Family in North West

Brabners LLP

The 'outstanding' team at Brabners LLP offers a range of services to high-net-worth clients, which include world-class sports stars, covering matters from high-value divorces to pre-nuptial agreements and child matters. The 'first-rateHelen Marriott leads the team, while another name to note is the 'excellent' Joanne Radcliff who has a 'fantastic manner with clients', as well as senior associate Natalie Dickson, who has 'excellent knowledge and experience' of divorce and settlement applications.

Practice head(s):

Helen Marriott

Other key lawyers:

Joanne Radcliff; Natalie Dickson

Testimonials

‘A very strong team with keen and efficient junior members. Always on the ball with key legal and procedural developments.’

‘The team has exceptional knowledge, experience, and expertise.  They are very personable and build trusting relationships with clients. ‘

‘I regularly recommend clients to the family and private teams at Brabners and we are confident they will receive a top class service.’

‘Joanne Radcliff is a star. She has a fantastic manner with clients. There is a ruthless efficiency to everything that she does.’

‘Joanne Radcliff is enthusiastic, hard-working and driven, and committed to her clients.  She’s a good communicator and proactive networker, both face-to-face and in social media.’

‘Helen Marriott leads the team and is first rate – I have recommended her to several friends and business associates and all of them have said how good she has been.’

Hall Brown Family Law

Hall Brown Family Law has a wealth of experience of advising on high-value financial remedy cases, matters involving children and pre/post-nuptial agreements for a range of clients including high-profile athletes. Practice head James Brown, who  is 'personable, pragmatic and approachable', has a particular focus on divorce and high-net-worth financial remedy proceedings. Other names to note are Andrew Newbury , a 'true star in Manchester matrimonial law circles' and 'excellent all-rounder' Sam Hall, while the team also continues to benefit from the huge experience of Beth Wilkins. Senior associate Laura Guillon is another key member of the team.

Practice head(s):

James Brown

Other key lawyers:

Izzy Walsh; Andrew Newbury

Testimonials

‘An excellent boutique Manchester city centre matrimonial firm offering the highest calibre of individual lawyers who all work together superbly as a team.’

‘Approachable and pragmatic, very joined up approach – you get the impression everyone in the team communicates and works together.’

‘James Brown is on the ball, personable, pragmatic and approachable.

‘Andrew Newbury has tons of experience, which means he can deal with anything.’

‘James Brown brings ability, and sound judgement to each case. His relationships with his clients are exceptional, striking the perfect balance between professionalism and approachability. James is not afraid to give tough advice where required.’

‘Andrew Newbury is a true star in Manchester matrimonial law circles. What he does not know about matrimonial finance is not worth knowing. He has a great manner with clients and shows true steel in his approach to opponents.’

‘James Brown has a true intellect combined with great street wisdom and a tough approach where necessary. Currently at the top of his game.

‘Sam Hall is an excellent all-rounder with great client care. A steady and inspiring lawyer to have at your side.’

Irwin Mitchell

The well-regarded family team at Irwin Mitchell work on a wide range of family-related matters, ranging from trusts to international prenuptial agreements, and is often brought in to 'rescue' complex cases from larger firms when tactical rethink is required or where mistakes have been made. The 'dynamic' Ros Bever, who heads up the national divorce and family team, is well-known for her track record of Supreme Court successes, and has built a strong profile as a go-to lawyer outside of London. The 'first-rate' Nathaniel Groarke is another name to note, while Hannah Saxe is a up-and-coming associate who gives 'pragmatic and realistic advice' to her clients.

Practice head(s):

Ros Bever; Nathaniel Groarke; Katie McCann

Testimonials

‘Ros Bever is very dynamic and incredibly hard-working. She is an excellent rainmaker, supplying her first-rate team with high quality work.’

‘The team are very approachable, available to answer queries and to offer support.’

‘The Irwin Mitchell team are focused on achieving the right solution for the client. They are energetic in delivering this to their clients and their ability to work as a team is unrivalled.’

‘Ros Bever goes beyond above and beyond for her clients – she is always available to them, always there to deal with their concerns, no matter how large or small.’

‘Ros Bever is stand-out in her dynamic, go-getting approach.’

‘Hannah Saxe is a very sound matrimonial lawyer, she really knows her stuff and gives pragmatic, realistic advice.’

‘Ros Bever is an astonishingly competent lawyer. She holds the facts of each of her complex cases in her head, and has an extraordinary grasp of detail.’

‘Nathaniel Groarke is a first-rate lawyer with excellent client-handling skills.’

‘Ros Bever is a dynamic head of department and a real star in the national firmanent. David Lister is superb with clients and a natural talent for grasping the issues in the case.’ 

Work highlights

  • Acted for a mother in her application to relocate to Malaysia. She wanted to return to the teaching profession after her daughter was born. As all of her experience is international, she was unable to obtain employment in the UK.
  • Advised a wife on a set-aside case after she discovered her husband, who she was divorcing, was a bigamist who had falsified documents and kept undisclosed accounts.
  • Acting for a wife in litigation relating to massive rising debt as a consequence of undertakings given in original proceedings in 2011 while the parties awaited the sale of the former matrimonial home and a Spanish villa.

