of our generation‘.

‘ Bianca Martin is an excellent solicitor who works very hard to achieve good outcomes for her clients. She is proactive in discussing cases with counsel and is meticulously prepared’.

‘A City Law Firm is a very dedicated practice. They have always shown us a high quality service and when we reached a point where we were unable to pay any longer, they continued representing us on a pro bono basis and the level of service we received never dwindled. We worked with Bianca Martin. She was up to speed on everything and continued to give us a high quality service. Bianca was always available to answer our questions or listen to our concerns and gave sound, knowledgeable advice‘.

Work highlights

  • Advised a client that signed a pre-nuptial agreement under duress and lost her home and assets. Dispute over the children and finances including several pieces of art and overseas business assets. The DNA of the child came up . The matter is ongoing but the child is with the non-biological parent rather than the mother who wanted care to be given by a nanny and new partner
  • Acting in a case relating to two intended parents who won their battle for parental rights and custody of their surrogate child, but the surrogate continued to seek further child arrangement orders and is now starting to look to appeal. The firm undertook the work from start to finish on a pro bono basis and will continue to ensure that it does what it can to ensure the child stays with the intended parents.
  • Advising a transgender parent in a dispute between mother and father over the child’s right to transition or at least change clothes/name at school. Extensive negotiations and legal arguments led to a compromising settlement which is monitored regularly.

Allard Bailey Family Law

Allard Bailey Family Law typically acts for senior city professionals, directors of leading brands and law firm partners as well as business owners, minor celebrities and their spouses. It is acting for a growing number of members of the LGBT community on same-sex parenting issues. Louise Allard and Sabrina Bailey co-head the department that frequently advises on children law issues such as international relocation, child abduction and contact disputes.

Practice head(s):

Louise Allard; Sabrina Bailey

Other key lawyers:

Louise Poulton; Jennifer Granby

Testimonials

‘Louise Allard and Sabrina Bailey make up a stellar partnership in this boutique firm … providing all the skill and advice of a No. 1 London firm, at less cost and with a friendly, can-do attitude. Both partners are the sort of lawyers who work out of hours and at weekends as a matter of course. The instructions are thorough and their case-conduct is flawless‘.

‘Allard Bailey is personable, reliable and willing to go the extra mile for clients by being available outside of the normal working hours, whereas other firms are still restrictive in their availability. Louise Allard is always available to speak with clients and assist in anyway she can. The lawyers respond in a timely fashion‘.

‘Louise Allard was outstanding. She understood the issues very quickly and asked the right questions at the right time. She guided me and gave me the reassurance when needed. She was also forthright and pragmatic and pointed out when certain things were not possible. A formidable, knowledgeable yet extremely caring family lawyer‘.

‘Excellent family team offering really pragmatic, realistic advice at rates which offer good value for money. Sabrina Bailey – first class solicitor – steers her cases with a very firm hand and is extremely personable – clients love her‘.

Louise Poulton is superb. I have recommended her to friends on more than one occasion. She cares deeply for her clients, works incredibly hard, has exceptional judgment and client management skills and could not be more efficient and organised. Her billing is highly sympathetic and she guards her client’s money as if it were her own being spent. Superb value for money, and magic circle level performance without the cost’.

Boutique firm in London specialising in money and children. Quality of the work is very high quality attracted by the standard of individuals there. The service is tailored to the individual, clients are at the heart of what they do, dispute resolution without the drama, but highly effective. Louise Poulton is outstanding. She is amazing with clients, sympathetic and sensitive but also a formidable technical lawyer. She is thorough and dedicated, you will be glad to have her in your corner. She is also a thoroughly nice person‘.

‘The lawyers really listen, they care and will do all they can to get you the best outcome and have put your best foot forward. Jennifer is such a kind and intelligent advocate. She really listens, will fight for her clients and has a good eye for tactics as well as general presentation of a case‘.

‘Understanding my issues thoroughly, and showing they really care about what happens. They work remotely and flexibly so understand the pressures faced by single parents. Small team so you feel your case really matters and everyone understands the issues‘.

