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Family in North

David Gray Solicitors LLP

The highly specialised group at David Gray Solicitors LLP fields respected experts in the key areas of family law, including divorce and child arrangements, as well as offering more niche services such as adoption. Practice head Lucy Mead is known for her focus on domestic abuse, advanced financial provision and cohabitation work. Children law specialist Elspeth Thomson continues to successfully represent adopters and children in cases where there is a foreign element. 'Exceptionally excellent family lawyerMary Shaw is noted for her dispute resolution expertise, which includes assisting with mediation and collaborative practice. Claire Hunter and Lesley Monkhouse are also much lauded by clients.

Practice head(s):

Lucy Mead

Other key lawyers:

Mary Shaw; Elspeth Thomson; Claire Hunter; Lesley Monkhouse


‘This is my first dealing with family solicitors and David Gray helped me as much as I could possibly have imagined. Communication throughout the firm was faultless. Online billing was easy and during the pandemic there was always someone available on the other end of the phone.’

‘I went to David Gray solicitors based on their reputation within the industry with regards to family matters. In particular my solicitor, Elspeth Thomson, surpassed everything I wished for. Her knowledge, judgement, perseverance and the ability to make me feel at ease during the most difficult time of my life was completely unparalleled. We were challenged with the adversity of the pandemic but I never once felt that I was at a disadvantage with my case, the use of technology by Elspeth which aided our communication was exemplary. I would not hesitate to recommend David Gray Solicitors, but would rather unequivocally endorse Elspeth Thomson for any future fathers out there looking to see their children.’

‘This team never stop – they work every hour of the day to make a difference. Their commitment and dedication to fairness and justice is outstanding. Even during the challenges of Covid-19, they managed to make it work seamlessly via online meetings and support through virtual court. Testament to their capability to put client relationships first throughout the pandemic.’

‘Lesley Monkhouse, Lucy Mead and Elspeth Thompson – I have a fantastic working relationship with all three. They never fail to impress me with their high standards, their professionalism and their client commitment. ’

‘David Gray Solicitors and in particular Lucy Mead’s main strength is their professionalism and empathy. Lucy’s experience and approachable personality meant that she made an experience that was extremely stressful and distressing for me, manageable. Throughout the proceedings, I felt that I was in safe hands and trusted Lucy entirely in all the decisions she made (with my consultation). She really took the time to listen to me and reassured me along the way.’

‘I have worked with Mary Shaw in a difficult divorce case involving children, complex financial issues and lots of anxieties. Mary managed to find the right balance in an ethical approach to divorce yet to firmly defend my interests. Mary has a special gift to combine ethical family issues with safeguarding my financial interests that helped me get through this difficult time. This served both my legal, emotional and ethical needs. Mary was approachable yet professional, she was experienced in her work yet supported individual pathways. The divorce was completed several years ago to my full satisfaction and more recently we resolved an issue regarding child maintenance, in which Mary showed willingness and ability to improvise against the background of her expertise. I believe that this is an unusual very positive trait in a family lawyer for which I will always be grateful. In short, I have nothing but praise for Mary Shaw as an exceptionally excellent family lawyer. ’

‘Elspeth Thomson is extremely able and effective and always full of good ideas. Claire Hunter is practical and sensible, whilst Lesley Monkhouse is vastly experienced and highly respected. Lucy Mead and Mary Shaw are also excellent. All are intelligent and knowledgeable and willing to assist other lawyers by offering practical solutions.’

‘Lucy Mead is a highly experienced and well regarded member of the team. She is well respected for her sound and sensible advice. She is a trusted and respected solicitor who supports her clients and manages their expectations appropriately. She always goes the extra mile.’