JMW Solicitors LLP

The 'extremely knowledgeable, proactive and helpful' family team at JMW Solicitors LLP works on high value financial remedy cases that are often complex and span multiple jurisdictions. Practice co-head Elspeth Kinder is praised for her 'pragmatic, commercial approach' when handling complex cases and regularly advises clients on pre and post nuptial agreements. David Pickering is recommended for his excellent record on financial matters, while other names to note are the 'dedicated' Katie Lowe and associate Emma Benson.

Practice head(s):

Elspeth Kinder; Michael Chapman; Beverley Jones

Testimonials

‘A large specialist team which treat clients as individuals and which goes the last mile to secure their client’s best interests.’

‘This firm has a very strong reputation in this field. They are extremely knowledgeable, proactive and helpful with a great service.’

‘The team are very dedicated to providing the very best advice with regards to family law. Their knowledge of the fertility industry is fantastic and they are approachable and professional.’

‘Cara Nuttall fights her client’s case hard, whether it is a good or bad case. Never gives up.’

‘Michael Chapman stands out, he’s always incredibly helpful, efficient and approachable, with a great understanding of family law.’

‘Elspeth Kinder has a pragmatic, commercial approach to handling complex financial cases and being very good with clients. Katie Lowe has a wealth of experience and is dedicated to helping clients move forward in difficult circumstances.’

‘Beverley Jones is always on hand to provide excellent advice and client support. She is extremely knowledgeable and always goes out of her way to provide support and advice to healthcare professionals.’

Work highlights

  • Representing Tania Richardson-Ruhan in complex High Court proceedings to secure her share of c£200m assets on divorce; the assets also being the subject of related chancery proceedings.
  • Representing Charmaine De Souza (previously Rothschild) in complex financial remedy proceedings.
  • Acting for a mother in leading decision within which the interaction between competing wardship and Hague convention issues is determined by the court.

Maguire Family Law

The team at Maguire Family Law are 'highly experienced' and regularly act for well-known clients on high-value financial remedy matters as well as complex pre-and post-nuptial agreements. 'Extremely knowledgeable' practice head James Maguire, who founded the firm in 2010, is regarded as 'a superb lawyer and a superb leader', while another name to note is Denise Moran, who was promoted to partner in 2018 and is known for her expertise in divorce cases.

Practice head(s):

James Maguire; Henry Venables

Testimonials

‘Maguire Family Law is a highly experienced private client team with genuine approachability and has a reputation in the area that very few firms compare to. Sensitivity, attention to detail coupled with fair and competitive pricing are all high markers of the team.’ 

‘Very good people to do business with. They are caring, skilful, and professional. They have very good people throughout, and those people are loyal. Their firm is also supremely sustainable because it is run like a very good business.’

‘James Maguire is a superb lawyer and a superb leader. He is calm, balanced, likeable, and caring for his staff.’

‘James Maguire is very experienced and a good figurehead.’

‘Denise Moran is knowledgeable and good with client handling.’

‘Jennifer Curtis always has a thorough understanding of the case and is emphatic with clients.’

‘Kirsten Tomlinson not afraid to state her case in a skilful manner.’

‘James Maguire is extremely knowledgeable, approachable and very helpful in all matters. He is always clear, calm and reassuring which is critical in this area.’

‘James Maguire is very level-headed and inspires confidence.’

Mills & Reeve LLP

Mills & Reeve LLP, which is regarded as being 'one of the leading teams in this area of law', regularly advises on high-profile matters, including representing Resolution, the largest family justice organisation, on a pro bono basis at the Supreme Court hearing of high-profile divorce dispute Owens v Owens. Alison Bull is recognised for her 'innovative, excellent knowledge' and Nigel Shepherd has 'relentless commitment' to delivering family law reform. Another name to note is Rose-Marie Drury, who is a 'rising star in every respect'.

Practice head(s):

Alison Bull; Nigel Shepherd

Testimonials

‘The family team is generally regarded amongst its peers as being one of the leading teams in this area of law. They attract high-quality work and have a number of experienced and talented lawyers. Their commitment to alternative dispute resolution is one of their more unique strengths.’

‘Committed, innovative and hardworking.’

‘They are forward and innovative thinkers with a can do attitude. They are thinkers as well as efficient do-ers. Alison Bull is a standout partner who is innovative, has excellent knowledge and skill and is completely committed to guiding clients to a good outcome.’

‘Nigel Shepherd’s commitment to family law reform, and improving the family justice system for both practitioners and clients, is relentless.’

‘Alison Bull has a top class legal mind with a detailed grasp on the complexities of family law. Alison is also an innovator, leader and first class mediator, her constant and consistent client-focused attitude ensures a favourable outcome for all who engage her to act on their behalf.’

‘Rose-Marie Drury is a rising star in every respect, has the soft skills required for the role but the tenacity to drive the best results for the client – not to be underestimated.’

Weightmans LLP

The family team at Weightmans LLP specialises in high value complex matters for high-net-worth individuals and clients, with the firm's work often spanning multiple jurisdictions. Practice head Carole Atkinson has particular expertise dealing with offshore trusts and complex cases, while Fiona Davidson is a specialist in dealing with financial matters. Another name to note is associate Rachel Lim, who has acted on several cases involving overseas assets for clients.

