‘Hardworking and astute’ five-partner Cardiff-based family law boutique Wendy Hopkins Family Law Practice has a market-leading reputation in the space and is invariably ‘instructed on one side of any case of real value or complexity’, including on high-value, cross-border financial remedy and private children cases. The ‘thorough and fastidious’ Melanie Hamer and ‘unflappable‘ Thea Hughes routinely handle complex and high-value financial remedy cases, as does the ‘patient, humane and diligent’ David James, who is also regularly instructed on high-net-worth Schedule 1 Children Act cases. Sarah Wyburn has a ‘skill or bringing out the best in a case‘, whether it relates to complex and high-value financial cases, or in the context of civil partnership and same-sex marriages. Rebecca Knight ‘leaves no stone unturned for her clients’, which include a number of professional footballers, which she has advised over an array of matters, including on pre-nuptial agreements.
Family in Wales
Other key lawyers:
‘The team is hardworking and astute.’
‘Simply put, Wendy Hopkins Family Law Practice is the premier family firm in Cardiff and usually instructed on one side of any case of real value or complexity.’
‘The straight-talking and very efficient Rebecca Knight leaves no stone unturned for her clients.’
‘David James has a huge amount of practical knowledge and really goes the extra mile for the client, always being aware of the bigger picture in terms of settlement opportunities.’
‘Melanie Hamer has an excellent approach with clients and is extremely thorough and fastidious in her practice.’
‘The experienced, knowledgeable and pragmatic Thea Hughes is the first pick of South Wales family lawyers. She understands how to win a case. Her preparation is always meticulous and her representation always robust.’
‘Thea Hughes is unflappable – she is able to take complex or voluminous disclosure cases in her stride, quickly breaking them down into their constituent parts and dealing with each issue in turn.’
‘Sarah Wyburn has a real eye for detail and nothing gets past her.’
Led out of the firm’s Bridgend office by the ‘patient and friendly’ Katie McColgan, the ‘professional, approachable and friendly’ six-strong team at Berry Smith is appreciated for its ‘logical and honest approach when dealing with difficult situations’, including children cases and highly contested matters involving assets spread across different jurisdictions. ‘Conscientious and caring’ senior associate Benjamin Delve is also recommended and is able to provide advocacy for clients, should the need arise, by virtue of his higher rights of audience qualification.
Other key lawyers:
‘Berry Smith were wonderful when other solicitors in the area had let me down. The staff were knowledgeable and friendly, taking the time to patiently fully answer all my questions. They were professionally supportive and patient during this emotional time.’
‘A very professional firm, a logical and honest approach when dealing with difficult situations.’
‘This practice is professional, approachable, and friendly.’
‘A very professional firm which adopts a logical and honest approach when dealing with difficult situations.’
‘Katie McColgan is patient and friendly. I felt professionally supported throughout the process.’
‘Benjamin Delve was professional and approachable, conscientious and caring and has helped us with a crisis that we feel that our local solicitors would not have been able help us.’
Although it is a relatively small team, Geldards LLP's Cardiff-based two-strong offering handles an impressive range of family work for medium to high-net-worth individuals, who also benefit from its ability to leverage broader complementary practice areas including tax, employment and coporate. Team head Gaynor Dickens is 'reassuring and friendly' and provides a 'sensible approach to settlement' and a real willingness to adopt a conciliatory and collaborative approach to handling financial remedy and private children cases. In addition, Dickens has developed a particularly strong reputation assisting high-net-worth individuals preserve their wealth through the implementation of both pre- and post-nuptial agreements.
‘A full-service firm with a boutique family department.’
‘Gaynor Dickens is very capable and clients really value her sensible approach to settlement.’
‘Gaynor Dickens is professional and approachable. She is reassuring, friendly and just what is needed in tricky family matters. She cares about her clients, and works hard to help them through what is inevitably a stressful time with the best outcome and solid advice.’
In the relatively short time since it was established in 2013, ‘nimble and dynamic’ family law boutique Grant Stephens Family Law has made a strong impact on the legal scene in Cardiff and South Wales by virtue of its ‘attention to detail and for the empathetic way in which it represents its clients’. Under the leadership of ‘very experienced and robust’ name partner Grant Stephens, the team has gained a particularly strong reputation on behalf of high-net-worth clients with extensive business interests and complex financial arrangements. ‘Very caring’ associate Matthew Wells provides a ‘first-class’ service to clients across a range of family law matters and is particularly appreciated for his endeavours to avoid any unnecessary conflict through a conciliatory approach.