Major Family Law

Highly regarded boutique firm Major Family Law has continued its trajectory of team growth; in March 2020 the team welcomed Stephanie Layton, formerly of Hay & Kilner, and in January 2021 Sahil Aggarwal joined the group from London-based firm Moore Barlow. They join an established offering, which includes founder and managing director Joanne Major, 'stand-out individualAnna Hunter, 'outstanding performerLucinda Connell, commercial specialist Jonathan Dunkley and noted associate Sam Carter. The practice is equally versed in complex work relating to divorce, children and financial issues arising out of relationship breakdowns, and several of the practitioners have extensive experience of assisting with cases relating to international relocation of children.

Practice head(s):

Joanne Major

Other key lawyers:

Anna Hunter; Lucinda Connell; Jonathan Dunkley; Sam Carter; Stephanie Layton; Sahil Aggarwal


‘Anna Hunter is a stand-out individual and worthy of the highest praise. Client handling, attention to detail and professional support is the most impressive I have ever seen/experienced. Utterly supportive of counsel, firm in giving realistic advice to lay clients and realistic in setting expectations. Utterly organised, comprehensive instructions, bright and always available. A genuine pleasure to work with and would unequivocally recommend.’

‘Joanne Major and Lucinda Connell are both outstanding performers in the field of matrimonial finance – highly experienced, excellent client-care skills, tenacious and determined to secure positive outcomes for their clients.’

‘The team is very knowledgeable and up to date with legal proceedings. Very friendly and helpful in stressful times for clients. The communication is honest and transparent, you know everything step by step. The costs are very reasonable comparing to other firms.’

‘The practice offered great advice and also when any issue was raised it was resolved very quickly. Always responsive and articulate and accurate in their suggested approach.’

‘First class service – their attention to detail and clients’ needs are exceptional.’

‘Very good mix of experience and younger talent. Very high quality service.’

‘Very collaborative team, with real strength and depth. I’ve worked extensively with them this last year and with (I think) every single member of the team: they are all real quality lawyers.’

‘Under the strong leadership of Joanne Major and the recruitment of well regarded family lawyers, Major Family Law has carved out an excellent reputation in the North East and beyond for offering sound family law advice. A well run law firm with a good team behind its very well regarded figurehead.’


Silk Family Law

The 'seamless team' at boutique firm Silk Family Law is regularly sought out by high-net-worth business owners, landowners and farmers to handle complex finance cases arising from divorce and separation. The practice benefits greatly from the presence of experienced in-house barrister Ian Kennerley, and was recently further strengthened by the arrival of solicitor Eleanor Lowes from the London office of Mills & Reeve LLP. Other recommended group members include founding partner Kim Fellowes, 'class actMargaret Simpson and Wayne Lynn, who specialises in the growing areas of cohabitation agreements and pre- and post-nuptial arrangements. Several practitioners at the firm also have notable expertise in children law issues.

Other key lawyers:

Kim Fellowes; Ian Kennerley; Margaret Simpson; Wayne Lynn; Eleanor Lowes


‘They have experience and knowledge, combined with teamwork and the will to win. It’s all about very capable people understanding your case and being in the trenches with you. Kim Fellowes and her team exemplified this approach and Ian Kennerley put my case forward with passion and intelligence.’

‘Their team act like a family. There is always someone available for advice and support. I have recommended Silk to friends all of whom have had the same positive experience.’

‘My solicitor at the firm is Wayne Lynn. He has guided and supported me through an extremely toxic divorce. He has helped me with a great deal of compassion and understanding, sometimes contacting me after hours and at weekends if he has felt it necessary. I have also been lucky to have Ian Kennerley as my Barrister. With Ian being an in-house Barrister this has meant that he has been fully involved in my case every step of the way.’

‘A seamless team with no visible gaps.’

‘Margaret Simpson is at the top of her game. Huge experience combined with warmth and professionalism.’

‘Ian Kennerley, Kim Fellowes and Wayne Lynn are all very well regarded on the North East circuit. You’d struggle to find a harder working lawyer than Kim Fellowes anywhere. She has great attention to detail and fights her client’s case but is pragmatic when arriving at solutions. You’d certainly want her on your side.’

