Firms To Watch: Family

Spencer West LLP fields an experienced team that are well-placed to advise clients on a range of family law issues. The practice is led by Anne-Marie Hamer.

Family in South West

Burges Salmon LLP

A highly regarded practice in the region, Burges Salmon LLP's ‘market-leading family law team’ primarily focuses on complex financial settlements and asset restructuring for high-net-worth individuals. The team is led by Sarah Hoskinson, who specialises in financial settlements on divorce, dealing with matters both domestically and internationally. Other notable individuals include Alison Hawes  and Hannah Petherick; Hawes has over 20 years of experience dealing with all aspects of divorce and financial settlement, while Petherick’s expertise lies in children arrangements and surrogacy.


Practice head(s):

Sarah Hoskinson

Other key lawyers:

Alison Hawes; Hannah Petherick; Mary Gaskins; Richard Handel; Sarah Marchant; Hebe Thorne


‘Strong, collaborative and diverse team providing excellent advice and strategy for cases at all levels of complexity and value.’

‘Sarah Hoskinson is a hands-on commander – both strategically aware and good on technical points of law. Hebe Thorne is exceptionally good. Hannah Petherick is wise and able.’

‘Burges Salmon are well known leaders in the field – they offer a Rolls Royce service. Predominantly West Country based, but with a good presence in London.’

‘Hannah Petherick is one of the stand out solicitors in the South West. Incredibly easy to work with, bright and focused. She handles work in South West and London and brings her experience to her cases in a really positive way.’

‘Brilliant team of experts, with real strength in depth, that deliver the highest level of service. Without question one of the go-to firms for high-value financial remedy work in the West.’

‘Burges Salmon have a fantastic and talented family team. They are known and respected in the local market for their technical ability and expertise. They have a large team with strong ability at all levels.’

‘The premier family team in the West. The breadth of ability across the team is unparalleled in the region.’

‘Sarah Marchant is a very organised and effective solicitor who offers an empathetic approach for her clients.’

Work highlights

Clarke Willmott LLP

Praised for its ‘strong competent team' which 'produces good results consistently‘, the family practice at Clarke Willmott LLP maintain an excellent reputation in the South West. Utilising the firm’s wider expertise in property, litigation, corporate, and employment law, the team is capable of handling an array of family matters, including bankruptcy and divorce issues, complex financial remedies and private children matters. Both Gareth Schofield  and Philippa Yeo lead the team; Schofield - described as ‘absolutely first-class’ - has over 25 years of family law experience, while Yeo - who joined the firm from CHR Family Solicitors in October 2022 - is noted for her experience resolving high-net-worth financial cases.



Practice head(s):

Gareth Schofield; Philippa Yeo

Other key lawyers:

Clare Webb; Emma Gordon; Hannah Livesey; Rebecca Aston-Jones


‘Gareth Schofield: Highly thought after across the board in Bristol – a real go to partner dealing with high end finance and complex children act matters. Cannot recommend him highly enough. Phillipa Yeo produces very good quality work, offering pragmatic and clear advice. Hannah Livsey has great attention to detail – nothing escapes her, a real fighter for her clients.’

‘Gareth Schofield is the best family finance solicitor in the South West and leads a team in his image.’

‘Gareth Schofield is excellent.’

‘A strong competent team that is well led, well organised and produces good results consistently.’

‘Gareth Schofield is a class act. Extremely bright and knowledgeable as well as an excellent leader.’

‘They are a major presence in Bristol. Very well respected. Very well resourced. Excellent preparation.’

‘Gareth Schofield is really excellent. Thoroughly knowledgeable and tactical but down-to-earth and builds a rapport with clients and counsel very easily. He’s a really pleasure to work with.’

‘Clare Webb offers sensible advice to help clients to achieve a resolution, but offers robust representation where that is not possible.’

Work highlights

Lyons Davidson

Praised for being ‘incredibly committed to their cases’ and going ‘the extra mile’ for clients, Lyons Davidson maintain an impressive reputation for its work on international children matters. Its specialisms include child abduction matters, child and domestic abuse cases and divorce and financial remedy matters. The practice is jointly chaired by Philippa Morgan and Iona Phillips; Morgan - who has extensive expertise handling international child abduction cases - has been described as ‘a leading practitioner in the field of international child abduction’, while Phillips is highly regarded for her work on child law cases.

Practice head(s):

Philippa Morgan; Iona Phillips

Other key lawyers:

Donna Cummins


‘This is a very strong firm of solicitors which can offer representation to clients in a variety of different circumstances, particularly involving international law (including child abduction proceedings). Their ability to take instructions and file statement and evidence from clients abroad in a speedy manner is most impressive.’

‘Philippa Morgan has been a leading practitioner in the field of international child abduction for many years and is experienced in representing clients in the most complex of cases. She is a joy to work with and has an immediate grasp of what work needs to be done.’

‘Truly exceptional teamwork, availability, and client care. Every member of the family team is incredibly committed to their cases and goes the extra mile. They are particularly great at working with international clients and have developed a fantastic range of interpreters to be available at almost any time. They ensure great handovers take place so a matter is never dropped while someone is away and are always very communicative.’

Work highlights

Michelmores LLP

Michelmores LLP houses a respected team that regularly advise high and ultra-high-net-worth individuals on a host of matters, spanning international private wealth and wealth protection, tax income structuring, and TOLATA and Children Act matters. Daniel Eames leads the team and is noted for his expertise on divorce proceedings with cross-border elements. Other notable individuals include Sarah Green, who is recommended for her experience in all areas of divorce and complex financial remedy cases, and Pippa Allsopp, who focuses primarily on wealth protection.


Practice head(s):

Daniel Eames

Other key lawyers:

Sarah Green; Pippa Allsop; Rhiannon Anderson


‘A full-service law firm with footholds around the world, they bring excellence wherever they go.’

‘Pippa Allsop is clever and hard working. She brings a real air of realism to a case.’

‘Shine with their knowledge and client skills.’

‘Pippa Allsop Sarah Green, and Rhiannon Anderson are all excellent. Strategic and all over the details. Very professional and instil confidence. Equally, pragmatic, and work very closely and well with Counsel.’

‘Sarah Green is an exceptional lawyer; she is pragmatic, thorough, has excellent interpersonal skills and is very knowledgeable.’

RWK Goodman

The 'high calibre' Bath-based team at RWK Goodman - regarded by some clients as 'the best team on the western circuit’ - focus on three distinct areas of family law: financial relief, private children and domestic abuse matters, and public law children work. The practice is jointly led by Richard Ellis , Katherine Lauder, Jayne Martins and Emma Young. Ellis is noted for his public law children work, specifically cases relating to complex injuries and legal issues. Lauder oversees the firm’s private law and domestic abuse children team. Martins heads the firm’s financial remedy team, while Young is noted for her extensive expertise in conducting care proceedings.

Practice head(s):

Richard Ellis; Katherine Lauder; Jayne Martins; Emma Young

Other key lawyers:

Rebecca Stevens; Marie Mulroe; Clizia Motterle


‘A strong matrimonial finance team and with offices in London and across the south and south west of England, they provide an excellent service over a wide area.’

‘Maria Mulroe brings a wealth of experience and real-world pragmatism to her cases, in an understated and client-friendly way. She builds an excellent and trusting professional relationship with her clients and goes above and beyond for them. She is tactically excellent and involves counsel as and when strategic planning is required, which as counsel I find extremely helpful as it means we all work together as a team throughout, not just at a particular hearing.’

