The private client team at Andrew Jackson Solicitors LLP is led by ‘vastly experienced‘ partner Richard Hoare, who splits his time between Hull and York. Handling financial issues linked to divorce, including cases with international elements, the team also covers pre and post nuptials, cohabitation agreements and family arbitration. In addition, the firm has substantive experience in private law children matters (including leave to remove and child abduction) and is known for its strengths in Schedule 1 Children Act applications and maintenance disputes. ‘Standout practitioner‘ Oliver Hall and the ‘always honest’ Debbie Gibbons are additional names to note; the widely respected Adele Wilkinson retired from the firm in December 2020.
Family: elsewhere in Yorkshire in Yorkshire And The Humber
Other key lawyers:
Oliver Hall; Debbie Gibbons
‘Oliver Hall always takes time to listen and understand his client. Always sympathetic, but keeps a professional head on at all times.’
‘Debbie Gibbons is extremely genuine, very down-to-earth and extremely easy to get along with. The advice offered by Debbie is always honest and I have never been offered false expectations, this is something that I feel sets her aside from other local competitors in the area. She is not afraid to tell myself if she thinks that something would not be beneficial to either myself or my case.’
‘Oliver Hall is a standout practitioner at Andrew Jackson, in particular with regards to his financial remedy practice. He is exceptionally personable and in command of his practice area. Those characteristics taken together with his experience, means that he is able to provide very sensible advice that client’s find easy to digest. ’
‘Andrew Jackson is a highly professional, efficient, and effective set who provide their clients with a gold standard service. Importantly, they are approachable, considerate of their clients.’
‘Richard Hoare is a vastly experienced and knowledgeable solicitor who expertly guides his clients through the difficult waters of family law. He gives robust and sensible advice when needed, often steering them away from unnecessary and unhelpful points, but also actively listens and responds to their hopes and concerns. Every client.’
Led by chartered legal executive advocate Zoe Round, Irwin Mitchell's Sheffield family law offering demonstrates 'vast wealth and depth of knowledge'. Offering collaborative law and ADR when required, the team's breadth of experience incorporates particular strengths in complex HNW financial matters and children cases. Tthe firm's opponents are often based outside of the region due to the complex nature of cases as well as its high number of cross-jurisdictional matters. Other important contacts include Helen Revill, James Henshall, Maisie Huynh, Melanie Hadwin and Emma Hubbard.
Other key lawyers:
Helen Revill; James Henshall; Maisie Huynh; Melanie Hadwin; Emma Hubbard
‘My interactions with all parts of Irwin Mitchell have been managed professionally, with accuracy, individual attention and I feel the competency of employees in this firm is high. I have been impressed with the careful selection of external advisors such as barristers, tax experts and feel again that the individuals were carefully selected in every case. Billing has been accurate and timely and one query was sorted out speedily. Throughout the lockdown communication continued using different mediums and the wider team has stepped up when necessary. I have never felt unsupported.’
‘The experience and ability of the solicitors I have been interacting with is assured. I have total confidence in the advice and guidance I have been given at every step of my journey. I have always felt that the cost of the advice I receive has been worth it. I have developed what at times seems like a personal relationship with Melanie Hadwin who has taken over the management of my case as she has been promoted over time. Her diligence, accuracy and thoughtful approach is reassuring and her personable manner and humour is appreciated.’
‘It’s a very tight-knit team where the juniors are highly visible and take responsibility for their cases. Across the board all solicitors are good lawyers who will spot points which counsel might miss. It is also one of the warmest, friendliest teams in the country, without losing any toughness when required.’
‘Melanie Hadwin is a standout associate, who deals with much bigger cases than many of her peers would. She does so with skill and understanding, not just of the law, but the clients’ needs. She is hugely popular with clients and gets a lot of referrals. James Henshall is a rising star and a very good black-letter lawyer, who is one to watch.’
‘The Family Team at Irwin Mitchell in Sheffield have gained an excellent reputation for delivering successful outcomes for their clients both locally and nationally. They have a vast wealth and depth of knowledge and experience to call upon within the Team which means that they can ensure their clients are looked after every step of the process by the professional best suited to meet the clients needs.’
