Firms To Watch: Family: Thames Valley, Berks, Oxon, M4/M40

Roz Lidder handles gunnercooke LLP's family law practice in Buckinghamshire and focuses on divorce, matrimonial finance, and private-law child arrangements.

Family: Thames Valley, Berks, Oxon, M4/M40 in South East

Barrett & Thomson

Deeply entrenched in the local community and its charities, Barrett & Thomson handles complex matrimonial cases as well as children’s work both on the national and international plane. Practice head Claire Fitzgerald has extensive expertise in both areas and ensures that clients may rely on the firm’s complementary practices such as housing and wills & probates. Additionally, Tracey Haynes advises in cases of domestic abuse and in children’s cases under public law. In addition to her expertise in children’s work, associate Sabha Butt comes recommended for her knowledge relating to contested injunctions, occupation orders, and their enforcement proceedings.

Practice head(s):

Claire Fitzgerald

Other key lawyers:

Trayce Haynes; Sue Scott; Rizwana Khan; Sabha Butt; Charan Juttla; Taz Baig

Blandy & Blandy LLP

The lawyers at Blandy & Blandy LLP ‘always go the extra mile‘ for their clients in matrimonial, financial remedy, and children proceedings and offer the firm’s complementary services, including on property, taxation, and wills & probates, where needed. Claire Dyer leads the team and regularly handles complex cases involving additional elements such as trusts, business assets, or matters that have a cross-border element to them. Alongside a broad family practice, Tasha Bevan-Stewart brings with her a specialism in collaborative law. Consultant solicitor Shashi Sachdeva advises on complex separations, including trusts and inheritances as well as pre- and post separation assets.

Practice head(s):

Claire Dyer

Other key lawyers:

Tasha Bevan-Stewart; Peter Hilton; Elizabeth Owen; Shashi Sachdeva

Testimonials

‘Extremely approachable staff and very understanding, they take time to thoroughly listen and explain every step.’

‘Claire Dyer has been exceptional. She is thorough, professional, friendly, and has been working for me for many years, always giving her best without wasting time and money.’

‘Peter is responsive, knowledgeable, and efficient. I thought he was a very good family lawyer, and would thoroughly recommend him.’

‘They are efficient, organized, clear, and prepared – everything is provided in good time. They are available to assist you whenever needed. For their clients, it is clear they always go the extra mile, supporting them, giving clear and robust, but empathetic advice, and helping them to get to the right outcome.’

‘Claire Dyer is brilliant to work with – clear-sighted, always on top of the case, very discursive and collaborative. In the last few years I have done more work with Elizabeth Owen who is extremely efficient and organized, always ahead of the game.’

‘Peter Hilton, a new addition to the team, is very hard-working, conscientious and bright. He does not miss a single detail and is also very sympathetic.’

‘High-quality law firm – key capability in resolving disputes by ADR and other collaborative methods.’

‘Tasha Bevan-Stewart – highly experienced partner who is a walking example of how constructive conflict resolution should be done.’

Boardman, Hawkins & Osborne

Renowned practitioner Emily Boardman sits on the leadership team of Boardman, Hawkins & Osborne and is particularly known for her expertise in care proceedings and adoption cases. Additionally, the firm handles private children law matters, domestic abuse cases, and financial arrangements, Helen Bishop regularly takes the lead on the latter. Ruth Hawkins and Irena Osborne who lead alongside Boardman are highly active on the litigation side of the practice, particularly in relation to cases involving children. Stuart Webber is a recent addition to the team and bolsters the practice’s offering with his expertise in issues arising out of relationship breakdowns.

Practice head(s):

Emily Boardman; Irena Osborne; Ruth Hawkins

Other key lawyers:

Helen Bishop; Stuart Webber; Janet Quartly

Testimonials

‘They offer an excellent local service with the expertise and experience of a much larger practice. They certainly punch above their weight as a niche family firm.’

‘Ruth Hawkins is someone you want on your side in divorce and care proceedings. She is compassionate and sensitive to her clients needs, but fights hard to deliver the best outcomes for her clients.’

‘BHO is a stand-out firm in the Thames Valley. It is extremely well run, it recruits wisely and has a progressive approach. All its staff are enthusiastic, hard-working and competent. BHO has established itself as an outstanding adoption specialist and it is extremely strong in care work and building itself to compete with other better known financial remedy firms.’