Other key lawyers:
‘The practice is renowned for its attention to detail and for the empathetic way in which it represents its clients. The practitioners are professional, thorough and precise in the advice that they provide and in their approach to court proceedings.’
‘The team is nimble and dynamic and is now one of the leading lights in the local market.’
‘The team has a perfect blend of experience and exciting new talent so that the service can be tailored to the needs of the case.’
‘This is a highly experienced family law firm, with a commercial edge.’
‘Grant Stephens is one of the key players in financial remedy world locally. His connections in the legal world and beyond mean that he has his finger on the pulse which gives him an advantage over many of his peers.’
‘Grant Stephens is very experienced, robust and caring towards clients.’
‘Lisa Davies is a strong performer. She knows her cases backwards and her attention to detail and forward planning means nothing gets missed. Clients know they are in safe hands.’
‘Eleri Jones is approachable and supportive of her clients. She is an excellent advocate. She is transparent with her cost and time estimate.’
‘Matthew Wells is very caring about his clients while delivering a first-class service.’
Harding Evans LLP
Newport-based firm Harding Evans LLP punches above its weight for family work and regularly picks up high-value and complex matrimonial finance mandates involving diverse assets, as well as in work involving contact issues. Drawing upon a ‘vast knowledge of complex financial remedy issues’, team head Kate Thomas is regularly instructed by high-net-worth individuals, who are appreciative of her ‘pragmatic and sympathetic manner‘, as well as her tireless work ethic to ‘ensure her clients get the best outcome’.
‘This “high street” practice really punches above its weight in terms of the quality of work done and the value and complexity of the matrimonial finance work undertaken.’
‘Harding Evans is a really approachable family team; professional, yet accessible. They are highly though of in the Gwent area.’
‘Kate Thomas is the standout partner in terms of matrimonial finance, has a vast knowledge of complex financial remedy issues and attracts high-net- worth clients. She has a pragmatic and sympathetic manner which clients appreciate.’
‘Kate Thomas has a great eye for detail and works tirelessly to ensure her clients get the best outcome in financial remedy proceedings.’
Drawing upon the knowledge of several ‘highly skilled’ core family law practitioners and also able to leverage the expertise of practitioners in complementary areas of law including tax, probate and commercial, Hugh James excels in providing a holistic service to clients on high-value and complex financial relief cases and pre-marital agreements. Pivotal to the firm’s success in the area is ‘super bright’ team head Adrienne Donneky who ‘works tirelessly for good outcomes for clients’. The team also has a strong reputation for children work and in this context, Belinda Moseley ‘deals brilliantly with the most complex of cases’ on the private side, while consultant Mark Powell has a notable public law child practice and regularly acts on behalf of local authorities in South Wales and the West of England.
‘The practice has a family law department that is focused on achieving the best possible outcome for the clients that it represents.’
‘They have an innate ability to empathise with the situation in which the clients finds themselves, thereby instilling confidence in the client and putting them at ease.’
‘An amazingly strong team in both children and finances. Clients should have every confidence in this family team which offers a top class service equivalent to Magic Circle firms but for a fraction of the price. They are a real force to be reckoned with.’
‘It has at its disposal a family law department with highly skilled and experienced lawyers, who are able to unpick complex legal disputes and to present a case in a straightforward but extremely effective fashion.’
‘This is a close knit family law department within a very large commercial law practice. The great aspect of that is the access the team has to in-house specialist financial and tax advice, commercial lawyers, probate, trusts and also Court of Protection expertise, within the larger Hugh James brand.’
‘Adrienne Donneky works tirelessly for good outcomes for clients, and gives them very good value for money, in my opinion.’
‘Adrienne Donneky is super bright, wonderfully approachable, gives sound and sensible advice and is superbly organised.’
‘Belinda Moseley – superb children lawyer. Deals brilliantly with the most complex of cases, getting them on the right track from the outset. Very personable and clients love her.’
Well established Neath-based firm Hutchinson Thomas is noted for providing a 'kind and considerate service in often difficult circumstances' for South West Wales individuals across the spectrum of their family needs. Exhibiting a 'pragmatic and practical approach' team head Robert Williams has vast experience in the field and is noted for his willingness to seek 'solutions to issues rather than creating difficulties'. The firm also excels at handling childcare matters, and led by Debbie Richards, who is one of three children accredited panel members at the firm, is regularly instructed by Cafcass, parents and local authorities, in often highly complex cases, including those involving allegations of non-accidental injury and sexual abuse.
