Firms To Watch: Family

Harbour Family Law, which was founded in 2014, has expanded in recent years with a series of hires from established firms and the launch of a new Bristol office in Clifton in 2020.
Bristol boutique Brigstow Family Law was founded in January 2021 by two directors formerly of The Family Law Practice – the ‘kind, fiercely loyal and no-nonsenseBessie Hanson and Sharon Mahmood, who is described as being ‘clear-minded, even, fair and hugely caring‘. The duo are known for being ‘fully committed to providing the highest level of service to their clients.’
EMW Law LLP's family law offering in Milton Keynes has since late 2019 been led by experienced practitioner Stephen Smith, who formerly led the family practice at Brachers.

Family in South West

Burges Salmon LLP

The practice at Burges Salmon LLP focuses primarily on financial settlements and asset restructuring for wealthy individuals. The team is headed by Sarah Hoskinson. Her expertise includes asset protection advice in both pre and post marital agreements. Alison Hawes is well-regarded for her expertise in financial matters relating to family businesses and farms. Another notable individual includes Hannah Petherick; her expertise includes child arrangements and surrogacy.

Practice head(s):

Sarah Hoskinson

Other key lawyers:

Alison Hawes; Mary Gaskins; Hannah Petherick; Carrie Stoneham


‘Hannah Petherick is a rising star – very bright and capable and runs her client’s cases to a very high standard.’

‘The members of the team are all expert in what they do, but also collaborate with other professionals for the good of the client.’

‘Alison Hawes is frighteningly efficient and her knowledge of the law and anticipating a likely practical result is excellent. Tactical decision making in litigation is also excellent. She leads her team very efficiently.’

‘Burges Salmon are an excellent firm who provide top-level advice in financial remedies. They have the strengths and professionalism of a top central London office whilst being based in Bristol and the south west.’

‘Burges Salmon represent one of the go to firms in the region for top quality financial remedy advice. Always professional, the team deliver a first rate service from start to finsish and fully deserve their reputation for excellence.’

‘Sarah Hoskinson has a national reputation and is a good leader of the team. She is highly professional and has authority.’

‘Alison Hawes is superb- one of the standout practitioners for many years. She is very professional but fun and approachable. She communicates extremely well.’

‘Alison Hawes and Sarah Hoskinson are outstanding and top of their game.’

Work highlights

    Clarke Willmott LLP

    The team at Clarke Willmott LLP has a broad range of expertise, and is praised for  providing ‘absolute top-quality service at a reasonable cost‘. Its specialisms include the handling of financial remedy claims, cohabitation claims and bankruptcy and divorce matters. Expert in TOLATA and unmarried family disputes, Gareth Schofield, leads the practice – he is described as ‘a brilliant practitioner with a national reputation‘. Alastair MacLeod is noted for his handling of financial settlements – ‘very easy to work with, a good communicator and puts clients at ease‘.

    Practice head(s):

    Gareth Schofield

    Other key lawyers:

    Alastair MacLeod; Clare Webb; Emma Gordon; Hannah Livesey; Laura Bond; Sarah Marchant; Laura Podger


    Excellent yeam. They provide absolute top-quality service but at a much more reasonable cost than some of the best known London firms.’

    ‘Gareth Schofield is the star individual. Exceptional judgement, great legal brain and a very nice man. A problem solver.’

    ‘The team prepare thoroughly for cases. The professionals within the team work well together, and more junior members are not afraid to collaborate with the senior members of the team.’

    ‘The quality of work and value for money is outstanding. It is the best service but at a reasonable cost.’

    ‘The firm is brilliantly resourced with access to all manner of expertise.’

    ‘Everyone is excellent- retention is very good and the team has been built well.’

    ‘Gareth Schofield is a brilliant practitioner with a national reputation that is well earned. He has fantastic judgement and a great approach to cases and clients.’

    ‘Alastair MacLeod is a strong individual with long-standing experience in financial remedy work including acting for high net worth clients. Very easy to work with, a good communicator and puts clients at ease.’

    Work highlights

      Irwin Mitchell

      Irwin Mitchell's team of 'highly respected family law specialists' deals mainly with high net worth financial cases as well as Court of Protection matters and matrimonial settlements. Nicola Walker heads the practice; her expertise lies within business and trust interests; while Erin Sawyer  oversees the TOLATA team - they are described as 'consummate professionals whose work is recognised far and wide.' The team has been strengthened with the arrival of senior associate Lizzie Smith from Clarke Willmott LLP; she is an expert in financial remedy matters.

      Practice head(s):

      Nicola Walker

      Other key lawyers:

      Erin Sawyer; Lizzie Smith; Jennifer Pollock; Aysha Chouhdary


      ‘They have both been helpful and given good advice.’

      ‘Irwin Mitchell’s reputation precedes them and they are undoubtedly at the top of their game. They are simply excellent in their dynamic approach to family litigation, balancing tenaciousness with the sensitivity required in family law.’

      ‘Lizzie Smith is a brilliant solicitor – interested in clients and cases, efficient, thoughtful, good value and level-headed.’

      ‘They have a diverse range of talent within the family team covering many specialist areas. They see the benefit in collaborating with other professionals and advocate interdisciplinary working.’

      ‘IM Bristol’s family team are highly respected family law specialists with a wealth of experience in dealing with legal and factually complex cases.’

      ‘Erin Sawyer is peerless in her determination to secure the best of possible outcomes for her clients.’

      ‘Lizzie Smith is a real pleasure to work with. Not only is she lovely but she is extremely efficient, very knowledgeable and unflappable.’

      ‘Nicola Walker – very, very experienced. Has the ability to accurately predict the outcome of cases from the very start. A power of strength for her clients.’