‘Silk Family law are a professional and outstanding firm. They have the means to provide a fantastic and knowledgeable end to end service – with constant peer review meaning that my case received the best advice and guidance possible. Having been through extremely complex, drawn out Children Act proceedings (extended due to Covid and circumstances) the team at Silk were and still are fabulous throughout – reassuring and sensitively handled the case in every aspect inclusive of billing and time spent.’

‘Margaret Simpson is a class act with years of experience which shows in the clear advice she gives her clients and her tactical but not game playing approach on cases. A pleasure to work with.’


Swinburne Maddison LLP

With accredited mediator and collaborative lawyer Kath Hill at the helm, Swinburne Maddison offers an alternative approach to dispute resolution wherever possible, including advising on all aspects of divorce, separation and children arrangements. Associates Catherine Lowther and Natalia Lalas are both highly recommended; the former has particular expertise in the international relocation of children and regularly provides specialist advice to same sex couples in relation to the use of donors when looking to start a family, while the latter's wide practice encompasses cohabitee property disputes, civil partnership dissolutions and surrogacy matters.

Practice head(s):

Kath Hill

Other key lawyers:

Natalia Lalas; Catherine Lowther


‘The practice made the whole divorce process easy to navigate. They were accessible, approachable and I never struggled to find any information I required.’

‘Kath Hill was incredibly supportive, honest and spoke sense in a none legalistic way, making everything she explained easy to understand.’

‘I found the family team to be very efficient, client focused and good value for money. I felt the team worked together and things were not left if my solicitor was unavailable.’

‘Natalia Lalas was extremely hard working, focused and an excellent advocate. She was extremely supportive throughout my case and I could not have got through it without her.’

‘There is no doubt that Swinburne Maddison and their family law staff are efficient, effective and provide a first class service. Although Natalia Lalas has been the main solicitor we have dealt with, we should mention Kath Hill and Catherine Lowther who are also part of the family law team with first class knowledge and also provide an excellent service.’

‘Kath Hill is personable, engaged and professional. Kath guided me through a lengthy process, followed up queries promptly and gave me great assurance along the way.’

‘The family team are extremely professional yet friendly and approachable. I have experienced a consistently high standard of work. The team excels at communication and meeting deadlines. The team are easy to reach, quick to respond and very committed to finding solutions to problems for clients.’

‘I have worked closely with Catherine Lowther on a number of cases. She is highly professional with a wealth of knowledge. She is friendly and approachable whilst maintaining a high standard of professionalism. We have worked together on a number of difficult cases; Catherine always presents with a strong work ethic and commitment. It is a pleasure to work with Catherine on any case, as I know that the standard is one of the best I have experienced.’

Work highlights

  • Acting in connection with complex care proceedings, with associated jurisdictional and immigration issues.
  • Advising on the terms of a pre-nuptial agreement which required detailed consideration of jurisdictional issues and significant assets, including overseas properties.
  • Successfully represented a client in divorce proceedings involving significant high-value matrimonial capital assets.


At Burnetts, practice head Simon Mortimer has several key areas of focus; he is known for handling the financial and property aspects of farming divorces, for advising on complex children matters involving cross-border elements, extended family issues or adoption applications, and for assisting older couples with significant assets with divorce proceedings. Mortimer is ably supported by associate Emma Armstrong, who is regularly instructed by separating unmarried couples, teachers and NHS employees, as well as dealing with cases involving findings of fact where there are allegations of abuse and domestic violence.

Practice head(s):

Simon Mortimer

Other key lawyers:

Emma Armstrong


‘Emma Armstrong took over a very complex divorce case and took the time to talk me through every step and the consequences of each step. Her knowledge of family matters as well pensions is outstanding.’