‘Emily Boardman is exceptional. She is probably the most sought-after care practitioner in the Thames Valley; she is completely fearless in the representation of her client’s interest. She is also very intuitive and kind and makes her clients feel very extremely looked after.’

‘Helen Bishop is becoming an established financial remedy practitioner. She has excellent judgement and manages her clients and cases with authority.’

‘In recent months I’ve been especially impressed by Janet Quartly and Beth Hancock. Also Irena Osborne, who is unfailingly sensible and Ruth Hawkins, who is always wise.’

‘Stuart Webber has an excellent eye for forensic detail and excellent judgement.’

‘I have been impressed with not only the individuals who work for BHO, but also the collective strength the firm has. Due to the respective backgrounds of the founding partners, it is clear that BHO operates in a client-focused way and is committed to resolving issues for clients in as non-confrontational a way as possible, which is a keystone ethos to any successful family law firm.’

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

A Thames Valley powerhouse with international reach, the team at Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP handles complex matters such as the high-profile case of Villiers v Villiers. Esteemed family lawyer Jane Mitchell co-heads the team and services high-net-worth individuals. Her fellow co-head Kerry Fretwell is a renowned specialist in divorce proceedings. Third in the leadership team is Ruth James, who handles matters complementary to family law such as international tax, corporate structures, and property transactions. Their team includes associate Eleanor Moodey who has recently handled several financial and children matters, particularly those with an international aspect.

Practice head(s):

Jane Mitchell; Kerry Fretwell; Ruth James

Other key lawyers:

Emma Leavesley; Eleanor Moodey; Danielle Bentley

Testimonials

‘Kerry Fretwell is a strong leader. The team deals with the whole breadth of cases.’

‘Jane Mitchell has guided me through complex divorce proceedings with her legal expertise. Her assistants are excellent as well. I have found the support to be outstanding from both individuals. I would highly recommend Jane Mitchell for complex financial divorces.’

BDB Pitmans

Experts in matrimonial financial proceedings, BDB Pitmans also handles children’s proceedings, both in domestic and international cases. The ‘incredibly empatheticMatthew Heyworth leads the team and is renowned for his expertise in matrimonial finances practice. Owen Reynolds has recently joined the firm and adds his qualification as a collaborative lawyer to the firm’s services offering. Legal director Claire Burton comes particularly recommended for her expertise in complex private law children cases.

Practice head(s):

Matt Heyworth

Other key lawyers:

Owen Reynolds; Claire Burton; Zoe Rose; Kerry Haugh

Testimonials

‘Owen Reynolds is an experienced family law solicitor who inspires confidence in his clients. Opponents take him seriously and his attention to detail is second to none.’

‘An excellent company with very professional talented employees that you can trust thoroughly. I would highly recommend BDB Pitman’s to any person who needed expert legal services.’

‘Miss Kerry Haugh is an exceptionally knowledgeable, competent and extremely good solicitor. Kerry’s work ethics are first class, she provides excellent advice by walking you through all the pros and cons of the case by providing clear instructions on how to proceed. Kerry would also go one extra step to find the very best barrister to represent you at the most competitive cost available.’

‘My case necessitated the involvement of different specialist advice and BDB was able to offer everything under one practice. The communication and understanding within their organization was excellent and the advice received in all aspects was clear, concise and to a high standard. The barrister they proposed was incredible. I always felt they had my back covered.’

‘Matthew Heyworth was incredibly empathetic and listened carefully. His communication and support were outstanding whilst his expertise and tactical, focused approach were critical in getting my messy predicament finally resolved. Although we were unable to meet face to face I felt he was able to connect with me and my situation. He was honest and open, easy to communicate with.’

‘Matt Heyworth – very approachable, knowledgeable and pragmatic. Kerry Haugh – approachable, knowledgeable, good communication.’

Blake Morgan LLP

A ‘strong force to be reckoned with‘, the team at Blake Morgan LLP has extensive experience in handling matrimonial finances, a specialism of practice head James Davies, as well as sensitive children’s cases involving spousal abuse and cohabitation disputes. Consultant and former practice head Christine Plews acts as a mediator and is certified to undertake child-inclusive mediation. Catherine Morgan comes particularly recommended for her expertise in private law children cases.

