Hall Of Fame

Rising Stars

Firms To Watch: Family: elsewhere in Yorkshire

Gunnercooke LLP's team is led by Joe Bartlett in Sheffield, who joined from Switalskis Solicitors in 2022, offering a focus on collaborative law and ‘divorcing with dignity’.
Jill Rucklidge leads Rucklidges Law Limited a team of consultants providing a bespoke, personal service to clients, with a specialism in domestic abuse.

Family: elsewhere in Yorkshire in Yorkshire And The Humber

Andrew Jackson Solicitors LLP

Richard Hoare leads the family team at Andrew Jackson Solicitors LLP in Hull. Hoare is a qualified family arbitrator and works alongside the firm's well-established family solutions mediation service, this provides clients with comprehensive access to alternative dispute resolution options. The team has extensive experience of family finance issues relating to divorce, including cases with complex assets and international elements. Additionally, the team has notable strength regarding children law matters, including leave to remove, child abduction and child maintenance disputes. Oliver Hall in York, has a focus on financial work arising from divorce, alongside mediation experience and the 'exceptional' associate Debbie Gibbons is also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Richard Hoare

Other key lawyers:

Oliver Hall; Sarah Snow; Debbie Gibbons


‘Supported me every step of the way.’

‘Debbie Gibbons was exceptional.’

‘A very professional firm of solicitors, very competent, helpful and polite.’

‘Richard Hoare has been first class with our lasting power of attorney and our wills, they do not demand the money and give quite a lot of time to make sure everything is to the clients’ satisfaction.’

‘Richard Hoare is such a kind, understanding and professional gentleman, I would highly recommend him to anyone.’

‘Oliver Hall was always very professional, he took the time to understand me and my situation, where I wanted to go and what I wanted to achieve in life.’

‘Oliver Hall asked the right questions to gauge my situation and needs. He provided advice and guidance and ensured I knew all of my options.’

‘The team punches well above its weight to provide a top service at very competitive prices.’

Work highlights

Hall Brown Family Law

Fielding ‘a wealth of experienced advocates’, Hall Brown Family Law‘s team is led by Alison Fernandes, who is based in Sheffield, and includes consultant and key practitioner Martin Loxley. Fernandes specialises in complex financial remedy cases involving pre-marital assets and the team was recently bolstered by the arrival of consultant Zoe Round, Emma Hubbard and Melanie Hadwin from Irwin Mitchell. The practice is well equipped to handle a range of family law issues, with niche expertise in wealth protection and surrogacy law, among other areas.

Practice head(s):

Alison Fernandes

Other key lawyers:

Martin Loxley; Zoe Round; Emma Hubbard; Melanie Hadwin; Louise Butcher


‘A wealth of experienced advocates make this team second to none in this area. Between them, they cover a wide range of issues facing clients in the family law arena and deal with them expertly and diligently.’

‘Emma Hubbard manages her clients with such tenacity and diligence that makes her stand out in the field. She is supportive and sensitive with clients dealing with difficult emotional situations, but at the same time will be able to fight for what’s needed.’

‘I have nothing but utter praise for the Hall Brown team. Their attention to detail, compassion, communication and honesty make their services, in my opinion, second to none.’

‘An experienced team with in-depth knowledge in all matters relating to private law.’

‘Emma Hubbard is tenacious and extremely thorough in her approach to every case. She is exceptionally good at dealing with private law family matters, both in and out of Court.’

‘The team’s major strength at its Sheffield office has been the ability to attract and recruit, within the last 12 months, very competent family lawyers at all levels, including a good number of ex Irwin Mitchell partners and solicitors. With client care running central through its core, Hall Brown will no doubt become the number one specialist family team in South Yorkshire for those who can afford their services.’

‘Alison Fernandes leads the team in the Sheffield office. Friendly and approachable, Alison consistently responds in a timely and constructive manner. Alison adopts a collaborative approach to all family matters and works hard to reduce conflict, finding practical solutions to complex and difficult financial issues arising in divorce.’

‘Hall Brown is a boutique firm which has achieved a presence in the family sector of HNW clients extremely quickly. Operating in areas such as Sheffield and Manchester and Leeds, they quickly eclipsed a number of well established competitors.’

Work highlights

Irwin Mitchell

Helen Revill leads the family team at Irwin Mitchell across both Sheffield and Leeds. The team advises on high-value financial remedy work alongside private client matters involving children. In addition, it has notable expertise regarding family work for LGBT+ clients, and offers a pro bono legal clinic for the Jewish community. Senior associate Maisie Huynh is recommended for her ‘excellent strategic insight’.