‘Excellent team of experts with a really strong reputation for delivering a high quality service.’

Work highlights

Stephens Scown LLP

Renowned for its extensive experience handling wealth protection issues, the ‘very experienced, committed and professional’ team at Stephens Scown LLP advises clients on the full spectrum of family law matters, ranging from complex family finance cases to private and public children issues. The South West team is spearheaded by Andrew Barton who specialises in high and ultra-high-net-worth financial and business settlements related to divorce. Sarah Atkinson, who heads up the specialist Family Finance team, has nearly two decades of experience dealing with the financial aspects of family work. Other key figures include Thea Bennun, who specialises in a wide range of financial remedy divorce and civil partnership cases.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Barton

Other key lawyers:

Sarah Atkinson; Mark Smith; Bill Wilkins; Sarah Walls; Jill Bruce; Thea Bennun; Sarah Bell; Sarah Hindle; Harriet Wigmore; Kirstin Sibley; Kai Whicker


‘Approachable team that is strong for vulnerable clients. The private and public law teams have depth of experience.’

‘Mark Smith has a very high profile in all types of family matters. He is results driven but pragmatic. Bill Wilkins has a depth of knowledge in public law matters and provides a reassuring presence in difficult cases. Both deal with cases of the utmost complexity and gravity.’

‘Elizabeth Fergusson is establishing a good reputation.’

Work highlights

Ashfords LLP

A key port of call for a mix of business owners and agriculture sector clients, the team at Ashfords LLP is well regarded for its ‘excellence at every level.’ Its expertise includes complex financial proceedings and asset protection, extending also to international child relocation matters. Practice head Zoe Porter specialises in divorce and financial matters, regularly advising a number of high-net-worth individuals. Samantha Newton - noted for her ‘constructive, collaborative approach’ - has a particular specialism in dealing with high-net-worth financial work.


Practice head(s):

Zoe Porter

Other key lawyers:

Samantha Newton; Jayne Turner; Megan Prideaux


‘Very responsive, professional and engaged. Highly motivated to provide an excellent service.’

‘Samantha Newton is used to dealing with complex cases, gives realistic and robust advice. An excellent solicitor focussed on her client’s case. Stellar communication.’

‘Exceptional service with a very compassionate manner. The team are super professional yet warm and friendly and ensure that you understand everything. Communication is efficient and legal fees are very transparent.’

‘Ashfords has proved to be a top class firm for all personal, residential, family and business problems.’

‘Excellence at every level – professional, friendly, pro-active and timely. Jayne Turner is an outstanding family lawyer.’

‘Jayne Turner has a supportive yet robust approach to her cases which enables clients to be looked after throughout the litigation process in the knowledge that their interests are best represented. Her experience and knowledge of pension issues puts her clients at a real advantage.’

‘Samantha Newton has a constructive, collaborative approach. She is organised and thinks ahead, and is enjoyable to work with.’

‘Jayne Turner is an extremely competent lawyer who bends over backwards for her clients.’

Work highlights

Ellis Jones Solicitors LLP

Ellis Jones Solicitors LLP‘s family and fertility department draws high praise from clients, who describe it as the ‘go-to firm on the south coast and a big player in London’. The team coves the full spectrum of family law issues, including pensions, foreign assets, pre-nuptial agreements, and international child abduction disputes. Both Deborah Leask and Sean McNally lead the practice. Leask has over 30 years of experience dealing with all aspects of family law, with a specific focus on complex financial disputes. McNally, meanwhile, is recommended for his expertise in complex contentious financial cases. Other names to note include Katie Taft, who focuses on international relocation of children matters.



Practice head(s):

Deborah Leask; Sean McNally

Other key lawyers:

Katie Taft; Ian Butterworth; Georgina Emerson


‘Complete professionalism from the most senior partner to the most junior associate. Ellis Jones are clearly a tight knit, effective and very happy team.’

‘Sean McNally’s wealth of experience is reassuring to clients and he offers pragmatic advice. Deborah Leask has a fantastic ability to forensically dissect complex issues and only focus on what is relevant. Lauren Harley has a great reassuring manner with clients and is a very safe pair of hands.’

‘Ellis Jones are trailblazers in family law in the South West. They are exceptionally talented in terms of both legal knowledge, procedure, but also with case management. The family team are all extremely adept in getting to the heart of the issues quickly and providing clients with excellent advice that ensures they are able to achieve a quick and effective resolution or alternatively a well prepared case for court.’

‘Ellis Jones have a formidable reputation in the Dorset area. They provide robust advice and representation reflecting in the high quality of work produced.’

Katie Taft is a practitioner whose career has simply excelled far beyond her years. She is able to deliver clear, sensible advice while leaving no stone unturned.’

‘The go-to firm on the south coast and a big player in London. The team is smart, hugely experienced and very able. They are friendly and calming but, at the same time, really get their heads down and push for their clients.’

‘Ellis Jones have very good strength in depth in the provision of financial remedy on divorce work and are particularly boosted by the presence of team head Deborah Leask in their ranks. Ian Butterworth also provides a good layer of junior partner contribution to the team’s reputation.’

One of the best regarded and experienced family teams on the south coast.

Work highlights

  • Acted for a father (F) in a complex private children matter; F made an urgent application for a PSO (prevent the children being removed from Dorset), SIO (the children to be returned to Dorset) and CAO for shared care of the children.
  • Acted for the respondent father in international child abduction proceedings in the High Court of Justice.

Foot Anstey

The team at Foot Anstey regularly advises clients on a range of family work, including divorce, cohabitation disputes, children disputes, and financial remedy claims. In particular, their expertise lies in nuptial agreements, as well as divorces involving farms and owner managed businesses. Jessica Pitt – who leads the team – anchors the team’s position in these latter areas of focus. Other key figures include Emily Botham, whom clients regard as ‘skilful and knowledgable, with an extremely high attention to detail.

Practice head(s):

Jessica Pitt

Other key lawyers:

Emily Botham; Georgia Day; Tanya Dhillon


‘Emily Botham is hard working, skilful and knowledgable, with an extremely high attention to detail.’

‘The team is good at looking at the needs and wants of the client whilst trying to remain pragmatic in a difficult area. They are excellent at responding promptly and working collaboratively. Compared to other firms, they offer a personalized client-centered service well suited to the area.’

‘Jess is an excellent lawyer in this area – knowledgable, pragmatic and best described as a steel fist in a velvet glove – able to deliver where needed but diplomatic and pragmatic otherwise. A pleasure to work with.’

‘Jessica Pitt and Emily Botham are both highly knowledgable in this area of work. They provide their clients with sensible and practicable advice from the outset and work hard for their clients.’

‘Jess Pitt is excellent and gives her client a really good, prompt service. She understands complex finance cases and is great to deal with. I also really like Georgia Day – she handled a really difficult pre-nup with me and we were able to distill a complex joint aim of our respective clients by working together on the document.’

‘The team provide very pragmatic and sensible advice. They are good to work with on cases and are very capable at providing their clients with the steer they sometimes need to avoid massive dispute.’

Work highlights

Harrison Clark Rickerbys

Harrison Clark Rickerbys advises business and private individuals at both the regional and national scale, fielding ‘an experienced team who are committed to their clients’ interests.’  The team is led by Carolyn Green, a 'highly respected and extremely experienced' adviser specialising in financial remedy proceedings, and James Grigg, who draws similar praise for his ‘excellent, knowledgeable and very experienced’ approach.