      Work highlights

        Lyons Davidson

        Lyons Davidson has specialist expertise in the handling of child abduction matters, child and domestic abuse matters and divorce and financial remedy cases. Philippa Morgan leads the team; she has significant experience in dealing with international child abduction cases. She is also well versed in the handling of wardship proceedings and international relocation. Other key names include Iona Phillips, who leads Advoca, the firm’s specialist child and domestic abuse law division, and principal associate Donna Cummins – ‘pragmatic, thorough and excellent with clients‘ – who also works in the Advoca team.

        Practice head(s):

        Philippa Morgan; Iona Phillips

        Other key lawyers:

        Donna Cummins


        ‘Lyons Davidson provides, amongst other things, a highly specialised service in the field of international child abduction. This firm deals with all aspects of this line of work from the most straightforward cases to the extremely complex ones.’

        ‘Philippa Morgan has an immense amount of expertise and experience in the area of international child abduction which makes her stand out from her competitors.’

        ‘Fantastic diary management. Flexible team who are always available.’

        ‘Philippa Morgan is an absolute dream to work with. She is brilliantly prepared, goes the extra-mile for every single client, and is a very pleasant colleague.’

        ‘Philippa Morgan is an exceptional lawyer and continues to provide incredible quality advice and representation now she is in a leadership role as well as still managing her own caseload.’

        ‘Philippa Morgan is a star individual. She specialises in complex international children cases, bringing years of experience, calm and certainty of approach.’

        ‘Philippa Morgan – Absolutely outstanding for children work. Really knows her stuff, particularly related to international child abduction. Reliable and early instructions.’

        ‘Donna Cummins is pragmatic, thorough and excellent with clients. Iona Phillips has excellent legal knowledge and a real eye for detail.’

        Key clients

        A v A (Return Without Taking Parent) [2021] EWHC 1439 (Fam)

        Re A (A Child)(1980 Hague Convention: Set Aside) [2021] EWCA Civ 194

        Father v Mother [2020] EWHC 1964 (Fam)

        Popovs v Vaidere [2021] EWHC 1127 (Fam)

        A (Children) (Abduction: Article 13(b)) [2021] EWCA Civ 939

        Work highlights

        • Represented father in connection to the abduction of his son from Ireland.
        • Represented father in connection to the return of his daughter to Latvia.
        • Represented appellant husband in case concerning marital status.

        Michelmores LLP

        Michelmores LLP focuses mainly on advising on international, high value, private wealth family matters. The team is led by Daniel Eames. He chairs the International Committee of Resolution in addition to being a member of Lord Justice Moylan’s International Family Law Committee. Pippa Allsop‘s expertise lie within wealth protection for high net worth individuals. Sarah Green is noted for her handling of divorce and financial remedy cases. 

        Practice head(s):

        Daniel Eames

        Other key lawyers:

        Sarah Green; Pippa Allsop


        ‘A specialist firm in international finances arising from divorce.’

        ‘Daniel Eames is a leader in the field of international financial cases. He really knows his stuff and client’s adore his direct approach.’

        ‘Unafraid to take on the most challenging cases, Michelmores will work hard to provide excellent service to clients and counsel alike.’

        ‘Daniel Eames has the patience of a saint. Even with the most difficult clients he is calm and collected, and able to get the right messages across.’

        ‘The representation they give their clients is second to none. I would not hesitate to recommend this firm to anyone going through a complex divorce.’

        ‘A really professional child law team – I would not hesitate to recommend them.’

        ‘Pippa Allsop is exceptional – extremely thorough, whilst remaining approachable and client focused.’

        ‘Sarah Green combines exceptional knowledge, experience and instincts with a compassionate client-focused approach.’

        Work highlights

        • Acted for French husband in longrunning proceedings in England brought by his former French wife.

        RWK Goodman

        RWK Goodman dedicates its practice to financial relief matters, private children and domestic abuse work and public law children work. Richard Ellis, Katherine Lauder, Emma Young and Jayne Martins lead the practice together. Ellis focuses on the family business unit whilst Lauder oversees private law children and domestic violence. Young focuses on care; Martins joined the team from Stone King LLP in April 2021 and oversees financial remedy matters. Rebecca Stevens is noted for her expertise in both private and public law child matters.

        Practice head(s):

        Richard Ellis; Katherine Lauder; Jayne Martins; Emma Young

        Other key lawyers:

        Maria Mulroe; Rebecca Stevens; Clizia Motterle


        ‘The team has an excellent talent-pool, comparable to any ‘elite’ London family law firm.’

        ‘The team is made up of exceptional lawyers beneath Richard Ellis who has a wealth of knowledge in terms of the law but also in terms of practical, pragmatic resolution to difficult dilemmas.’

        ‘RWK provide consistently excellent client care. They have embraced digital ways of working and offer clients a really modern approach in dealing with their cases.’

        Work highlights

          Stephens Scown LLP

          Stephens Scown LLP has expertise in cases concerning private child arrangements and domestic abuse, adoption and international abduction, conflict of law and divorce. Andrew Barton leads the practice and specialises in high net worth financial and business settlements. Sarah Atkinson is noted for her expertise in financial aspects of family matters, including pension issues and trusts. Thea Bennun was promoted to partner in May 2021.

          Practice head(s):

          Andrew Barton

          Other key lawyers:

          Sarah Atkinson; Mark Smith; Bill Wilkins; Jill Bruce; Mark Chanter; Sarah Walls; Thea Bennun; Sarah Bell; Kirsten Sibley; Harriet Wigmore


          ‘Stephens Scown is, I believe, unique in its handling of the wellbeing of its clients alongside the exceptional timely and appropriate legal advice provided.’

