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The Legal 500 Hall of Fame Icon The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession. In the United Kingdon, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for eight years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.
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United Kingdom > South East > Private client > Family: Beds, Bucks, Herts, Middx > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

Editorial

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Index of tables

  1. Family: Beds, Bucks, Herts, Middx
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next Generation Partners
  4. Rising stars

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next Generation Partners

  1. 1

Rising stars

  1. 1

The family law practice at B P Collins LLP is well known for its expertise in all types of financial disputes. Practice head Sue Andrews and her team regularly deal with very high-value cases, complex trusts and business or tax structures. The number of matters with an overseas element in increasing. The team also prepares prenuptial and postnuptial agreements. Claire Filer and Fran Hipperson are other key contacts.

Practice head(s):Sue Andrews

Other key lawyers:Claire Filer; Fran Hipperson

Testimonials

'I was impressed with the presentation of the firm and the individuals were well placed to help me'.

'I got exactly what I needed and paid for'.

'A professional firm, sensitive to my requirements, structured and well organised, forceful whilst kind, result-driven but malleable'.

'Sue Andrews gave me the confidence and strength I needed to progress and successfully get through the process'.

'Sue is sensitive but strong - just what I needed. She was a star!'

Work highlights

  • Represented a wife in a case involving complex offshore trusts.
  • Represent a wife  in a high-value case involving business assets.
  • Represent a husband in a case involving whether an agreement should be vitiated by  the wife’s non-disclosure.
  • Representing a wife in a case involving significant business assets and arguments about post-separation accrual.

Debenhams Ottaway’s family department offers a fully-integrated services to high-net-worth clients, working in close connections with the private wealth, commercial, property and employment teams. The practice specialises in all aspects of family law, including complex financial cases and representation in divorce proceedings, nuptial agreements as well as children cases involving separating couples and often with international elements. Practice head Helen Young and associate Natalie Lester are recommended.

Practice head(s):Helen Young

Other key lawyers:Natalie Lester

Testimonials

'Every person I dealt with was friendly and helpful'.

'Friendly, accessible and very knowledgeable'.

'The family team is professional and dynamic'.

'The family team is one of the strongest outside London and holds its own in all cases'.

'Helen Young leads a very good team'.

'Helen Young is perfectly at ease dealing with multi-million pound cases, against specialist central London firms. She offers reassuring, practical and measured advice'.

'Natalie Lester is sensitive and caring'.

Work highlights

  • Prenuptial agreement with significant disparity between the wealth of the parties.
  • Financial case with international issues.
  • Variation of final financial order relating to sale/transfer of property.
  • Financial proceedings following overseas divorce.
  • Financial proceedings with issues relating to non disclosure and hiding assets.

The team at IBB (Iliffes Booth Bennett) offers a full range of family law services to clients, including divorce work, prenuptial, postnuptial, co-habitation and civil partnership agreements, childcare expertise and contentious probate work. The practice caters for a variety of clients, from middle to high-net-worth wealth, to businessmen and women. The team splits between the Chesham and Uxbridge offices, which are headed by Amanda Melton and Elizabeth Fitzpatrick respectively. Vicky Preece and Charlotte Southworth are also recommended.

Practice head(s):Amanda Melton; Elizabeth Fitzpatrick

Other key lawyers:Vicky Preece; Charlotte Southworth

Testimonials

'I found the family team at IBB to be the most responsive , experienced and empathetic, particularly with regard to Children's Act proceedings'.

'Exactly what you need when under considerable pressure'.

'Amanda Melton is an intelligent , proactive and empathetic lawyer'.

Work highlights

  • Acting for a husband in divorce, financial remedy and Children Act proceedings.
  • Instructed by a wife in relation to her divorce and financial matters.
  • Instructed by a husband in relation to financial matters.
  • Instructed by a husband in relation to a Children Act application.
  • Acting for a child in Care proceedings.