Practice head(s):

James Davies

Other key lawyers:

Christine Plews; Catherine Morgan; Laura Bennett; Amy Maher; Simon Burge; Jessica Howard

Testimonials

‘Christine Plews is very supportive of clients, but well able to fight if necessary.’

‘The service at Blake Morgan has been of a very high standard. All the staff that I met were very helpful and accommodating, making for a more relaxed and less stressful experience. I felt I could always get in touch, however small a concern. However difficult and complicated the issues, I was always treated with compassion, dignity and respect.’

‘James Davies was very professional in the way he helped me through the long and difficult process. He would always explain in depth and clearly the complicated issues I was struggling with, so I could fully understand and make the best possible decisions. He showed understanding and compassion for my situation and was always reassuring when I was finding the process stressful. I am incredibly grateful for all the work that he did, and for achieving for me a remarkably good outcome.’

‘James Davies is a star: totally unflappable, he always delivers sound advice to clients. What Simon Burge doesn’t know about family law isn’t worth knowing. He is calm and kind, but also a brilliant tactician.’

‘Blake Morgan is a top provider of legal services in the field of family finance. As a long-established firm they have an excellent reputation for retaining their key players. The Oxford office is no different and has the excellent James Davies. As a large firm Blake Morgan has the appropriate premises and systems for a top regional firm.’

‘James Davies and Simon Burge are stand-out stars and worthy of particular comment. Up and coming are Catherine Morgan and Jessica Howard.’

‘Blake Morgan Oxford is a strong force to be reckoned with. All solicitors are extremely knowledgeable, experienced and able lawyers. They are very well prepared and thorough in all aspects of their case management. They are pragmatic when needed.’

‘James Davies is a highly experienced family finance solicitor. He really gets to grips with the detail of every case and provides clear, practical and commercial advice. He is excellent with the clients and always forges great working relationships. His cases are always prepared meticulously and he does not shy away from investigating difficult matters. He is a class act.’

Brethertons LLP

Simon Craddock heads the Banbury office of Brethertons LLP, a practice with a strong focus on matters pertaining to children. `SuperstarGemma Kelsey is another specialist in the space, additionally handling international proceedings and sensitive topics such as domestic violence. Matthew Montanaro heads the Care team and takes a broader approach, counselling clients on cases before the Child court, Court of Protection, on the Human Rights Act, and international surrogacy. In matters arising from divorce and finance, the team is led by Katie Phillips and Dominic Wisdom.

Practice head(s):

Simon Craddock

Other key lawyers:

Sally Clark; Linda Jones; Dominic Wisdom; Katie Phillips; Matthew Montanaro; Gemma Kelsey

Testimonials

‘Leaders in the field of child abduction. They have been involved in most of the leading authorities in this area. Very approachable and knowledgeable team of specialists in family law. They are always available for their clients.’

‘Gemma Kelsey is a superstar. Very bright and a leading light in international private children law matters. Clients adore her. Simon Craddock is a leader in the field. There is nothing that he does not know about international children cases. Very approachable and a super brain.’

‘Brethertons are the market leaders in the care sector in the region. They have a reputation for top level, authoritative representation across all aspects of family law. Cases are thoroughly prepared and client expectations are well managed with difficult advice being offered to safeguard client interests. They have particular expertise in the care and international sectors that are recognized at national level.’

‘Their private law children practice is enviable.’

‘An exceptionally popular and well-regarded team. They are client-focused and expertly led by a team of dedicated and fantastic partners.’

‘Brethertons is a flagship financial remedy practice outside of Birmingham. It has particular experience in cases with rural aspects and high net worth cases.’

‘Simon Craddock is a first class solicitor who will always go beyond for his clients.’

‘Simon Craddock is a great strategist, always contemplating the next move which pays off in spades.’

Clifton Ingram LLP Solicitors

Clifton Ingram LLP Solicitors acts for clients in financial issues, all forms of living together, pre-nuptial arrangements and cases pertaining to children in addition to offering legal aid for care work. In providing services, Rekha Joshi continually and elegantly walks the fine line between the professional and the friend’ and heads up the firm’s Wokingham team. Anne Deller heads up the Reading office where she employs her practice particularly in cases of nuptial and living arrangements. Kate Grant has recently left the firm.