          ‘They have the highest profile of any firm in my field, again by some distance.’

          ‘Andrew Barton is the standout. He gets excellent work and does it very well. He is hardworking and runs the team very well.’

          Work highlights

            Ashfords LLP

            Ashfords LLP has expertise in international child relocation, asset protection and financial remedy proceedings. The team is led by the ‘pragmatic and practicalZoe Porter; she regularly advises high net worth clients with issues concerning financial arrangements. The ‘professional and compassionateSamantha Newton has specialist expertise in internal and international children relocation cases.

            Practice head(s):

            Zoe Porter

            Other key lawyers:

            Jayne Turner; Samantha Newton; Megan Prideaux


            ‘Very strong in the South West.’

            ‘A team with good depth of specialist knowledge and juniors who are very thorough in their preparation.’

            ‘Megan Prideaux is always calm, clear and thorough even in complex and rapidly changing situations.’

            ‘Ashfords are often a firm who we find as opponents on good quality high net worth divorces. We find them to be sensible opponents who generally take pragmatic, practical approaches to the outcome of cases.’

            ‘Zoe Porter is a pragmatic, practical solicitor.’

            ‘Samantha Newton was exceptional. My case was very difficult and traumatic – Samantha was professional and compassionate and made sure that she fully understood my situation.’

            Work highlights

              Ellis Jones Solicitors LLP

              The sizeable team at Ellis Jones Solicitors LLP comprises of both mediators and lawyers, with expertise in financial matters and children law and is described as being ‘unrivalled in the Dorset region for family finance work‘. The practice is led by the ‘very well respected’ Deborah Leask and Sean McNally. Both have over 30 years’ experience in family law and known for being ‘giants in the field’. Katie Taft is noted for her expertise in international child relocation.

              Practice head(s):

              Deborah Leask; Sean McNally

              Other key lawyers:

              Katie Taft; Ian Butterworth; Georgina Emerson


              ‘There is considerable strength in depth across the team and they are a real force in family law.’

              ‘Katie Taft is highly knowledgeable, has a brilliant eye for detail and tactics, and always produces immaculate briefs for counsel.’

              ‘Ellis Jones are one of the premier teams in Dorset and the south. The firm is very well resourced and has excellent assistance. There is not a better team in the Bournemouth area.’ 

              ‘Deborah Leask and Sean McNally have rightly been respected as leaders in their field for many years. Each of them brings over 30 years of wisdom, common sense and practicality to every case.’

              ‘Deborah Leask and Sean McNally are giants in the field and very well respected. They are the “go to” family lawyers for family finance work in the region.’

              ‘The firm has a very strong children team, spearheaded in the main by Katie Taft, who has built a real specialism in, and is well known nationally for international relocation work.’

              ‘Deborah Leask has an excellent head for complex figures and really enjoys the technical and complex side of money work. Her understanding of businesses and accounts is impressive.’

              ‘The team is well known for having great lawyers. The high level of client service and attention to detail is great.’

              Work highlights

                Harrison Clark Rickerbys

                The practice at Harrison Clark Rickerbys is led by both Carolyn Green and James Grigg - 'experts in what they do and always put their clients first.' Green is an expert in financial remedy work and has particular specialisms in international cases and pension issues. Grigg has experience in the handling of private law children work, as well as financial cases.

                Practice head(s):

                Carolyn Green; James Grigg

                Other key lawyers:

                Andrew Morris; James Shorrock


                ‘Carolyn Green is the most experienced family finance solicitor in Cheltenham and Gloucester.’

                ‘Real strength in depth across the entire team. HCR consistently deliver high quality work for their clients and remain one of the go to firms in the region.’

                ‘The team led by Carolyn Green are experts in what they do and always put their clients first. They have built a formidable practice and deservingly continue to go from strength to strength.’

                ‘The team is strong. James Grigg and Carolyn Green are extremely experienced and well- known.’

                ‘Carolyn Green and James Grigg are stand out practitioners and complement each other.’

                ‘I never hesitate to recommend HCR to anyone who is seeking a divorce.’

                ‘A brilliant team who offer first class client care and can easily get to grips with complex legal issues. They conduct top quality work and will provide clear and well-reasoned advice.’

                ‘Extremely efficient and organised team. Great communication and accessibility.’

                Work highlights

                  Nash & Co

                  The practice at Nash & Co in Plymouth has niche expertise in matters concerning domestic violence. It is also well equipped to handle both public and private children law cases. Both Helen Bull and Eleanor Barber lead the team. Bull mainly oversees public children work, whilst Barber handles financial remedy matters. Anne Shears is noted for her expertise in divorce, as well as financial remedy cases. Solicitor Amanda Dawe joined from Stephens Scown LLP.

                  Practice head(s):

                  Helen Bull; Eleanor Barber

                  Other key lawyers:

                  Anne Shears

                  Work highlights

                    Steele Raymond LLP

                    Steele Raymond LLP focuses primarily on both divorce and financial remedy cases. The practice is led by Daniel Sanders  who is well versed in the handling of both Children Act cases and prenuptial agreements. Lindsay Halliwell  is noted for her experience in TOLATA claims and financial matters; she was promoted to partner in April 2021.

                    Practice head(s):

                    Daniel Sanders

                    Other key lawyers:

                    Lindsay Halliwell


                    ‘Lindsay Halliwell is an absolute star. She always adopts a sound, pragmatic approach to a case and her client-facing skills are second to none. Willing to go the extra mile, she is a pleasure to work with.’

                    ‘This firm continues to have a flawless reputation in the area of Family Law. Their department covers all areas of Family Law and I would not hesitate to recommend any one of the firm’s fee earners.’