Other key lawyers:
‘Their service is second to none as they are committed to providing a professional, thorough, reliable service.’
‘They are extremely thorough in their work. Kind and considerate in often difficult circumstances.’
‘Robert Williams has a pragmatic and practical approach with a view to achieving a resolution if at all possible without resorting to a court hearing. He seeks solutions to issues rather than creating difficulties.’
‘Robert Williams fought my corner with a fierce determination and the utmost professionalism. However, his most endearing quality was that he reminded me of family. It is a family practice and that was shown.’
‘Robert Williams could see not only from his own wealth of experience but also in identifying my rabbit-in-the-headlights nature of having to deal with such a traumatic time in life that I needed calm and assured legal advice and the ability to combine the inevitable professional and personal decisions a divorce entails.’
‘Kiani Eccleston is friendly and approachable.’
- Advising the respondent in a very contentious divorce and financial remedy issues. The case eventually went to a final three-day hearing but resulted in further hearing because the parties could not agree on the wording of the order.
- Acted in a matrimonial matter, where the client was accused of dissipating monies and taking out unnecessary loans.
- Acting in a matter where the other party had worked abroad and client was convinced, other party had hidden wealth.
The ‘reliable and flexible’ team at Ince is well-equipped to provide a cost-effectice service to clients, including Legal Aid for individuals with more modest financial means, across the full spectrum of family matters from pre-nuptial agreements through to highly contentious disputes over finances following the breakdown of a marriage. As well as being adept at handling children contact cases, team head Susan Williams has experience at securing financial orders involving complex asset pools (often with an international complexion), and is ‘adept at fighting her clients’ corner whilst also being realistic as to the outcomes’.
‘The team is honest and has the facility to debate key issues rationally.’
‘Ince has helped a lot of our clients with family matters through the courts and in general legal advice. They are reliable and flexible with our clients and make them reassured that there can be a resolution to there problem.’
‘Susan Williams is really excellent. She is adept at fighting her clients corner whilst also being realistic as to the outcomes. Susan has the respect of the local judges and her opponents due to her experience and straightforward approach.’
‘Susan Williams was always professional, truthful, supportive and understanding. She understood exactly the support I needed to face the court. I can honestly say I wouldn’t have been able to get through this without her.’
With a strong presence in Carmarthen, Caerphilly and Swansea, the 'very personable and accessible' team at JCP Solicitors is well regarded by clients in South East and West Wales across the gamut of divorce, financial remedy and children's proceedings. The 'fantastic' Jill Bulteel heads the six-strong team that also includes Welsh speaking associate Angela Killa, who is noted for her 'direct, but sensitive approach' to children law matters.
‘They are an amazing team, who have listened, advised, supported and cared about my wellbeing.’
‘It is a very personable, and accessible team.’
‘Communication was excellent and efficient at all times.’
‘Angela Killa has been one of the most important people that I have met in my life. At a time when I needed someone to provide clarity, accurate and honest information, ensuring that I had the best outcome for myself and my children, she did this in a warm and professional manner.’
‘Angela Killa has empathy and compassion, and a genuine desire to help. Her direct, but sensitive approach was exactly what I needed.’
‘Jill Bulteel is fantastic.’
Lux Family Law
Established in 2018 by ‘class act’ Charlotte Leyshon, boutique family law firm Lux Family Law has rapidly gained market visibility and attracts some very high-profile mandates from high-net-worth individuals on financial remedy cases and in relation to complex private children work. Appreciated for her ‘unique blend of being straight-talking and no-nonsense whilst being caring and empathetic’, Leyshon ‘knows family law inside out‘ and is instructed, not only by South Wales-based clients but also regularly from clients outside of the region. Senior associate Lucy Morris ‘is quickly making a name for herself’ and has carved out niche in undertaking Deputy work alongside her ‘hardworking approach’ to financial remedy cases.
Other key lawyers:
‘This is a boutique family law practice which exclusively comprises women lawyers, but likely to appeal to male and female clients alike. It pitches itself at the higher end of the Cardiff and South Wales divorce market and attracts a lot of high-net-worth clients’.
‘Lux has taken the South Wales family law market by storm. It has positioned itself as the front-runner in high-net-worth and complex private children work. Notwithstanding its size and relative youth it has made the established firms sit up and take notice.’
‘Charlotte Leyshon is the go to family lawyer in South Wales. With a practice and reputation stretching across Wales and England she has redefined the South Wales family law offering proving that you do not need to travel to London for top tier representation in complex family matters.’