Practice head(s):

Carole Atkinson

Aaron & Partners LLP

The family team at Aaron & Partners LLP have a 'depth of knowledge' and are 'very proactive' in their dealings with clients, which include business owners, professionals, sportsmen, land owners and wealthy retirees. The team is led by the 'excellent' Richard Barge who heads the Chester office and regularly works on high value and complex matters including nuptial agreements. The 'very reliable' Lorraine Saunders is another name to note, specialising in high-net-worth cases including offshore trusts and complex financial agreements. Senior associate Simon Mawdsley is also well regarded.

Practice head(s):

Richard Barge

Testimonials

‘Very proactive, with good communication skills. Transparency in dealing with clients.’

‘The depth of knowledge in the team led by Richard Barge is excellent.’

‘Lorraine Saunders has great empathy with clients, and makes them feel relaxed and confident in her abilities.’

‘Lorraine Saunders is very reliable – her advice is measured, realistic, to the point and gave me confidence.’

‘Richard Barge is an excellent solicitor – always incisive, ready to stand up for his client but equally sensitive to the realities of any case, and able to steer his clients towards pragmatic and sensible settlements.’

Farleys Solicitors LLP

Farleys Solicitors LLP acts for high-net-worth individuals including CEOs, business owners and sports personalities, with the firm's work often taking on an international bent. The team has recently grown to 12 lawyers now practising family law across its north west offices, handling matters covering divorce and financial remedy cases, including complex Schedule 1 Children Act applications. Team head Antonia Love regularly represents high-net-worth individuals in divorce cases.

Practice head(s):

Antonia Love

Testimonials

‘The people I worked with at Farleys were professional and knowledgeable and helped me get the best outcome for my case – communication was excellent.

Hill Dickinson LLP

The team at Hill Dickinson LLP have a 'friendly, efficient and razor sharp approach' to advising clients, which include high-profile individuals, sports personalities and key individuals at national companies. Joanne Raisbeck heads the team after being promoted to legal director in 2016 and specialises in high-net financial matters and pre/post-nuptial agreements.

Practice head(s):

Joanne Raisbeck

Testimonials

‘Friendly, efficient and razor sharp approach.’

‘Though a global firm can seem intimidating they themselves are not. I found everyone I came into contact with approachable, professional and clearly understood the situation and my needs. They are friendly and helpful and would highly recommend their services to others.’

‘Hill Dickinson deal with high value complex cases with professionalism and the highest quality of service. Whilst the team is small it is envied.’

‘Sarah McCarthy is bright and hardworking. She gives clients realistic and constructive advice. She gives 110% and is personable, approachable and clients love her.’

‘Joanne Raisbeck is a very good lawyer and her thoroughness and tenacity knows in my view no equal locally.’

‘Joanne Raisbeck is, in my opinion, the pre-eminent family lawyer in Liverpool. Her work ethic, commerciality and desire to do the very best for her client is second to none.’

‘Sarah McCarthy is excellent, very knowledgable and understanding. Clearly explained the divorce process. Very efficient, always returned phone calls and emails.’

‘The team is headed by Joanne Raisbeck, whose experience and knowledge in the field is second to none.’

Laytons LLP

The family team at Laytons LLP routinely acts for high-net-worth individuals throughout the north west on matters such as divorces and post-nuptial agreements, including several matters worth upwards of £10m. Team head Christine Barker is recognised for her experience in matrimonial finance and is often sought out by high-profile figures with complex financial issues to be resolved.

Practice head(s):

Christine Barker

MSB Solicitors Ltd

The 'responsive and motivated' family team at MSB Law LLP have a 'wide breadth of knowledge and experience in family law matters', handling high-value financial remedy matters, as well as cases involving children and care proceedings. 'Exceptional' practice head Emma Carey is well-regarded for her specialist experience in domestic matters while another name to note is Emma Palmer, who is recognised as a 'stand-out international children's lawyer'. The firm recently expanded its capabilities via a merger with eight-strong local firm PMC Family Law, a deal which saw PMC founding partner Pauline McNamara come on board as head of private client family.

Practice head(s):

Emma Carey

Testimonials

‘A responsive and motivated team of family solicitors who have a wide breadth of knowledge and experience in family law matters. The standards of legal advice and court advocacy is excellent whilst also retaining a human and personal link to clients needs.’

‘The individual solicitors in family law are highly motivated, knowledgeable and maintain clear communication throughout the case.’ 

‘Hard-working, knowledgeable and prepared to go the extra mile.’

‘Emma Palmer is knowledgeable and personable for the clients who are often vulnerable and needy. She works in a  difficult and complex area of the law and is compassionate to the core.’

‘Hayley Catherall is a credit to the firm, and knows family law inside out and I would not hesitate to recommend her.’

‘Emma Palmer is a standout international children’s lawyer in the north west.’