                    ‘Dan Sanders is approachable and has an ability to reassure clients almost instantly. Dan’s knowledge of Family Law is outstanding.’

                    Work highlights

                      Stone King LLP

                      Stone King LLP has expertise in family matters concerning cohabitation, child law and finance. It has particular strength in ADR and negotiation procedures. Tracey Smith leads the practice; her expertise encompasses financial matters arising from divorce. She has over 25 years’ experience in family law. Caroline Fell is noted for her expertise in high-value cross-border financial matters.

                      Practice head(s):

                      Tracey Smith

                      Other key lawyers:

                      Meg Moss; Caroline Fell; Daniela Nickols; Rebecca Eels


                      ‘The whole team at Stone King were of immense support and assistance throughout a challenging legal process. I cannot thank them enough!’

                      ‘All the support staff were very helpful and understanding in stressful times. Very clear understanding of the divorce law to keep the client on track in emotional times. Very difficult communications with the opposing team.’

                      ‘They were understanding that this was a very difficult time and that they put the needs and emotions of us as a family very much at the forefront.’

                      ‘Polite and helpful in dealing with clients. Prompt follow up on queries.’

                      ‘I have found Caroline Fell excellent in all my dealings with her. She offers a sympathetic ear but remains considered in her advice and thorough in checking documents.’

                      ‘Reliable, excellent advice. Really felt they were working with me and for me in my best interests with professional, yet caring advice.’

                      ‘The quality if the work, preparation and client care is exceptionally high.’

                      Work highlights

                        The Family Law Practice

                        The team at The Family Law Practice in Bristol has a focus on financial remedy work. Ashley Palminteri leads the practice; he is well regarded for his ability to resolve financial disputes and private law children matters and is described as ‘knowledgeable, calm and grounded’. The team was strengthened in March 2021 by the arrival of the ‘very experienced, knowledgeable and empathetic’ Mark Sage from TLT.

                        Practice head(s):

                        Ashley Palminteri

                        Other key lawyers:

                        Mark Sage; Elizabeth Bruce


                        ‘The practice takes into account your personal situation, making you feel very looked after.’

                        ‘Mark Sage took care of me throughout, not only with the legal matters where he explained everything very carefully, he listened to my worries and fears and was extremely reassuring and calming.’

                        ‘Mark Sage is very experienced, knowledgeable and empathetic.’

                        ‘Very competent group of lawyers, each of which is down to earth and practical with their advice. Very modern and real world approach to solving challenges. Always reachable – excellent.’

                        ‘Ashley Palminteri is one of a kind – knowledgeable, calm, grounded and provides relevant, practical advice and solutions.’

                        ‘Specialist family practice. Friendly and professional service.’

                        ‘The FLP is a specialist family law firm with wide experience, particularly in family finance work.’

                        ‘Ashley Palminteri is highly experienced in family finance work. He prepares his case thoroughly, builds a good working relationship with clients and gives realistic advice.’

                        Work highlights


                          The team  at TLT is well versed in advising high net worth clients on financial remedy matters. It has both cross-border and international expertise. Focus is also given to children cases, including parental alienation. Natalie Drew leads the practice; she is an 'excellent lawyer who considers all angles' and is well known for her handling of finance related matters concerning business, trusts and agricultural family disputes. She works alongside 'truly exceptional' senior associate Nick Cooper.

                          Practice head(s):

                          Natalie Drew

                          Other key lawyers:

                          Nick Cooper; Abigail Whelan


                          ‘Natalie Drew always make me feel better, less overwhelmed and with clear and practical choices. Her team always pick up her emails when she is not available or in court.’

                          ‘Natalie Drew – excellent lawyer who considers all angles. Robust and confident. Determined and supportive.’

                          ‘Nick Cooper is a truly exceptional solicitor with both great legal knowledge and an excellent way with clients. Friendly and realistic, he is able to put clients at ease whilst managing expectations and emotions.’

                          ‘Strength in depth, excellent communication skills, a pleasure to work with at every level.’

                          ‘Natalie Drew is my go-to with referrals – you know that you will never be let down.’

                          ‘Natalie Drew is a first class head of team and oversees some excellent lawyers.’

                          Work highlights


                            VWV has a team of family law specialists with expertise in pensions and divorce, child support issues, Court of Protection matters and cohabitation claims. Samantha Hickman  heads the practice, supporting the team with her 20 years' of family law experience. She regularly acts for international clients, including those with assets in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, China, South Africa and Mexico. Solicitor Kim Phillips joined the team from Withers LLP in September 2021.

                            Practice head(s):

                            Samantha Hickman

                            Other key lawyers:

                            Emily Roskilly; Melita Bown; Katie Hanson; Alice Stephens-Mayor


                            ‘Their lawyers are highly knowledgeable, efficient and diligent and provide a comprehensive private client service. They are a joy to work with and their briefs are always well prepared.’

                            ‘Sam Hickman leads VWV’s team and her dedication to clients is impressive. Calm under pressure, Sam has an exceptional legal knowledge, combined with a never give up attitude.’

                            ‘Melita Brown provides robust and practical advice to her clients, supporting them through their litigation journey.’

                            Work highlights

                              Barcan+Kirby LLP

                              The practice at Barcan+Kirby LLP is headed by Hanni Pennelegion, Kirsten Hale, Tom Powles and Kim Joseph. Pennelegion is overall family head, Hale leads the divorce and separation finances team, Powles is children head, and Joseph specialises in representing children and parents subject to public law applications. Sarah Marshall is noted for her expertise in divorce, cohabitation disputes and pre-nuptial agreements. The team is also praised for its approach with clients who suffer with mental health difficulties.