 

Work highlights

  • Acting for a businessman from a wealthy family in the effective conclusion of divorce, financial remedy and children’s proceedings which were complicated by the wife’s mental ill health.  Enabling him to reach a fair agreement whilst excluding his business from the marital pot and protecting any future inheritance from his family.
  • Achieving a favourable result through negotiation for the applicant in a complicated cohabitee dispute, which is likely to have made new law if it had gone to Court due to its unique facts and third-party detriment arguments.  Also resolving child maintenance and care disputes involving the two children of the relationship who have SEN and sensory disorders.
  • Obtaining Non-molestation and Occupation Orders for a client who had been experiencing domestic abuse over a 5-year period, which intensified during COVID-19 restrictions.  The abuse had been reported to the police, but no action was taken due to insufficient evidence.

BDB Pitmans

BDB Pitmans now has Roopa Ahluwalia at the helm who divides her time between the Cambridge and the London offices. She specialises in high-net-worth financial matters and complex children cases, often with international elements. The team has a well-established reputation for its work on complicated high-value and international financial disputes. Both Ahluwalia and John Darnton are collaborative lawyers. David Thompson is now at JMW Solicitors LLP .

Practice head(s):

Roopa Ahluwalia

Other key lawyers:

John Darnton; Anna Stanworth

Testimonials

‘This is a diverse team with offices in London, Cambridge and Reading. I am aware that the team has a collaborative solicitor and mediator and so offers more dispute resolution services than other firms. This is important in family law particularly during the pandemic where the courts have not been processing work in all areas‘.

‘Roopa Ahulwalia is a partner at the Cambridge and London offices and I believe she is also head of family. She manages the young team with empathy and professionalism remotely. Roopa has a broad skill set being able to take on complex children act matters and also complex high net worth financial matters‘.

John Darnton is knowledgeable, approachable and delivers advice in an intelligent yet easy to digest way. An absolute delight to work with. My go-to solicitor for English family law advice!’.

‘There is a genuine care for clients and attention to detail, with approach tailored to each client’s circumstances. Anna Stanworth – very practical and adapts her approach to the needs of the client. Is tenacious in securing the best outcome possible and meticulous attention to detail‘.

I have found BDB was a great help and comfort during my divorce. It was a complex situation that became very stressful for me. The lawyers got to grips with my case very quickly and retained the key and relevant bits of information exceptionally well, which meant they were always ready to react, defend and this in turn made a difficult situation easier for me to cope with‘.

‘Anna Stanworth was always available to talk about the case and always reassuring, clear and direct about the course of action we needed to take. Roopa Ahluwalia was the partner of the case – she always put me at ease with her calm and collected demeanour‘.

‘The team has collaborative trained family solicitors. John Darnton is keen to resolve family matters outside of court when possible. He works with a range of family experts to give the client a very good service‘.

Roopa Ahluwalia – combines robust legal expertise with an empathic, insightful approach‘.

Blake Morgan LLP

Flora Grossman is a Resolution accredited specialist in high-net-worth cases and heads the department at Blake Morgan LLP. Grossman receives instructions from various high-profile individuals from the world of sport and film as well as professionals and business owners. The team also receives a steady flow of instructions on Children Act matters. In addition Grossman is a member of the Law Society’s Children Panel.

Practice head(s):

Flora Grossman

Testimonials

‘The team is impressive, well coordinated and client focused. Flora Grossman is exceptional. She is meticulous. Her attention to detail is phenomenal. In finance cases she is always several steps ahead in her analysis of accounts and totally in charge. Her client management skills are second to none. She is patient, advises skilfully, carefully bringing the client with her. She works tirelessly to secure the best outcome for her clients‘.

One of the key things that sets Blake Morgan apart from other family firms is the additional resources it can utilise as a result of being part of a full service law firm. The firm’s property and succession and tax departments enable clients to swiftly access these additional services that are often linked to relationship breakdowns. The support offered by the corporate and commercial teams also make Blake Morgan the perfect firm for company owners and entrepreneurs who are looking to protect their business interests following a relationship breakdown‘.