Work highlights

  • Represented child Alfie and parents Tom Evans and Kate James on application by Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust to withdraw treatment.
  • Represented respondent mother in application to return child to England involving two international conventions.
  • Represented a father when the local authority could not ascertain a placement to meet his child’s complex needs, resulting in the child being kept in Alder Hey Hospital with 24-hour guards.
  • Represented respondent mother in applications to reunite mother and children after local authority prevented daughter leaving England and father prevented sons leaving Sudan.
  • Represented a mother on a re-hearing of a finding of fact with regards to unsafe findings made in relation to exceptional and complex medical issues.

Myerson Solicitors LLP

The family team at Myerson Solicitors LLP is 'well-respected and acts for a wide range of clients', with 'articulate and efficient' practice head Jane Tenquist handling complex financial matters for high-net-worth clients and negotiating pre-nuptial agreements. Another name to note is the 'meticulous' Nichola Bright, who 'always gives well balanced advice' to clients, particularly in fertility and surrogacy issues.

Practice head(s):

Jane Tenquist

Testimonials

‘The team are well respected and act for a wide range of clients including professionals and business owners. The firm are making strides in developing their expertise in surrogacy and fertility law.’

‘Jane Tenquist has a strong history of working collaboratively with great results for clients. Sarah Whitelegge is pragmatic and very empathetic to clients needs.’

‘Jane Tenquist is very knowledgeable, deals with matters efficiently and is very supportive.’

‘Jane Tenquist is an extremely approachable and is professional in her line of work. She is articulate and very efficient.’

‘Nichola Bright is a meticulous lawyer who always gives well balanced advice. She has an empathy for her clients which ensures they feel that they are in safe hands.’

SAS Daniels LLP

The 'efficient, thoughtful and professional' family team at SAS Daniels LLP is spread across its four Cheshire offices, but the firm has in recent months begun to receive more work from further afield, with more instructions coming in from Shropshire, Birmingham and Leeds. The 'professional and intelligent' Shelley Chesworth, 'a little gem amongst lawyers', heads up the team, while fellow partner Denise Woodward has a 'professional, realistic and informative touch'.

Practice head(s):

Shelley Chesworth

Testimonials

‘Shelley Chesworth has impressed me highly – she is a little gem amongst lawyers. She is always on hand to reassure and give good advice, no matter how busy she is. She goes beyond what she needs to and has even took time to advice and reassure out of office hours and weekends. She does a brilliant job for a fair price, not taking advantage of the situation to make money. She is very professional and very intelligent.’ 

Slater Heelis LLP

Slater Heelis LLP's family team, which 'packs a punch in the local market', handles a broad range of work including matrimonial finance and disputes involving children and property. Key clients include sports and media personalities, business owners with complex company structures, CEOs and high-net-worth individuals. Mark Heptinstall heads the family department and specialises in high-net-worth complex cases, 'fighting his client's corner without compromise'. Patricia Robinson is also recommended for her 'good judgement' on cases, particularly for difficult children disputes, and her work is 'always meticulous'.

Practice head(s):

Mark Heptinstall

Testimonials

‘A first rate family team for divorce, children and financial matters. Strong leadership and a true team ethos permeates the department and you get a real sense of how committed each and every member of the team is across the board. Colleagues value their clients as individuals and one another and what they bring to the table.’

‘Slater Heelis pack a punch in the local market beyond the size of their team. They are highly regarded, impressively well managed and yet manage to ensure that clients are provided with sensible and realistic advice, to avoid litigation for litigation’s sake.’

‘Tricia Robinson is a top calibre matrimonial finance lawyer, normally working on high end and difficult cases. Tricia has excellent people skills and her work is always meticulous: a pleasure to work with.’

‘Patricia Robinson is fantastic. Knowledgeable, supportive, went beyond and above everything required. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend her.’

‘Phillip Rhodes is a rising star. He has an extremely strong work ethic, delivers and excellent service to clients without any compromise. His preparation is meticulous and approach is measured.’

‘Mark Heptinstall is a force to be reckoned with – he fights his client’s corner without compromise.’

‘Patricia Robinson delivers an excellent service. She has good judgement and is very approachable.’

Stephensons Solicitors LLP

The family team at Stephensons Solicitors LLP represent clients encompassing children, parents, couples, guardians and local authorities in all aspects of family and children law. Victoria Gethin, who now heads the department after taking over from Mike Devlin in 2018, specialises in complex children and domestic abuse matters. Senior associate Tim Gailbraith specialises in complex care proceedings, acting for parents, family members, and local authorities on a range of cases including adoption and child abduction

Practice head(s):

Victoria Gethin; Amanda Rimmer

Forbes Solicitors

The family department at Forbes Solicitors is split into two areas of expertise; public and private law. The public team handle matters relating to children via guardians and Cafcass, while the private law team has expertise in representing private clients in high-net-worth cases relating to finance and divorce-related proceedings, in addition to matters concerning children. Team head Rubina Vohra  is 'highly regarded' and is an 'extremely talented lawyer who works hard to deliver an outstanding service to her clients'. Judith Wright  is a 'stellar practitioner' and a 'compassionate and a skilled tactician'.

Practice head(s):

Rubina Vohra

Other key lawyers:

Judith Wright

Testimonials

‘The team offers a pragmatic approach to litigation that looks for solutions and focuses on the bigger picture.’

‘The team is stocked with consistently good lawyers who do not drop the ball. They have some truly exceptional solicitors who infect the team with their enthusiasm and have trained them well.’