Practice head(s):

Carolyn Green; James Grigg

Other key lawyers:

Andrew Morris; James Shorrock


‘Caroline Green is rightly highly respected and extremely experienced. She’s basically unflappable and good at resolving cases.

‘James Grigg is charming, excellent, knowledgeable and very experienced.’

‘James Shorrock will be one of the stars of his generation and is excellent value.’

‘James Grigg is the best solicitor in the area. Bright, hard working and sensible Carolyn Green is very experienced and has sound judgment James Shorrock is the best junior in the area Chris Finch is not far behind’

‘One of the most significant family teams in the South West and fast becoming the leading financial remedy solicitors in the region. Very accessible and client focused – real strength in depth.’

‘Andrew Morris is very tenacious and fights hard for his clients.’

‘A very competent and organised firm with a number of extremely effective advocates.’

‘Alex Wilson is an organised and effective solicitor who really cares for her clients. Andrew Morris offers pragmatic advice to assist clients to reach a resolution where possible and is a very effective advocate.’

Work highlights

Irwin Mitchell

Praised for its ability to draw on the firm’s broader, national resources, Irwin Mitchell‘s ‘highly skilled family team’ regularly handles Court of Protection work and complex financial remedies for various wealthy individuals. Erin Sawyer leads the TOLATA team at the firm, where she acts primarily in property disputes for unmarried couples. Former practice head Nicola Walker has now retired.

Other key lawyers:

Erin Sawyer; Lizzie Smith; Jennifer Pollock; Connie Smith; Taler Kelly; Zoe Livadeas


‘Taler Kelly’s work ethic is astonishing. She has a real eye for detail especially with drafting.’

‘Irwin Mitchell have a highly successful family law team and are well known across all legal sectors. They deliver a first -class service for their clients.’

‘Jen Pollock is an exceptional solicitor, she is on top of all the issues, incredibly prepared and works hard for her clients.’

‘Highly skilled family team within a large multidisciplinary national firm. Stands out for the wraparound service given to clients – lot of strength and depth within the team and all the support you would expect from a large national firm.’

‘Connie Smith is methodical, analytical and provides clear and empathetic advice to her clients.’

‘Lizzie is efficient and resilient. She is well supported by younger team members.’

Work highlights

Nash & Co

Noted for its niche expertise in domestic abuse cases, the team at Nash & Co provides clients with a wide range of family services, routinely advising on financial, public and private children law matters. Eleanor Barber and Helen Bull lead the team. Barber is a trained collaborative lawyer and a resolution accredited specialist in complex financial remedies and domestic abuse, while Bull specialises in public law children work, with particular experience in care cases involving non-accidental injuries.

Practice head(s):

Eleanor Barber; Helen Bull

Other key lawyers:

Gemma Stevens; Anne Shears


‘Eleanor Barber has been very supportive, knowledgeable and professional.’

‘The knowledge and information that was passed down to me was second to none and the efficiency was more than I could have hoped for. I was kept in the loop every step of the way which has been by far better than any other firm that I have used. The use of the online paying has been flawless also and easy to use.’

‘Anne Shears is the ultimate professional and always on hand to answer any queries that I had. She has the ability to break down the information to make it understandable especially having not been in this situation before.’

Work highlights

Steele Raymond LLP

Steele Raymond LLP is lauded by clients as ‘a well rounded firm with expertise in a vast number of areas.’ The team frequently handles complex and multi-disciplinary matters, with particular expertise in divorce and financial remedy cases - an area in which practice head Daniel Sanders is especially well versed. Other key individuals include Lindsay Halliwell, who regularly deals with financial matters and is noted for her ability to ‘build a rapport with a client like no other practitioner.’

Practice head(s):

Daniel Sanders

Other key lawyers:

Lindsay Halliwell


‘Steele Raymond are a well rounded firm with expertise in a vast number of areas. This is particularly useful when you have cases which require advice from multiple areas.’

‘Dan Sanders heads up the team very effectively. He is approachable, methodical in his preparation while able to deliver outstanding advice.

Lindsay Halliwell is able to build a rapport with a client like no other practitioner. She has a lovely manner while delivering a first class service.’

Work highlights

Stone King LLP

A diverse roster of clients – ranging from entrepreneurs and business owners to celebrities – turn to the team at Stone King LLP for its expertise in financial, cohabitation and children cases. In particular, the practice is noted for its commitment to alternative dispute resolution and non-court dispute resolution procedures. The practice is led by Tracey Smith, a highly experienced family lawyer who deals with all aspects of business issues and trust arrangements, both domestically and internationally. Drawing superlative praise for her 'extremely efficient, reassuringly knowledgeable' approach, Caroline Fell‘s expertise is concentrated in complex financial matters.


Practice head(s):

Tracey Smith

Other key lawyers:

Caroline Fell; Daniela Nickols; Rebecca Eels


‘No praise is too high for Caroline Fell. She is extremely efficient, reassuringly knowledgeable in all her advice, and very on the ball. Everything has been done remarkably quickly and she has been good at chasing the solicitor on the other side as well. I have been most fortunate in having her act for me and she has caused me to transfer all my affairs to Stone King.’

‘Rebecca Eels displays exceptional client care and delivers detailed briefs to counsel. Extremely experienced, which means clients trust her advice. Content to give robust advice when required.’

‘Caroline Fell is a stand-out partner. She is a calm, capable and knowledgeable lawyer who has a wonderful manner with clients. I recommend her both as a solicitor and as a mediator. She is technical and also pragmatic. Rebecca Eels is a stand-out partner who I recommend particularly for child inclusive mediation work. She is brilliant with clients.’

‘Caroline Fell is a real star – composed and able – always looks to settle if she can.’

‘Caring, innovative solutions, cost effective, well respected.’

‘Tracey Smith is very knowledgeable but not afraid to see assistance when warranted.’

‘The family department have a competent team which is able to provide excellent child inclusive mediation.’

‘Both Rebecca Eels and Caroline Fells provide effective and empathetic support in family matters.’

Work highlights

Stowe Family Law LLP

Stowe Family Law LLP has a strong regional presence, with offices Bristol, Bath, Cheltenham, Exeter and Swindon. The team regularly advice wealthy individuals on an array of family issues; their expertise extends to complex cases, advising on matters pertaining to emotional and psychological abuse, parental alienation, narcissism and coercive control. The team is led by Louise Chipchase who is widely regarded for her expertise in complex high-net-worth financial remedies cases. Jemma Slavin is the Regional Director for the Midlands, Southwest and Wales, noted for her technical expertise and experience in complex financial disputes.


Practice head(s):

Louise Chipchase

Other key lawyers:

Jemma Slavin; Joanna Newton; Amy Langford; Rachel Fisher; Zoe Carter; Georgina Nelson


‘Excellent client focus. Providing forensic and pragmatic advice.’

‘Rachel Fisher is very sensible, with good judgment and knowledge.’

‘The team works fearlessly to achieve results for their clients.’

‘Amy Langford is a standout member of the team who provides clients with a sound understanding of the litigation process and practical and realistic advice. She is always well prepared and achieves the best for her clients.’

‘Each solicitor I have worked with from the team has been exceptional. If a particular solicitor is unable to answer a query, another member of the time will know the answer. The documentation and paperwork is prepared to the highest standard. The approach is always sensible, child-focused but robust and genuinely focuses on reaching a good outcome for the client and the child.’

‘Zoe Carter: I wish I could clone Zoe and have her instruct me on every case. She works tirelessly on every single case she instructs me on. Her statements are exceptional and have often made all the difference.’