‘All of the individuals are prepared to go the extra mile although I would single out Maisie Huynh in particular who has always presented as professional, knowledgeable and reliable.’
‘Emma Hubbard – smart, dynamic and client focused. She commits to her case and her preparation is excellent. She has excellent judgment and as a result of that always offers the best advice to her clients.
‘Maisie Huynh – a tenacious representative for any client who has depth of experience in her field.’
Taylor & Emmet LLP
The 'very experienced' team at Taylor & Emmet LLP is led by 'outstanding matrimonial finance solicitor' Michaela Evans. Covering publicly funded family mediation, the collaborative practice advises high net worth clients and includes both children panel members and Resolution accredited specialists. In addition, the practice handles work for those of limited means and has a strong track record in private children and domestic abuse cases. The firm also has particular expertise in relation to the treatment of trusts in complex financial remedy proceedings. 'Extremely patient' legal aid manager Lucy Rodgers is another important name to note.
Other key lawyers:
‘The matrimonial finance team in Sheffield, headed by Michaela Evans, is the outstanding firm in the field in Sheffield.’
‘Michaela Evans, the head of the team in Sheffield, is an outstanding matrimonial finance solicitor, probably the best in the city. She brings to bear a wealth of experience, intellectual rigour, commerciality, thoroughness and a calm determination to secure the right outcome for her clients; this is clearly a very powerful combination of attributes and, as a consequence, she rightly inspires confidence in her clients. ’
‘The Family Team at Taylor & Emmet is a very experienced team which has a reputation as one of the leading specialist family teams in the Sheffield and South Yorkshire area. They are very versatile being able to deal with a wide range of cases from legal aid children matters to high net worth financial cases. They provide an excellent service to their clients and are held in high regard by their peers.’
‘Michaela Evans was outstanding from day one. Professional, accurate and solution orientated. She has a passion to help the customer and always did exactly what she said she would.
‘Lucy Rodgers has been a huge support during a very difficult and emotional stressful time. Lucy considers your emotions – wonderful.’
Family head Alyson Siddall, matrimonial specialist Sharon Lockwood and children team head Sarah Walker are the key names at Howells Solicitors. Based in Sheffield, Rotherham and Barnsley respectively, they oversee a team that is particularly well known for high net worth cases with assets ranging from three to six million pounds. In addition, the practice has a strong regional reputation for care proceedings and handles divorce and separation, civil partnerships, domestic abuse, pre-nuptial agreements and adoption. The firm recently expanded its department with the addition of a mediation and collaborative law facility. John Clegg is an additional name to note.
Alyson Siddall; Sharon Lockwood; Sarah Walker
Other key lawyers:
At Rollits LLP, the team has particular expertise in high conflict injunction work and is increasingly active in complex private law children matters (in addition to its core focus on financial issues). With three FMC accredited practitioners, the practice offers offers online mediation services. Key names include Hull-based director Sheridan Ball and associate Alison Benson, who chairs the Hull and East Yorkshire Collaborative Pod, while Hull associate Karen Myles is another important contact.
Other key lawyers:
Alison Benson; Karen Myles
‘In Sheridan Ball and Karen Myles, the firm is blessed with two very highly experienced specialists who rightly inspire confidence in their clients.’
‘In my view, Karen Myles at the York office warrants particular mention for the excellence of her client care skills and the thoroughness and tenacity which she brings to bear in the conduct of her cases.’
The 'professional and very knowledgeable' family offering at Switalskis Solicitors includes Clare Peckett in Wakefield, as well as child care law specialists Razia Jogi, Lorrette Law and Louise Noblet in Bradford, York and Leeds respectively. The team has established a strong reputation for divorce, finance and children law matters, pre-nuptials, cohabitation agreements and domestic violence issues. The firm places a strong emphasis on taking a less adversarial approach and is particularly known for its work in alternative dispute resolution. Collaborative lawyers Alison Kitchman in Doncaster and Toby Netting in Sheffield are other key members of the team. The firm significantly expanded its Sheffield presence in summer 2021 with the acquisition of a team from Keebles, including senior solicitor Joe Bartlett.