‘This team can be relied upon to provide strength in depth and sensible advice to clients’

‘A powerhouse in the North West/Lancashire area. Consistently good.’

‘Within Lancashire they are the market leaders. They cater for clients with varying needs and work together to deliver a strong service.’

‘This team has a very strong foothold in the region and an equally strong reputation for divorce and children work. The exceptionally able Rubina Vohra manages the team with aplomb.’

‘Judith Wright is a stellar practitioner – compassionate and a skilled tactician. She is a skilled negotiator and is formidable at taking the negotiation to her advantage.’

‘Alexandria Reid is a pragmatist who is a tough opponent and will fight hard to advance her clients cause. She has excellent instincts for the correct outcome and will position her client accordingly.’

‘Gill Carr is an exceptional practitioner and always gives sensible moderate advice. When she is carrying out her own advocacy though she maintains a steely opposition and always makes her clients case well’

‘Shirley Wignall is an extremely experienced, competent, no-nonsense solicitor who has a significant practice and is respected throughout Lancashire.’

‘Rubina Vohra is an extremely talented lawyer who works hard to deliver an outstanding service to her clients. She actively manages a large team and heavy caseload with great success. Her ability to get to the crux of a case whilst still delivering a great service.’

‘Rubina is highly regarded and is spoken of most highly by clients.’

Linder Myers

Linder Myers' family team advises on all aspects of relationship breakdowns, with key clients including business owners and professionals such as doctors, dentists and lawyers. Former practice head Colin Davies recently left to join Kuit Steinart Levy LLP; the team's senior practitioners are now head of childcare and family Diane Cogan and principal lawyer Sarah McCarthy.

McAlister Family Law

The founding team at McAlister Family Law previously worked at Slater and Gordon before breaking away to form a niche family law practice in late 2017. The team specialises in divorce and private children work and provides a full-service offering, appealing to a wide range of clients, not just those from the high-net-worth market. The firm's children law team has three divisions: private, public and local authority and has a specialist divorce and finance team, and an international division. 'Hardworking and diligent' founding partner Amanda McAlister leads the team.

Practice head(s):

Amanda McAlister

Other key lawyers:

Liz Cowell

Testimonials

‘For a relatively new firm, McAlister has an excellent knowledge of the market place and a impressive range of clients. McAlister has leading knowledge of representing uniformed services within matrimonial proceedings as well as high profile clients in the North West. McAlister are formidable opponents for any of the leading firms across the country.’

‘I have worked with a number of, or all the solicitors in the family team for a number of years. The team has always been very professional, knowledgeable and approachable. I have always enjoyed working with the team and had confidence in their advocacy. It is my view what makes this team unique is their availability regardless of the hour when needing to seek advice.’

‘Excellent new firm with a wealth of experience in public law proceedings.’

‘They have specialist children’s panel solicitors with a length of experience in family law and in particular representing children. They also have a great back-up team of paralegals and administrators who are also knowledge and organised.’

‘A top notch team with strength and depth providing excellent service to local authorities, parents and children’s guardians. Can only go from strength to strength.’

‘What makes it unique is that most, if not all of the senior solicitors have at some point worked together at other firms where they built formidable reputations. Although they ultimately practised for different firms they have now reunited in one firm. They represent the cream of Manchester solicitors in public law children work and have some very good practitioners in private law children and money work.’

‘I have worked with McAllister Family Law since the department was set up a few months ago. I was aware of the excellence of the solicitors that set up the department from working with them in other firms.’

‘McAlister Family Law is made up of some of the most respected family practitioners in the north west region – la creme de la creme, one might say. The team consists of practitioners with a broad spectrum of expertise, all of whom are justifiably well respected within their particular fields.’

‘I am impressed by the strong leadership and wealth of knowledge across the field from Amanda McAlister as well as by the great team that has been established with expert knowledge across a range of disciplines within family law, which is the unique and specialist focus of this firm.’

‘Amanda McAlister continues to attract excellent quality work. She has an impressive position nationally and attracts work from all over the country. Amanda is clearly hardworking and diligent.’

‘Fiona Wood is a star in the north west. She works tirelessly for her clients and is scrupulous in her preparation.’

‘Charlotte Percy is a rising star in the north west. She continues to represent a broad client base whilst committing to charitable causes.’

‘Nicola McDaid is an outstanding solicitor who prepares for cases meticulously, is realistic with clients about likely outcomes and pursues with tenacity the key points that will make a difference to the outcome for her client.’

‘Nick Hodson I have known since he was a trainee. I have therefore seen him grow and develop into a highly respected solicitor with a national reputation.’

‘Paul Webb. He is incredibly organised and has an amazing capacity for detail.’

‘Paul Webb is bright, articulate and capable of considering all sides of the argument which in turn ensures that clients receive the best legal advice particular to their circumstances. Paul is enthusiastic and works hard for each and every client whilst also being able to manage expectations – a quality often undervalued. Paul is a battler when he needs to be yet always retains his professionalism. He is open to frank discussion around the best way forward in the interests of his clients. He is logical and cool under pressure.’