‘Katy Jordan has excellent client care skills. She is supportive and sensible and guides her clients clearly through the process. Zoe Carter has the best interest of the client at the core of her work.’

‘An extremely reputable firm in the field of private law children work, with a strong team of skillful solicitors.’

Work highlights

The Family Law Practice

The Family Law Practice's niche offering sees the team advising on financial remedy work and private law Children Act matters for various clients. Practice head Ashley Palminteri is a resolution accredited specialist whom clients describe as a ‘genuine leader in his field’ that ‘combines a razor intellect with strategic vision and charisma. Mark Sage is another notable individual who specialises in financial remedy work often working with complex pension or property issues.

Practice head(s):

Ashley Palminteri

Other key lawyers:

Mark Sage; Elizabeth Bruce; Charlotte King


‘The Family Law practice supported me through a very challenging and complicated divorce which was conducted over three years. The service provided was both excellently professional at all times and equally human and caring . The practice felt like a family, and when I called in there was always someone who knew who I was and could help me. I was a person, not just a client’.

‘Ashley is a real driven and fierce protector of his clients, but is able to see a pragmatic outcome too.’

‘Mark Sage is enjoyable to work with, adopts a constructive and collaborative approach and is excellent with clients.’

‘What makes The Family Law Practice stand out from the crowd is the fact that the whole firm specialises in family law, it is packed full of talented lawyers and achieves amazing results for its clients. Highly recommended!’

‘Ashley Palminteri is a genuine leader in his field. He has a towering reputation as a family lawyer, and combines a razor intellect with strategic vision and charisma. A delight to work with.’

‘Excellent family law practitioners who offer practical advice to clients.’

‘Ashely Palminteri has deep knowledge of his subject, excellent with clients, and pragmatic.’

Work highlights


TLT advises a diverse roster of clients, spanning high-net-worth individuals, entrepreneurs, celebrities and business owners to farming families. The team regularly handles divorce, separation and asset protection matters, with a particular expertise in allegations of sexual abuse and cyberstalking. The practice is led by Natalie Drew, who has extensive experience handling complex and high-value financial remedy cases, is described as ‘an excellent lawyer and a formidable opponent.’ 

Practice head(s):

Natalie Drew

Other key lawyers:

Nick Cooper-Soderberg; Abigail Whelan


‘Natalie Drew is the person leads by example and ensures that the team as a whole embodies and delivers the supportive and engaged culture referred to above. She thinks proactively, practicably and laterally.’

‘Excellent team, with a great cross-section of experience, ably led by Natalie Drew.’

‘Natalie Drew is an excellent lawyer and a formidable opponent. She is very approachable and has a great commercial outlook for her clients but is also prepared to fight diligently for her clients.’

‘Very well-resourced firm with big local presence under the leadership of Natalie Drew.’

‘Natalie Drew is excellent. Very knowledgable, very strategic, very down-to-earth. Very robust. No nonsense. One of the best in the South West.’

‘Natalie Drew and Nick Cooper-Soderberg have been outstanding in handling sensitive client situations. The way they dealt with clients who are not only going through a tricky divorce, but have also been in poor health, has been second to none.’

‘A strong team of capable family lawyers. Nick Cooper-Soderberg is a stand-out; his approachable, friendly and pragmatic nature is a real asset to TLT.’

‘Nick Cooper-Soderberg is a high quality, stand-out figure. Nick is approachable, collaborative and pragmatic. A delight to have on the other side of cases.’

Work highlights


Utilising a cross-disciplinary approach, the family practice at VWV is supported by the firm’s wider expertise in tax, property, employment and corporate law. Accordingly, the team is well positioned to advise clients on a spectrum of family law issues, including financial settlements on divorce, child arrangement disputes, cohabitation claims, pensions and pre-nuptials. The practice is led by Samantha Hickman, who is renowned for her international work, acting for clients with assets in North America, Africa, and the Middle East, among other regions.

Practice head(s):

Samantha Hickman

Other key lawyers:

Emily Roskilly; Katie Hanson; Alice Stephens-Mayor

Work highlights

Barcan+Kirby LLP

'Extremely client focused...supportive and humane', Barcan+Kirby LLP regularly handles high-net-worth cases, as well as matters concerning children and domestic abuse. The team’s specialties encompasses property disputes between unmarried couples, child abduction cases, and modern fertility law matters. The wider practice is chaired by Hanni Pennelegion; Kirsten Hale heads up the matrimonial finance practice; Tom Powles runs the children team; while Kim Joseph serves as head of the care-focused offering.

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; Abi Cousins


‘Abi Cousins is is brilliant at working with tricky clients and getting on top of the legal landscape. She is definitely one to watch!’

‘Excellent quality advice from accessible, local lawyers with a strong reputation in matrimonial finance work.’

‘Kirsten Hale is approachable, knowledgeable and applies her considerable expertise in a practical way that her clients understand and find hugely reassuring. Matrimonial finance claims can be bewildering and confusing for the parties and Kirsten works hard to make sure the legal mysteries are dispelled and anxieties are managed with sound, tactical advice. She is a stand-out practitioner in her field.’

‘The team are all extremely client focused – they are able to give robust advice, whilst being supportive and humane.’

‘Michelle Hubbard gives excellent client care in public law. Sarah Marshall is diligent and attentive in private law matters, not afraid to give sensible advice. Kim Joseph is extremely experienced, particularly in acting for children in public law and complex private law matters.’

‘Barcan Kirby have one of the largest family teams in the Bristol area, with a wealth of experience and expertise. The culture at the firm is client centric, always looking to do the right thing for the client knowing that this is what leads to the best outcome for the firm over the long term. Their fixed-fee package is a great example of how they put this into practice.’


Work highlights

Brigstow Family Law

A niche family law practice based in Bristol, Brigstow Family Law – launched in January 2021 – is praised for its ability to ’embrace the nuances of each individual case, combining great collective wisdom, integrity and a highly personalised approach.’  The team advises clients on the full spectrum of family law issues including marital agreements, divorce and cohabitation agreements, with a particular specialism in complex private children disputes. Both Sharon Mahmood and Bessie Hanson lead the practice. Mahmood is well regarded for being ‘acutely conscious of her clients’ situations and circumstances’ while Hanson is praised for her ‘wisdom, professional guidance and her intuitive, compassionate approach’. 


Practice head(s):

Sharon Mahmood; Bessie Hanson

Other key lawyers:

Harriet Shaw


‘Truly work as a team. There was evidence of a collaborative approach between the directors and the associates, and I was aware of team discussion around my own case which gave me great confidence. I knew that I not only had one brilliant mind working on my case, but several.’

‘The billing was transparent, predictable, easy to understand and fair. The firm’s responses were always timely, reliable, courteous and considerate. I was never left wondering when I could expect to hear and I never received an unexpected bill. I received phone calls when these were most sensitive and appropriate.’

‘Bessie is a truly exceptional family solicitor. I will always feel grateful for her wisdom and professional guidance, her intuitive, compassionate approach and her deep integrity.’

Work highlights

Shakespeare Martineau LLP

The team at Shakespeare Martineau LLP has extensive experience handling high-net-worth divorce and separation cases, representing clients on issues relating to cohabitation, complex children issues and overseas assets. New arrival Kit O'Brien has bolstered team’s expertise in TOLATA cases, as well as increasing the firm’s geographical reach into Somerset and Dorset. James Myatt - who leads the wider team - has over 40 years of experience in family law, regularly advising on cases involving farms, businesses and complex pension assets.

