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The Legal 500 Hall of Fame Icon The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession. In the United Kingdon, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for eight years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.
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United Kingdom > West Midlands > Private client > Family: Birmingham > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

Editorial

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Index of tables

  1. Family: Birmingham
  2. Leading individuals: Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next Generation Partners
  5. Rising stars

Leading individuals: Hall of Fame

  1. 1

Next Generation Partners

  1. 1

Rising stars

  1. 1

Anthony Collins Solicitors LLP advises on the full range of family law issues both matrimonial and children related. Its primary focus is on matrimonial advice to professionals and business owners, and also representing children and family members in complex care proceedings. The team, which is co-led by Elizabeth Wyatt and Jas Tamber, also has niche expertise in areas such as female genital mutilation, surrogacy, forced marriages and domestic violence.

Practice head(s):Elizabeth Wyatt; Jas Tamber

Other key lawyers:Elisabeth Howe; Chris Lloyd-Smith; Maria Ramon;Kadie Bennett

Testimonials

'Anthony Collins has a strong reputation for its skill at representing clients on complex matrimonial disputes in a non-confrontational way'.

'Anthony Collins is recognised for providing an excellent all round family law offering. It is particularly known for its children work and its growing mediation offering'.

'The only firm in the Midlands which continues to provide exceptional standards of service in private client and care proceedings/child protection'.

'Jas Tamber is the 'go-to' solicitor in the Midlands for child care work. Represents Guardians in the leading cases before the local courts. Trusted by judges and respected by peers. Has an amazing appetite for the work he does'.

'Jas Tamber is assured and a good advocate. He is proactive and drives the case forward properly'.

'Jas Tamber is a first-rate solicitor'.

'Elizabeth Wyatt is just superb and well-respected'.

'Elisabeth Howe is a 1st rate mediator standing out from her competitors because she is not afraid to give very direct guidance to the parties to assist them in reaching agreement - even if that guidance is unpalatable'.

'Chris Lloyd-Smith is up there with the best and Maria Ramon is very good at taking the heat out of the discussions and getting the parties to focus on the solution'.

'Kadie Bennett is very impressive on children disputes in particular'.

'I felt like I could talk to somebody about everything that I was struggling with'.

Work highlights

  • Advising on a mediation case concerning a separating couple who had sought advice in relation to both children and financial matters.
  • Advising on a complex divorce involving financial issues and children matters.

Irwin Mitchell has a large and specialist matrimonial finance team, which is a first port of call among clients for advice on pre- and post-nuptial agreements. The practice is also recognised for its use of collaborative law and mediation, and has carved out a niche for its knowledge of the sharing of English pensions following an overseas divorce. Other areas of expertise include complex children matters, as well as emerging areas such as surrogacy, adoption and alternative parenting. Clare Wiseman and Sarah Balfour are among the members of the well-respected group.

Practice head(s):Clare Wiseman; Sarah Balfour

Other key lawyers:Mark Hands; Gemma Fenton

Testimonials

'A group of talented lawyers who are passionate about what they do and how they do it'.

'Clare Wiseman - an emotionally intelligent and confident leader who delivers with grace and ease. Committed to her people, her clients and the law'.

'Clare Wiseman is a brilliant solicitor, but at the same time is very approachable and friendly'.

'Sarah Balfour has such gravitas and a strong work ethic'.

'Sarah Balfour is very straight talking, knows her onions and deals with matters collaboratively'.

'Mark Hands is very hardworking, a raising star who is very good at moving things forward'.

'Mark Hands  has  exceptional client handling skills on high level cases,  is very hands on, very straightforward and takes a constructive approach to matters'.

'Mark Hands is truly brilliant. He has gravitas and knowledge way beyond his years. He is equally adept at handling big money cases and complicated children cases. He is definitely one to watch for the future'.

'Gemma Fenton is fantastic, passionate about her work and her clients, she is thriving and is one to watch'.

'Gemma Fenton - punches above her weight and is really making her mark'.

Key Clients

Kenny Brack

Karen Hart

Work highlights

  • Representing this  high profile sportsperson in a landmark test case regarding the enforceability of international choice of court clauses and  the concept of sharing in pre-nuptial agreements.
  • Acting for this longstanding client in relation to complex financial proceedings which have twice been in the Court of Appeal – the first judgment is a leading authority on the application of the sharing principle and the second on the enforcement of undertakings.