Flora Grossman is a fantastic lawyer whose empathetic nature and sound legal knowledge swiftly puts clients at ease and reassures them that they are in good hands. Flora is always looking for the fastest route to resolution and offers clients practical and pragmatic advice. Flora represents a wide range of clients from high net worth entrepreneurs and business owners to homemakers, all of whom are grateful for the additional support Flora offers as they try to navigate their way into this new phase of their lives‘.

‘Flora always goes above and beyond for her clients. Since Flora joined as the Head of the Family Team in London in 2017 the team has gone from strength to strength, building a good base of clients, including some high profile individuals, and making an excellent name for the team both internally within the firm and within the wider family law community‘.

‘The family team in London led by Flora Grossman is excellent and is responsive to the needs of the client during  the pandemic. The team deals with financial and children cases very well and is also good value compared to other city firms’.

‘The stand out team member is Flora Grossman who is as capable of dealing with complex children and financial cases. She is also very collaborative and nice to deal with‘.

‘This practice is unique in that it has access to all areas of law and practitioners. While my matter was essentially a family matter, it was multi-jurisdictional involving 4 potential jurisdictions and Blake Morgan was able to obtain expertise in international law as it pertained to the matter and ensure we had experts in all of the very different aspects such as finance, international law, matrimonial, etc. Further, the team quickly identified the complexity of the matter to ensure that it was handled in the most appropriate court fitting its complexity‘.

‘I worked with Flora Grossman, who is a partner at Blake Morgan. From day one, she was amazing and grasped all of the legal and factual concepts and complexities extremely quickly, ensuring our matter was placed at the outset in the correct court, and the preparatory and important applications were made promptly. Flora did her research thoroughly in recommending appropriate Counsel at QC level to address the applications to be made before the Court. Her analytical skills and her forethought were absolutely critical in ensuring that my matter was successful and reached the conclusion that was fair and desired. I found Flora’s advice accurate and reliable, making me confident of the likely result in my matter. I found Flora very quick in her response and advice, including addressing issues on the weekend as may have been necessary. I would most definitely recommend Flora Grossman‘.

Curzon Green Solicitors

Curzon Green Solicitors has an established reputation for dealing with the financial implications of divorce for mid to high-net-worth clients and is skilled at dealing with other issues including valuable pension rights. It also advises cohabitees. Other strengths lie in dealing with child arrangement applications and the group is developing a practice in the field of family privacy advising on issues such as revenge porn. Jeff Thomas and Rob Green co-head the department.

Practice head(s):

Jeff Thomas; Rob Green

Other key lawyers:

Kelly-Ann Welsh; Umar Mirza

Testimonials

‘I have always found the team to be well-organised, very competent in the advice, and with excellent client care. Jeff Thomas has a wealth of experience, upon which he draws to give practical and astute advice‘.

‘It is a very warm family environment with highly skilled competent staff that make you feel at ease instantly. Two main and great members of the team are Rob Green and Jeff Thomas, I have dealt with both and both are extremely professional and put you at ease‘.

I have principally been working with Jeff Thomas.  I found his straightforward no-nonsense approach refreshing and very helpful in managing my expectations as I progressed through an acrimonious divorce process. He was extremely helpful in providing a down-to-earth and simple explanation of the whole process. He provided not only professional guidance but also was always there, available, to support, listen and calm me down when my own fears and anxieties took over‘.

‘Kelly Ann Welsh has been outstanding, Kelly Ann was on the ball, the best quality for me was her compassion towards my situation, while explaining and giving me the necessary choices. I had every confidence in her’.

‘Unlike most firms, Curzon Green can provide an exceptional service to clients whether they have a high net worth dispute or a modest value case. In both instances, the firm provides excellence and strives for cost efficiency. Curzon Green also sets itself apart by having equally strong children and financial remedies advice. The firm prioritises the client’s needs and is sensitive to different client’s requirements. Kelly-Ann Welsh has a breadth and depth of experience that leave her clients in a uniquely strong position. Kelly is not just a fantastic lawyer but a true ‘people person’. Kelly is relentless in achieving fantastic outcomes for each of her clients’.