Practice head(s):

James Myatt

Other key lawyers:

Rachel Pritchard; Kit O’Brien; Louise Kiely


‘Excellent client focus and service’.

‘For financial remedies work in the West Country, James Myatt is your man. He is incredibly well known in Bristol and further afield, and one of the most experienced there is.’

‘The team has a wealth of experience in family law. The team has worked together for several years and the structure ensures clients needs are met.’

‘James Myatt is so knowledgeable. His legal knowledge of his field surpasses many. He has an excellent manner with clients. He values his team members which in turn ensures the teams clients get an excellent service.’

‘James Myatt is a significant local practitioner and has a wide and varied practice from his vast local connections. Always responsive and well thought out in his cases.’

‘James communicates extremely well with both clients and lawyers. He gives sensible advice and is reassuring to clients in terms of putting their interests first.’

‘I would recommend Rachel Pritchard at the practice.’

‘James Myatt has considerable experience and is well known in the area.’

Work highlights

Goughs Solicitors

Lauded  by clients as ‘approachable legal experts with a well-deserved reputation for excellent advice and client care in matrimonial finance work, the practice at Goughs Solicitors specialise in a range of family matters, including divorce, matrimonial finance, TOLATA and private child law cases. The team is led by Thomas Boyce, and Ross Phillips is deputy head of the practice. Boyce routinely deals with complex litigation alongside high value non-litigious matters, while the ‘ superb, intelligent and tenacious’ Phillips is the firm’s leading practitioner in TOLATA matters.


Practice head(s):

Thomas Boyce; Ross Phillips

Other key lawyers:

Matthew Drew; Natalie Kemp; Mark Hood; Georgina Catlin; Georgia Holmes; Natasha Miller; Alice Blackmore; Rhianna Cole


‘Georgina Catlin is a fantastic solicitor. She cares deeply about her cases and takes special care to ensure she is doing everything she can for her clients. Her briefs are always timeous and well-prepared. I am always happy to see a brief from Georgia.’

‘This firm has an exceptional team from the Partners through to their Associates. The instructions I receive are properly prepared, well thought out and the client has been given excellent advice. They work with counsel as part of a team around the client.’

‘Alice Blackmore is going to go far in her legal career. She is meticulous in her preparation and she provides sound advice to her clients.’

Work highlights

Harbour Family Law

‘Providing clients with a very personal, yet professional service’, Harbour Family Law is a specialist family law firm working across offices in Bristol, Portishead and Clevedon. The team is capable of advising clients on an array of family law issues including divorce, financial remedy proceedings, child law matters and cohabitation and marital agreements. Founding partner and practice head Katy Zikking - 'very collaborative...and very conscientious' - has more than 20 years of family law experience.

Practice head(s):

Katy Zikking

Other key lawyers:

Ros White; Nicky Howarth; Fiona Greener


‘Nicky Howarth and Fiona Greener are sublime. They are very involved and know their client’s cases like the back of their hand. They are friendly and approachable whilst also being sensitive and professional.’

‘All the team are very diligent and caring towards their clients.’

‘Katy Zikking is very collaborative in her approach and very conscientious. Her calm nature does not detract from her tenaciousness.’

‘What makes Harbour unique is the boutique and specialist feel to the firm whilst maintaining a level of talent, experience, expertise and respect that you would expect from a much larger firm.’

‘Nicky Howarth is quite simply outstanding. She has an unmatched ability to remain calm, measured and provide clarity in the most fraught situations.’

‘This is a niche family law practice with a number of offices, providing clients with a very personal, yet professional service. The team are all very experienced family laws having originated from a number of leading firms.’

Work highlights

Lester Aldridge LLP

Praised for their ‘encyclopedic knowledge‘ and ‘effective approach‘, the team at Lester Aldridge LLP focuses primarily on complex financial remedy cases, while the team’s expertise also extends to children matters and TOLATA related claims. Practice head Rosemary Sharp regularly handles high-net-worth cases involving companies, and has been praised for her ‘excellent judgement’. Laura George is also recommended.



Practice head(s):

Rosemary Sharp

Other key lawyers:

Laura George; Guiseppe Pingerna


‘I appreciate the personalised, friendly, yet professional service they provide. They work well as a team, and know exactly which associate/partner is best suited to deal with any queries I have.’

‘Throughout my time with Lester Aldridge I have felt that I have been treated as a real person, not just a source of income. They have been kind, friendly, and professional, while also giving me a personalised service.’

‘Lester Aldridge have a very strong reputation in Family Law expertise. The team have a friendly, warm, and effective approach to case management. Clients love the team and feel fully supported throughout one of life’s most stressful experiences.’

‘The team at Lester Aldridge is diverse and together they have an encyclopedic knowledge of the facts of their cases as well as up to date legal principles that need to be applied.’

‘Rosemary Sharp has excellent judgment. She provides pragmatic solutions, and is tenacious and robustly effective in achieving the best outcomes for clients.’

‘Guiseppe Pingerna is a rising star who I would expect to be a partner in the very near future. He is personable and good with client’s from all backgrounds. He gives clear and sensible advice and is an excellent advocate.’

‘Laura George is a tough litigator and yet demonstrates incredible empathy with clients. She always strives to achieve the best outcome for clients and will always fight their corner. Clients immediately warm to her and rightfully trust her. She is certainly one to watch for the future and a partner in the making.’

‘Rosemary Sharp is fantastic. Over the last 12 months we have worked on some very challenging cases together but I have felt supported, safe in the knowledge that Rosie knows her stuff and always works hard. Rosie makes it very easy to work in a team and I know that we will strive to get the best result for the client together. Rosie is on top of her game.’

Work highlights

Porter Dodson LLP

Described by clients as having ‘an excellent local reputation' and a 'client-focused approach’, the family department at Porter Dodson LLP regularly advises high-net-worth individuals, business owners and landowners on a spectrum of family law matters. The practice is sub-divided into two teams, focusing on divorce and financial matters, and children matters, respectively. Department head Richard Baker has over 25 years of experience in family law, and is noted for his work on complex matters involving overseas assets, companies and trusts.

Practice head(s):

Richard Baker

Other key lawyers:

Rebecca Marshall; Cathryn Smith; Julia Perrins; Zoe Gaitskell; Ellen Saunders


‘The family law team have been extremely professional, thorough, communicative and sensitive where at times in these sorts of cases facts need to be handled with care. They strike a good balance and always remain realistic regarding expectations and fees.’

‘Porter Dodson have an excellent local reputation and are well-regarded for their client-focused approach, with service levels setting them apart from the competition.’

‘Zoe Gaitskell is a class act; able to provide insightful advice at an early stage, saving clients huge amounts in costs and resolving conflicts that seemed intractable. In the financial remedies space Zoe is diligent, accurate and persistent, working effectively to secure outcomes for her clients that achieve their goals. She is known for her keen eye for detail and client-friendly manner. A local superstar.’

‘Rebecca Marshall is an extremely able advocate, she has vast experience and is always aware of new case law and factors that in to her advice. She is thorough and very professional. She gives advice and responds proactively to instructions given’.

‘The practice has an extremely strong family team with a wealth of experience covering the whole of Somerset. Both Julia Perrins and Amanda Jones are respective experts in Matrimonial and Children Act matters to include international issues.’

‘Amanda Jones has been a family practitioner specialising in Divorce and Children matters for over 20 years and has a wealth of knowledge (both practical and legal) which she brings to all matters. She has substantial experience with high net worth cases and individuals and regularly undertakes work involving business and international aspects.’