                              Practice head(s):

                              Hanni Pennelegion; Kirsten Hale; Tom Powles; Kim Joseph

                              Other key lawyers:

                              Chris Miller; Anna Wilson; Clare Cox; Gareth Hughes; Georgia Holmes; Sarah Marshall; Charmaine Moger


                              ‘Exceptional case management; they take time to understand complex cases; exceptional collaboration with counsel to produce well focused strong position statements to help reach desired outcome’

                              ‘The team care about their clients and are always willing to go the extra mile.’

                              ‘Barcan & Kirby demonstrate particular uniqueness in the way they deal with clients especially their approach to the the provision of personal and pastoral care and support alongside legal advice. Their approach with clients who suffer with mental health difficulties is exceptional.’

                              ‘Kirsten Hale has a great mind for understanding financial issues and applies her depth of knowledge with honesty and empathy.’

                              ‘Extremely experienced group with a clear, team wide ethos to help their clients. Clients are given clear and realistic advice, and supported throughout the court process to ensure they have the best possible representation.’

                              ‘Tom Powles – a very conscientious lawyer, who always gives 100% for the benefit of his clients’

                              ‘A well-resourced family team with experience and expertise. Very strong customer focus and a culture that puts the client front and centre.’

                              ‘Sarah Marshall and Hanni Pennelegion are the standouts both very experienced, efficient and excellent with clients. They are no-nonsense, business-like types.’

                              Work highlights

                                Foot Anstey

                                Foot Anstey has particular expertise in the handling of nuptial agreements and divorces involving farms, as well as divorces involving owner managed businesses. It is also well versed in matters concerning financial remedy claims and children disputes. Jessica Pitt heads the team; she regularly advises high net worth individuals, based both nationally and internationally.

                                Practice head(s):

                                Jessica Pitt

                                Other key lawyers:

                                Emily Botham; Georgia Day


                                ‘The practice provided excellent service and acted professionally but in a human and personal manner.’

                                ‘Jessica Pitt was extremely knowledgeable in this particular field, empathetic and treated me with the utmost respect. She also responded to my queries almost immediately every time. I had every confidence in her.’

                                ‘Foot Anstey LLP are highly professional in family practice.’

                                Work highlights

                                  Goughs Solicitors

                                  Goughs Solicitors handles a breadth of family law matters, including divorce, matrimonial finance, TOLATA claims and private child law, and is praised for its 'personal and impeccable' service. The team is led by Thomas Boyce and Ross Phillips. The 'highly intelligent and calm under pressure' Boyce has long standing experience dealing with complex litigation. Phillips' specialisms include TOLATA and nuptial agreements - he is known for his 'tactical awareness, tenacity and commercially sensitive approach to complex cases'.

                                  Practice head(s):

                                  Thomas Boyce; Ross Phillips

                                  Other key lawyers:

                                  Matthew Drew; Eleanor Wood; Natalie Kemp


                                  ‘A small, friendly, accessible practice that treats clients with compassion and warmth during what is for most, unchartered territory.’

                                  ‘Matthew Drew gave me excellent advice and helped steer me during a difficult time. The information he provided was clear and concise, allowing me to make decisions that I felt comfortable with.’

                                  ‘The service that I have received from Goughs has been superb. Throughout the process I am kept up to date on all communication . The ease of communication means that there is never the situation where information is missed.’

                                  Work highlights

                                    Ian Walker Family Law and Mediation Solicitors

                                    Ian Walker Family Law and Mediation Solicitors handles matters relating to divorce and relationships, child law and mediation. Founding partner Ian Walker, Lauren Preedy (divorce and relationships), Lisa Holden (family mediation) and Emma Perkins (children law) collectively lead the team. Perkins joined the team in April 2022 from KSFLP.

                                    Practice head(s):

                                    Ian Walker; Lauren Preedy; Emma Perkins; Lisa Holden

                                    Other key lawyers:

                                    Kim Stradling; Fiona Griffin; Bridget Garrood

                                    Work highlights

                                      Lester Aldridge LLP

                                      The practice at Lester Aldridge LLP places particular attention to the resolution of financial remedy cases. The team is also well equipped to handle children matters, including TOLATA related claims. Rosemary Sharp - 'a beacon in the field of family law' - heads the team; she is experienced in handling international matters, with particular experience in South African based arrangements.

                                      Practice head(s):

                                      Rosemary Sharp

                                      Other key lawyers:

                                      Laura George


                                      ‘Client focused; proactive; engaged; transparent’

                                      ‘Client focused; Always briefed and ready; Transfer of information is swift; Understanding and compassionate; Transparent with fees.’

                                      ‘I would always expect professionalism and expertise from a solicitors firm. But it’s also important to me they are have that human element of friendliness, politeness, and care. Lester Aldridge do.’

                                      ‘Laura George is a solicitor who I would not hesitate to recommend. She is a true professional & a credit to LA.’

                                      ‘The staff are passionate, committed and their attention to detail is impressive. Lester Aldridge are excellent in providing good, prompt communication that is detailed, client-focused and pragmatic.’

                                      ‘Rosemary Sharp is a beacon in the field of family law. Rosemary is a strong leader and her presence is impressive and persuasive.

                                      ‘They are one of the ‘go to’ firms for high net worth individuals.’

                                      ‘The family team here is a breath of fresh air.  It is a very safe pair of hands when it comes to any financial proceedings and they are capable of handling the most demanding of high net worth clients.’

                                      Work highlights

                                        Porter Dodson LLP

                                        Porter Dodson LLP divides its practice into two specialised teams, one overseeing divorce and financial matters, and the other overseeing children law matters. The practice is led by Richard Baker. He has over 25 years' of family law experience and is well versed in matters concerning overseas assets, companies and trusts.