‘Amanda McAlister offers a wealth of experience in the field of family law at the highest level, and has longstanding experience of working to support police officer clients, who often have circumstances that need knowledgeable support, whether it be managing childcare whilst working shifts or pensions.’

Slater and Gordon

Slater and Gordon's family team handles a range of divorce and financial matters in the north west, as well as on an international level. The firm regularly acts for high net-worth individuals including professional sportspeople, captains of industry, entertainers and their spouses. Lorraine Harvey heads the team while also advising high-net-worth clients on complex financial matters. Amy Dawber joined the firm in 2019 from Forbes Solicitors.

Practice head(s):

Lorraine Harvey

Stowe Family Law LLP

Stowe Family Law LLP is one of the UK's largest dedicated family law firms, and its north west team has recognised experience in dealing with cases involving businesses, trusts and international aspects. The team, which is spread across offices in Altrincham, Manchester and Wilmslow, also has experience of cases involving Islamic law, and offers a bespoke service to north west clients. Helen Miller, head of the Altrincham office, 'shows outstanding commitment to her clients'.

Practice head(s):

Helen Miller (Altrincham); Gareth Curtis (Manchester); Lesley Smythe (Wilmslow)

Testimonials

‘Although the firm has a national presence, the team retains a ‘local’ feel.’

‘An excellent team that delivers an excellent service to clients. As a team they work cohesively together to diver a first-rate service to clients. Cases are meticulously well prepared and the quality of care provided to clients is high. They are amongst the market leaders.’

‘Helen Miller shows outstanding commitment to her clients.’

‘Jenny Reddy is a one to watch – she is exceptionally hard working, fights her client’s case fearlessly and robustly and ensures that she delivers.

‘Camilla Burton-Baddeley is hardworking and passionate about her cases. She delivers a top-rate service to her clients.’

Susan Howarth & Company Solicitors

Susan Howarth & Company Solicitors is a niche family law practice which acts for a wide range of both private and public law family clients. The firm has experience in dealing with emerging legal matters, such as cases involving internal relocation and disputes regarding the children of same-sex couples. Team head Susan Howarth 'has all the experience, good sense and legal expertise to be a true star in the field'.

Practice head(s):

Susan Howarth

Testimonials

‘The practice almost has a family feel about it, in which I mean, you are made to feel part of the family. The company has a background where individuals have worked in social support, thus giving them a unique perspective to family practice and law with a helpful serving of compassion.’

‘I was never made to feel like a ‘client’ – I always felt supported and that my case was important. I felt listened too, and whenever I needed urgent advice, they made sure that I was able to speak to somebody quickly – a real personal touch.’

‘A reliable, hardworking team who work efficently and with great care.’

‘Susan Howarth is not only prepared to give good and honest advice and guidance, but is always prepared to listen. I have always found Susan has a way of releasing me from part or all of the pressures involved in family matters.

‘Susan Howarth has all the experience, good sense and legal expertise to be a true star in the field. She looks for the pragmatic and cost effective solutions for her clients, but will fight hard when necessary.’

Vardags

The family team at Vardags represents prestige clients with high-value assets, including international and Premier League footballers. The team specialises in high-net-worth and complex matrimonial cases, and during the past year the team has grown from four to 14 members of staff. Practice head Emma Gill specialises in divorce and matrimonial finance and acts for clients including CEOs of multimillion-pound companies.

Practice head(s):

Emma Gill

Ward Hadaway

Ward Hadaway's family team has a strong reputation for its work for successful business figures, entrepreneurs and sports stars, with a track record of advising on financial remedy cases and matters involving children. Martin Karran heads the team and also handles a wide range of complex financial claims relating to business and family assets.

Practice head(s):

Martin Karran

BPS Family Law LLP

The niche family law team at BPS Family Law LLP is led by 'top notch solicitor' Caroline Swain, who acts on contested divorces involving disputes over trusts and other financial matters, often involving multimillion-pound sums. The firm aims to set itself apart from others with its use of fixed fees for divorce and bundling, as well as agreements with clients for costs to be paid upon settlement.

Practice head(s):

Caroline Swain

Testimonials

‘A dynamic, specialist boutique family law practice in Hale, outside Manchester city centre, where there is a high demand for this sort of service.’

‘BPS Family Law are breath of fresh air. I was kept informed of all correspondence, advised each step of the way and was very pleased by the transparent and detailed approach to client billing.’

‘Caroline and her team provide a hands-on, personal service which sets them apart from the larger, corporate firms.’

‘Caroline Swain is very down to earth and willing to give realistic advice to clients, even if unpalatable.’

‘Caroline Swain is a top notch solicitor. Not stuffy nor judgemental, Caroline cuts to the heart of the case in hand and always has your best interests in hand. Caroline is an extremely approachable and practical individual and ensures her clients understand what can realistically be achieved.’

‘Caroline Swain – a superb combination of having the eye for detail and great worldly wisdom. Knows exactly how to give clear advice to a client.’

‘Caroline Swain conducts client conversations in a very relaxed manner. She answers questions and provides feedback that may not always be welcomed, but it is practical, honest and ultimately helpful in achieving the desired outcomes.’

Work highlights

  • Successfully represented respondent following divorce of 25 years which resulted in the applicant’s financial claims being dismissed, despite a significant disparity in wealth.