Clare Peckett; Razia Jogi; Lorrette Law; Louise Noblet
Other key lawyers:
Alison Kitchman; Toby Netting; Joe Bartlett
‘I would have no hesitation in recommending this firm to anyone. The partners and staff are professional and very knowledgeable. They have the ability to communicate electronically but are quite happy for face to face contact which gives the feeling of a more human touch. Collaboration was offered to me but due to the other party’s stance we were unable to go down this route. Costs and billing are clear and prompt.’
‘Alison Kitchman was recommended to me and she did not disappoint. Right from the initial meeting Alison was very clear about the divorce process and what the probable outcomes would be. She was very accurate. Nothing is too much trouble for Alison, she is professional but with a human touch. I can honestly say that without her help I would have been lost in a legal minefield.’
‘Alison Kitchman and Toby Netting are excellent and committed collaborative family lawyers. Alison in particular is known to offer a first rate service to her clients and is often instructed in complex cases. ’
‘Alison Kitchman has a reassuringly calm, constructive approach to her representation which belies her intellect and attention to detail. She is incredibly well respected and attracts high quality cases. I wouldn’t hesitate in recommending her. ’
‘Alison Kitchman is compassionate and trusted family lawyer with immense experience and keen advocate of alternate dispute resolution that places the interests of the family at the heart of all decision making. ’
‘Having collaborated with two of their lawyers, Toby Netting and Alison Kitchman, whom are both collaborative divorce lawyers, I have to say that they are exemplary in their roles and the way the assist and serve their clients to the best of their ability. ’
‘They have excellent inter-personal skills, in order to provide excellent customer service. They have empathy compassion, a great depth of knowledge and understanding of the role they play and this renders them capable of doing the best they can for the people that approach them for assistance in the divorce process. Alison Kitchman is also a part time Coroner. However, my experience of knowing Alison and Toby means that I could not think of two better people to help clients in distress whom are seeking a legal separation, divorce or require any further help.’
Wilkin Chapman LLP
Led by James Marsden, the family team in Wilkin Chapman LLP's Beverley office has substantial experience across all aspects of family law. In particular, the practice is strong in high net worth separations and notably deals with farming divorces and those that incorporate businesses and trusts. In addition, the offering stands out for its specialist knowledge of MOD cases, particularly those that involve military pensions) and operates a dedicated Courts Martial department.
‘James Marsden made me feel safe. I was in a bad situation and was made to feel listened to and understood. James made me feel able to see a way through and that I was in good hands. He and his team made the process feel human and accessible – they translated the jargon and kept things simple.’
‘I will be eternally grateful for the support, guidance and advice I received as I navigated a difficult period in my life. I cannot fault anything about the process; I was kept informed throughout regarding the process, the progress and billing.’
‘James Marsden was my solicitor – I cannot recommend him enough, and in fact have passed his details on to two colleagues who I know have accessed help from him subsequently. James was knowledgeable, fair, encouraging, patient, empathetic; exactly what was needed during a difficult process.’
‘The firm’s greatest asset are its people. The firm has been able to recruit and retain a team of very talented lawyers with a brilliant understanding of the local area and the needs of their clients.
‘James Marsden is a stand out lawyer and runs an exceptional practice. He is a fantastic all-rounder with an ability well beyond his years. I would not hesitate to recommend him as a leading practitioner‘.
NFU Panel Solicitors – representing farmers in the region
Graysons Solicitors' family offering specialises in high value and complex cases. In particular, it has expertise in roundtable solutions and is well known for its success in out-of-court dispute resolution. Charges are either administered on a traditional hourly basis (complete with costs estimates) or via fixed fees (new clients are also offered a free 30-minute appointment). The team lead is the 'extremely honest, knowledgeable, helpful and professional' Bradie Pell with the 'excellent' Nicola Cancellara being another key contact.