Practice head(s):

Anne Deller; Rekha Joshi

Other key lawyers:

Lisa Lee

Testimonials

‘The family team does an outstanding job at all times – approachable, knowledgeable, professional and efficient, but never ‘sterile’ with regard to client care.’

‘A clear call out to Rekha Joshi. She continually and elegantly walked the fine line between the professional and the friend; a difficult one to execute well, but she set standards that others can only hope to follow. I appreciated this (and her) hugely.’

‘I cannot speak highly enough of the service provided by Rekha Joshi. The service that she provided was exceptional in very trying and difficult circumstances. She provided advice with absolute clarity, was very understanding and a pillar of strength when the going got tough. I cannot recommend her enough.’

‘Lisa Lee – down-to-earth, displays good judgement and a strong understanding of the case and what to aim for. Focused on and supportive to her clients.’

‘A go-to firm in the Thames Valley for many years.’

‘A modern and forward-thinking family practice with particular strength in financial work. Often represents high-net-worth clients based in the Thames Valley with complex and involved finances. The firm punches above its weight and holds its own against specialist and boutique family practices. The department is ably led by Anne Deller who is a formidable litigator balanced with a savvy pragmatism.’

‘A well established team for locals which can rightly claim to offer “London” services.’

‘Clifton Ingram provides advice tailored to the client’s specific needs, with a particular focus on the practical aspects upon which family division can have a significant impact. Expert advice is available on all areas of family law and the team provides a very capable support system for any client.’

Field Seymour Parkes LLP

Field Seymour Parkes LLP‘ family lawyers ‘are a match for any London firm‘ and have a particular expertise in matrimonial finance alongside private Children Act work and pre- and postnuptial agreements. Out of Reading, Bethan Thomas leads the team and focuses her expertise on issues arising out of relationship breakdowns. Sue Baker is a specialist in financial cases and comes particularly recommended for her knowledge in Armed Forces pensions.

Practice head(s):

Bethan Thomas

Other key lawyers:

Sue Baker; Lindsay Davies; Hannah Sims

Testimonials

‘Sue Baker was outstanding. She had the ability digest all facets of the information given, and act on it in a straightforward and effective manner.’

‘This strong team was further strengthened by the arrival of Bethan Thomas. They now have really able people at all levels. As a consequence they have the ability to provide a first class service for all types of family work.’

‘Hannah Sims is organized, efficient, hands-on and approachable- a brilliant combination!’

‘Lindsay Davies is wonderful. She is bright and very conscientious and is a safe pair of hands.’

‘There was plenty of time for discussion and a fair degree of flexibility to have calls and discussions at a time that suited me. There was lots of clear explanation of the process.’

‘Thorough and experienced matrimonial finance lawyers who are a match for any London firm. FSP are tenacious when they need to be, but also keen to reach a resolution provided it is in the best interests of the client.’

‘Lindsay Davies has a photographic memory and knows all of her cases inside and out. In addition she is very analytical and able to dissect the most complicated expert reports to the benefit of her clients. She is an excellent lawyer. Sue Baker is hugely experienced and clients find her very reassuring. She is able to analyse a case and drill down to the relevant factors and shape the progress of the case.’

‘I felt FSP were a cohesive and well-integrated series of specialist teams who worked well together for my case.’

Freeths LLP

Sarah Foster heads up the Freeths LLP‘ family law practice in Oxford which is home to specialists in cases pertaining to pre- and postmarital agreements, matters involving property and pensions abroad, and with specialist expertise in fertility and surrogacy law. One such expert is senior associate Tom Burgess who additionally advocates in contentious private law children matters. Director Joanne Thomas has developed extensive knowledge in financial remedy cases pertaining to pre- and postmarriage assets.

Practice head(s):

Sarah Foster

Other key lawyers:

Joanne Thomas; Tom Burgess; Heather Jarrold-Taylor; Alexandra Haworth; Danielle Beesley

Testimonials

‘Depth of experience & expertise to draw upon within team; transparency of processes and available resources to deploy against tasks.’

‘Freeths is a really well-rounded team who works collaboratively and efficiently to achieve the very best for the clients.’

‘I have worked closely with Joanne Thomas who is always willing to go the extra mile for her clients and gives sensible, pragmatic advice in a sensitive manner. Clients always feel reassured by her calm nature and as counsel it is refreshing to know that she is always willing to work collaboratively to think through strategy on a case.’