‘A diverse, experienced, friendly team that speaks human language to assist clients in a very difficult and emotional time, the lawyers work together as a strong team putting all their experiences together to assist me. They also have a large network of barristers with specific knowledge to suit every client. Umar Mirza is my legend, Hero and an outstanding individual that stood by me through a very difficult 3 years divorce. He is extremely intelligent and remembers every detail that puts the opposition to shame. Kelly-Ann was also a great help‘.

I have been working very closely with Mr Umar Mirza. He has great knowledge and goes above and beyond for his clients. He is representing me in my child’s matter and I have noticed that he always has the child’s best interests. Billing is always precise and I have never been rushed to make a payment. He works with a very experienced team. Umar has great knowledge on child proceedings and has always given me the right advice to move forward. He has excellent communication skills‘.

‘My solicitor was Jeff Thomas he knew I had a complex case and he adapted to all my struggles really well and advised me best to my situation. He was contactable and came back to me extremely quickly. I would recommend him 100 percent‘.

 

Work highlights

  • Acting for Respondent father in Family Law Act 1996, and Children Act 1989 proceedings involving the Local Authority. Also acting for Applicant husband within divorce and financial relief proceedings where the parties’ assets total in excess of £2.5m including properties in England and Europe. The parties are joint shareholders and directors of a profitable limited company which is a significant asset at the centre of proceedings. Both parties have made serious allegations against each other within proceedings, resulting in linked criminal investigations.
  • Acting for wife within complex financial proceedings involving two businesses and an extensive property portfolio. The case has had involvement from the Queen’s Proctor to assist the Court in dealing with the husband’s second wife and separate civil proceedings have commenced against the husband for damaging and fraudulent behaviour in respect of both of the marital businesses, resulting in a High Court injunction and a committal penal sentence following the husband being found to be in contempt of Court. Wife has been awarded damages within these proceedings and husband is currently seeking permission through the Court of Appeal both in respect of the substantive judgment and the committal decision.
  • Acting for wife in divorce and financial relief proceedings where husband failed to follow the pre-action protocol and petitioned on wife’s unreasonable behaviour. Wife’s instructions were to defend the suit and cross petition on husband’s unreasonable behaviour. Matters were eventually compromised with a consent order which provided that husband’s petition and answer were to be dismissed and suit was to proceed undefended on wife’s cross-petition. Following issues with disclosure, the Court directed intervenor proceedings to determine whether there was a matrimonial loan to the value of £250,000.

Family Law Partners

Mark Harrop heads up the specialist 'dynamic and approachable' family team at Family Law Partners . Harrop advises on all aspects of family and relationship breakdown with a particular focus on divorce and financial issues. Harrop has considerable experience in cases involving mental health and  those involving accusations of controlling or abusive behaviour. Farhana Shahzady is another key contact. The practice receives plaudits for its emphasis on dispute resolution with seven mediators, 11 collaborative lawyers and an arbitrator. It is a  'growing team that is young and ambitious'.

Practice head(s):

Mark Harrop (Head of London team) ; Robert Williams (Managing Director); Kate Elliott (Head of Horsham team)

Other key lawyers:

Farhana Shahzady

Testimonials

‘Mark Harrop heads the London office and has a well-deserved reputation as one of the next generation of leading family lawyers. He has consistently demonstrated his commitment for transforming the client experience of relationship breakdown. He is a skilled mediator capable of cutting through complex legal issues and working to an effective outcome. He is highly motivated and genuinely passionate about change and innovation‘.

I feel Farhana has worked hard and has gone above and beyond dealing with my case. She has put my mind at ease many a time through very challenging times. Farhana is very professional and passionate about her work and really cares about her clients. I would certainly recommend Farhana to my friends if they ever needed a family lawyer‘.

‘Family Law Partners ticks all the boxes. The lawyers are particularly dispute resolution focused, which was so very important to me. Personable yet professional, energetic and proactive, they are a breath of fresh air. Farhana Shahzady is an especially strong and impressive component. Farhana radiates confidence and dynamism – and has every right to do so. Her ability to quickly evaluate my situation and plot a pathway to swift resolution provided assurance when I needed it the most. When these qualities are coupled with empathy and compassion you have a most able ally. Farhana is the lawyer you want on your side’.