Practice head(s):

Helen Revill

Other key lawyers:

Maisie Huynh; Lara Tucker; James Henshall


‘The Yorkshire team remain the jewel in the crown of the Irwin Mitchell empire. They are the market leaders in Sheffield, leaving all other local teams in their wake; other national firms have failed to break into the market with any tangible success.’

‘Lara Tucker is a stand-out Senior Associate with knowledge, confidence and experience in spades. She is adept at dealing with complex financial matters (having recently been involved in Goddard-Watts in the Court of Appeal) through to modest matters. She is particularly knowledgeable about cases involving PI trusts.’

‘Irwin Mitchell is the leading family law firm in Yorkshire and nationally. The team has recruited candidates of the highest calibre at all levels and works well as a team – lawyers are well supported by paralegals and others – importantly not replacing the allocated lawyer but rather supplementing the work of that lawyer.’

‘They are all brilliant, Maisie Huyhn and Helen Revill in particular are very responsive and this is a massive selling factor when referring over to them. They are also extremely professional whilst still being warm and approachable.’

‘I have a long association with Irwin Mitchell in Sheffield. They have an impressive track record in successful litigation. The strength is the range of legal expertise employed. In the Family division, they employ caring and compassionate solicitors who are thorough in researching client issues. Advice is detailed and timely.’

‘Maisie Huynh is a prime example of the professionalism and dedication displayed by IM solicitors. She recently dealt with a client’s divorce proceedings and ensured the petitioners solicitors did not take advantage of the fact the client had been previously unrepresented. She acted on instruction, was diligent in ensuring the court proceedings were correctly observed which ultimately produced a favourable outcome saving the client considerable expense.’

‘James Henshall supported me with invaluable advice throughout my lengthy divorce process. It was clear he understood the challenges particular to the complexity of my situation and how to address these through the process; involving the advice of other colleagues from other specialist areas when required.’

‘Maisie Huynh: simply brilliant. Approachable and tenacious. She knows what is best for clients and does her best to achieve that. I know when I get a brief from Maisie that it will be in tip-top shape and the client will have received clear and quality advice.’

Work highlights

Switalskis Solicitors

Switalskis Solicitors‘ family offering is spread across the region, Clare Peckett leading the family practice in Wakefield, while Toby Netting and Jennifer Heckingbottom head the family and care teams respectively from Sheffield. The team is experienced in carrying out complex international childcare work, alongside high-value financial matters. A number of its members are collaboratively trained, displaying a dedication to constructive, less adversarial solutions. Senior solicitor Alison Kitchman is ‘highly regarded as a firm but fair family lawyer’.

Practice head(s):

Clare Peckett; Jennifer Heckingbottom; Toby Netting

Other key lawyers:

Alison Kitchman; Samantha Downes


‘Alison Kitchman is a stand-out: definitely hardworking, proactive in terms of tabling thought-out common-sense solutions to issues. Ability and skill to identify then focus on the main issues readily and appropriately, conscious of client budgets, subsequently delivering cost-effectively.’

‘Alison Kitchman is highly regarded as a firm but fair family lawyer, offering her client’s strong support and legal advice through difficult times in a logical and sensible manner.’

‘Alison Kitchman is passionate about helping and supporting her clients. Her enthusiasm for collaborative work is infectious. She clearly cares about the work she does and the clients she works for. Toby Netting is approachable, puts clients at ease, and has the ability to explain complex legal principles to clients in a way they understand.’

‘The team has a board range of experience in a number of sectors and is well known throughout the North of England and beyond. Its members are well known within the profession as being highly competent to deal with the most complex of cases, either alone or collaboratively with counsel.’

‘Switalskis do a large amount of their advocacy work in house and have a number of robust solicitor advocates who can hold their own with counsel in the court.’

‘Jennifer Heckingbottom is a heavyweight care practitioner in North Yorkshire and Sheffield and robustly case manages expert evidence on behalf of the child.’

‘Switalskis are one of the biggest firms locally. They are fantastic at client relationships and billing. I would highly recommend them as a team.’

‘Jennifer Heckingbottom is exceptional. She is a Director. She has a fantastic manner with clients. She cuts through to the important issues in a case and is incredibly hardworking. I recommend her highly to others, and she has a great future ahead of her.’

Work highlights

Taylor Emmet

The family offering at Taylor Emmet is led by the ‘absolutely brilliant’ and ‘hugely experiencedMichaela Evans, a qualified mediator who is also Resolution Together trained. The team continues to strengthen its legal aid practice and has three practitioners on the Law Society's Children's Panel; it also acts on a number of private high-net-worth financial separation matters and Lucy Rodgers is recommended for her ‘excellent advice’.