The family practice at Machins Solicitors LLP is split between the public and the private law teams. The public law team is based in Luton and headed by Liz Oldham. Expertise covers all aspects of children law, including representation of parents, extended family members and friends in care proceedings and other public law matters and applications for special guardianship orders and adoptions. The private law team, headed by Kathryn Ainsworth from the Berkhamsted office, specialises in cases involving high-net-worth individuals, business owners and international clients. Complex private Children Act proceedings are another area of strength. Associate Sarah Ashby and senior consultant Richard Phillips are other key contacts.

Practice head(s):Liz Oldham; Kathryn Ainsworth

Other key lawyers:Sarah Ashby; Richard Phillips

Testimonials

'Without doubt Machins now have one of the leading family teams in the Home Counties north west of London'.

'They work hard for their clients and take a pragmatic approach'.

'They are a very committed firm and treat each case with individual care and attention, going above and beyond for their clients'.

'They get instructed in some of the most interesting and serious care cases'.

'Machins Family Team has always been reliable. The more junior members of the team appear to be well supervised and the more senior member\'s have a wealth of knowledge and experience to share'.

'Great service, great people, great firm!'

'Liz Oldham is extremely dedicated and experienced and one of the best solicitors in the area'.

'Kathryn Ainsworth is simply superb. Her judgment is second to none, leaving her clients with realistic expectations from their first contact with her'.

'Kathryn Ainsworth leads the team by example. She delivers superb advice, always goes the extra mile for the client and is on top of her game. A real star!'

'Richard Phillips has impressed me. He gives sensible and practical advice. He has great empathy and never loses sight of the human side of the work we do'.

 

 

 

Work highlights

  • Representing mother in care proceedings regarding possible non-accidental injury to baby.
  • Representing two children in a children's guardian matter.
  • Representing the wife in complex financial matters in respect of the husband.
  • Advised client on complex postnuptial agreement.
  • Assisting a client with their financial remedy application.

Rayden Solicitors is a family law boutique with an outstanding reputation which spreads beyond its regional location in Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire to the national and international market. The practice, headed by Katherine Rayden at the St Albans office, offers the full range of family-law related work, including a complete alternate dispute resolution service which comprises arbitration for finance and children, mediation and collaboration. Other names to note are Priya Palanivel, who is also based in St Albans and specialises in divorce and finance matters, and Emily Watson from the Berkhamsted office, who has in-depth expertise in children law including arbitration. Senior associates Claire Wood and Rupinder Rai joined from Kingsley Napley LLP and Slater and Gordon respectively in April 2018.

Practice head(s):Katherine Rayden 

Other key lawyers:Emily Watson; Priya Palanivel; Claire Wood; Rupinder Rai

Testimonials

'They are a growing firm of exceptional quality solicitors who all have years of experience in family law'.

'Arguably the best non London law firm specialising in family law'.

'The dynamic leadership of Katherine Rayden allows her to deliver a high end London style service at regional prices'.

'Raydens has become increasingly sought after by clients looking for good value coupled with an excellent service'.

'Raydens has represented clients in the full range of family law matters and at all court levels'.

'Katherine Rayden is a force to be reckoned with. Outstanding leadership, tenacious work ethic, she always delivers no matter what'.

'Katherine Rayden does high value cases with seeming ease. Not frightened of anyone'.

'Rupi Rai is conscientious and dedicated'.

Work highlights

  • Represented client A in a case involving substantial trust assets in excess of £20m.
  • Represented wife in a case involving complex financial remedy proceedings at the international level.
  • Represented a client in a case involving complicated divorce and financial matters.
  • Representing adoptive parents in complex appeal against local authority procedural irregularity.
  • Handled a family separation with children issues and complicated financial assets.

SA Law LLP’s family practice is well versed in complex financial matters, including cases which involve international elements, trusts, complex company structures, holding companies in England and abroad, vast wealth and farms. The team is also experienced in highly demanding and sensitive children-related matters. Advice on the common fields that impact on high-value family cases, including corporate law, real estate, bankruptcy and immigration, is provided from within the firm. Marilyn Bell heads the practice. Ruth Abrams and associate Kiran Beeharry are also recommended.