‘Family Law Partners is a stand out firm in London and the South East. I regularly work for a number of its members and on every occasion I am impressed by how well prepared the cases are. They have additional counselling/mediation resources to assist clients in all aspects of their divorce- not just the legal side. Mark Harrop- Mark is exceptionally bright and commercially astute. He brings a quiet confidence to the case and is tactically clever. He is a real pleasure to work with‘.

‘The team has  expertise, excellent judgement and is sensible in approach. Farhana Shazady oozes professionalism, has a brilliant strategic eye and has erudite judgement in her cases. She handles complex money matters with ease. Importantly, she is very approachable and always has a keen eye on keeping a client’s costs to a minimum‘.

The team has a very collaborative and client focused approach. The lawyers seek to actively minimise conflict and are trustworthy. They are sensible and are opponents you know you can pick the phone up to and cut through the noise to get to the issues. Mark Harrop in the London office is highly rated. He is sensible and pragmatic. He earns his client’s confidence and for good reason‘.

Farhana Shahzady gives strategic, practical advice and really fights her client’s corner‘.

Some very clever people balancing legal technical ability with practical results for clients in a deeply emotional situation‘.

 

Work highlights

  • Representing a party in heavily contested financial and internal relocation proceedings against a spouse who is accused of being abusive and controlling.
  • Advising the financially dominant party on a post-nuptial agreement for an international couple with over £100m of assets in advance of a planned move to the UK.
  • Representing a parent in complex multi-party international relocation proceedings.

Hopkin Murray Beskine Solicitors

At Hopkin Murray Beskine Solicitors the head of department is Sarah Beskin  who is a Resolution specialist in financial remedy, international child abduction and domestic abuse cases. Beskine also frequently advises on issues such as  future contact issues where one parent wishes to relocate the child abroad. Martin Wolfenden who is on the Law Society Family Panel is also an experienced practitioner in financial remedy matters.

Practice head(s):

Sarah Beskine

Other key lawyers:

Martin Wolfenden; Avneet Panesar

Testimonials

‘A really good mix of wise heads and younger bright enthusiastic solicitors who work well together to achieve great results for their clients. Sarah Beskine – Unflappable and tactically astute. Martin Wolfenden – excellent analysis and methodical preparation for cases. A superb attention to the details that matter in a case’.

‘Nothing is ever too much trouble for HMB. All the solicitors with whom I have worked are very committed to doing the best for their client. The costs bills I have seen evidence clients receiving an excellent service at a very reasonable cost. And they are all so nice to work with; I appreciate a collaborative approach and I mention Sarah Beskine in private children work. She is vastly experienced, pragmatic and stands out for her ability to analyse the issues in a case and ensures the client deals with the salient points. She remains resolutely child focused and is particularly impressive in negotiations‘.

‘Hopkin Murray Beskine has a longstanding established reputation for superb and noble representation of clients in publicly funded cases. It has also developed a strong reputation in the field of international child abduction. Sarah Beskine is hugely committed to her clients and her cases and works tirelessly to ensure that all that is possible is done to promote their best interests. Avneet Panesar is a talented up and coming lawyer who has an aptitude for learning fast and prepares her case methodically and with intelligence‘.

‘Hopkin Murray Beskine is an approachable and knowledgeable firm with a team of family lawyers that offers excellent representation in a wide range of family proceedings. The lawyers pride themselves on charging reasonable fees, ensuring high quality legal advice is accessible. They handle complex proceedings in emotionally fraught circumstances in a calm, considerate manner. Thus guaranteeing all options are explained to clients and informed decisions can be made‘.

‘Sarah Beskine is a fiercely intelligent and focused family solicitor. She is committed to achieving the best possible outcome for her clients and is able to draw upon considerable expertise and experience to do so. Sarah is approachable and dedicated. She offers an extremely personal service; readily available for queries and discussions, with intricate knowledge of the facts of her client’s case. She is thorough and professional, realistic in her advice and always prepared to fight hard for her clients. Sarah is able to think clearly and has excellent judgment in her management of cases‘.