‘Freeths is a large, well-organized firm. It has strength in its departments and a strong digital presence. The team is consistently good.’

‘Tom Burgess stands out. Joanne Thomas is also a very safe pair of hands. She is very calm under pressure and has a good mind for figures.’

Gardner Leader LLP

An England-based firm with a strong international reach, the team at Gardner Leader LLP is led by Simon Fisher , a family lawyer with a broad practice and particular expertise in financial matters. Suzy Hamshaw focuses on matrimonial finances and breakdowns of unmarried relationships. Stephanie Buckeridge handles divorces and separations. The firm’s strength has recently been bolstered with the arrival of consultant Ash Sanger in the Windsor office who brings her extensive experience in post-marital proceedings as well as cohabitation to the table. Former practice head Seona Myerscough has retired.

Practice head(s):

Simon Fisher

Other key lawyers:

Suzy Hamshaw; Stephanie Buckeridge; Ash Sanger; Stephanie Newton

Testimonials

‘The advice given is second to none, every option is thoroughly explained at a level the client can understand. This practice also listens to the clients requirements then applies the most cost effective solution.’

‘Simon Fisher is extremely sensible and cost-effective. He is able to deliver firm advice with a light touch. He is able to see the big picture and the direction of a case pretty quickly, and will guide his clients through proceedings accordingly. Simon is no nonsense and reassuring. He also has a good sense of humour. He is a delight to work with.’

‘Suzy Hamshaw is an outstanding family lawyer who combines attention to detail with a friendly and helpful approach to her cases.’

‘A great team with strength of depth at senior level. Very approachable and friendly to work with.’

‘Suzy Hamshaw is an excellent lawyer. She has complete mastery of each of her cases and her level-headed approach ensures that her clients settle when they should settle and fight when they should fight. She regularly obtains great results for her clients.’

‘Well organized, knowledgeable, and prompt with communication.’

‘I wouldn’t choose anyone else to represent me with my personal matters.’

‘Organized, good judgement early on in the process, good quality for reasonable fees.’

Key clients

Mrs V

Mr P

Work highlights

  • Representing a wife in divorce and financial proceedings which involve pensions and assets in four different countries.
  • Acting for a husband in financial proceedings involving a family home worth over £2m, four rental properties, a family limited company, and a family partnership business.

Oxford

RWK Goodman handles the full range of family law matters, particularly where business and foreign assets are involved, focusing primarily on high-net-worth individuals. Practice head Simon Bassett leads the team out of Oxford and handles divorces, separations, substantial financial matters, as well as DNA testing and pre- and postnuptial agreements. The arrival of Vanessa Gardiner from Gateley Plc has further bolstered the firm’s strength through her additional expertise in financial matters and contested Children Act cases.

Practice head(s):

Simon Bassett

Other key lawyers:

Vanessa Gardiner

Testimonials

‘I was really impressed by Vanessa Gardiner’s outstanding expertise, and also by how quickly she grasped my complicated case and by how proactively and sensitively she was providing feedback and advice. I personally value very highly Vanessa’s ability to genuinely sympathise with her clients and her deep understanding of psychological dynamics of a divorce.’

‘RWK have an excellent profile within the family law arena. Whichever office I work with, the same level of care and attention to detail is provided to clients and means that they are consistently a high level of client service. They have really mastered and embraced digital working, in my opinion much quicker than some other firms.’

‘An efficient, well-resourced team, able to handle cases at all asset levels and differing complexity.’

‘The firm has built up an excellent reputation for family work and for children work in particular. They always go above and beyond. Exceptionally hard-working and knowledgeable.’

‘I have worked with both Simon Bassett and Vanessa Gardiner. They both seem to be well supported by their associates and by the firm and technological support. The firm has a reputation for being progressive and is certainly one of the first in the Thames Valley to embrace Private FDRs.’

‘Vanessa Gardiner has excellent judgement; she is able immediately to identify the issues in the case. She is also sensitive to her client’s needs and gentle, but firm in the prosecution of her cases. Simon Bassett is dynamic and progressive. He thinks ahead and is a firm advocate of his client’s case whilst also taking a pragmatic problem-solving approach.’

‘The team is very professional and completes a comprehensive service, from partner level to support staff.’

‘Simon Bassett is hugely pragmatic and effective solicitor who will do all he can to find an early solution.’