‘My solicitor was Simon Mortimer and I couldn’t have been happier with the choice I made. Simon was warm and empathetic from the start and I felt that he listened and understood my situation and gave great advice. Simon was clear from the start in what direction I should take and I had 100% confidence from the start. I have huge admiration for him. I felt that he went above and beyond in what he did for me in terms of being a solicitor but I also turned to him when I felt worried where he would always help me to stay positive and give me good advice. He has superb people skills and all the work he did for me was always prompt, clear and easy to understand.’

‘The people who I have spoken to and dealt with at the practice have always been warm, welcoming and very professional.’

‘I would like to mention Simon Mortimer, as a family lawyer who dealt with my case thoughtfully, compassionately and above all professionally.’

Hay & Kilner

High value, complex divorce work forms the cornerstone of the practice at Hay & Kilner, and is a particular area of expertise for team lead Nicola Matthews. In key recent developments, the group welcomed back noted practitioner Christian Butler, who began his career with the firm; his caseload includes disputes arising from separations involving complex assets, companies, pensions and property portfolios, and he also acts for parents and wider family members in matters relating to arrangements for children. Other recommended members of the department include senior associate Kerry Kelso and associate Leanne Sutherland.

Practice head(s):

Nicola Matthews

Other key lawyers:

Leanne Sutherland; Kerry Kelso; Christian Butler


‘I used the services of Nicola Mathews from Hay & Kilner in relation to a matrimonial case. I valued the very professional, honest and frank advice given. The service provided was exactly as requested, without additional or unnecessary costs incurred.’


Ward Hadaway LLP

Ward Hadaway consists of two equally experienced and specialised sub-teams; Jonathan Flower heads up the children and safeguarding practice while Sarah Crilly takes the lead on relationship breakdown work. Complex litigation, including domestic and international relocation, cases involving injuries to children and adoption issues, is regularly handled by Flower, with the assistance of recommended associate Louise Cannell-Mirza and managing associate Simon Dakers (a recent arrival from Gordon Brown Law Firm LLP). On the matrimonial side, multi-jurisdictional divorce proceedings continue to make up the bulk of the work. Hollie Morgan is much lauded by clients, and is singled out as 'a credit to her team'.

Practice head(s):

Jonathan Flower; Sarah Crilly

Other key lawyers:

Louise Cannell-Mirza; Hollie Morgan; Simon Dakers


‘I believe firmly matters pertaining to Family Law are in their very nature personal and so in this regard I wanted to find a firm and team of people that I felt had my best interests at heart. I must say I most definitely found that in Ward Hadaway. From the initial consultation, I was given confidence and felt assured my case would be dealt with well. I received fantastic advice on the most appropriate way to proceed, likely costs were all made clear from the onset. Communication was timely and well written. I have been most impressed with particularly Sarah Crilly and Hollie Morgan.’

‘Hollie Morgan was really helpful and approachable for me to ask lots of questions about the process and possible options available. As everything was dealt with via remotely, I found it helpful to talk with Hollie about the situation and what the available options and possible outcomes were. Hollie was supportive, helpful, gave the legal implications and outlined the process for me. I was able to double check legal jargon that I didn’t quite understand and she was helpful in meeting my needs and requirements. Provided comprehensive legal advice in a supportive manner.’

‘After having spoken to several local firms, I had been recommended Sarah Crilly by a close friend and after speaking with Sarah Crilly initially I must say I was taken aback by her professionalism, integrity, honesty and sensitivity. I have every confidence in her abilities, on a personal note I must say she really helped me in a difficult time and l would unreservedly recommend her to anyone who is need of legal advice or services. I’d like to highlight the great work also by Hollie Morgan who oversaw the majority of my divorce proceedings, she is a credit to her team, highly professional and attentive to detail, had excellent communication skills and I wish her all the best.’


