Hall Of Fame

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Rising Stars

Firms To Watch: Family: Hampshire

Headed up by Jennifer Murray, the team at K J Smith Solicitors demonstrates considerable strength in drafting pre-nuptial agreements and handling Children Act proceedings.

Family: Hampshire in South East

Blake Morgan LLP

The Blake Morgan LLP group is ‘one of the best in the area’, specialising heavily in complex financial work and private Children Act issues. The team has recently grown its expertise in the areas of Schedule 1, TOLATA, and international matters, and boasts a strong mediation offering. Simon Burge leads from Southampton, bringing extensive experience in handling the financial consequences of relationship breakdown and contested child arrangement claims to the team, while Jennifer Williamson focuses on high-value financial and wealth management cases. Associate Rachel Giles routinely deals with divorces and pre-nuptial agreements.

Practice head(s):

Simon Burge

Other key lawyers:

Jennifer Williamson; Rachel Giles


‘The family law team, led by Simon Burge, combines experience, wisdom and attention to detail. They are acquainted with a range of experienced barristers and they choose excellent advocates.’

‘Rachel Giles is absolutely fantastic. I have used her twice in separate cases over a period of 5 years and I cannot recommend her enough. Not only is her legal knowledge exemplary, but what stands out to me is how she makes you feel in a period of time that is very anxious. She goes out of her way to get to know you, your case and how you like to recieve updates or advice. There is a real personal feel to her dealings and it feels very much like she goes out of her way to make you comfortable and confident.’

‘Simon Burge brought a wealth of experience to my divorce process. He is calmly reassuring when negotiations or situations are difficult. He explains all options and consequences thoroughly. His responsiveness was unparalleled.’

‘Jennifer Williamson – is able to explain complicated legal jargon in a digestible and human way, and always put me at ease along the complicated twisting and turning journey that we went through together.’

‘There is a good whole-team approach. Even at the most restrictive phases of the pandemic it felt as if the team were communicating and ensuring and assuring a quality of service. This has been sustained.’

‘An excellent team, where all levels of legal professionals are on hand to offer advice and support. I mainly was advised by a solicitor, but my case was discussed with one of the senior partners and legal director due to its complexities. All of the team showed compassion and genuine care, as well as offering excellent advice and explaining all options available to me with their associated costs.’

‘Blake Morgan’s family team is one of the best in the area. They have expertise spanning many years from newly qualified solicitors through to their distinguished head of department, Simon Burge.’

‘There is a broad depth of knowledge within the team as a whole, Simon Burge is well known in the Hampshire area and a good lawyer to oppose due to his collaborative approach. The family team regularly host events which helps create a good sense of community among wider family lawyers. The firm is well equipped using technology to aid the smooth conduct of cases and real-time collaboration.’

Moore Barlow

Boasting notable clients in London, abroad, and across the home counties, the family team at Moore Barlow is well equipped to handle private wealth and tax issues, along with complex divorce matters. Guilford-based Joanna Farrands leads the team, while Jan Galloway splits her time between Richmond and Southampton, bringing vast expertise in dealing with child abduction cases and pre-nuptial agreements to the group. Judith Ball regularly assists high-net-worth-individuals with all issues following a relationship breakdown, and Debra Emery focuses on wealth protection and financial issues. Charlotte Millard joined the firm as a senior associate from Williams Thompson in June 2022.

Practice head(s):

Joanna Farrands

Other key lawyers:

Jan Galloway; Judith Ball; Debra Emery; Victoria Walker; Mandy Spring; Charlotte Millard


‘Moore Barlow have a strong team.’

‘Jan Galloway is passionate about her work and a breath of fresh air to deal with.’

‘Experienced, reassuring team with a sensible and caring approach. Achieves good outcomes but is sensitive to the difficulties of cases concerning families.’

‘Debra Emery – fantastically experienced solicitor, on top of all the papers and detail in a way that reassures clients and can wrong-foot opponents. Great at the practicalities and legal complexities inherent in affluent cases – tax, businesses, trusts. Decisive and astute she inspires confidence in clients and is great to work with.’

‘An excellent team of family lawyers and a go-to firm for family law. They have a laser like focus on their clients’ interests.’

‘Jan Galloway – impressive and respected, a fantastic family lawyer.’

‘Victoria Walker – experienced, considered, calm and determined. She is an excellent family lawyer who cares about helping her clients through their cases.’