Practice head(s):Marilyn Bell

Other key lawyers:Ruth Abrams; Kiran Beeharry

Testimonials

'A very good and successful team who are approachable and a pleasure to deal with'.

'The team can be relied upon to give solid and sensible advice, which is important when dealing with clients in very difficult and emotional situations'.

'They will try to find the best solutions for their clients and will not litigate unnecessarily'.

Work highlights

  • Acting for a high-net-worth husband in relation to his business.
  • Assisting client with complex prenuptial and postnuptial agreement.
  • Advising a client on international financial issues.
  • Acted for husband in connection finances on divorce.
  • Assisting husband with financial remedy proceedings.

Blaser Mills Law’s team specialises in complex financial matters where large assets are at stake and/or the client is a high earner. Expertise in children work includes cases in which guardians and experts are involved and prenuptial and postnuptial agreements are an area of growth. The practice is jointly headed by Jolene Hutchison (High Wycombe) and Denise Herman (Rickmansworth), who handle divorce and child care respectively. Senior associates Javita Malhotra and Naim Qureshi are also recommended.

Practice head(s):Jolene Hutchison; Denise Herman

Other key lawyers:Javita Malhotra; Naim Qureshi

Testimonials

'A full-service team able to deal with all and any issues'.

'This firm delivers a great balance between bigger central London firms and smaller high street organisations'.

'They provide an excellent all-round service'.

'Offering a London law firm service at non-London prices'.

'The family department offers a superb service. I recommend them wholeheartedly'.

'Jolene Hutchinson is very savvy and dynamic'.

'Jolene Hutchison is first rate'.

'Denise Herman is a consummate professional, and a hugely experienced litigator'.

'Javita Malhotra is very impressive. She is excellent with emotional clients, offering a sympathetic but firm support and giving robust advice in a very caring manner'.

'Naim Qureshi is hard working on behalf of his clients and is very thorough in his preparation for case'.

 

Work highlights

  • Drafting a postnuptial agreement.
  • Acting for a husband in divorce and financial remedy matters.
  • Advising a client on separation from her partner.
  • Acting for a wife in divorce proceedings.
  • Advising a wife on financial and Children Act matters.

The 'really supportive and very efficient' family and child care team at Duncan Lewis Solicitors is well known for its cutting-edge work across a wide range of family and children matters. The practice specialises in domestic abuse, unusual divorce cases, emergency applications to freeze parties’ assets and female genital mutilation protection orders. It also handles financial matters, prenuptial and cohabitation agreements. The practice is headed by six directors spread across four offices: Adeeba Naseem, Alia Lewis and Ravi Kaur Mahey are based in Harrow; Sheena Donlon and Sara Upton lead the Barnet office; Krina Parmar splits her time between Milton Keynes and Luton.

Practice head(s):Adeeba Naseem; Alia Lewis; Ravi Kaur Mahey; Sheena Donlon; Sara Upton; Krina Parmar

Testimonials

'The individuals at Duncan Lewis stand out due to their genuine commitment and desire to help very vulnerable people as well as high-net-worth individuals. No matter who you are, you receive the same level of service and client care as all other clients'.

'They are very personable while remaining professional. There's a family feel about the firm rather than being overly corporate'.

'I trust the advice they are giving as they are knowledgeable'.

'Hardworking team who fight hard for their clients. Amongst the lawyers I have worked with, they have no hesitation in working over and beyond what might normally be expected'.

'The main strengths of the Duncan Lewis firm are the team work and the effectiveness of their legal service to children'.

'The practice has been understanding and extremely clear on what to expect through a very sensitive case'.

'Alia Lewis is empathetic, very efficient and has good judgement'.

'Alia Lewis is personable, effective and organised and I greatly appreciate her attention to detail'.

'Adeeba Naseem is fantastic lawyer whose knowledge on international cases is second to none'.

'Ravi Mahey offers good advice and I always feel like she knows what she is talking about'.