Lodders Solicitors LLP is best known for its high-end financial work, which frequently involves issues concerning offshore trusts and private limited companies. It has increasingly been advising on pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements and on asset protection. Team head Beverley Morris is frequently instructed by trustees and wealthy individuals looking to preserve wealth in the context of divorce. Morris acts for a wide range of clients, including entrepreneurs, professionals, sole proprietors, sportsmen and sportswomen.

Practice head(s):Beverley Morris

Other key lawyers:Amy Parker

Testimonials

'Beverley Morris continues to enjoy a deserved high profile'.

'Beverley Morris is completely immersed in family law, there is nothing that she does not know. She is superb'.

'Beverley Morris is very hardworking and very well respected'.

Key Clients

Graham Mills

Nneka Ogbedo

Work highlights

  • Acting for a client in a case about the issue of spousal maintenance which appeared before the Supreme Court in 2018.
  • Acting for a client in a longrunning case, which involves uncertainty on the extent of the wealth ( which is a minimum of £40m) and litigation in Nigeria concerning validity of marriage issues and Schedule 1 of the Children Act.
  • Represented the wife in a financial remedies case, in which the client was determined not to go to court but where the nature of the assets and the potential value of the assets was very difficult to ascertain.
  • Acted for the husband in a financial remedies case involving assets of circa £7m where there were issues around pre-marriage acquired wealth and inherited wealth.
  • Acting in an international child dispute where there were conflicting court orders in different jurisdictions and there were concerns about the enforcement of orders should the English court accept jurisdiction.

Mills & Reeve LLP's team head Marc Saunderson primarily undertakes high net worth financial remedy matters, with the vast majority of cases falling in the £1m-£10m bracket. The group overall places a real emphasis on focusing on out of court settlements, but is also adept in assisting clients with litigation, where necessary. It has increasingly been advising on pre- and post-nuptial agreements. In addition to undertaking complex and high value financial cases, the team also has considerable expertise in national and international children matters.

Practice head(s):Marc Saunderson

Other key lawyers:Katherine Kennedy

Testimonials

'Mills & Reeve has an excellent reputation in complex matrimonial disputes'.

'Mills & Reeve continues to have a superb family law presence in the marketplace'.

'Marc Saunderson continues to enjoy a excellent reputation'.

'Marc Saunderson is very collaborative and always seeks to find solutions'.

'Katherine Kennedy is passionate about her work and always has an eye out for settlement'.

Shakespeare Martineau LLP has a strong track record in complex children matters that frequently involve a cross-border dimension. The excellent team, which is co-led by Zahra Pabani and Mary Kaye, also excels in the full range of financial remedy proceedings, which are mostly high-value and often involve property, business, trust or pension assets. The group is also noted for its advice on pre- and post-nuptial agreements, and also for its expertise in areas such as surrogacy and fertility.

Practice head(s):Zahra Pabani; Mary Kaye

Other key lawyers:Fiona Farrell; Helen Bowns

Testimonials

'The team has a real 'can-do' attitude''.

'The team is always efficient but never loses its friendliness. The team knows how to make clients feel at ease'.

'The lawyers are experts in complex financial remedy claims and well used to dealing with high net worth cases'.

'Mary Kaye provides first-class customer service, high quality advice and has a fierce determination to pursue her clients' interests'.

'Zahra Pabani  does not pull her punches, is very honest and straight talking but fair and reasonable to deal with'.

'Zahra Pabani has a fantastic way of explaining situations and potential outcomes. Her advice is always clear and to the point. You never leave her office uncertain about the next steps'.

'Zahra Pabani provides clear and commercial advice, putting her clients at the very forefront of her thoughts'.

'Zahra Pabani and Fiona Farrell both combine their legal and professional knowledge with a fantastic approach to dealing with clients on a personal basis to ensure all clients receive the most comprehensive and beneficial service'.

'Zahra Pabani is astute, personable, responsive and professional in the advice and support she provides. Her rapport with clients is first-class. She is an exemplary family law solicitor'.

'Helen Bowns is a complete star'.

Benussi & Co Limited typically acts in ultra high net worth financial issues that arise on relationship breakdown. Managing director Diane Benussi specialises in international family matters, particularly those involving complex cross-border trust structures. The practice also distinguishes itself in cases involving non-disclosed assets, and pre- and post-nuptial agreements, as well as disputes involving children.

Practice head(s):Diane Benussi

Other key lawyers:Denise McKenna; Helen Jane Arnold

Testimonials

'Benussi & Co is an exceptional, and justifiably highly regarded, specialist family law practice based in the heart of Birmingham but with a reputation that extends far beyond'.