‘A class act Charlotte Leyshon clearly knows family law inside out and she is incredibly personable. I have no doubt that she instils confidence in her clients right from the outset. She understands the balance between being an aggressive and commercial litigator.’
‘Charlotte Leyshon has a unique blend of being straight-tallking and no-nonsense whilst being caring and empathetic.’
‘Lucy Morris is a rising star and is quickly making a name for herself.’
‘Lucy Morris is a great lawyer, is hardworking and achieves excellent outcomes.’
Cardiff-based firm Robertsons delivers 'first-class legal services in all aspects of family law', from advice on high-net-worth matrimonial finance matters to challenging children cases. The 'approachable and calming' Chris Barber heads up the team that is increasingly well geared up to handling family matters for high-net-worth clients following the recent arrivals of Hannah Magee and the 'very capable' Lisa Shrimpton, who 'provides clear and constructive advice, targeted to her clients' specific needs'.
Other key lawyers:
Hannah Magee; Lisa Shrimpton
‘The practice combines an empathetic approach – in order to understand the needs of the client – with the delivery of a first-class service designed to advance the client’s interests in a way that is uncompromising and compelling.’
‘It has an impressive team of solicitors delivering first-class legal services in all aspects of family law.’
‘Robertsons Solicitors’ family team boast some of the finest family solicitors in south east Wales. When you are on a case with a member of the Robertsons team, you know that the case will have been thoroughly prepared and a sensible outcome will follow.’
‘I found Chris Barber to be very approachable and calming. He was very clear on that what may/may not happen during my divorce case which of course will differ for each client.’
‘Hannah Magee has a huge amount of expertise in high-net-worth matrimonial finance cases.’
‘Lisa Shrimpton is very capable, with an eye for detail and a very good manner with clients.’
Led from Newport by Sophie Hughes , Watkins & Gunn Limited‘s ‘fantastic’ team handles an eclectic mix of private and public family law, including a considerable amount of complex financial remedy proceedings where Hughes is appreciated for her ‘very calm manner‘ and collaborative approach. Kate Roberts is based out of Pontypool and heads up the firm’s well regarded child care team.
‘It is a fantastic team with a good blend of public and private work. The private side of the practice is highly regarded and is often seen in the more complex matters.’
‘Sophie Hughes has a very calm manner and always tries to ensure that settlement is considered before launching in to court. Sophie’s time practising in London means her style of practising oozes more class than your average.’
Led from Wrexham by Nathan Wright, GHP Legal has strong traction among clients in North Wales for both public and private family law matters, including acting on behalf of high-net-worth individuals on divorces involving the complex division of wealth including high-value property and pensions. Natalie Roberts excels in children public law cases and receives a high proportion of her instructions from children’s guardians.
Gomer Williams & Co
The 'approachable and friendly' team at Llanelli-based firm Gomer Williams & Co provides 'knowledgeable and efficient' advice across a wide spectrum of family matters, including challenging and complex cases for vulnerable clients. As part of her broad practice, 'hardworking, trustworthy and reliable' team head Lucy Williams regularly handles challenging public children law cases, including in cases alleging non-accidental injuries to children and involving sexual abuse.
‘All members of the Gomer Williams family law team are approachable and friendly however most importantly knowledgable and efficient.’
‘Gomer Williams always support in a professional and empathetic way.’
‘Lucy Williams is hard working, trustworthy and reliable.’
Geraint Fry and Catherine Morse are those which I work with on a regular basis. Both individuals are thorough with a excellent attention to detail. The reason that they stand out to me is that they always go the extra mile for their clients and are extremely dedicated to their field of work.
Headed by the ‘client-focused and pragmatic’ Richard Scott following his arrival in July 2021 from Howells Solicitors, Harrison Clark Rickerbys‘ nascent Cardiff-based family law team provides a service that is ‘dynamic yet empathetic to the needs of the client’. Scott is ‘very dedicated and thorough’ and has particular expertise representing public sector workers (including members of the police force) who are going through divorce and financial remedy proceedings.
‘The firm provides a first-class service.’
‘It offers legal services with the utmost professionalism, ensuring that clients are afforded a service that is thorough yet concise and dynamic yet empathetic to the needs of the client.’
‘Richard Scott provides client focused and pragmatic advice.’
‘Richard Scott is a very dedicated and thorough solicitor. His briefs are always immaculately prepared and clients enter litigation with realistic expectations.’