Julia Perrins is a partner predominantly operating out of the Taunton Office. She is extremely calm and quick to grasp even the most complex financial matters with ease. Her demeanor provides client’s reassurance that they are in good hands at every stage of their case.’

‘A deservedly well respected large regional firm with an excellent family law team. The numerous fee earners in this large team all have many years of experience in every aspect of family law that could arise. The team is equally experienced in both private and public law children cases and financial remedy cases.’

Work highlights

Thrings LLP

Praised for its ‘high legal technical knowledge with a very supportive manner demonstrating a lot of empathy’, Thrings LLP assists farming families, entrepreneurs and business owners on an array of family matters, particularly in relation to pre-nuptial agreements and cohabitation matters. The team is co-chaired by Fiona Kellow, who is noted for her expertise in cohabitation agreements and child law matters. Fellow co-chair Matthew Kellow is highly experienced in international child removal and abduction.

Practice head(s):

Fiona Kellow; Matthew Kellow

Other key lawyers:

Kathryn Bew; Tara Connor-McLaren; Zhenja Cann


‘Thrings’ family division is extremely knowledgeable and were invaluable throughout my divorce. Not only were they very responsive to my questions, they continued to provide this support after my divorce had been finalised. They are utterly professional and extremely easy to deal with.’

‘Tara Connor-McLaren and Zhenja Cann addressed (and continue to address) all my concerns in a thorough and professional manner. I can’t speak highly enough of the service I have received.’

‘The team works closely together and any handover is done in a very professional manner.’

‘The stand-out factor for me was the combination of a high legal technical knowledge with a very supportive manner demonstrating a lot of empathy.’

‘I would like to highlight Zhenja Cann who, at all times, displayed such a high level of support and could take the most complex issues and put them across in such a clear manner!’

‘I started consulting Fiona Kellow who I rate highly. She then passed me to her junior Zhenja Cann. Zhenja was wonderful. Understanding, calm, thorough and professional I would have absolutely no hesitation recommending Zhenja. She deserves to do very well in her career.’

‘Zhenja was wonderful. Very supportive to me throughout a very stressful and emotional time. I felt that she was genuinely sympathetic and understanding, yet 100% professional throughout.’

Work highlights

Tozers Solicitors LLP

The team at Tozers Solicitors LLP assists clients on both private and public family law matters pertaining to divorce and separation, finances, pensions and children matters. The practice notably boasts its own dedicated care team, focused on representing vulnerable children and victims of domestic abuse. Both Caroline Ryan and Tony Wood head up the team; Ryan has considerable experience advising on pensions, while Wood - a family lawyer for more than 30 years - heads up the specialist care team at the firm. Aimee Aspinall is also recommended.


Practice head(s):

Caroline Ryan; Tony Wood

Other key lawyers:

Aimee Aspinall


‘The Tozers team are very capable and highly communicative with clients and professional collaborators.’

‘Aimee Aspinall and Caroline Ryan are both very compassionate and always looking to ensure that their clients achieve the best outcome.’

‘The team at Tozers takes a client focused approach providing clear advice and guidance. They are a safe pair of hands and go above and beyond to assist clients. They take a collaborative approach when instructing counsel ensuring that clients have support when meeting and working with counsel.’

‘Very professional and helpful and great communication.’

‘The staff I work worked with were always superb and very kind and helpful!’

‘Caroline Ryan was extremely supportive and very knowledgeable about procedures. She advised me confidently and all communications were efficient, effective and appropriate. Ms Kirstie Mackenzie acted efficiently and always dealt with my queries promptly.’

Work highlights

Trethowans LLP

Trethowans LLP works with clients on the full spectrum of family law issues, covering divorce and separation, matrimonial finances, child arrangements, surrogacy, and pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements. Practice head Andrew Mercer's diverse client base includes wealthy individuals, medical consultants, GPs, lawyers, and senior ranked members of the armed forces, who turn to him for the breadth of his capabilities.


Practice head(s):

Andrew Mercer

Other key lawyers:

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


‘Trethowans are a really excellent regional law firm. They are probably one of the best law firms in the South West.’

‘Andrew Mercer and Emma Wilders Pratt and both excellent. They have excellent client care skills and really understand family litigation. Dawn Gore’s knowledge of children law is very impressive. She has a natural ability for private law proceedings and her advice is nearly always spot on. Having won paralegal of the year nationally is no surprise.’

‘Well established family team that has grown successfully in recent years attracting the best practitioners and now the firm has a formidable and talented team. Probably one of the best (if not the best) family teams in the South West (Wiltshire, Dorset & Hampshire) with an unrivalled stable of first-rate practitioners.’

‘Large regional firm that offers highest quality service and legal representation backed up by the most up to date use of technology. An excellent team spirit and interaction across the team which enables clients to be have an excellent knowledge base available to them.’

‘Andrew Mercer is a first-rate lawyer. He is a stellar practitioner and the best around. His experience and knowledge of financial remedy law is second to none. He specialises in medium to high net worth financial remedy cases and has dealt with every element of complication in such cases over his many years of practice.’

Dawn Gore is a first-rate private law children lawyer whose knowledge of the law and practice is outstanding. She writes extensively on aspects of children law and, over her long career, has been involved in some of the leading cases in this area of law.’

Emma Wilders-Pratt is a superb member of the team who has many years experience in both financial remedy and private law children cases. She has incredible empathy with clients and they rightfully value the emotional and legal support she gives them.’

Work highlights

Walker Family Law

Praised as a ‘strong boutique firm with a strong reputation for expertise in the sector’, Walker Family Law handles an array of family law matters pertaining to child law, divorce and relationships and mediation. The practice is jointly chaired by Ian Walker, who serves as managing director, as well as Fiona Griffin and Emma Perkins. Griffin heads the divorce and relationships team, while Perkins’ clients regard her as  ‘a first-rate solicitor at the top of her game in both private and public law children act cases.’

Practice head(s):

Ian Walker; Fiona Griffin; Emma Perkins; Ian Walker

Other key lawyers:

Kim Stradling; Paul Sykes; Lucy Roberts


‘Emma Perkins is exceptionally knowledgeable and skilled. She is a first-rate solicitor at the top of her game in both private and public law children act cases.’

‘The team is incredibly hard working and involved in highly complex public law cases. Nothing is ever too much to ask for clients. The solicitors I work with are able to form a close working team through all aspects of a case from start to finish. Their approach is flexible and adaptable.’

‘Paul Sykes is a very experienced and knowledgable solicitor. He gives 100% to all of his cases and is on top of the finest of details. Paul has a wonderful ability to put clients at ease and take complex material and explain it in an effective way so clients can understand and retain the information.’

‘Ian Walker Family Law provides an excellent service to its clients. Prompt, informed and sound advice.’

‘Paul Sykes is a an excellent solicitor. He has high quality complex work and is always well versed in the facts and issues in a case despite its complexity. He instructed me on a very complex matter at short notice because instructed Counsel was unavailable. I was able to pick it up and run with the case because of Paul’s excellent grip on the it.’

‘Lucy Roberts is excellent. Very experienced in international abduction work. A fighter for her clients and her case. Great judgment. Lovely person.’

‘Strong boutique firm with a strong reputation for expertise in the sector. The team really are client centric and build very strong and trusted client relationships.’

‘Kim Stradling – in my view – is an outstanding solicitor. Her work is excellent, she is always on the ball chasing parties when evidence is late. Her advice is well thought out and sensitive to the persons involved and she is extremely efficient.’