Paris Smith LLP

Paris Smith LLP is instructed by a notable roster of high-net-worth-individuals and business owners, demonstrating significant strength in the agricultural and rural sectors. The family division is well equipped to assist clients through mediation and arbitration proceedings, as well as private financial dispute resolution hearings. Winchester-based managing partner Huw Miles is an expert on nuptial agreements and cohabitee disputes, while in Southampton, Frank Prior focuses on high-value matrimonial finance cases. Neil Davies is a highly regarded mediator, and Sarah Passemard concentrates on complex litigation claims. Rachel Osgood is knowledgeable on family trust and separation matters, and Lisa Bray deals with private Children Act issues. Heather Souter is also noted.

Practice head(s):

Frank Prior; Huw Miles

Other key lawyers:

Neil Davies; Sarah Passemard; Rachel Osgood; Lisa Bray; Heather Souter; Zoe Culverwell


‘Huw Miles – extensive knowledge of the law and practice. Calm under pressure and instils confidence in clients.’

‘Frank Prior has a great manner with the client and is very adept at looking at all angles.’

‘Zoe Culverwell – just a fantastic legal brain with a great understanding of the issues.’

‘Frank Prior is an extremely experienced, charismatic partner at Paris Smith who is a first-rate lawyer. He gets brilliant results and is adored by clients and opponents alike.’

‘Lisa Bray is a fantastic lawyer. She is extremely good with details and her knowledge of the law is second to none.’

‘Sarah Passemard has a brain the size of a planet. She is a fantastic lawyer who gets great results and is extremely well liked by clients. She combines her knowledge of the law with commercial pragmatism which makes her a very safe pair of hands. She is a match for any of the top London firms.’

‘Rachel Osgood is brilliant. She is one of the best matrimonial finance lawyers out there. She is tactically extremely astute and combines fantastic interpersonal skills which clients love with an expert knowledge of the law and procedure.’

‘Neil Davies and Zoe Culverwell are a great team delivering pragmatic advice at a fair price.’

Irwin Mitchell

The much lauded practitioners comprising Irwin Mitchell’s family department are instructed by entrepreneurs, highly skilled professionals, and CEOs to handle the whole spectrum of family law matters. The team has recently introduced two new service lines- mediation and counselling- and continues to be noted for its strong links to the sports and media world. Hayley Trim heads up the team, splitting her time between Southampton and Chichester, and bringing extensive expertise on nuptial agreements and intergenerational wealth planning to the department. Associate Jelena Korobkova focuses on complex financial matters, while Hannah Braisted assists clients with care arrangements for children. Eugenie Taylor deals with offshore trust structures. Claire Wiseman strengthened the team on the ground with her arrival from the Birmingham office in February 2023.

Practice head(s):

Hayley Trim

Other key lawyers:

Jelena Korobkova; Hannah Braisted; Eugenie Taylor; Claire Wiseman


‘Eugenie Taylor – dedicated, focused and efficient.’

‘Hannah Braisted delivers excellent client service.’

‘Eugenie Taylor is a pleasure to work with.’

‘Jelena Korobkova is a credit to the practice.’

‘After many changes of solicitor I have been given the best solicitor to deal with my long, drawn-out divorce: Jelena Korobkova. Jelena is the most genuine person and really seems to care. I have been kept informed at each step and that is greatly appreciated. If she says she will follow something up she will.’

‘The team at Irwin Mitchell strive to provide their best for their clients. They work collaboratively as a team and ensure that counsel has all the relevant information.’

‘Claire Wiseman, formerly a heavyweight in the Midlands, has recently moved to the team adding to their international experience and capabilities.’

‘Hayley Trim is a superb technical lawyer with an encyclopaedic knowledge of the law, and knows how to deploy it to maximise her clients’ prospects of success.’

Phillips Solicitors

Elizabeth Taylor heads the Phillips Law family team from Basingstoke, offering a particularly strong service in the family mediation and matrimonial financial spaces. Howard Gardener has 40 years’ experience dealing with matters relating to civil litigation and partnership disputes. Daniel Weintroub, who joined from Cordell & Cordell in January 2023, specialises in cohabitation and TOLATA issues, while Tara O’Herlihy focuses on Children Act proceedings.

Practice head(s):

Elizabeth Taylor

Other key lawyers:

Howard Gardener; Daniel Weintroub; Tara O’Herlihy; Hayley Eachus


‘Elizabeth Taylor is a knowledgeable, professional and personable solicitor. She takes away the stress from the situation. One can instantly trust her knowledge of family law.’