                                        Practice head(s):

                                        Richard Baker

                                        Other key lawyers:

                                        Rebecca Marshall; Cathryn Smith; Julia Perrins; Ellen Saunders


                                        ‘First-class expertise and execution, from a well drilled team of skilled people; Friendly and considerate personal service, with absolute attention to detail.’

                                        ‘All members of the team that I interact with demonstrate the same high level of friendly efficient service, without exception.’

                                        ‘Richard Baker is always friendly and personable.’

                                        ‘PD’s Family teamare highly professional, knowledgeable, approachable, informative and unexpectedly client-focused.’

                                        ‘Porter Dodson have very good strength in depth across all areas of family law.’

                                        ‘They offer high quality advice in a practical and common sense way.’

                                        ‘A go to & dynamic firm who concentrate on the big picture.’

                                        ‘Richard Baker stands out as a highly intelligent and tough litigator who is always prepared to go the extra step for his clients.’

                                        Work highlights

                                          Shakespeare Martineau LLP

                                          The team at Bristol's GL Law, which recently merged with Shakespeare Martineau LLP, is noted for its in-depth knowledge and expertise in divorce and separation cases concerning high net worth individuals. The practice is led by James Myatt, an expert in matrimonial finance.

                                          Practice head(s):

                                          James Myatt

                                          Other key lawyers:

                                          Rachel Pritchard


                                          ‘James Myatt has been one of Bristol’s best known matrimonial practitioners for years.’

                                          ‘The firm has a long established client base, good breadth and resourcing and is in a niche in the market which is clever- a smart, prestigious firm but at reasonable cost.’

                                          ‘They are always ready to adapt and innovate.’

                                          ‘James Myatt is an innovative but practical thinker about a case.’

                                          ‘James Myatt has a wealth of knowledge in his field with a particular expertise in HNW financial matters.’

                                          ‘James Myatt is so knowledgeable the client will also get detailed advice on their circumstances backed up with case law that is reported and by James’ own experience during his 35 year career.’

                                          ‘James Myatt has an incredible knowledge of the law and process, his focus is always on trying to settle – but when it’s required he is both willing and able to litigate.’

                                          ‘James Myatt’s knowledge and overview is perhaps second to none. Tactically he is superb.’

                                          Sharp Family Law LTD

                                          Sharp Family Law LTD comprises of specialist family solicitors and mediators. The practice is headed by Richard Sharp; he is a divorce expert and is well versed in the handling of asset protection and child law matters. The team was strengthened by the arrival of solicitor Sarah Young, who joined from Irwin Mitchell in November 2021.

                                          Practice head(s):

                                          Richard Sharp

                                          Other key lawyers:

                                          Tina Marshall-Kelliher; Victoria Barnett


                                          ‘Strongest aspect is their collaborative approach to client matters and their friendly and approachable manner in dealing with other solicitors and professionals.’

                                          ‘Well-established niche family practice. A safe pair of hands to guide you through the divorce process.’

                                          ‘Victoria Barnett: sensible and easy to deal with. Has the client’s interest at the forefront of what she does.

                                          Work highlights

                                            Stowe Family Law LLP

                                            The team at Stowe Family Law LLP is well versed in handling matters concerning parental alienation, nuptial agreements and civil partnerships. Jemma Slavin, regional director for the Midlands, South West and Wales, and Louise Chipchase, managing partner for the South West and Wales, lead the team from Bristol and Cheltenham respectively. Slavin is noted for her expertise in financial disputes; she regularly advises high net worth individuals. Chipchase has a breadth of experience in children law matters.

                                            Practice head(s):

                                            Jemma Slavin; Louise Chipchase

                                            Other key lawyers:

                                            Joanna Newton; Rachel Fisher; Zoe Carter; Elizabeth Lacey; Georgina Nelson; Amy Langford


                                            ‘The team is highly skilled and has a number of impressive individuals.’

                                            ‘Rachel Fisher is an impressive solicitor. She works incredibly hard for her clients, ensuring that she has thought of all avenues and provides sensible advice.’

                                            ‘I find the team exceptional and so approachable. They are extremely friendly, personable, highly professional and genuinely want the best for their clients.’

                                            ‘Stowe Family Law is one of relatively few true ‘household names’ in their area of practice, and understandably so. The team is vast and their collective experience almost unquantifiable.’

                                            ‘Louise Chipchase is brilliant. She has a ‘no nonsense’ approach which clients and opponents alike both appreciate and respect. ‘

                                            ‘Always ready and willing to provide an excellent and thorough service.’

                                            ‘Their knowledge is second to none. They will always seek to find pragmatic solutions to the client’s problems. They know their cases inside out and are very thorough.’

                                            Thrings LLP

                                            Thrings LLP has particular strength in the drafting of both nuptial agreements and cohabitation agreements. The team also has a specialist mediator. Fiona Kellow's focus lies within child law issues and parental alienation. Matthew Kellow specialises in pre and post nuptial agreements. Together, they head the practice.

                                            Practice head(s):

                                            Fiona Kellow; Matthew Kellow

                                            Other key lawyers:

                                            Kathryn Bew; Tara Connor-McLaren; Zhenja Cann


                                            ‘Communication and legal advice is excellent.’

                                            ‘Kathryn Bew is clearly a first class family lawyer who fully appreciates the issues in her clients’ cases and works effectively to ensure their needs are met.’

                                            ‘Above all, the team in the family practice had excellent legal knowledge. They communicated this with confidence and offered great guidance.’

                                            ‘Tara Connor-McLaren’s experience and excellent guidance at the beginning of my divorce proceedings set the course for the final settlement. Whilst communications dragged on over 12 months, Tara’s initial assessment of my case was proved correct and she, along with her colleagues, helped secure a very satisfactory conclusion.’