The offering at Bendles is divided into two distinct sub-groups; Alison Bone and practice head Rebecca Tonkin are highly experienced in children matters, including care proceedings, adoption, special guardianship and complex private law cases, while Vivienne Clough and consultant Doug Claxton take the lead on matrimonial work. In January 2020, the firm extended its reach into South Cumbria with the arrival of Elanor Findlay (formerly of Poole Townsend), whose practice spans a wide range of family law work, including civil partnership dissolutions, cohabitation disputes, pre- and post-nuptial agreements, and injunctive relief.

Practice head(s):

Rebecca Tonkin

Other key lawyers:

Alison Bone; Vivienne Clough; Doug Claxton; Elanor Findlay


‘Vivienne Clough is one of the most professional people I have ever worked with and I have no hesitation in recommending family, friends, colleagues and clients to her as I know that she will get good results and will pull out all the stops to get the best possible outcome for her clients. I have dealt with her for many years and always found her to have the highest level of integrity and that she leaves no stone unturned for her clients. She has a first class reputation across the city and is admired and respected by her peers.’

‘I was very pleased with the response I received from my first phone call made to Bendles and the staff I spoke to. I was dealt with promptly, professionally and most of all with compassion from the outset, which gave me great confidence in the advice I was being given. I instructed Vivienne Clough and since that date have received an excellent service.’

‘I wish to give a special mention to Vivienne Clough who has constantly made herself available to me throughout the whole proceedings. With the added complications of the Covid restrictions and going down the route of an arbitration hearing, she has guided me through the complex nature of the case and explained every aspect to me in a way I could comprehend. I feel she has also gone beyond the normal duties and supported me emotionally when need to ensure I had the strength to see the proceedings through thus far.’

‘Excellent staff, with brilliant knowledge, they are great with communicating, and always act fast, which when going through a legal dispute is key.’

‘I have the highest regard for Alison Bone and Rebecca Tonkin. I have complete faith and trust in their expertise and professional opinion and guidance. To speak colloquially, I know 100% that they have my back at all times.’

‘Excellent team work, support from all the staff and very helpful advice.’

‘Vivienne Clough has many years of experience in matrimonial matters and achieves positive outcomes for clients. Doug Claxton is also vastly experienced in matrimonial matters and gives clients professional advice in an understanding way given the fraught circumstances which often arise.’

‘Very professional and knowledgeable in their practice. Often work with vulnerable children clients and are able to do so in an empathetic manner and understand their often vulnerable behaviour as a result of those needs. Work in a way to make their clients relaxed and build a trusting relationship. Their use of technology is invaluable, especially with Covid restrictions. The are very open to using different tools such as zoom, teams etc to meet their clients’ needs.’


Work highlights

  • Acted for the child in care proceedings in the High Court.
  • Acted for a child in the High Court, in a case relating to non-accidental injury due to a momentary loss of control by one or both parents.
  • Acting for a sibling group in a case regarding long-term concerns in respect of parental domestic abuse and the children’s exposure to the same.


A high-volume caseload of care proceedings work continues to differentiate the offering at BHP Law, which is highly regarded by guardians across the region. Andrea Hewitson, who has recently concluded several collaborative cases, leads the team. The practice also fields 'exceptional' practitioner Amanda Adeola, whom one client describes as 'a great asset'. Separations and financial remedy issues are other areas of focus for the firm.

Practice head(s):

Andrea Hewitson

Other key lawyers:

Amanda Adeola


‘BHP Law have a real warmth about them. Every member of the team that we have spoken to has been extremely friendly and helpful. They always ensure that someone is able to speak with us no matter how big or small the query. They have a a real sense of personal care, in the fact that they are obviously working on a number of cases yet you would never know this as their attentiveness and dedication make you feel like a priority. The team clearly work really well together as one unit, everyone of them communicating with each other showing a sense of unity and any message that is left for any member of the team will be passed on right away. There is a real compassion and understanding from the team, making you feel at ease and non-judged. During Covid-19 they have worked diligently using remote means, telephone calls, emails, video calls etc and they have managed this with complete efficiency.’