‘The family team at HMB is excellent; highly capable and experienced lawyers and advocates. The lawyers have a team based collaborative approach to client care and clients.  They are good value for money given their enormous expertise, and a firm I would recommend to colleagues or friends if they were in need of a family law solicitor‘.

‘Sarah Beskine really cares about her clients and they know that they are important to her. She will go to the extra mile for them whatever that may involve in terms of additional hours work. She is incredibly hardworking. She is readily available to her clients including during weekends and periods of annual leave. She is also highly tactical with one eye on the future in terms of advice that she gives her clients which is invaluable and put them in the best possible position to achieve their aims‘.

‘This is a jewel of a firm which has high quality lawyers providing an exceptional level of service for clients‘.

 

Philcox Gray & Co

Philcox Gray & Co has five Children Panel members. It has a particular specialism in care proceedings and frequently advises on complex cross-border disputes involving abduction and relocation, the deprivation of liberty of minors as well as care cases including non-accidental injuries, alleged radicalisation and ‘relinquished baby’ cases. Beverley King ; Sephona Isaacs Polson  and Lucy Verity are recommended.

Practice head(s):

Beverley King; Sephona Isaacs Polson; Lucy Verity

Testimonials

‘Beverley King is outstanding in that she combines the qualities that are required for excellent representation; good knowledge of the law, courage to pursue a difficult case and compassion. Lucy Verity has similar qualities, combining an academic approach and well researched knowledge of the law and compassion and preparedness to fight her client’s corner. She goes the extra mile for all her clients. She is also a qualified mediator so brings those qualities into her care cases.’

‘Beverley King and Lucy Verity are both committed to public law work – they understand the role of a solicitor acting for a child and the complex nature of the work.’

‘Lucy Verity is adept at dealing with complicated private law matters, often with an international element. She gives clients clear advice and is always one step ahead. Lucy is an impressive advocate in court.’

‘A committed and knowledgeable team with a supportive philosophy.’

‘I have known the individuals within this practice for many many years and am always confident when parties in cases are represented by them or in referring parties to them knowing that they will receive high quality and caring representation.’

‘There is a great collaboration amongst the team. There is evidence of diversity and working remotely in the pandemic has not stopped the great level of service I would  have received if they were in-house, as they are very prompt with technology.’

‘Very friendly and helpful.’

‘A fantastic team who offer magic circle client care.’

Ronald Fletcher Baker LLP

Ronald Fletcher Baker LLP acts for some high-net-worth individuals including property entrepreneurs, City executives and company directors. It specialises in complex matrimonial financial issues including some with a cross-jurisdictional dimension. It has also expanded its offering into surrogacy and adoption. John O’Callaghan heads the team that include Bik Wong  and Adam Bowes .

Practice head(s):

John O’Callaghan

Other key lawyers:

Bik Wong ; Adam Bowes

Testimonials

‘Very down to earth approach. The lawyers provide a huge amount of support to clients and provide practical, realistic advice at all times. Always very well prepared. Adam Bowes is incredibly personable and fantastic to work with. He is always completely on top of all the facts of the case and takes a very sensible approach, whilst still pushing for the best for his client‘.

‘A small team offering a bespoke service to a diverse range of clients. The existence of broader commercial, property and criminal teams enables clients easily to access advice on such areas which are often relevant to family law disputes. Bik Wong is especially good and works very hard for her clients‘.

‘Bik Wong helped me through a very difficult divorce. She was kind and sympathetic at every stage and offered the best type of advice as it helped me financially and emotionally, kept communication channels open with my ex-wife and ensured my young children knew they were as loved and supported as possible. I am very grateful to Bik and we have kept in contact from time to time after‘.

‘I have referred clients to RFB and have found that the responses are prompt and concise.  It has a good team structure and deals with a wide range of family issues. Adam Bowes in particular is very approachable and works collaboratively. He has no hesitation in picking up the phone to discuss matters and move matters forward with a good resolution for both clients. He has a very good manner with clients, is very patient and explains issues to clients in a way that they understand‘.