Work highlights

  • Acting for a mother in an application for a Female Genital Mutilation Protection Order (FGMPO).
  • Assisting a mother with care proceedings issued by London Borough of Harrow.
  • Handled a rare private law divorce case in which the Queen’s Proctor intervened to set aside the Decrees Nisi and Absolute obtained by the petitioner husband in divorce proceedings, which he conducted through an online service a number of years ago.
  • Assisted a mother on an application by the Local Authority for Interim Care Orders involving her children.
  • Assisted a female client with a Non-Molestation Order against her ex-partner.

Established in 2001 as a niche family law firm, Hawkins Family Law has been consolidating its reputation in the Milton Keynes area thanks to its in-depth experience and technical abilities. In particular, the team is known for its strength in dispute resolution. The practice’s expertise includes financial matters (often involving assets across multiple jurisdictions), high-value ancillary relief, co-habitation issues and complex children cases. Jo Hawkins heads the practice. Loraine Davenport, Annabel Hayward and associate Stacey St Clair are other names to note.

Practice head(s):Jo Hawkins

Other key lawyers:Loraine Davenport; Annabel Hayward; Stacey St Clair

Testimonials

'The Hawkins Family Law team exemplify everything you want to see in a progressive and forward-thinking law firm'.

'They foster a rapport with clients which helps support people who are invariably undergoing difficult circumstances'.

'Very capable family law practice with a genuine humanity alongside quality legal advice'.

'Very approachable and professional. Quick to respond to questions'.

'Jo Hawkins is extremely knowledgeable and delivers her advice in an easily understandable and compassionate way'.

'Loraine Davenport is a fearless lawyer'.

'Stacey St Clair is easy to talk to and gives excellent advice and alternative solutions'.

'Stacey made my divorce process easy to manage and I trusted her advice completely'.

Work highlights

  • Advised on family matter spanning children and financial issues.
  • Advised on an ancillary relief claim.
  • Advised on a high-net-worth divorce case.
  • Handled a private law children case.
  • Acting for a wife in divorce and financial negotiations.

Boutique firm Collins & Hoy Solicitors - the result of the merger of Pinner-based law firm E M Collins & Co Solicitors and Harrow's Garside and Hoy Solicitors - is well known for the depth and reliability of its advice, which includes divorce and financial settlements, house sales and purchases, wills, probate, children law and care of the elderly. The limited reliance on counsel allows a more direct relationship with clients and the offer of tailored services. Practice heads Bernadette Hoy and Aisling Collins and senior associate Andaleeb Khandaker are the names to note.

Practice head(s):Bernadette Hoy; Aisling Collins

Other key lawyers:Andaleeb Khandaker; Kate Moran

Testimonials

'Well organised and focused on what the client wants to achieve'.

'A human touch'.

'The teams key strength is communication, both within the practice and to clients'.

Work highlights

  • Acted for a client in a dispute on the treatment of pre-marriage assets and family loan.
  • Defended nullity proceedings issued on the basis of the Husband’s willful refusal to consummate the marriage.
  • Assisted a client with a parental responsibility order in a case involving a police investigation for alleged child abuse and hostility from the client's ex-partner.
  • Advised a client on a prenuptial agreement following collaborative principles.
  • Assisted a client with the negotiation of a financial settlement in the case of a short marriage with a young child.

Based in Watford, Collins Solicitors' family practice acts on both public and private law cases. The team, headed by Danielle Messenger (promoted to partner in December 2018), is well versed in separation and divorce disputes, including financial remedy matters for middle to high-net-worth individuals. Advice on prenuptial agreements is an area of growth. Donna Downes is known for her experience in Children Act work, assisting children, guardians, parents and the extended family.

Practice head(s):Danielle Messenger

Other key lawyers:Donna Downes

Testimonials

'The firm provides solid, sound legal advice, coupled with great client care and support'.

'All team members are very approachable but also firm with their advice'.

'Knowledge of the practice area is very good and cases are managed very efficiently'.

'I am incredibly impressed by Danielle Messenger.  Her level of expertise, tactical thought, detailed care and excellent client service is unsurpassed'.