‘The team are very helpful and knowledgeable. They can generally fit you in for an appointment very quickly and communicate effectively via email.’

‘Elizabeth Taylor – very supportive/ knowledgeable.’

Thrings LLP

With its ‘magic combination of gravitas and high ability’, the Thrings LLP family team is well regarded for its knowledge of issues relating to agricultural and landowner clients, including divorces, family members’ interests in farm assets, and property valuations. The group also boasts considerable experience with arbitrations and private financial dispute resolutions; practice head Sally Pike is a specialist mediator and regularly represents company directors, entrepreneurs, and farming clients. Katy Barber is an expert on matrimonial finance issues. The team operates out of its Romsey office.

Practice head(s):

Sally Pike

Other key lawyers:

Katy Barber


‘They have that magic combination of gravitas and high ability paired with a friendly approach.’

‘Sally Pike and Katy Barber are great lawyers and their approach is always client focused, friendly and constructive. They are always a pleasure to deal with.’

‘The team at Thrings is small but excellent. The benefit of a smaller department is that the client doesn’t just get one solicitor but the whole team and my goodness what a team they are. Sally Pike leads the charge with years of experience under her belt and a robust head!’

‘Katy Barber is excellent, her client care skills are a cut above the rest and her ability to put even the most difficult client at ease is impressive. I aways know with a brief from Katy that the client will have had their expectations managed. Working with Kate is a delight and I look forward to every brief.’

‘They can handle a simple, small-money case but equally are comfortable with multi-million pound complex disputes. They are a dream to work with and you just know that they will work the case between the hearings, they don’t just leave it to counsel on the next occasion.’

‘Sally Pike – she is calmness personified. She gives such good advice, she does not seem to be ruffled by anything and grasps complex children or financial cases with ease.’

‘Katy Barber – clients absolutely love her- she is a great litigation strategist but never allows herself to get drawn in to disputes.’

Trethowans LLP

Demonstrating vast expertise in handling matrimonial finances, child arrangements, and pre-nuptial agreements, Trethowans LLP’s ‘formidable and talented team’ provides a full range of family-related services across the firm’s multiple offices. Salisbury-based Andrew Mercer leads the department, regularly acting on behalf of medical consultants and GPs in all forms of family related disputes. Emma Wilders-Pratt focuses on all elements of relationship breakdown from the Winchester office. In Southampton, Grant Cameron has over 30 years’ experience dealing with divorce and dissolution, while Poole-based Kimberley Davies specialises in children law matters.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Mercer

Other key lawyers:

Emma Wilders-Pratt; Grant Cameron; Kimberley Davies; Dawn Gore; Laura Bell; Amy Trench; Jacqueline Reeves; Zoe Minton


‘Grant Cameron is simply excellent. He really goes the extra mile for his clients. He really understands the dynamics of family law.’

‘Throughout the process the team’s communication was excellent. I felt that it was a personal service and that all members of the team took a genuine interest in providing a good service and enabling a favourable outcome. At no time did I get the feeling that I was just another case.’

‘Grant Cameron provided an excellent, personal and professional service. He was always willing to listen to my situation and offered advice with options and potential outcomes based on those options. Throughout the process, Grant was supportive and maintained a good level of communication ensuring that any updates were provided in a timely fashion and outlining the impacts of those updates.’

‘Trethowans are very professional and competent in supporting their clients through the legality of the divorce process. The team are always just a phone call away and very hands on with their clients. They are big on collaborative law and try to accommodate to reach a solution that benefits the client and their new future ahead.’

‘Emma Wilders-Pratt is an outstanding lawyer who, along with depth of knowledge of the law, also has a strong understanding of clients’ needs. She will think outside the box and try to make the best solution for her clients. She has a great team around her and makes sure that you, as a client, feel looked after.’

‘Emma Wilders-Pratt is a fantastic solicitor. I have recommended her to friends. She is hard working, takes no nonsense, and deeply cares about each and every case.’

‘Laura Bell is approachable but straight talking. Clients feel safe with her and trust that she will fight for them. Laura is excellent with nervous and vulnerable people. Her friendly but firm manner leaves clients with no doubt that she is on their side and will do her best for them.’

‘Well established family team that has grown successfully in recent years attracting the best practitioners and now the firm has a formidable and talented team.’