‘Amanda Adeola is amazing. She has a real passion for her work, offering guidance and experience as well as an empathetic ear. Going through any proceedings can be extremely difficult but having Amanda represent us has given us great reassurance and support. She has even given up her free time or days off to complete work for us or keep in touch to see how we are. She ensures a continuity in her work, listening to concerns or worries and guiding us through these.’

‘The practice have always been helpful, dealing with the situation and understanding my needs.’

‘Amanda Adeola is exceptional.’

‘This practice has been very helpful in the course of my divorce, financial and children matters. The people have been very warm, accommodating, understanding, attentive and have the same goal of resolving matters for clients whilst bringing smiles to our faces. The billing is quite reasonable and fair. I am really happy I chose this practice.’

‘The solicitor in charge of my case, Amanda Adeola, is an amazing woman. She is very smart, brilliant, attentive and she is good at what she does. She takes her job seriously and she responds promptly as much as possible when you reach out. She is honest and she gives the right advice. She is a great asset to her firm and she is such a blessing to my case.’

‘BHP’s people are of the highest calibre. Clients are always at the forefront of BHP’s priorities and that’s what counts.’

‘Amanda Adeola has the ability to treat clients with empathy and sympathy whilst giving them appropriate and robust legal advice so that they may make a fully rounded and comprehensive decision.’

EMG Solicitors

EMG Solicitors recently strengthened its offering at senior associate level; in April 2020 the team welcomed Sue McArthur from Kidd & Spoor Harper, a mediation specialist noted by one client for her 'wisdom, sensitivity and great support', and in October 2020 'skilled negotiatorGemma Holmes was promoted. The other key group members are practice head Julia Middleton and financial matters expert Jo Grey. The firm continues to be particularly noted for its regular representation of vulnerable clients who lack capacity.

Practice head(s):

Julia Middleton

Other key lawyers:

Gemma Holmes; Jo Grey; Sue McArthur


‘The lawyers are very knowledgeable and provide excellent client care.’

‘Gemma Holmes is an intelligent and very capable lawyer. She is very sensitive to clients’ needs and provides robust advice to guide them through a challenging time. Gemma is a skilled negotiator and provides pragmatic advice to get the best outcome for her clients.’

‘Sue McArthur has provided exceptional advice in both the financial and children aspects of my protracted and difficult case. She strikes the right balance of firm guidance and flexibility to build a trusting client relationship and brings great practical experience and human wisdom to bear in navigating difficult terrain.’

‘It was really important to me that I found a solicitor with a heart! I am very much a person who is led by emotion and this process felt like it was going to be anti everything that makes me me! From the off Gemma Holmes made me feel like she had my back, she has tempered letters where I felt they were colder than I would like and guided me through the decision making process. I feel like Gemma has a very personal touch and whilst she is clearly very knowledgeable on the law has made me feel like I understand everything too.’

‘Sue McArthur has helped me through a difficult time with wisdom, sensitivity and great support. She has been responsive and has guided me through the issues involved with care and expertise. I have felt very supported and have confidence in her advice and judgement.’

‘I would 100% recommend Gemma Holmes for her professional yet caring approach. At times I am first to admit my anxiety was through the roof but she was always available to calm the situation and move on.’

‘Specialist, experienced, good value for money.’

‘Excellent professional skills, wealth of experience.’

Mincoffs Solicitors LLP

A complex caseload ranging from divorce and financial cases to private law children matters is handled by Mincoffs Solicitors LLP, which regularly receives instructions from high-net-worth clients. Associate Emily Cannell is noted by one client as 'the perfect mix of being person-centred, empathetic and pragmatic', and is singled out for providing 'absolutely expert and excellent advice'. Other core team members include solicitor Rachel Smith and consultant Lyn Rutherford.