'Danielle Messenger is an excellent solicitor. Well-prepared, thoughtful and committed, she does an excellent job in quite difficult circumstances'.

'Danielle is a genuine pleasure to work with'.

'The team led by Donna Downes is superbly organised'.

'Donna Downes is a force of nature! She is supremely organised, thorough and with an exceptional attention to detail that never compromises the big picture. Her negotiation skills are great'.

'Donna will always go above and beyond on any case she is working on'.

Work highlights

  • Financial remedy proceedings.
  • Children Act proceedings.
  • Acting for a baby through his children’s guardian.
  • Acting for a number of children through their guardian.
  • Acting for a number of children in care proceedings.

Based in Hertfordshire, Crane & Staples's family department is well respected for its expertise in collaborative law, private children law and mediation. The practice also specialises in divorce cases, nuptial agreements and complex care matters. The names to note are practice head Danielle Peters, Sharon Montgomery and senior associate Attia Hussain.

Practice head(s):Danielle Peters

Other key lawyers:Sharon Montgomery; Attia Hussain

Testimonials

'The team is not only hugely knowledgeable but also extremely friendly and approachable'.

'Efficient, prompt attention and excellent advice always given'.

'This a strong team in all family areas. It is well led by very skilled and dedicated lawyers and support staff. It is certainly one of the leading firms in Hertfordshire for family work'.

'Good provincial family law department with a strength in matrimonial finance. Better than the vast majority of firms undertaking this line of work'.

'They have a very positive environment, it is always warm and welcoming'.

'Sharon Montgomery is a skilled family law negotiator. She is firm when needed but she is also reasonable. She is also commercially astute'.

'Danielle Peters is extremely bright, a good negotiator and a good advocate. She is extremely hardworking and provides very good client care'.

'Danielle Peters is very experienced and has a good attention to detail. She has a good knowledge of the area of law and is also a safe pair of hands'.

'Sharon Montgomery is extremely capable, very astute, good with clients, knows her area of law inside out and has a good feel for cases'.

'Attia Hussain is passionate about her clients and goes above and beyond in trying to achieve the best outcomes for them'.

Work highlights

  • Acted for the husband in divorce and financial proceedings.
  • Acted for the wife in high-value divorce proceedings.
  • Acting for a father in care proceedings where he was alleged to have participated in the killing of his sister.
  • Acted for husband in a nuptial agreement.
  • Acted for the wife in divorce and financial remedy proceedings in respect of a relatively short marriage with significant assets.

The Bishop's Stortford-based family team at Nockolds Solicitors specialises in financial matters for medium to high-net-worth clients in areas such as relocations, children work as well as foreign matters, with a particular experience of issues relating to Spain and Poland. The practice has been achieving successful outcomes through the use of mediation, sparing clients additional court costs. The practice is headed by Lynn Cowley and the 'fantastic' Pete Dodd is also recommended.

Practice head(s):Lynn Cowley

Other key lawyers:Pete Dodd

Testimonials

'They are client focused and honest'.

'They always put the client first'.

'Extremely positive and professional, I would recommend them'.

'Pete Dodd guided me professionally and personally through a very difficult period and circumstances. His advice and attention was exemplary'.

'I have uttermost respect for Pete, he was professional throughout as well as being personable'.

Key Clients

Iman Almabhood

Kay Booth

Norma Aida

Work highlights

  • Acting for a client whose husband denies the existence of a valid marriage contract and, subsequently, any financial obligations.
  • Assisting a wife with a matter concerning a formulaic agreement with the husband in which client had less return capital in return for maintenance.
  • Assisting a Peruvian grandmother with a matter concerning the client's right to see her deceased son’s only child.
  • Acted for a husband in relation to divorce, financial and Children Act matters.
  • Advised on a cross-jurisdictional divorce.

Shakespeare Martineau LLP's family team has a long-standing reputation in the Milton Keynes area. While offering specialised family law expertise, the practice also works in tandem with other departments, including commercial property, litigation, employment and wealth management. Practice head Jane Charlton is well versed in financial matters as well as in private children work.