Work highlights

  • Acting in a multi-million pound divorce which involves serious conduct and disclosure issues by the other spouse.
  • Acting in a financial remedy case which involves issues between the parties as to the value of a business, of properties, and division of pension assets.
  • Acting in a divorce case involving a number of different asset groups including two companies, a SIPP pension, land, and property.

Hedges Law

The experts in financial matters as they pertain to divorces and prenuptial agreements at Hedges Law are led by Nicola Poole. Carrie Rudge also comes recommended for her expertise in this area. Laura Mortimer expands the firm’s scope with her focus on relationship breakdowns and private children law disputes.

Practice head(s):

Nicola Poole

Other key lawyers:

Carrie Rudge; Laura Mortimer; James Carter

HMG Law LLP

Christina Cree leads the family law practice at HMG Law LLP and focuses on divorce, financial settlements, pre-nuptial agreements, cohabitation, and children. She has recently been joined by Andy Nellist from RWK Goodman who handles finance and children and is ‘ably assisted‘ by associate Alexandra Smith.

Practice head(s):

Christina Cree

Other key lawyers:

Andy Nellist; Alexandra Smith

Testimonials

‘Christina Cree who is excellent.’

‘Christina Cree – impressed by her confidence (not misplaced) in advising clients. She always gets it bang on. She’s a fighter and won’t stop until she gets the client what they are due (and more sometimes). An excellent tactician and lawyer and clients have confidence in her and rightly so.’

‘Respectable and long-established firm.’

‘Christina Cree is a safe pair of hands. I’d go to her if I was getting a divorce. Firm, but fair, straightforward to deal with, friendly in her approach. Realistic whilst working hard for her clients.’

‘I have only worked with Christina Cree and Alexandra Smith. I always find the firm organized and competent, small, but efficient.’

‘Christina Cree is highly competent. She has excellent judgement and a firm, but gentle manner.’

‘They are friendly, approachable and sensible. I wouldn’t hesitate recommending them for a family matter. They give sensible and most importantly, proportionate advice to their clients.’

‘Christina Cree is the head of family and she is very ably assisted by Alexandra Smith. Both are very professional, with a personal touch.’

K J Smith Solicitors

A boutique firm, K J Smith Solicitors covers the whole range of issues arising in family law. Founder Kerry Smith is accredited by the family law organization ‘Resolution’ as a collaborative family lawyer. Anna Ferro advises clients on all issues arising out of divorce, including financial and child-related matters. Further recommended come Kulbir Rahi and Chris Sutton.

Practice head(s):

Kulbir Rahi; Kerry Smith; Chris Sutton; Samantha Archer; Anna Ferro

Other key lawyers:

Jessica Jupp

Testimonials

‘Chris Sutton at KJ Smith is excellent. He’s extremely hardworking and his key strengths are giving the client’s realistic advice about what is achievable and he really understands the judges in his patch very well, and therefore he tailors his advice and strategy accordingly.’

‘Jessica Jupp is a joy to work with; her cases are always prepared with utmost diligence and she is excellent at putting clients at ease.’

‘Kulbir Rahi operates in a very collaborative way and is extremely good at engendering a team approach on behalf of clients. She also goes the extra mile for her clients. She develops really good working relationships and her attention to detail is very good. Good practical and sound advice is given and she handles clients really well.’

‘The practice is local and has a local feel about them. They have many offices in the area which made them accessible and have a community feel. I spoke to many firms before choosing them and they had the most personal feel compared to the rest. They listened to my case and gave me valuable feedback and it was clear they were interested in the person, case and not just my money. They are very knowledgeable, supporting and honest which gave me a lot of confidence and peace of mind.’

‘Kulbir Rahi encapsulates what is the best in practice. She is knowledgeable and able to communicate her knowledge in a way that makes it both understandable and interesting. She has addressed two of the groups of professionals with whom I interact and she has been well received by all of those involved. Where I have consulted her on specific matters she has always been able to provide concise and relevant advice in a timely way. Kulbir does her firm great credit.’

‘Anna Ferro has approached the matter with tenacity and has considered all of the financial disclosure in detail, highlighting gaps in the disclosure provided and therefore protecting her client. KJ Smith is always quick to respond.’

‘This is a practical very down to earth firm. Excellent value for money.’