Work highlights

  • Represented a client (wife) in a cross-border case where husband was a medical practitioner with complex financial arrangements.
  • Represented a father in difficult and complex care proceedings in the High Court concerning the couple’s four children.
  • Acted for UK-based husband who was primary carer for parties’ children in contentious divorce finances case where wife is based in UAE.

Willans LLP

Willans LLP is based in Cheltenham, but has been praised for its ‘much wider geographical reach’ and ability to ‘attract very high quality work, nationally and internationally’ . The team regularly supports clients with out-of-court matrimonial and non-matrimonial financial settlements. The practice is led by Sharon Giles, who is highly regarded for her experience in private law financial, children and enforcement disputes.


Practice head(s):

Sharon Giles

Other key lawyers:

Jonathan Eager; Kristie Silsby


‘Jonathan Eager is unfailingly honest in his advice even if he was aware it wasn’t what I wanted to hear. I respected that. It allowed a level of trust to develop rapidly.’

‘Great reputation. They pick up a good proportion of the high net worth clients in the area – excellent client care. A real player in the Gloucester and Cotswolds areas.’

‘Jonathan Eager is incredibly good to work with. Has excellent on point judgment and sees solutions in a case form the outset. He is focussed on his clients and getting the best results for them whilst also being fair and pragmatic. I would definitely recommend him.’

Work highlights

  • Acted in a high-value financial divorce case involving assets in the region of £8m with cross-jurisdictional issues.
  • Advised a celebrity fashion designer in drawing up a consent order application concerning assets in excess of £6.5m.
  • Acted for the wife-to-be, who has assets in the region of £2m, on drafting a same sex pre-nuptial agreement.

Blanchards Bailey LLP

Blanchards Bailey LLP specialises in dealing with pensions, and army pensions in particular. The team regularly works with business owners, land owners and wealthy individuals in structuring financial settlements and drafting pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements. Laura Martin – who heads the practice – is noted for her work on complex financial disputes involving multi-million-pound businesses.

Practice head(s):

Laura Martin

Other key lawyers:

Julie Keogh


‘Very user friendly. Exceptional understanding of a very difficult and emotional situation. Walked me through every stage in clear, layman’s terms.’

‘Julie Keogh has been excellent throughout the process. Very understanding.’

‘Laura Martin and her team have been so very honest and honorable throughout this. As a company I cannot find fault.’

‘Laura Martin and her team have been, and continue to be outstanding and brilliant on a professional level, but as important they’ve been so helpful on a personal level in helping one to process all of what is happening, which in return helps you cope with going through divorce, financial and children matters.’

‘Julie has a very caring and reassuring manner and responds efficiently and professionally to any concerns that I have put forward to her when it has come to providing guidance around my divorce proceedings.’

‘Julie Keogh was very professional and explained everything clearly at every stage. Responded very quickly to any questions I had.’

‘Blanchards Bailey have an extensive array of experienced and knowledgeable practitioners who are all able to advise clients reliably and cost-effectively.’

‘Laura Martin is a truly caring and very competent family lawyer and mediator.’

Work highlights

  • Acted for Husband in extensive Financial Remedy proceedings and Children Act proceedings.
  • Acted for Intervenor in Financial Remedy proceedings; husband non-compliant with directions made by the Court and providing financial disclosure.
  • Acted for maternal grandparents in respect of their application for a Special Guardianship Order. Successful outcome as a Special Guardianship Order was granted and supervised contact to the mother.

Coodes Solicitors

‘Very well established and highly regarded locally’, Coodes Solicitors advises clients on a range of family law issues, from financial matters to complex children and domestic abuse related work. ‘Brilliant family lawyer’ Sarah Evans leads the team, and is noted for her work on complex finance, children and domestic abuse related cases.

Practice head(s):

Sarah Evans

Other key lawyers:

Elise Alma; Karen Pritchard; Victoria Walters


‘The team is very responsive and puts their clients’ needs first. They are always looking for ways to resolve matters in a pragmatic and constructive way, rather than just fighting every battle for the sake of it.’

‘The team has both a broad and deep understanding of children law. They make huge effort to be available to clients.’

‘Sarah Evans handles clients with a combination of sensitively and directness. She is insightful and very quick to pick up on the nuances of a case.

‘Elise Alma has huge experience and it shows in her confidence and assured yet accessible manner.’

‘The Coodes family team are very experienced and work very well together. They readily step in to assist other family members and provide a first class service to their clients. They always strive to provide the best for their clients and give good advice They have some very talented paralegals and trainee solicitors who they invest in. It is great to see a firm growing its own talent’

‘Very well established and highly regarded locally. Strength throughout the family department.’ 

‘I have mainly worked with Sarah Evans. She is a fantastic solicitor. She really cares about her clients but never lets this cloud her judgment.’

‘Sarah Evans is a brilliant family lawyer – both financial and children work. She takes a sensible and practical approach. Karen Pritchard is a very safe pair of hands dealing with financial work. She is always sensible and good to deal with both in relation to divorce settlements and pre-nups.’

Work highlights

  • Advised a client in relation to a financial order upon divorce and in relation to large assets both in England and Spain.
  • Advised a client in an application for a financial order in divorce. The assets consist of a generational farm, residential properties, farm partnership and Boarding Kennels business which is a limited company.
  • Advised a client in an application for financial orders, enforcement of financial orders and multiple family law act orders.

GA Solicitors

At GA Solicitors the family practice is divided into two divisions: a private client division and a private law team. The team advise clients on an array of family law matters including pre- and post-nuptial agreements, cohabitation agreements and pensions in divorce. The team is headed up by Michelle Grove, an accredited specialist in financial remedy resolution, private law children matters, and TOLATA.

Practice head(s):

Michelle Grove

Other key lawyers:

Gloria Dyer; Andrew Wonnacott


‘GA have provided me with wonderful service. They offer a truly personalised service, have taken time to get to know me, listened to my worries, always reply quickly and I couldn’t have got through the last few years without them by my side.’

‘Michelle Grove and her team are wonderful. From the very first call I made to Michelle, she has provided advice, reassurance and often been my calming influence when I’ve been worried. She offers the highest level of professionalism and care.’

‘Key strengths include forensic attention to detail; excellent communication, good visibility to parents and professionals alike and advice which is both robust and consistent.’ 

‘No matter how complex or straightforward a case is, the advice, presence, advocacy and attention to detail is always of the same excellent high quality, and I value the human approach to representation which remains at the heart of what GA Solicitors do.’

‘My go to solicitor is Andrew Wonnacott who consistently goes above and beyond in all case work; maintains excellent communication and who is friendly, warm, professional and always willing to go the extra mile to get the best result for the children and families I work with.’


Work highlights

Hartnell Chanot & Partners

‘A well-run, dedicated family law firm’, The Family Law Company by Hartnell Chanot advises clients on the full spectrum of family law issues, including divorce and separation, children law and matrimonial finance issues. The team has extensive experience handling cross-border work and are dedicated to alternative dispute resolution. Both Norman Hartnell and Rachel Buckley lead the practice; Hartnell has over 30 years of experience in family law, while Buckley specialises in divorce and matrimonial finance issues, in particular.

Practice head(s):

Norman Hartnell; Rachel Buckley

Other key lawyers:

Carrie Laws; Stephen Sowden; Lucy Theobald; Imran Khodabocus; Grace Bradley; Jane Chanot


‘A well-run, dedicated family law firm which will work hard for its client’s interests.’

‘The team have a high level of expertise surrounding domestic abuse and honor based violence for a company operating in the South West.’