Practice head(s):

Emily Cannell; Lyn Rutherford

Other key lawyers:

Rachel Smith


‘Once I met with Emily Cannell I knew I had found the right person. She is the perfect mix of being person-centred, empathetic and pragmatic while providing what in my experience, has been absolutely expert and excellent advice. She has made what has been a very drawn out and stressful divorce with many complicating factors along the way so much easier to handle. I have always felt that she was approachable and listened to my concerns and opinions. I have recommended her to friends as I really think I couldn’t have found anyone I trusted or respected more to handle my case or who I would have recommended without hesitation to carry out such important work for people.’

‘They were very supportive and understanding. They were patient and took the time to explain everything to me, even getting colleagues from other areas of the firm to explain the complicated parts of the finances that were involved in my divorce. They found me an amazing barrister and accountant. My calls and emails were always returned very quickly and I just can’t thank them enough.’

‘Lyn Rutherford was amazing. So knowledgeable without having to look things up. Emily Cannell too was brilliant, they were both very honest and to the point. I really felt I could trust them which is important in these matters. I felt looked after all through the proceedings, they brought in advice from their in-house corporate side which was needed and very much appreciated. Together they are an amazing team. They were also very understanding, patient, kind and considerate of my feelings during the whole thing. They fought for me every step of the way but also steered me away from battles I couldn’t win.’

‘Let me talk about Emily Cannell in the divorce team – her individual speciality was dealt with confidently, intelligently and in a manner that was outstanding, I have never met a solicitor so good in every aspect of her role, she kept me up to date and invoiced monthly with every penny accounted for, I have never felt as comfortable with anyone in the legal profession. Then she just stepped without hesitation into the role of co-ordinator between the team as so much revolved around her. Nothing was missed, everyone was kept up to date, everything linked together and by the end the different issues in every sector fitted together like a complex jigsaw that worked, not one piece missing everything was there. She stood out like a beacon. She stepped up to the mark and now I’m reaping the benefits of her expertise. I would not be sat here now with all the horrors of last year behind me and all matters concluded to my satisfaction at a cost that was truly acceptable without Emily.’

‘The team at Mincoffs are very professional and I’ve felt in safe hands throughout my experience with the firm. Every member of the team that I have been in contact with has exhibited excellent customer service.’

‘My primary contact at Mincoffs is Rachel Smith. She has provided exemplary support to me and is approachable, calm and very knowledgeable and well considered in her work. Rachel has been accessible at all times and always responds without delay with clear advice. Rachel’s approach to work is built upon a foundation of honesty and integrity and I have found her to be someone I could rely on and place trust in at all times.’

‘Very impressed with the capabilities of the team. Extremely good reputation. They have handled the move to technology-led appointments very well.’

‘I believe their strength lies in the depth and length of experience allied with well chosen younger team members with vigour and customer focus. ’

Sintons LLP

Although Sintons LLP handles the full range of family law work (except for public law matters), team members typically have particular areas of focus; consultant Elizabeth Gallagher specialises in complex financial remedy cases, while practice head Louise Masters is known nationally for providing advice on the impact of serious injury which is affecting children or other family members. Both of these practitioners are singled out as 'very talented' by one client.

Practice head(s):

Louise Masters

Other key lawyers:

Elizabeth Gallagher


‘The members of the team that I have dealt with have all been attentive and sympathetic, while remaining realistic and very helpful.’

‘Louise Masters has been a life-saver for me. My case had been dragging with some time-wasting from the other side and I was beginning to get very worried and very down about the process. Louise took over my case and immediately took charge. She listened to my concerns and within one meeting had seen the issues that were holding things up. She reassured me, took me through the processes that were needed to speed things up and filled me with confidence so that I knew the matter was going to get resolved. I came off the first call with her knowing that I was in safe hands. She has always been available if I have questions and has always responded promptly. Through the whole process Louise has been there to back me up and give me the advice that I need. I would have no hesitation in recommending her to anyone who needs help with a family matter. I was very low with stress caused by my situation and Louise’s caring but pragmatic approach helped me immensely. I will always be grateful to her for her caring professionalism.’