Clarke Willmott LLP

Clarke Willmott LLP works with a diverse range of high-net-worth clients, handling complex matters relating to divorce and wealth protection, as well as issues regarding family business arrangements. The firm also has expertise in private law children matters. Chris Longbottom 'leads the team with experience and authority'.

Practice head(s):

Chris Longbottom

Testimonials

‘The people I have dealt with have been extremely friendly, helpful and understanding of my situation.’

They make dealing with legal issues easy with their easy-to-understand approach

‘Chris Longbottom is very approachable and personable.’

‘The family law team invest in every single client –  they make you feel like you’re the only client that matters’

‘Chris Longbottom is extremely knowledgeable about his sector of expertise, particularly in divorce law. He finds it easy to identify with clients and uses his previous case experience well to outline to clients how he can add value.’

‘Chris Longbottom leads the team with experience and authority. He has an excellent relationship with his clients and the service he provides goes above and beyond in terms of the support and dedication he offers to clients.’

‘Emily Barcilon is a rising star. She has a clear eye for detail and adopts a thorough approach to case preparation. This, teamed with her calm and personable demeanour makes her an excellent choice for family clients. ‘

‘Chris Longbottom is a well-known, highly experienced family lawyer.’

Gorvins Solicitors

The family team at Gorvins Solicitors 'punches above its weight' and provides a bespoke one-to-one solicitor/client relationship to its clients. The team routinely handles family matrimonial matters while also boasting a specialism in police family law. Associate solicitor Kerry Lees-Russell is 'a favourite with clients'

Practice head(s):

Nicola McInnes

Testimonials

‘Kerry Lees-Russell is a very knowledgeable solicitor. She is professional, friendly and approachable.’

‘Kerry Russell stands out for her strong but calm approach. She is a favourite with clients who appreciate her warm, friendly manner and ability to incisively analyse the issues in a case in order to deliver favourable results.’

‘Nicola Fraser works very hard for her clients and is adept at turning difficult cases round positively. She delivers with a consistently commercial and practical approach.’

‘Although a small team it has excellent associates and punches above its weight.’

gunnercooke LLP

gunnercooke LLP provides a 'very personal and bespoke service' to individuals with a one-on-one client focus. The firm has significant experience in complex divorce proceedings and finance matters. Practice head Roland Humphreys, who joined from Slater and Gordon in early 2018, has 'particularly well honed and sound judgement' and expertise in matrimonial finance, as well as highly complex cross-border child arrangement matters.

Practice head(s):

Roland Humphreys

Testimonials

‘A very personal, bespoke service backed up by the resources and support of a large organisation with a wide range of expertise. This flexibility enables each case to be dealt with in the way which is right for the individual client.’ 

‘Roland Humphreys is the most outstanding family lawyer that I have come across in over 35 years of practice. He has particular expertise in dealing with high-net-worth money cases including agricultural businesses and companies. He has a good grasp of detail but is also very commercially aware and practical.’ 

‘Roland Humphreys has particularly well honed and sound judgement to detect quickly and effectively the strengths and weaknesses of his client’s cases. Once instructed his commitment and determination to obtain the best outcome is absolute and unwavering. His strengths are his legal knowledge and his personalised client care approach and willingness to tell his client ‘how it is’ throughout his engagement.’

Jolliffe & Co LLP

The family team at Jolliffe & Co LLP offers a full range of commercial and private client services, with a client base consisting of high-net-worth individuals, business owners and other high-profile professionals. The team has been strengthened by the arrival of practice head Elizabeth Hassall in 2019, who previously ran Elizabeth Hassall Family Law. Hassall leaves 'no stone unturned and has a keen eye for detail while maintaining the highest standards of client care.'

Practice head(s):

Elizabeth Hassall

Testimonials

‘Elizabeth Hassall is an excellent matrimonial lawyer, with a keen eye for detail. She is knowledgeable and the consummate professional.’

‘Elizabeth Hassall’s measured approach allows her clients to feel confident that they are in good hands and that they matter. Elizabeth’s wise advice delivered in her calm manner is invaluable.’

‘Elizabeth Hassall has recently relocated to Chester from Manchester and this is a significant addition to the Chester ‘set’. Elizabeth leaves no stone unturned and has a keen eye for detail whilst maintaining the highest standards of client care. Elizabeth is commercially astute and acts for an array of wealthy business people with often complex corporate structures and significant income.’

KBL Solicitors LLP

The family team at KBL Solicitors LLP, which is is led by the 'calm and confident' Victoria Melling, 'consistently punches above its weight on family matters', helping high-net-worth clients to reach complex financial settlements in matrimonial proceedings. The team also advises on pre-nuptial and cohabitation agreements, Children Act cases and other issues arising from relationship breakdowns.

Practice head(s):

Victoria Melling

Other key lawyers:

Ceri Thomas

Testimonials

‘This tiny department consistently punches above its weight on family matters. Led by the calm and confident Victoria Melling and ably assisted by Ceri Thomas, early growth is highly likely to be built upon in coming months and years as the department gains ground locally.’

‘The practice has a very able and accomplished family department who have worked together for a significant amount of time as a team – which brings strength to what they offer. They support and compliment each other in their experience and areas of interest and expertise.’

