Firms To Watch: Family: Leeds, West Yorkshire, North Yorkshire

Gunnercooke LLP‘s family offering in Leeds is led by Siddique Patel, and specialises in Islamic marriage.
Caroline Watson and Peter Morris, both formerly of Shoosmiths LLP, formed Watson Morris Family Law in 2022. The firm combines legal knowledge with access to in-house life coaches.

Family: Leeds, West Yorkshire, North Yorkshire in Yorkshire And The Humber


Clarion’s ‘absolutely phenomenal’ family team in Leeds is led by Justine Osmotherley, and works across complex financial and children cases. It has particular expertise serving business owners and professionals, including pre- and post-nuptial agreements. The team’s children work includes relocation, findings of fact and a notable focus on surrogacy work and key practitioner Sarah Manning is a trained mediator, which supports the team’s ‘real emphasis on alternatives’ to court. Jane Ingleby is also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Justine Osmotherley; Jane Ingleby

Other key lawyers:

Siobhan Jeffels; Stephanie Douthwaite; Sarah Manning; Charlotte Davies; Bronwyn Warmington; Grace Parker.


‘Clarion has a well regarded family team with a wealth of experience and expertise.’

‘I have known Siobhan Jeffels since before she qualified. She stood out then, and she stands out now. She is bright and personable – a very able family lawyer who quickly understands the issues and works hard to resolve them for the benefit of the client, all without the ego which can so often get in the way of getting the most cost-effective outcome for clients.’

‘Justine Osmotherley is an intelligent and pragmatic family lawyer with enormous experience of family law.’

‘Siobhan Jeffels is outstanding. A very steady hand to guide you. Always seeks a non-confrontational approach and strives for the best outcome for her clients.’

‘The team have been absolutely phenomenal from the beginning. They really took the time to look into my case thoroughly and never missed any details out. They were always one step ahead and extremely organised.’

‘Very high-quality modern progressive practice. Staff are very well resourced and happy to work in an environment where it is clear to see that they are valued and celebrated.’

‘They are incredibly responsive in an emergency situation. Their extracurricular training is comprehensive and this contributes to there being an enthusiastic ethos you don’t really see in many places.’

‘They are pro-active in arranging events and training, and it’s all high-quality stuff. They don’t just do court – a real emphasis on alternatives – including arbitration and mediation and they support clients with mental health and well-being.’

Work highlights

Jones Myers Ltd

Jones Myers Ltd’s family team works across York, Harrogate and Leeds. Richard Peaker, managing partner, leads the divorce and financial remedies team, which specialises in work for company owners, professionals, high-net-worth individuals and their spouses. Kate Banerjee, a founding member of Lawyers for Children, leads the children department, which has a notably high success rate in international child abduction matters. All children’s department team members are Society Children Panel members and Anthony Parrish has particular strength regarding child abduction, while the ‘exceptionalNicki Mitchell leads the divorce and financial remedies offering from the firm’s York office.

Practice head(s):

Richard Peaker; Kate Banerjee; Nicki Mitchell

Other key lawyers:

Anthony Parrish; Laura Walsh


‘Good knowledge of the law in our specific area of practice. Clear jargon free advice and explanations. Experienced and enthusiastic practitioners.’

‘Jones Myers are a friendly, approachable team who are professional while remaining personable. They have a number of very experienced practitioners in private and public family law, who always strive to get the best outcome for their clients.’

‘Laura Walsh is approachable and child focused, always remaining on top of each case to avoid drift. I am instructed by Laura Walsh on a number of matters and she is supportive and always available to discuss the case, we work in a collaborative way to ensure the best outcome for the client.’

‘The Jones Myers Partnership goes from strength to strength with its brand of smooth professionalism supporting a caring, empathetic attitude to all its client base. The opening of recent branch offices around North Yorkshire ensures that their dedicated brand of family legal advice is available to more of the general public.’

‘Jones Myers children’s team have a breadth and depth of knowledge unrivalled in their area’

‘Kate Banerjee has knowledge second to none, having been practising in this area for around 30 years. Her sensitive but firm approach is invaluable when dealing with the issues that she does, recognising the importance of family life.’

‘Nicki Mitchell is dedicated, fair, and a very safe pair of hands for complex disputes. Always has an impressive grasp of the detail.’

‘Richard Peaker is very highly regarded locally. A calm and effective opponent.’

Work highlights

Lake Legal

Gold standardLyn Ayrton leads the family team at boutique Leeds firm Lake Legal, and is also qualified as an arbitrator. The team works across all areas of private family law, with a focus on complex cases involving business and trust assets, cross-jurisdictional cases, and children-related finding of fact hearings. In addition, the team has expertise regarding high-value pre- and post-nuptial agreements. The team demonstrates a commitment to alternative dispute resolution methods, including arbitration, mediation and direct discussions. Clare Glaister specialises in high-net-worth financial settlements, and alongside Ayrton, forms ‘a formidable team’.

Practice head(s):

Lyn Ayrton

Other key lawyers:

Claire Glaister; Hollie Burnett


‘A niche practice with a superb blend of legal knowledge, true client care and pragmatism.’

‘Very warm and welcoming, which is a benefit when clients are going through distressful and difficult times.’

‘Lyn Ayrton is pragmatic and confident. Very approachable but business-like too.’

‘A first-rate team. All are highly knowledgeable and approachable. Lyn Ayrton is as good as it gets in the north of England.’