Practice head(s):

Michaela Evans

Other key lawyers:

Lucy Rodgers; Dawn Lowry; Liz Forrest


‘There is a very strong family team at Taylor Emmet headed by the hugely experienced Michaela Evans. They have a broad range of knowledge between them and are accessible and a pleasure to deal with.’ 

‘As a lay advocate I support many parents with a learning disability to access legal representation. Taylor Emmet offer outstanding support and understanding to my clients, providing easy to understand information and flexible appointments in a kind and empathetic manner.’

‘Dawn Lowry and her team always go the “extra mile” in their service to clients. They display a thoroughly professional approach throughout the mediation process, and as a result they are my first port of call for mediation.’

Work highlights

  • Representing a client in ongoing and contentious financial remedy proceedings with assets in excess of £5m net.
  • Acting on a case for a paternal grandmother with whom two young children had been placed as a result of safeguarding concerns.
  • Acting for a female partner in proceedings under the Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996.


The Howells family team works across Sheffield, Rotherham and Barnsley, with Alyson Siddall focusing on high-value financial work, and co-leading the team alongside Sharon Lockwood, whose expertise lies in matters involving tax elements and inherited assets, and John Clegg, who brings extensive experience regarding complex cases involving children. The team undertakes a wide range of family work, with notable expertise in working on complex domestic abuse and care cases.

Practice head(s):

Alyson Siddall; Sharon Lockwood; John Clegg


‘Sharon Lockwood – family partner – is dedicated to seeking very practical solutions to financial cases. Tenacious but also very realistic at the same time.’

‘Alyson Siddall is a pleasure to deal with and is very knowledgeable and competent. She also has a very calm manner, which I am sure is appreciated by clients and other professionals alike.’

‘Sharon Lockwood was my main contact. Sharon explained every step of my divorce process to me in such a professional yet sympathetic way. She allowed me to ask questions that I needed and always gave the advice with my options. I always felt Sharon dealt with everything so professionally yet with the compassion and understanding of how this was also emotional at times. I would recommend Sharon to anyone.’

Work highlights

Rollits LLP

Alison Benson leads the family team at Rollits LLP in Hull. The team sits within a wider commercially focused firm, able to work collaboratively to best serve clients regarding family run businesses and farming cases. It also offers its own mediation practice, supporting the team’s range of private family-related work from relationship planning, pre- and post-nuptial agreements, to complex children law matters.

Practice head(s):

Alison Benson


‘Rollits work completely as a team, you can call the office, and you will be dealt with quickly and with respect.’

‘If your main contact is out of the office, you will be given advice or updates by another person within the team which shows that their CRM is very effective.’

‘The billing system works incredibly well and updates on billing can be requested at any time.’

Work highlights

Wilkin Chapman LLP

James Marsden, an ‘exceptionally talented lawyer’, leads the family team at Wilkin Chapman LLP in Beverley. The team offers expertise in complex and high-net-worth financial settlements, farming divorces, and divorces involving businesses and trusts. It also has notable experience of working with armed forces personnel on issues from divorce to pensions, and includes a specialist court martial department.

Practice head(s):

James Marsden

Other key lawyers:

Brittany Codling


‘Excellent! – Professional, friendly and very on the ball.’

‘James Marsden is a true professional who I simply cannot fault.’

‘Brittany Codling and James Marsden have both been very supportive.’

Key clients

Acting for members of HM Armed Forces

Work highlights

Graysons Solicitors

The family team at Graysons Solicitors in Sheffield is led by Bradie Pell and is committed to settling cases without litigation where possible. All solicitors are members of Resolution, the community of family justice professionals, and the practice’s workload includes a range of high-value and complex family law matters. The ‘simply amazingMegan Wroe has experience of advising on separation agreements.

Practice head(s):

Bradie Pell

Other key lawyers:

Megan Wroe


‘Bradie Pell has been a breath of fresh air. She is firm, clear and compassionate. I am confident that her focus is to resolve my issue, limiting the emotional and financial cost to me, to reach the best conclusion for my child.’

‘I trust Graysons to guide me accurately and efficiently towards resolving my case. Billing is made simple and everything is communicated clearly and efficiently, allowing you to focus on the matter at hand.’

‘I couldn’t recommend Graysons solicitors any higher, put simply this firm is brilliant and when first contacting them they understood my needs and allocated me a solicitor right away, they respond to e-mails instantly and billing was made easy.’

Work highlights

Lupton Fawcett

Christopher Burns heads the family offering from Lupton Fawcett in Leeds and is supported by the ‘outstandingRichard Buckley, who is based in Sheffield. Buckley is trained as a mediator and a collaborative lawyer, and specialises in all areas of family law, from divorce to children matters, and pre- and post-nuptial and cohabitation agreements.