Other key lawyers:
‘Nicola Cancellara was excellent in dealing with my divorce, in terms of clear advice, timely support, flexible in her availability and clear instructions.’
‘Bradie Pell was strong, which ensured that my case was also strong. Throughout she listened to my continuing ordeal, but kept everything focused, especially when it mattered. There were times that were tough for me, but I was brought through it all by Bradie, reassuring me that everything would come good in the end. The outcome for me was that it did come good in the end, and I am grateful for Bradie to give me the opportunity to start again, be confident in what I do, and move forward in my life.’
‘Graysons certainly work as a collective. During the course of my engagement I have dealt with several members of the family department, all of the work has been overseen by Bradie Pell and I have always felt that they have first my best interests at heart and secondly that they have been in control of the case. ’
‘Bradie Pell was my representative and she was always extremely honest, knowledgeable, helpful and professional throughout the course of my case. I have since recommended Bradie to colleagues and friends and would do again without hesitation.’
‘I had to swap solicitors in the last minute and how glad I am I have dared to make this step. Bradie Pell took over my very high conflict divorce case two weeks before a court hearing where she proved how professional and efficient she is as a lawyer. What my previous solicitor was not able to handle for five months, Bradie simply solved in few hours. She stayed empathetic, trustful and most of all highly skilled for the whole year I have used her services.’
‘Nicola Cancellara is very approachable as a family lawyer. Having worked with her on the other side of my cases on several occasions, I have found her to be pragmatic and sensible. ’
‘I introduce lots of my clients to Graysons as I like how contactable and approachable they are. This is very important to clients and to advisers like myself when we need answers and advise about how their case is progressing. Graysons really shone through in the lockdown – they always ensured clients were updated and went the extra mile.’
Hall Brown Family Law is a relatively new family law boutique which founded in 2016, and in 2020 it launched in Sheffield with the eye-catching hires of Alison Fernandes and Martin Loxley. Both were formerly senior partners at Irwin Mitchell - Loxley, who has joined as a consultant, was national practice head and Fernandes, was joint head of the Sheffield family team. Fernandes, who now heads up the new office, is known for 'providing the personal touch'. The team has a focus on high-value work for high-net-worth clients, including financial remedy matters and complex children cases.
Other key lawyers:
My solicitor, Alison Fernandes, always goes the extra mile. She is professional, gives clear, good advice, has compassion and not only listens, but hears. At my second meeting with her she had remembered the names of our children, and other family members.’
‘Alison Fernandes provided the personal touch. She was always available by all means, regardless of time of day. It was nice to meet up for a chat over lunch, once my divorce settlement was finalised. She was always very supportive , calm, knowledgeable and put me at ease. Alison also provided excellent advice and a contact for my friend in difficulty on a separate matter.’
‘Hall Brown work together as a cohesive team. This was not my previous experience before I transferred my divorce to Hall Brown. They have excellent communication within the team and support each other between branches. ‘
‘As they are a relatively small team, it helps to provide a more personal service which is much appreciated when going through a difficult divorce.’
At Lupton Fawcett, the family team is led by high net worth financial remedy specialist Christopher Burns, who divides his time between Sheffield and Leeds. Offering privately funded clients a choice of traditional or collaborative approaches, the firm handles pre and post-nuptials, cohabitation agreements and has particular expertise in financial provision as it relates to security, tax, pensions and the effects of divorce on companies and trusts. The practice also advises and represents various local authorities in public law Children Act proceedings.
Wake Smith Solicitors Limited
The family offering at Wake Smith Solicitors Limited in Sheffield is led by Lindsey Canning ('one of best financial remedy solicitors'). Key elements of the firm's work include divorce and separation, cohabitation agreements, civil partnerships, grandparent's rights and matters pertaining to unmarried couples. In May 2020, the team recruited Resolution accredited associate Deborah Marsh.