‘From the beginning, the team actually listened to my story, and offered a more human experience and interaction. At a time in my life when I have been most stressed, KJ Smith Solicitors were understanding and made the difficult process as easy to go through to as possible. They are professional and upfront about billing, providing a detailed client care letter, invoicing monthly so I am aware of my position and there is no miscommunication.’

Leiper Gupta Family Lawyers Ltd (LGFL Ltd)

The ‘one-of-a kind boutique firm’  Leiper Gupta Family Lawyers Ltd (LGFL Ltd) is led jointly from Reading by directors Rita Gupta and Anne Leiper. The 'formidable' Leiper is a specialist in financial settlements and an experienced litigator. In addition to her expertise in financial matters, Gupta advises on cases involving children and counsels clients through divorces - she is praised for her 'unique blend of empathy and passion.'

Practice head(s):

Rita Gupta; Anne Leiper

Testimonials

‘The LGFL Team Members are extremely responsive to any questions or enquiries. I would not hesitate to recommend LGFL to contacts, friends or family.’

‘The team comprises Rita Gupta and Anne Leiper. They run a very tight ship which has one focus – namely the client.’

‘The reality is that Anne Leiper and Rita Gupta are a fantastic team. They dedicate themselves to their cases and are relentless in pushing a case forward to the benefit of their clients. They are incredibly detailed in their approach and, where appropriate, leave no stone unturned. They are excellent solicitors.’

‘The formidable Anne Leiper and Rita Gupta head this niche family law firm with great success. They’re a match for the big names in family law and fight for their clients with tenacity and passion. Crucially, they always remind their client that there is a life after divorce, whilst helping them through this difficult moment in their lives. First rate.’

‘LGFL is a one-of-a kind boutique firm, established by Rita Gupta and Anne Leiper, two highly experienced family law solicitors. They have charted a path of their own and consolidated themselves as a very serious competitor to the larger firms in the area.’

‘Anne and Rita offer clear tactical direction from the outset – they think three steps head and plan accordingly. They do not fight needlessly, but when they are called upon they will fight harder than anyone. They are very good at cutting through nonsense and getting to the point. With LGFL in particular, clients get value for money because they get value with every billable unit. They also get the attention of their lawyers when they need; clients are not foisted off to junior lawyers.’

‘The team is very dynamic and hardworking. The practice is run very efficiently with queries answered immediately. The team is very diligent in their approach to every case. They take the time to deal with every issues excellently and fully. Thoroughly recommend this firm to anyone with a family/children/divorce case.’

‘The team at this practice are one of those rare groups of people who, it is clear, individually care genuinely about their area of law. Rita Gupta has a unique and magnetic energy that inspires confidence. Rita’s input into the wider family law sector, with her articles and interviews, demonstrates her knowledge and passion for her area.’

Lightfoots Solicitors

Under the leadership of Petrova Caldecourt, Lightfoots Solicitors handles divorce, cohabitation, child arrangements, nuptial arrangements, and cases relating to domestic abuse. Additionally, clients may benefit from consultant and former head of department Gill Wright‘s mediation practice. The team has recently been joined by Adam Ball from Lee Chadwick, who further bolsters the firm’s strength with his expertise in cohabitation and inheritance matters.

Practice head(s):

Petrova Caldecourt

Other key lawyers:

Adam Ball; Gill Wright

Testimonials

‘A tremendous law firm with a hard-earned reputation in the area for good quality work at reasonable prices done by wonderful people.’

‘Petrova Caldecourt is an excellent partner with a very welcoming, calm, and understanding manner but with an air of efficiency. She is without doubt dedicated to her clients and ensuring a good outcome for them. I would recommend Petrova to anyone requiring help in a divorce situation.’

‘A well-known local firm. Meets with clients quickly and has a professional reputation and is a firm that focuses on supporting clients when they have a dispute, but does work hard to try and keep clients out of court and save them legal fees and time.’

‘Gill Wright has an empathetic and calmly rational approach to her work. Her advice is always thoroughly explained and related to the situation at hand in a way that makes sense to a layman. She also takes time to explore the alternative options to her advice and the possible implications.’

‘The team is extremely committed and caring. They combine robust legal skills with compassion and empathy. They are always looking for innovative approaches and solutions, taking advice from barristers in appropriate scenarios.’