Dutton Gregory

Led by Jonathan Whettingsteel, who splits his time between the Winchester and Chandler’s Ford offices, the Dutton Gregory LLP family team specialises in drafting pre-nuptial agreements, handling financial matters relating to divorces, and advising on all aspects of children law. ‘Brilliant lawyerHelen Cort has been contributing vast expertise in financial matters arising from relationship breakdown since her arrival from BDB Pitmans in August 2022. Paul Linsdell, who joined the firm from Herrington Carmichael LLP in September 2022, routinely handles child cases involving sexual abuse and domestic violence.

Practice head(s):

Jonathan Whettingsteel

Other key lawyers:

Helen Cort; Paul Linsdell


‘The firm was always responsive, supportive and proactive in working on the case, and I felt listened to and understood. Their approach was logical and straightforward given that I had no experience in dealing with events such as this and no prior understanding of how the family law courts worked. It was a daunting process for me and Dutton Gregory were always on hand to guide and answer questions.’

‘Paul Linsdell was recommended to me by a close friend and has been one of the best solicitors I’ve worked with. Throughout what has been a very difficult divorce, he has been friendly and helpful and at every point has listened carefully and offered practical advice and innovative ideas. He is always calm, responsive, knowledgeable and professional and is not afraid to say if he thinks something could be done in a better way.’

‘Paul Linsdell is a brilliant solicitor. He is charming and clever. He understands the complex dynamics of family breakdown and the emotional rollercoasters on which his clients are travelling. He puts his clients at ease and they trust him because they know he will fight for them.’

Family Law Partners

Family Law Partners is focused on ‘solutions and resolution’, particularly when handling complex family financial and divorce remedy matters for high-net-worth-individuals. Operating out of the Hampshire office, Emily Pain heads up the group, and boasts extensive experience handling financial issues and children disputes following a separation. Hazel Manktelow is a qualified mediator, who has carved out a niche acting in domestic abuse cases and mandates relating to armed forces pensions. Jayne Llewelyn is noted for her disputes expertise. Senior associate Victoria Burrows joined the Horsham office from Irwin Mitchell in November 2022.

Practice head(s):

Robert Williams; Emily Pain

Other key lawyers:

Hazel Manktelow; Jayne Llewelyn; Victoria Burrows


‘Emily Pain – enthusiastic, diligent and dedicated.’

‘Jayne Llewellyn is known for being very supportive of her clients.’

‘Dynamic in every sense. Excellent lawyers with a focus on solutions and resolution – steeped in ADR.’

‘Hazel Manktelow has carved out a real niche for herself dealing with armed forces pensions as well as a highly regarded mediation practice. She is brilliant at putting clients at ease and making sure they feel supported and listened to. Hazel will never fight anything unnecessarily and is entirely committed to resolving situations amicably.’

‘Jayne Llewelyn is always very eager to help her clients solve their family issues in the most effective way, both in terms of cost and generally. Jayne has significant experience and knowledge in family finances/ financial remedy cases and she has a very practical approach to matters. Her understanding and empathy for her clients’ situations is excellent yet she can manage their expectations and instil her advice and guidance gently but firmly.’

‘Robert Williams – experienced, calm, sensible – resolution focused but firm when he needs to be.’

‘Jayne Llewelyn is so approachable and welcoming to her clients. She is very empathetic to their needs but at the same time is able to provide clear and robust legal advice protecting their interests at all times – her knowledge in complex and high-net-worth cases is exceptional.’


Larcomes’ family department has in-depth expertise in representing guardians, children and parents in private child law and public law proceedings. Portsmouth-based co-head, Mark Tooley, is highly experienced in handling complex cases involving physical and sexual abuse claims. Tooley's counterpart, Sandra Phillips, specialises in private law children matters concerning residence, contact and special guardianship. Jennie Swaby has assisted vulnerable clients with all aspects of children law for over 16 years.

Practice head(s):

Mark Tooley; Sandra Phillips

Other key lawyers:

Jennie Swaby


‘Their particular strengths are their child-focused approach, their knowledge of the law, and the kindness and sensitivity they offer to their clients.’

‘Quite simply a class act.’

‘Mark Tooley has been regarded as the best children’s solicitor in Hampshire for decades. He has a kind pragmatic approach and is equally comfortable in meeting children and appearing before High Court judges. The standard of his advocacy is quite simply exceptional.’