‘The Family Law Company is as far as I can see exactly what it says on the tin, a family. They have been instructing me for approximately 12-18 months and it has been clear to me that they have a collegiate approach to their work and are like a family.’

Work highlights


Wansbroughs advises clients on a range of family law matters, with all members of the team well versed in private law children work in particular. The team is jointly chaired by Naomi Owen - who has over 20 years of experience in family law and covers all aspects of care work, including complex non-accidental injury matters - and Jeremy Tier is noted for his focus on the resolution of high-net-worth financial disputes.



Practice head(s):

Naomi Owen; Jeremy Tier

Other key lawyers:

Matthew Roberts; Anne Goodenough


‘Naomi Owen has been very attentive and supportive in what has been a challenging case. She has always carried out my instructions and used a very good barrister to represent me in all hearings. There has been a lot of email communication with between the parties and I have been copied into everything so I always know what is happening.’

‘The team are welcoming and have good legal knowledge and experience.’

‘Naomi is approachable and has good people skills. She is able to talk through any concerns that I have and give appropriate advice.’

‘Very knowledgeable, understanding, empathetic to your situation. Good response times when either you call or email very accommodating with appointments.’

‘This practice places the client at the centre and heart of their service. You are listened to and responded to immediately. All partners in the firm from the staff accepting your phone call to the people representing you in court place you at the centre.’

‘Naomi Owen is without doubt the most knowledgeable, caring and professional person I have had the pleasure to work with. She responds immediately to any concern, she is professionally reassuring; you know you can trust her comments, support and advice completely as she is honest, fair and exceedingly knowledgeable. I have valued her in the most incredibly difficult and challenging times to be at my side.’

‘Very established and conscientious team.’

‘Anne was in my opinion, absolutely outstanding. Helping me to understand the process, what will happen, could happen and her presence within the court. Always remained professional and very knowledgeable.’

Work highlights

Wards Solicitors LLP

With noted specialisms inclduing pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements and  cohabitation matters, the team at Wards Solicitors LLP covers all aspects of family law, from divorce and finances to private law children law work. The team is led by Alison Bradley - praised as an ‘expert in the sector’ - who has expertise in financial cases, and deals with matters involving businesses, companies, trusts and inherited assets.

Practice head(s):

Alison Bradley

Other key lawyers:

Mandy McCabe; Louise Boustead; Sylvie Feltham; Emma Willott


‘The team, were amazing from start to finish. Always very clear, honest and made the process very straightforward. The billing was great, and all done online – very clear and easy.’

‘Alison was amazing. She made me feel very at ease, was very helpful and always on point with her advice. I could not be happier with her, and the outcome we achieved. She always was great at listening and then explaining everything to me. Her advice was always spot on and I got what I wanted when it came to the court case.’

‘The team were able to give constant sensible advise but empathised on a personal level too throughout.’

‘Mandy was able to give me good, solid and sensible legal advise while being able to relate to me as a mother. She was able to keep me level headed in the most frustrating and stressful situations.’

‘Very efficient to respond to instructions, on urgent matters these were processed within hours and you were always kept up to date with progress in respect of your case.’

‘Louise Boustead always responded to email requests within the same day. Always provided with updates and given chasing emails for deadlines.’

‘Wards always deliver for their clients. They have a personable touch which sets them apart from other firms. They work with counsel as a team to ensure that the client is well supported through the court process. They offer pragmatic and realistic advice.’

‘Alison Bradley is excellent. She is an expert in the sector but is also a partner that makes herself accessible and always puts the client first. She leads by example and is a credit to the broader team.’

Work highlights


The team at Wolferstans has a ‘wealth of experience and employs it to full advantage for clients’ on a range of family law matters, including financial remedy proceedings and complex children law cases. Vikki Martin - who heads the practice - is praised for her ‘excellent judgment and very good client handling.’ Alison Challacombe - 'a very skilled and powerful advocate' - serves as head of the firm’s child care team.


Practice head(s):

Vikki Martin

Other key lawyers:

Alison Challacombe; Andrew Dodd; Rebecca Moloney; Angela Parsons; Catherine Wadland; Phil Thorneycroft


‘The Wolferstans team are always highly supportive and act promptly to any concerns. They are highly skilled in all areas of family law and very personable.’

‘Vikki Martin delivers exceptional legal advice. Her explanation is always well received and understood and delivery is concise and to the point. She is very reassuring and always supportive.’

‘I work frequently with Andrew Dodd, who is meticulous and considered in all that he does. Working with Andrew fills me with confidence that everything that needs to be done for the client will be done, and more.’

‘A very responsive team of a sufficient size – there is always someone available to respond to enquiries. Solicitors who are always prepared to arrange conferences and ensure all matters are properly prepared prior to a hearing.’

‘Catherine Wadland is very committed to preparing comprehensive briefs to ensure that her client’s advocate fully understands the background to the case. Phil Thorneycroft is a very experienced and respected partner, whose voice carries significant sway. The same is true of both Vicky Martin and Angela Parsons.’

‘The team has a wealth of experience and employs it to full advantage for clients.’

‘Alison Challacombe is a very skilled and powerful advocate.’

‘Andrew Dodd is the go-to children lawyer in the South West. He is knowledgeable, empathetic, and has a laser focus on the important issues in any case.’

Work highlights


Fielding a deep bench of partners and associates, Wollens is lauded for its ‘consistent high level of service to local people' as well as for its 'specialist knowledge and understanding of the region and its culture’. The team acts for both private individuals and on legal aid cases, regularly advising on family law issues pertaining to divorce, child protection, guardianship orders and pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements. In particular, the team is especially well versed in children law issues, where it is hailed as ‘an absolute leader in the field of children public law’ by some clients. Rebecca Procter, who heads the practice, is noted for her expertise in complex matrimonial finance work.


Practice head(s):

Rebecca Procter

Other key lawyers:

Rachel Carter; David Kendall; Deborah Baker; Elizabeth Foster; Cate Jewell; Sabina Smith; Victoria Harle


‘This team is unusual as although there are more than one office in the area it focuses in providing a consistent high level of service to local people and having specialist knowledge and understanding of the region and its culture.’

‘Rachel Carter is in my view the best child care lawyer in the country with a nationwide practice.’

‘An absolute leader in the field of children public law. The go-to firm in England relation to this area of law.’

‘Rachel Carter and Victoria Harle are the stand out Solicitors at this firm. They have unlimited knowledge of this area of law and are efficient, thorough and talented.’

‘The family team are highly experienced and specialised, providing exceptional service, top quality advice, representation and support to their clients.’

‘Rachel Carter has a national reputation for representing parents who have been accused of causing injury to their children. She has a wealth of knowledge and experience coupled with incredibly expertise in this field. She works closely with other members of her team to ensure her clients are always afforded with the very best representation available.’

‘All team members are very professional and respectful in their dealings with clients and other legal representatives. The team has a wide breadth of experience.’

‘Very friendly and approachable team. You are dealing with one person who knows your case, not a different person each time. Accessible to non-English speakers – they use professional and accredited interpreters and translators which makes them stand out from the other legal firms in the area.’

Work highlights

  • Represented a mother wrongly accused of Shaken Baby Syndrome in a complex ten-day hearing, in which the case was ultimately thrown out and the mother reunited with her children.
  • Represented a client in multi-jurisdictional court proceedings including over £10m in business assets and overseas properties.
  • Assisted a client in a substantial post-nuptial litigation involving a complex range of assets including film and book royalties.