                                            ‘Tara Connor-McLaren was superb. Very professional. Any questions or concerns I had she gave clarity to me. And this was done quickly and efficiently. Tara was very quick with correspondence, and one of the great qualities is that it felt like she genuinely cared. She had a personal approach whilst being very professional.’

                                            ‘Honesty is what makes them different, that aligned with a good working relationship.’

                                            Work highlights

                                              Tozers Solicitors LLP

                                              Tozers Solicitors LLP has a divorce and finance team, as well as a specialist care team. Cases handled includes those involving vulnerable children, domestic abuse victims and finance issues with complex asset arrangements. Its care team has four children panel specialists. Both Caroline Ryan and Tony Wood lead the practice.

                                              Practice head(s):

                                              Caroline Ryan; Tony Wood

                                              Other key lawyers:

                                              Tracy Lambert; Mark Williams; Aimee Aspinall; Gail Salway


                                              ‘Tozers has an extremely experienced team of family lawyers with strength at all levels of seniority. They are particularly strong in the field of public law family work.’

                                              ‘Tony Wood and Mark Williams are both confident and persuasive advocates with a detailed knowledge of their cases. Louise Barber is a very experienced solicitor. She is very thorough.’

                                              ‘Caroline Ryan – she is as good – if not better than the experts in large London firms and a fraction of their costs. If I am asked by colleagues to recommend on finance I have no hesitation – she s my first choice every time.’

                                              ‘Excellent standards of service. They provide quality advice to their clients.’

                                              ‘Gail Salway is a careful, thorough and experienced solicitor.’

                                              ‘Aimee Aspinall is outstanding, understanding my specific needs, and taking the time to keep me informed throughout the whole process, explaining each stage and what this meant.’

                                              ‘The people are very down to earth and understanding. They offer good advice and make sure you understand whats going on the whole time.’

                                              ‘Aimee Aspinall was fantastic. From first contact to the end result I could not fault her. Professional, friendly and helped me through a long and difficult divorce and financial settlement case. End result was better then what I was thought would happen.’

                                              Work highlights

                                                Trethowans LLP

                                                Trethowans LLP advises on the full spectrum of family related matters; areas of expertise includes divorce, matrimonial finance, child arrangements, relocation and surrogacy. Andrew Mercer heads the team; he regularly advises high net worth individuals with family-owned businesses or farms.

                                                Practice head(s):

                                                Andrew Mercer

                                                Other key lawyers:

                                                Emma Wilders-Pratt; Grant Cameron; Kimberley Davies; Dawn Gore; Laura Bell; Amy Trench; Helen Clarkson


                                                The team are excellent. They really care about the client and care about the outcome.’

                                                ‘Grant Cameron is incredible. He gives excellent advice and is very approachable.’

                                                ‘Dawn Gore has been with the firm for many years and really understands what clients what and need.’

                                                ‘They are all excellent lawyers in the team, a number of whom are mediators and collaborative family lawyers.’

                                                ‘Andrew Mercer – very experienced in handling complex financial cases. Constructive and pleasant to have on the other side. An excellent litigator but also gives realistic advice and knows when to settle.’

                                                ‘Kimberley Davies – hard working and talented family lawyer both on children and money cases. She is also an excellent mediator.’

                                                ‘Whilst Trethowans is a large firm, the service always feels exceptionally personal, whilst remaining wholly professional. The Family Law team is close-knit and there was always reliable continuity.’

                                                ‘Communication was always clear and exceptionally prompt, with consideration given to the implication on costs meaning that communication wasn’t ever excessive or unnecessary.’

                                                Work highlights

                                                  Willans LLP

                                                  Willans LLP supports clients in out-of-court matrimonial and non-matrimonial financial settlements. Its expertise lies within children disputes, relocation, enforcement applications and separation. Practice head Sharon Giles has a breadth of experience in dispute resolution. Jonathan Eager, an expert in matrimonial law, was recently promoted to partner.

                                                  Practice head(s):

                                                  Sharon Giles

                                                  Other key lawyers:

                                                  Jonathan Eager; Kristie Silsby


                                                  ‘Very well organised and approachable.’

                                                  ‘Jonathan Eager is a calming influence, level headed, does not raise unrealistic expectations. He comes up with practical solutions.’

                                                  ‘Jonathan Eager has consistently been honest in his advice, no ‘rose tinted glasses.’ Always giving me fair warning for any bad news.’

                                                  Work highlights

                                                    Blanchards Bailey LLP

                                                    Blanchards Bailey LLP has niche expertise in pension related family matters, with particular focus on army pensions. The team is led by Laura Martin. Her expertise lies within the resolution of complex financial arrangements following divorce.

                                                    Practice head(s):

                                                    Laura Martin

                                                    Other key lawyers:

                                                    Julie Keogh


                                                    ‘Julie Keogh never fails to impress me with her knowledge, empathy and support.’

                                                    ‘They give a very prompt and personal service.’

                                                    ‘They were really friendly and informative.’

                                                    ‘Easy to talk to; Speedy call back.’

                                                    ‘Laura Martin took the stress away and was proactive.’

                                                    ‘I am impressed by the pleasant way I am dealt with, the professional approach of all the staff and the discretion that it is shown.’

                                                    ‘Laura Martin was perceptive, prompt in dealing with things and got back to me quickly, keeping me informed as the divorce proceeded.’

                                                    ‘My case was dealt with such a professional, yet personable approach by Laura Martin who only ever put my interest first, made everything clear and comfortable and assisted with dealing with a difficult situation in a smooth way. Would highly recommend.’