Other key lawyers:
‘I visited around half a dozen divorce solicitors before my appointment with Lindsey Canning at Wake Smith. At the end of our appointment, there was no hesitation in appointing her to represent me. Firstly, she exhibited a superior knowledge to other solicitors I’d met, but more importantly she instantly understood my circumstances and provided assurance that the right result could be achieved for me – she was good to her word.’
‘In a very difficult time, Lindsey Canning at Wake Smith has been giving excellent, knowledgeable advice and support. Prompt and professional, giving focus and setting priorities in navigating what can be a very confusing process for lay people.’
‘From the outset when I was looking for a solicitor to deal with my divorce all timescales where adhered to, appointments were punctual, I greeted professionally and made to feel I was important and not just another client wanting a divorce. From the receptionist to the my solicitor I was always impressed with the service I received.’
‘My solicitor for my divorce was Lindsey Canning. Lindsey was very professional but also had the understanding of my situation at heart – Lindsey always able to put things happening into perspective for me when I was stressing on an issue. She explained things to me and gave me all the options available to me and all the different scenarios of what could happen if we went one way or the other. I was never surprised by anything that happened as Lindsey had always explained it to me first. Lindsey always returned my calls and emails promptly. Also Lindsey’s secretary was brilliant too.’
‘Lindsey Canning was exceptional good in guiding me through a difficult divorce. She gave me very clear and sound advice. ’
‘Having used Wake Smith for my divorce I was extremely satisfied with the service I received from the initial meeting with Lindsey Canning through to the day to day dealings with her secretary. I was never left wondering what the next stage would entail I was always kept up to speed with the process through out. Given the testing times of Covid 19 all the process was extremely faultless from start to finish. I would like to thank Lindsey and her team for all their help in such a testing time of life.’
‘Lindsey Canning is one of best financial remedy solicitors I know. She is has a very strong understanding of the law and a very thorough approach to the gathering of relevant evidence and the meticulous preparation of court bundles‘.
Bell & Buxton
Sheffield-based partner Demelza Wrigley leads the family team at Bell & Buxton. The team is highly regarded for its expertise in matters where couples are not married and is particularly strong in domestic abuse, civil partnership breakdown and LGBT relationships. In addition, the practice covers divorce, child custody, non-molestation orders, emergency funding and court applications for maintenance pending suit.
At Taylor Bracewell, the family department handles matters for high-net- worth clients and deals with a wide variety of cases. In particular, the team handles the separation of co-habiting and married couples and is increasingly active where couples wanting to protect assets via living together agreements or pre-nuptials. 'Anchor in a storm' Sharon McKie works alongside Dawn Hughes, an active member of the Doncaster District Law Society.
Other key lawyers:
‘Sharon McKie was very kind, courteous and understanding. Her work efficiency and ethic was second to none. The advice received was always very fair and logical.’
‘The team are discreet, professional in all areas of the business I have encountered. They were recommended to me as ‘fair and in your corner’. Throughout my divorce this is what they proved to be, from the secretary for the solicitor. I have since worked with probate team to prepare the LPA’s for my parents and they could not have been clearer in their explanation of the process for myself and my parents and supportive throughout. ’
‘Sharon McKie was professional, discreet, calm and fair in what was a very challenging situation for me. She was the ‘anchor in a storm’. She listened carefully, questioned sensitively and supported my thought process, so that I came to the best decisions. She was never judgemental of either party and fair to both parties which is what I needed her to be. I cannot recommend Sharon and her team highly enough. They are a credit to the industry and the firm.’
‘The team appear to work together well and communicate effectively between themselves. That sounds like an obvious one, but navigating a divorce during lockdown the family team and support staff offered me absolutely seamless service at a time when COVID could have easily been used as an excuse. Kept very high standards during difficult times.’
‘I have worked with a number of the team at Taylor Bracewell and have always great service, particularly from Sharon McKie during my divorce. Knowledgeable, fair and grounding when required. Sharon navigated a poor opposition with confidence (giving me confidence) but in a fair and straightforward manner. Worked well with other solicitors to understand wider issues around housing completions which may have impacted my negotiations. Made the process as smooth as it possibly could have been’.