‘Petrova Caldecourt is down to earth, user-friendly, and genuinely cares about her clients. Petrova is always willing to go above and beyond to ensure the very best outcome for her clients. She is resolution focused but has a firm approach at the same time.’

‘Lightfoots offers a very good legal service for family law with excellent attention to detail and sound commercial sense. They are a pleasure to deal with as solicitors on the other side and manage to balance a robust representation of their clients’ best interests with a pragmatic approach to problem solving.’

‘I find Gill Wright to always be very composed, measured, and sensible in her approach. She is an excellent lawyer and mediator.’

Spratt Endicott

Spratt Endicott provides ‘excellent legal services‘ particularly in relation to financial remedies and has special expertise in handling matters for business owners and players in the agricultural sector. A specialist in these matters, Patrick Mulcare leads the practice out of Banbury. Deborah Davies broadens the firm’s scope with her additional expertise in issues pertaining to children.

Practice head(s):

Patrick Mulcare

Other key lawyers:

Deborah Davies; Sigourney Lee-Smith; Madeleine Harrington

Testimonials

‘Madeleine Harrington is an outstanding and tenacious lawyer who treats her clients with kindness and empathy.’

‘The family law team at Spratt Endicott provides a unique blend of legal knowledge and technical aptitude with a highly personal service. Both clients and business partners like myself feel as if we are listened to and prioritized.’

‘Patrick Mulcare is the complete article. Clever, caring, and polished. The judges and clients love his no-nonsense, but massively reasonable approach.’

‘Spratt Endicott have a lovely team of family lawyers. I think clients would want to know that they work in a conciliatory way with other lawyers for the best interests of their clients, rather than aggravate the situation and increasing costs by being aggressive.’

‘A professional and friendly team always willing to go the extra mile. Approachable, knowledgeable and proactive in working collaboratively.’

‘Spratt Endicott is an excellent legal services provider with a strong commitment to providing a first class service for its region. It has excellent premises and technology and so is capable of dealing with cases from those with modest assets right up to those with very substantial assets.’

‘Patrick Mulcare is highly regarded as a stand-out practitioner in high asset financial remedy cases. He is ably supported by Madeleine Harrington, Deborah Davies and Sigourney Lee-Smith.’

‘Madeleine Harrington is a first class solicitor who provides an excellent service for her many clients. She has a relaxing, engaging and easy manner which puts clients at their ease during some of the most difficult times in their lives. She is very sensible and practical and always brings good sense, proportionality and commerciality to her cases. She is also very mindful of costs and so provides great value for money.’

Stowe Family Law LLP

A boutique firm specializing in family law, Stowe Family Law LLP handles complex childcare proceedings both on the national and international planes as well as matters for high-net individuals. Amanda Phillips-Wylds heads the practice, she is a specialist in prenuptial agreements and financial disputes relating to divorces and accredited by both the Law Society and Resolution. Her team includes Gemma Davison, a highly active practitioner who handles sensitive childcare matters including allegations of abuse and parental responsibility, and complex niche matters such as surrogacy and fertility.

Practice head(s):

Amanda Phillips-Wylds

Other key lawyers:

Gemma Davison

Testimonials

‘Stowe Family Law are renowned as a ‘go-to’ firm for both children and cases involving complex finances arising from divorce/separation. A diverse team of specialists who are approachable and always on top of the issues.’

‘I have found the family team at Stowe very easy to work with. I have been particularly impressed with their response to communications. Materials requested are provided promptly.’

‘Gemma Davison is thorough and has excellent judgement. My experience is that she works hard to resolve matters without resorting to litigation, and any points left for the court to decide are well-prepared and well-argued.’

‘The team is exceptionally qualified, with unrivalled breadth and depth of expertise in all areas of family law. Their solicitors are experts and ensure that their client’s get the Rolls-Royce service.’

‘I work mostly with Gemma Davison. Her meticulous case preparation is unrivalled. She is personable and empathetic to her client’s cases, but if a very effective representative and real pleasure to work with.’

‘The Stowe team is a specialist family team and embraces a constructive and problem-solving strategy for the benefit of their clients.’

‘Amanda Phillips-Wylds is superb. She offers first rate advice to those going through a difficult time in their lives. She’ll always secure a great outcome.’

‘Amanda Phillips-Wylds is calm and wise: just what divorcing clients need. She’s always focused on an early agreed resolution, but won’t shy away from a fight if it’s needed.’