‘Well placed to provide a great local service with a high level of skill and professionalism matching the city firms in Manchester.’

‘Victoria Melling revels in the challenge of working with her clients to get the best, cost-effective outcome for them. Her clients value her advice and expertise.’

‘Ceri Thomas is passionate and compassionate about her work with families and someone who is versatile, organised and has an eye for detail which flows into her client care and compliments her legal work.’

‘Victoria Melling always has a very professional, determined but fair approach – she clearly stands up for her clients.’

Key clients

Resolution

Kuit Steinart Levy LLP

The team at Kuit Steinart Levy LLP cover the full spectrum of family law issues but is predominantly known for matters involving divorce and wealth protection. On the financial side, the team advises on trust arrangements, including those held offshore, complex business arrangements and significant property assets. The team's client base comprises high-net-worth individuals, including sports personalities and individuals from wealthy families. 'Very capable and approachable' senior associate Michael Gregory now heads the team after previous department head Katie McCann's departure for Irwin Mitchell. The team was also recently strengthened in 2018 by the arrival of former Linder Myers family law head Colin Davies.

Practice head(s):

Michael Gregory

Testimonials

‘Kuits are known for their expertise in high net worth cases. Their attention to detail is meticulous and, unlike some other firms, they give realistic and sensible advice from the outset with a view to early negotiated settlement with a view to minimising the emotional and financial costs inherent in contested proceedings.’

‘A niche but very well regarded team that benefits from a lot of cross-referral work from within the firm.’

‘Michael Gregory is the face of Kuits family team. He displays qualities in abundance and in addition he has great client care skills – a supreme be side manner. He instills confidence in his clients who feel they have someone on their side.’

‘Michael Gregory and associate Madelaine Hailey really stand out. Michael deals with not only financial cases, but is developing an increasingly bigger surrogacy practice. Madelaine concentrates on finance matters primarily.’

Nexus Solicitors Limited

Nexus Solicitors Limited's family department primarily advises on financial disputes and child arrangements following relationship breakdowns. The Manchester team acts for a diverse client base of both national and international scope, which includes international businesspeople, well-known local figures and celebrities, as well as leading figures in sectors such as health, finance and public service.

Practice head(s):

Janet Fleming

Work highlights

  • Acted for a wife in divorce proceedings where the relevance of the husband’s hitherto hidden intention to undergo transgender reassignment surgery was in issue, not least in relation to his resulting loss of employment.
  • Successfully acted for the female partner in an unmarried relationship, who had allowed her partner to invest £1m of her assets, only to find that he had done so in his sole name.
  • Acted for a husband, a wealth tax adviser whose fortunes had been affected following high profile tax avoidance schemes being attacked by HMRC, which was widely reported in the national press.
  • Acted for an international businessman with multimillion-pound assets, securing a settlement which was designed to meet his former wife’s need for a home and an income stream rather than providing her with the equal share of his capital assets she had requested.
  • Acted for several well-known media figures in cases which involve disputes over the financial arrangements for their children as well as attempts to limit the amount of time that they can spend with their children.

Shoosmiths LLP

The family team at Shoosmiths LLP specialises in complex matters involving children, as well as other disputes involving international elements. The firm regularly acts for high-net-worth clients regarding the distribution of marital and non-marital assets, and has an in-house forensic accountant to assist in identifying business interests and hidden assets. The 'committed and focused' and 'thoroughly professional' Anita Shepherd heads the team.

Practice head(s):

Anita Shepherd

Testimonials

‘Anita Shepherd and her team provide a comprehensive and sensible approach to family law disputes. Advice is given early on and in a practical and effective manner. Overall, the family team provide an exceptional legal service.’

‘Anita Shepherd is amazing. Communication is always clear, she is concise and she clear in what she is discussing, but also has a genuine care regarding the outcome for the client’

‘All members of staff are very driven and the work ethic is at the forefront.’

Watson Ramsbottom

The family team at Watson Ramsbottom specialises in complex areas of family law including online abuse and use of technology in stalking, cyberstalking and harassment cases. Rachel Horman is 'outstanding in her field' and regularly deals with domestic abuse cases. Stephanie Pollitt advises clients on all areas of domestic violence and children law.

Practice head(s):

Rachel Horman; Stephanie Pollitt; Jonathan Leach

Testimonials

‘A very knowledgeable and responsive practice which gets real results for clients.’

‘Very knowledgeable public and private law children, domestic abuse, forced marriage and stalking team with a national reputation for the work they do. Committed fee earners throughout the team from senior solicitors like Rachel Horman and Stephanie Pollitt through to junior members at trainee level.’

‘Rachel Horman, Stephanie Pollit and Sharon Short are all knowledgeable in their field of expertise and are dedicated to their work and giving a good service to their clients.’

‘Rachel Horman has a national reputation for the work she does, attracting clients from across the UK. Stephanie Pollitt acts for parents and children and is kind and knowledgeable with a keen eye for detail – she is totally committed to her clients and local community.’

‘Rachel Horman is a brilliant advocate and solicitor for our domestic abuse victims/survivors, she is outstanding in her field, very supportive and client led.’