Practice head(s):

Christopher Burns

Other key lawyers:

Richard Buckley


‘The team at Lupton Fawcett are really good at their job and very friendly, everything was clearly laid out and any questions were answered.’

‘Richard Buckley provided a great service.’

‘Richard Buckley promotes working collaboratively with other professionals in order to achieve the best possible outcome for his client, both in a legal capacity and in mediation.’

Work highlights

Sills & Betteridge LLP

The team at Sills & Betteridge LLP incorporating Acclaimed Family Law joined the Sills & Betteridge LLP group at the beginning of 2023. Michelle Cooper leads the team and offers expertise in working for high-net-worth clients in relation to divorce and financial remedy orders. Sandra Russell focuses on collaborative law; Leanne Barton has experience of working on complex children cases, while Sarah Rowe leads the Sills & Betteridge LLP family team in Doncaster.

Practice head(s):

Michelle Cooper; Sarah Rowe

Other key lawyers:

Sandra Russell; Leanne Barton; Peter Dadwell


‘Peter Dadwell stands out for his breadth of knowledge, level of commitment and high-profile clients’

‘Sarah Rowe will always make the time to respond to me via phone, text or e-mail and on occasions when I have had a difficult case that I have consulted her on, has taken the time to try to answer my enquires.’

‘Sarah Rowe is the team leader of the Doncaster branch and is exceptional in the work she does. Her colleagues mirror Sarah’s work ethic and approach, which is always a friendly and approachable one. She is a credit to her team and the company. Again we do not find this in the other firms we partner with and also Sarah always gets the positive results for the client.’

‘I have regularly had matters with Leanne Barton from Acclaimed Family Law on the other side. Leanne is a competent family lawyer. She attempts to resolve matters away from the court arena and with a sensible and pragmatic approach. She is good to work with and even where our respective positions are significantly different, she focuses on how to move a matter forward in a constructive manner. I would send any conflicts of interest that I had to her, without hesitation.’

‘The team at Acclaimed Family Law have provided excellent service on all levels. I know that I can trust in quick responses to my communications and a personal approach in all of their dealings with me.’

‘Michelle Cooper has literally been my rock during a long and continuing, acrimonious divorce. Her attention to detail, unflappable nature and sound advice have been a steadying influence. She has helped me to navigate through many difficult times, and I trust that she has my best interests as her objective.’

‘As a client of Acclaimed, I was very impressed with the efficiency and honest approach of the team. They worked hard to make me feel supported, listened to and my needs understood.’

‘The firm took my case at extremely short notice due to my previous solicitors having a conflict of interest. Despite this, the team were able to act quickly (48 hours before my first divorce hearing) and get up to speed with my case. Throughout the divorce proceedings they were able to give a measured approach working with me and my strong opinions regarding the offer made. Ultimately, we won the case.’

Work highlights

Wake Smith Solicitors Limited

Wake Smith Solicitors Limited’s family team is led by Lindsey Canning and its workload spans financial matters and work relating to children, with particular expertise regarding pension provision and residence and contact disputes involving children. The team works with wider departments within the firm to offer a holistic and streamlined service to clients.


Practice head(s):

Lindsey Canning


‘Lindsey Canning dealt with my case and was very helpful every step of the way, and I feel she advised me fantastically.’

‘Whilst communicating with, and working with, the team at Wake Smith Solicitors, I was made to feel that my case was important to them, and they were doing their best to resolve the issues I was experiencing.’

‘If I was unable to speak with my Solicitor, Lindsey Canning, there was always another member of staff who could offer invaluable advice. The team’s organisational skills were second to none, which again gave me reassurance that everything was dealt with efficiently and effectively.’

Work highlights

Taylor Bracewell

Sharon McKie leads the family team at Taylor Bracewell in Doncaster. The team handles a range of work arising from the separation of marriages or co-habiting couples, including financial remedy and children cases. It also advises on pre-nuptial and cohabitation agreements.

Practice head(s):

Sharon McKie

Other key lawyers:

Dawn Hughes


‘The team at Taylor Bracewell work well together. I am reassured by the depth of knowledge about family law and the seamless way it is delivered.’

‘Sharon McKie is obviously an expert and thorough in the way she deals with your case. She is fierce in her defence of your rights, and her views are obviously comprehensive and leave you in no doubt as to your position and that she has your best interests at heart.’

‘Very professional and friendly from first meeting through to conclusion. They made each encounter feel like I was well looked after.’

Work highlights