‘I have used the RFB team for a number of legal reasons and always found them to be more personable than transactional – a key differentiator from past interactions with other legal firms. Bik Wong specifically counselled me through a very difficult and complex legal process with an adept knowledge of her domain and an empathetic approach to my situation‘.

‘I have worked with Bik Wong for a number of years. Perhaps her most standout quality is the ability to act with speed and energy when a situation demands it. She has also taken the trouble to understand our particular environment and requirements, creating a really positive working relationship over time‘.

‘With the advent of COVID 19, the firm switched seamlessly to online and video call consultations. My solicitor really took the time to explain things clearly and comprehensively, discuss needs and intentions, and advocate for me as the client‘.

Work highlights

  • Advising on the divorce/high value financial relief for a high net worth individual involving several jurisdictions.
  • Acting in a Child Abduction case concerning the Hague Convention and application for the safe return of the child.

Stevens & Bolton LLP

Stevens & Bolton LLP covers the full spectrum of family work from complex and high-value financial proceedings through to nuptial agreements and contested children matters. The team under the leadership of Nicola Harries deals with many cases that have an international element. In addition it offers alternative dispute resolution as Harries is a trained Resolution collaborative lawyer.

Practice head(s):

Nicola Harries

Other key lawyers:

Grace Parker-White

Testimonials

‘A team with great technical expertise allied with sound and considered commercial common sense and pragmatism. Nicola Harries – the points made above apply‘.

Although I mostly dealt directly with Grace Parker-White, her team around her on the occasions she hasn’t been available, has been efficient and helpful. Grace Parker-White has handled my divorce professionally and smoothly, offering reassurance to me navigating uncertain territories. She has always been available when I need to reach her, guiding me through each step of the process and has made me feel I’m in a safe pair of hands‘.

‘Personable and approachable team whilst maintaining the upmost professional standards. Grace Parker-White was knowledgeable, found the resources to help with specific quirks of the case. Rapid responses and adherence to the principles of Resolution led to a sensible settlement for my family and me‘.

 

Thomson Snell & Passmore

Joanna Pratt heads the group at Thomson Snell & Passmore that deals with both financial and children cases. The practice is adept at dealing with high-net-worth financial matters. Its alternative dispute resolution work continues to grow. Kirstie Law is a mediator and collaborative lawyer. Desmond O’Donnell is also a Resolution trained mediator and collaborative lawyer.

Practice head(s):

Joanna Pratt

Other key lawyers:

Kristie Law; Desmond O’Donnell; Sarah Keily ; Anna Woodhoo ; Harry Golding

Testimonials

‘Great team- Kirstie Law‘.

The epitome of common sense and realistic advice. The team really knows its stuff and is also very good at dialling down tensions and conflict. I am a huge fan of Sarah Keily, who is an excellent children’s solicitor. Calm, sensible but also able to really fight for her client‘.

The Family team provides concise, practical and good advice. The lawyers guide clients carefully and well through the processes and are well regarded by local judiciary, counsel and solicitors. Harry Golding, Anna Woodhoo -these two solicitors are outstanding, they work calmly and meticulously even when under significant time constraints or in difficult cases. The relationships with the clients and counsel are excellent and their knowledge and approach is second to none‘.

Venters Solicitors

Venters Solicitors has Andrea Dawkins at the helm who is a specialist matrimonial and child care lawyer. Dawkins frequently represents the children through their guardians as well as adults in care proceedings. She is also adept at advising on issues such as domestic violence, Schedule 1 claims and divorce and finance matters. Dawkins regularly appears in court and conducts her own advocacy.

Practice head(s):

Andrea Dawkins

Other key lawyers:

Sherma Polidore

Testimonials

‘Sherma Polidore builds a rapport with clients which makes it clear that they are in safe hands; leading international lawyer, hugely respected in the abduction world‘.

‘The firm has maintained close local roots within the local area enabling it to continue its reputation for community-focused service. Notwithstanding its respect for tradition it continues to adopt new practices and technology’.

‘The team was able to meet my needs. Caring and supportive. Good communication; I was kept up to date with case development‘.

‘The team at venters is fantastic! The lawyers go the extra mile for their clients and fight fiercely in their interests‘.