‘Reliable, very professional, good team work.’

‘I worked with Louise Masters for over eleven and a half months Good listener, her skills were fantastic and she was always on the ball – I would recommend Louise for her professional work.’

‘Very well established. Very strong reputation. ’

‘I have worked both with Louise Masters and with Elizabeth Gallagher. Both are very talented family lawyers. As they are both collaboratively trained and actively practise in this area they deal with matters in a very pragmatic and sensible way.’

‘All round very strong team.’

‘I feel confident that Louise Masters is able to offer expert advice particularly in relation to matrimonial finances. She is a skilled advocate and negotiator, offering clients not only legal expertise but also support in what can be very difficult situations. She is quick to respond to correspondence and pro-active on cases.’

Browell Smith & Co Solicitors Ltd

Victoria Lant, a specialist in complex private law children matters, domestic abuse cases and high-net-worth finance issues, recently arrived at Browell Smith & Co Solicitors Ltd to head up the growing team. The firm's broad practice encompasses the full range of family law work, ranging from cohabitation disputes and civil partnership dissolution, through to instructions concerning adoption and surrogacy. Heather Armstrong and Elizabeth Brown are also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Victoria Lant

Other key lawyers:

Heather Armstrong; Elizabeth Brown

Short Richardson & Forth

'Supremely experienced and highly effective leaderChristine McVay is the key contact at Short Richardson & Forth; she 'demonstrates tenacity and quiet determination in delivering excellent outcomes', particularly in relation to divorce and financial remedy matters. The firm's core client base consists of high-net-worth individuals, including those who have assets abroad, and the group therefore regularly handles international work.

Practice head(s):

Christine McVay


‘Christine McVay is a supremely experienced and highly effective leader in the field of matrimonial finance.’

‘Christine McVay demonstrates tenacity and quiet determination in delivering excellent outcomes for clients.’

‘Caring and empathetic whilst ensuring that the advice given is the best for your own personal circumstances.’

‘Christine McVay is wonderfully pragmatic and will search for solutions whilst still being prepared to fight for her client. I believe she achieves client-centred outcomes as a result of this approach.’

‘Christine McVay was very professional but very approachable. She was easy to contact and if busy returned calls or answered emails in a timely fashion. I felt very supported and trusted her judgement. I would highly recommend Christine to anyone going through a divorce or trying to resolve financial matters. She is an exceptional person that carried me through the most difficult period in my life.’

‘The firm have a very professional approach while maintaining a family ethos. I was made to feel that they were tenacious on my behalf while understanding the difficulties around the emotional distress a divorce causes to the family. The team were always ready to give their professional opinion and to discuss my views around each step of the process. I felt supported through a very difficult time.’

‘Christine McVay is unquestionably a significant asset to Short Richardson Forth. Clear and concise, she provides strategic overview and direction, underpinned by a shrewd, knowledgeable and reassuring manner. Christine adds value with her contributions and consistently demonstrates her worth acting in partnership with her clients. I would not hesitate to recommend her.’

‘Christine McVay was my direct contact for all legal matters on my divorce proceedings and she was always available to offer good advice regarding all matters connected to my case. I felt I had a lot of confidence in her experience as a family law solicitor and it proved to be invaluable in the end.’

Tilly Bailey & Irvine

Tilly Bailey & Irvine's family law team works closely with the firm's experienced corporate department, and is therefore well placed to advise on the resolution of financial issues involving business assets. The group is also well versed in child arrangements, and is regularly instructed to assist with complex internal and external relocation matters. Newly promoted partner Wendy Beacom leads the team, which also includes associate Shamin Ali and solicitor Jessica Inman.

Practice head(s):

Wendy Beacom

Other key lawyers:

Shamin Ali; Jessica Inman