Practice head(s):Jane Charlton

Testimonials

'Their advice was very clear, fees were as expected and timeline explained and kept to.

'I traced Jane Charlton down as I had worked with her on a similar issues 20 years before and I was keen to use her again. I was very pleased to have  found her. She was spot on this time like she was before'.

'I felt totally calm and in great hands in a sensitive area of law.'

'Anywhere Jane works in this area of law I would go too.'

 

Work highlights

  • High value finances case, whit a large age gap between the parties.
  • Sexual abuse case with successful findings against the opponent, who has appealed.
  • Divorce and financial matters with high-value pensions and client's income.
  • Acting for healthy husband in very short marriage case.
  • Acting for wife trying to retain inheritance received just before separation.

Shoosmiths LLP's family department was launched in Milton Keynes in 2017. The practice specialises in a wide range of family law matters, including asset protection advice, jurisdictional issues and cases involving overseas assets and relocation. The team offers a full service to clients, collaborating with colleagues from the employment, corporate, wealth protection and property departments when necessary, and also has tax advisors and a forensic accountant. Caroline Watson heads the practice. Helen Taylor joined from Turner Nicholson in January 2019.

Practice head(s):Caroline Watson

Other key lawyers:Helen Taylor

Testimonials

'I have always been impressed by how hard Caroline Watson works for her clients and the quality of the advice that she gives. A lawyer who really cares'.

Work highlights

  • Working with the corporate team to offer a bespoke solution for client in respect of a company share transfer and involving substantial assets.
  • Advising a client on a prenuptial agreement involving family assets.
  • Advising a client using collaborative law process on divorce and financial remedy proceedings.
  • Acting for a client in Children Act proceedings involving a Cafcass report.
  • Assisting a client with injunction proceedings, Children Act and financial remedy proceedings.

Taylor Walton LLP's family law department is committed to mediation as a way to help clients achieve amicable, out-of-court settlements. The practice works in close connection with the firm's conveyancing, corporate, private client and employment departments to provide full assistance on overlapping legal matters. The practice is headed by Harpenden-based Ben Twitchen, who specialises on financial issues arising from relationship breakdowns as well as children law. Arbitrator Olive McCarthy joined the St Albans office from Breeze and Wyles Solicitors Limited in July 2018.

Practice head(s):Ben Twitchen

Other key lawyers:Olive McCarthy 

Work highlights

  • Acting for a client in a divorce with matrimonial finances and child contact issues.
  • Acting for a client in financial proceedings on divorce.
  • Acting for a client in relation to a postnuptial agreement.
  • Handling financial proceedings on divorce, including a freezing injunction.
  • Acting for a father in Children Act proceedings.

Tees Law's family practice offers advice on a full range of family law matters, including financial remedy claims, private law children matters, cohabitation arrangements and a variety of  complex cases involving significant assets and foreign jurisdictions. The client base includes high-net-worth individuals such as City workers, farmers, business owners and internationally mobile families. The practice is headed by Sally Powell. David Ian Redfern, associate Elizabeth Gale and assistant solicitor Helen Midgley are other names to note.

Practice head(s):Sally Powell

Other key lawyers:David Ian Redfern; Elizabeth Gale; Helen Midgley

Testimonials

'The team is very knowledgeable and have a close working relationship. Solicitors are not afraid to seek advise from other colleagues which offers reassurance to a client'.

'It is always a pleasure to work with Tees'.

'Clients are well supported and expectations managed'.

'Sally Powell understood my case well and me as a person'.

'The personable approach given by Helen Midgley with her clear and professional guidance was excellent'.

'Helen Midgley is thorough, pragmatic, provides sound advice and is very personable, which means she is great with clients and is well able to manage the more challenging types'.

Work highlights

  • Handled a contested Children Act, Family Law Act and financial remedy case.
  • Acted for a client in a contested relocation case.
  • Assisted the client with divorce after a short marriage.
  • Advising a client on the applicability of pre and postnuptial agreements.
  • Advising a husband on contentious issues involving children and financial matters.

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