'Specialists in their field using experienced professionals who provide sound advice quickly'.

'The firm benefits from having highly experienced, expert practitioners at partner level who are exceptionally well supported by extremely able fee earners'.

'It  is a cohesive team that attracts a high calibre client base'.

'Diane Benussi leads the team with some great associates too- she is the iron lady!'.

'Denise McKenna has been excellent in making sure that I understand what my entitlements in law are and at making sure that my decision making process is solid and well supported'.

'Helen Jane Arnold is simply superb; her vast experience and considerable expertise are matched by her empathy and tenacity, meaning that her clients are always heard and understood, and their best interests pursued with vigour and determination'.

'Helen Jane Arnold is hugely experienced and this gives her an edge over her competitors. Unflappable with a wry sense of humour - you want her on your side fighting your corner'.

Work highlights

  • Acting for a children's trust in a shareholder dispute that is proceeding in the Netherlands.

Clarke Willmott LLP's family group, which specialises in complex financial remedy work and private children cases, acts for a broad base of clients, including professionals, academics, self-employed entrepreneurs, high-level managers in the public sector and individuals from the sports and entertainment sectors. It also works closely with practitioners in the private client and corporate and commercial departments to provide support to family businesses. Rayner Grice, who leads the family practice, is also the head of the Birmingham office.

Practice head(s):Rayner Grice

Other key lawyers:Caroline Young

Testimonials

'The firm has a growing reputation for its excellent work in the Midlands area'.

'The team is highly skilled, knowledgeable and experienced and provides excellent customer service and care to its clients'.

'Rayner Grice is an outstanding practitioner who is bright, dedicated and totally committed to each of her clients. She fiercely represents their interests and always gives sound and reasonable advice'.

'Rayner Grice and Caroline Young continue to go from strength to strength. They both know when to fight a case but also know when to accept offers that are on the table! They are very client focussed and fundamentally always prepared to go that extra mile to get the best possible outcome for their clients'.

'Rayner Grice is superb in dealing with financial remedy cases as is Caroline Young. As well as having huge knowledge and experience of financial remedy cases, Rayner has the ability to engender trust in her clients from the first meeting'.

Duncan Lewis Solicitors advises on all aspects of matrimonial and separation issues, including divorce and ancillary relief. Its team also excels in assisting clients with emergency situations, such as those involving non-accidental injuries and domestic abuse. Other specialisms include international child abduction cases,  special guardianship and care orders. In addition, it has a niche practice in forced marriage protection orders. Richard Gray and Krina Parmar are recommended.

Practice head(s):Richard Gray; Krina Parmar

Other key lawyers:Sarah Rashid

Testimonials

'It is a cohesive and supportive team that goes the extra mile when it comes to case preparation and client care. Not only are their senior solicitors exceptionally skilled, knowledgeable and motivated but they provide excellent training for their junior staff'.

'The team always goes that extra mile'.

'The care team is exceptional. The team is very client focussed and fundamentally always prepared to go that extra mile to get the best possible outcome for clients'.

'Has a  realistic and up front approach and manage clients' expectations well'.

'Richard Gray leads a team very well. He knows when to fight a case but also know when to accept offers that are on the table'.

'Sarah Rashid is a superb, robust solicitor who is client focused and tirelessly endeavours to obtain the best result for her clients'.

Work highlights

  • Represented the respondent mother in a matter concerning child arrangements order in respect of her two children where allegations of radicalisation were raised.
  • Represented a mother, who had two children with the respondent father, requiring protection from severe domestic violence.
  • Represented the respondent father after his ex-partner obtained a without notice non-molestation order against him and the firm commenced by representing him at the return date hearing, ultimately getting the order discharged.
  • Represented the applicant in respect of his application for a non-molestation order and child arrangements order.
  • Represented the applicant in her application to extend a non-molestation order.

Harrison Clark Rickerbys fields a number of standout practitioners, such as team head Kevin Harris-James, who is knowledgeable about all types of complex financial disputes arising from divorce. Another key figure is Andrew Breakwell, who joined the group from Shakespeare Martineau LLP, and brings a wealth of experience of complex family law matters involving high net worth clients. Breakwell has considerable expertise at resolving cases using arbitration and mediation, as well as litigation.

Practice head(s):Kevin Harris-James

Other key lawyers:Andrew Breakwell

Testimonials

'Kevin Harris-James is very eloquent and skilled at reaching a reasonable settlement in high-net-worth family cases'.