                                                    Work highlights

                                                    • Acted for husband in Financial Remedy Court proceedings concerning matrimonial assets worth in excess of £1.25m plus income.
                                                    • Acted for Intervenor in Financial Remedy proceedings concerning matrimonial assets totaling £600,000.
                                                    • Acted for Father in Children Act proceedings and obtained an urgent Order that the child live with Father due to safeguarding concerns.

                                                    GA Solicitors

                                                    GA Solicitors splits its practice into a private client focused division and a public law division to handle family matters. Michelle Gove heads the practice. Solicitor Jonathan Yates joined the team from Gard & Co in February 2022.

                                                    Practice head(s):

                                                    Michelle Grove

                                                    Other key lawyers:

                                                    Gloria Dyer; Rachel Eyre; Andrew Wonnacott


                                                    The family and care team are outstanding. They work in a way that is entirely child centred and focused on achieving best outcomes for families at all times.’

                                                    ‘Andrew Wonnacott is also an asset to the team as an experienced children’s solicitor and I have the utmost confidence in his approach and work, and his ability to explore matters in a child focused way.

                                                    ‘The private law family team at GA Solicitors excel in their client care and frequently go the extra mile for lay and professional clients.’

                                                    ‘GA is a really good firm in the South West who are comfortable handling complex work, and are instructed by central London clients as they provide good value whilst competing in quality with the firms in that area.’

                                                    ‘Michelle Grove is an outstanding partner who is comfortable handling the most complex financial remedy matters.’

                                                    ‘Approachable and friendly team who work in collegiate manner.’

                                                    ‘GA Solicitors are a well known and forward looking firm that cover the majority if not all of the legal disciplines that a modern practice should cover.’

                                                    Work highlights

                                                      Ince & Co

                                                      Ince & Co advises a range of clients, including high net worth individuals. The team is led by Kerry Graham. She has over 23 years’ experience in family law and has expertise in both divorce and child law cases.

                                                      Practice head(s):

                                                      Kerry Graham

                                                      Other key lawyers:

                                                      Rebecca Aston-Jones


                                                      ‘Without exception they are a pleasure to work for. Well-prepared and highly professional!’

                                                      ‘Kerry Graham – what a breath of fresh air! Efficient, solid advice and dependable. Kerry is readily available, contentious and friendly. She goes well beyond expectations. Brilliant!’

                                                      ‘Rebecca Ashton-Jones is practical, robust, experienced, knowledgeable and thoughtful.’

                                                      Work highlights


                                                        The practice at Wansbroughs is led by both Naomi Owen and Jeremy Tier. Naomi oversees the care and children team, handling matters before the Court of Appeal. Jeremy oversees the divorce and finance team.

                                                        Practice head(s):

                                                        Naomi Owen; Jeremy Tier

                                                        Other key lawyers:

                                                        Matthew Roberts; Anne Goodenough


                                                        ‘Naomi Owen is a dedicated partner who works tirelessly for her clients and the firm.’

                                                        ‘This firm has a strong reputation all across the South West. The team deals with all aspects of family law, which can include particularly complex cases involving international elements.’

                                                        ‘Naomi Owen has vast experience and excellent judgement in family law. She is hugely respected by peers for her knowledge, experience and approachable manner. She is extremely reliable and robust in her case management.

                                                        ‘Good knowledge of all aspects of law and able to give good advice put in understandable layman’s terms.’

                                                        ‘Very hard working – always contactable – go the extra mile and produce very well written and carefully thought out statements.’

                                                        ‘Naomi Owen is always willing to go above and beyond to support. Always taking the time to listen and talk things through until all questions have been answered, never making you feel that you are taking up too much of her time.’

                                                        Work highlights

                                                          Wards Solicitors LLP

                                                          Wards Solicitors LLP has a large family team spread across a network of offfices in the South West, including bases in Bristol, Portishead and Weston-Super-Mare, and is known as 'a big firm with localised offices, which gives them a very personalised feel that enhances their client care'. The practice is led by Alison Bradley in Bristol; she, Mandy McCabe and Louise Boustead are all trained collaborative lawyers and, along with fellow partner Sylvie Feltham, make up 'a lovely and very professional team.'

                                                          Practice head(s):

                                                          Alison Bradley

                                                          Other key lawyers:

                                                          Mandy McCabe; Louise Boustead; Sylvie Feltham; Emma Willott


                                                          ‘The team at Wards are lovely and very professional. Their communication is excellent, the payment system is straightforward and the invoicing clear. It was never a problem getting through to someone either by phone or email. I would highly recommend Wards Solicitors and in particular, Emma Willott.’

                                                          ‘Emma Willott is better than any solicitor I could’ve hoped for; she is knowledgeable, logical, calm and dependable. Emma worked tirelessly to ensure my daughter’s well-being was prioritised during a complicated break-up. I will always be so grateful to Emma for being such a dependable source of information and strength during a very difficult time.

                                                          ‘Louise Boustead is a pleasure to work with. She is a sensitive ear for clients in difficult positions.’

                                                          ‘Mandy McCabe and Louise Boustead are stand-outs in this firm – very hands on and client friendly.’

                                                          ‘Louise Boustead and Mandy McCabe are excellent practitioners, and are approachable, sensible and pragmatic.  They will look to resolve matters in a proportionate and client-focused manner.

                                                          ‘Alison Bradley has a very down to earth approach and is a joy to work with. She is able to retain a sense of humour while still being able to focus on the relevant issues and provide a pragmatic and realistic approach to negotiations and settlement.’

                                                          ‘Emma Willott’s knowledge, patience, and bubbly personality helped me through my divorce.’

                                                          ‘Sylvie Feltham is realistic and sensible, providing her clients with balanced sensible advice.’

                                                          Work highlights