Work highlights

  • In a highly contested and multi-jurisdictional matter, the team successfully defeated the wife's claim for £520m (instead £63.5m was awarded).
  • Advised on a significant who cause application.

Shoosmiths LLP, whose practice is led by Neil Hobden, is particularly well-known for its work in the financial remedy sphere. It also has a growing reputation in relation to private children cases. In addition, a notable strength involves the family team working with members of the Court of Protection and clinical negligence teams in the preparation of cohabitation and pre-nuptial agreements for individuals who have mental capacity, but are unable to manage what are often very large awards of compensation. Associate Hannah Nicholls recently joined the team from Thursfields Solicitors. Rebecca Calden-Storr moved to Stowe Family Law LLP.

Practice head(s):Neil Hobden

Other key lawyers:Hannah Nicholls; Adam Maguire

Testimonials

'Shoosmiths is friendly, approachable and has staff that are reassuring'.

' Neil Hobden is highly knowledgeable and very tactically aware. He is ably assisted by Adam Maguire'.

'Neil Hobden is a highly experienced litigator who has done it all before and is never thrown by anything. Even the most difficult of clients relate to and have confidence in him'.

'Neil Hobden is someone whose work is of the highest integrity, and is a very safe pair of hands'.

'Adam Maguire comes across as very calm and confident'.

'Hannah Nicholls is very impressive, sensible and pragmatic'.

'Neil Hobden and Hannah Nicholls'  attention to detail is second to none'.

Work highlights

  • Represented client in contested divorce and nullity proceedings in the High Court involving complex factual matrix over some 25 years and expert evidence on issues regarding the applicable Pakistani law and whether signatures on certain documents were genuine.
  • Acted on a civil partnership dissolution where the respondent’s immigration status was in issue and was a key to the determination of financial issues.
  • Acting for a client in complex financial remedy proceedings with third party intervenors alongside a contested application to relocate the children overseas.
  • Acting for the husband in financial remedy proceedings where there are more than 50 properties here and overseas to be considered alongside other substantial asssets.
  • Negotiated a settlement for the client in a complex final remedies case.

Sydney Mitchell LLP has an excellent collaborative law practice, with it fielding three fully-qualified collaborative lawyers. Its group is well regarded in complex and high value financial remedy matters, complicated Children Act cases, as well as other areas, such as protective injunctions. It also has expertise in asset preservation by way of pre- and post-nuptial agreements. Karen Moores and Mauro Vinti jointly lead the team.

Practice head(s):Karen Moores; Mauro Vinti

Other key lawyers:Amanda Holland

Testimonials

'The team is unique in its ability to cut to the chase and focus on the outcome, but in a way that keeps clients constantly at ease'.

'The family team is extremely hardworking and conscientious. It works cohesively and all members are helpful in handling your case or query efficiently'.

'Karen Moores is beyond capable. She has a knack for seeing the issues, seeing the necessary outcome and executing a strategy to get there - but delivered in a highly personal, relaxed and ease setting manner'.

'Karen Moores is more than a solicitor she has been amazing in helping me through what has been one of the most difficult times of my life'.

'Karen Moores is an extremely capable and totally dedicated solicitor. Her clients are left in no doubt that her total focus is upon them and their case. She retains an infectious sense of enthusiasm for her work and goes the extra mile for each of her clients'.

'Amanda Holland explains things well at the beginning of the process in a clear way which really helps her clients'.

'Amanda Holland approaches cases on a collaborative basis but when needed can be a tough negotiator and litigator. She is very thorough in her case preparation and is able to get to the crux of the issue quickly'.

Work highlights

  • Represented the client in financial remedy proceedings following a long separation and successfully negotiated an order which ring-fenced the husband’s pre and post acquired pension.
  • Representing a father who is subject to a Sexual Harm Prevention Order in respect of an application to see his children.
  • Representing the wife in financial remedy proceedings where she was the primary wage earner.
  • Advising on a declaration of parentage case.
  • Advising on Child Arrangements Order with  a foreign jurisdiction element.

The team at Weightmans LLP advises on the financial aspects of relationship breakdown, where there are complex business assets, pensions or trust arrangements. It also has expertise in pre- and post-nuptial agreements, and the treatment of inherited wealth. Elsewhere, children-related matters are another driver of activity; the group's work includes assisting clients with national and international relocations, choices of schools and financial applications for children. Consultant Fiona O’Sullivan heads up the team.

Practice head(s):Fiona O'Sullivan

Testimonials

'Fiona O’Sullivan fights hard for her clients and has lots of integriy'.

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