‘Lyn Ayrton is one of the top two practitioners in the North of England. Immense wealth of experience.’

‘Hollie Burnett was an incredible help to me during a very stressful situation. She took the time to listen to me and communicate with me in a way that made me feel comfortable, even when I was trying to convey heavily detailed information.’

‘Lake Legal is the poster child for a boutique firm specialising in financial remedy. There is not a weak link in the team, and clients can be reassured that their case will be handled with care and expertise from start to finish.’

‘Lyn Aryton remains gold standard. She brings judgment, maturity and experience to a case and strives for the best result for her clients, but never loses sight of the costs and the risks and gives realistic advice.’

Work highlights

Mills & Reeve LLP

Philip Way leads the family department at Mills & Reeve LLP in Leeds. The team has particular experience regarding complex financial agreements, including multi-jurisdictional disputes; pensions and trusts – both domestic and international – and marital agreements. With assistance from the wider firm nationally, the team is able to offer support from a network of arbitrators, mediators and collaborative lawyers. Claudia Gilham specialises in domestic and international financial remedy cases, including pre- and post-marital agreements. Ellen Wilkinson is ‘one to watch’, with notable expertise in children disputes and national fertility law work.

Practice head(s):

Philip Way

Other key lawyers:

Claudia Gilham; Ellen Wilkinson; Nicola Criscione


‘The Leeds team is good combination of great experience and younger fresh enthusiasm both of which are well combined to provide excellent advice and support to clients.’

‘Claudia Gilham – she is committed to her clients in a way that makes them feel completely supported but which does not lose sight of giving them sensible and pragmatic advice. She thinks through every case in detail and has views about strategy in the long and short that she will debate with counsel and partners to ensure that no stone is left unturned in order to get the best outcome for her client.’

‘Ellen Wilkinson is in the early stages of her career and is showing great promise in her ability to analyse cases and give clear advice to clients. She is one to watch.’

‘An excellent stand-out team who regularly deal with the most difficult of cases’

‘Claudia Gilham and Ellen Wilkinson are both leaders in their field – both able to identify what really matters in a case and what will ensure the best outcome for the client.’

‘Philip Way is a stand-out lawyer, both in terms of technical knowledge, which is second to none, and also his manner – calm, unflappable and measured. What Philip does not know about pensions on divorce is not worth knowing. He co-chairs the IAFL Pensions Committee and chairs the Legal Working Group of the Pensions Advisory Group.’

‘Claudia Gilham and Philip Way are brilliant. Excellent judgment, commitment to clients, excellent service.’

‘My principal experience is with Philip Way, who is a superb lawyer, and an extremely kind man – a very important quality in a matrimonial solicitor. I have recommended him on a number of occasions.’

Work highlights

Stewarts Law LLP

Stewarts Law LLP’s Leeds team focuses exclusively on high-value disputes. The team is able to draw on expertise from its London office to support clients. Adrian Clossick leads the team and is well versed in working with offshore assets, Lisette Dupré brings specialist expertise regarding complex international matters with multi-jurisdictional aspects and Ellie Hampson-JonesJenny Bowden and Sarah Harvey are also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Adrian Clossick

Other key lawyers:

Lisette Dupré; Ellie Hampson-Jones; Jenny Bowden; Sarah Harvey.


‘They deliver what they say/claim will deliver. Doing so whilst maintaining thorough communication and updates. Also, no unnecessary charges.’

‘Adrian Clossick’s knowledge of the law is second to none and Sarah Harvey was a pleasure to work with.’

‘I typically work with Lisette Dupré from this team. She is extremely insightful and has vast experience in international cases. Clients enjoy her level-headedness and how reactive she is.’

‘Lisette Dupré remains down to earth and communicates extremely well with clients, while being used to dealing with HNW clients.’

‘Outstanding strength and depth in relation to financial claims on divorce, Stewarts Law in Leeds are in a league of their own.’

‘First-rate partners supported by outstanding associates the firms maintains the same standards of excellence at every level, which allows them to provide value for money without skimping on the service they deliver.’

‘Adrian Clossick leads a formidable team, combining a detailed knowledge of the case with a tactical, strategic approach based on sound judgment and pragmatism, designed to deliver the best possible outcome for their client.’

‘They listen carefully to their clients and deliver good, sound advice. They are efficient and demonstrate an encyclopaedic knowledge of the case.’

Work highlights


Berwins’ family team in Harrogate is led by Danielle Day, a full-service divorce and collaborative lawyer. The team specialises in collaborative family law, with particular experience in working with multi-property owners, and clients whose cases involve cross-jurisdictional elements. Director Stephen Root’s practice includes complex financial matters, pension provisions and Inheritance Act claims.

Practice head(s):

Danielle Day

Other key lawyers:

Stephen Root; William Kaye; Emma Lees.


‘Apart from being very nice people to work with, there is a very strong team spirit at Berwins, almost a family feel.’

‘It is clear that as a firm and as individuals, they place the client at the centre of everything they do.’

‘There is a strong spirit of collaboration, and they look to build creative and effective solutions which generate the best outcomes for clients.’

Work highlights

Blacks Solicitors LLP

Ann Robinson leads the family team at Blacks Solicitors LLP in Leeds. The team has particular experience regarding complex financial remedy work, involving businesses, properties, pensions, and cases with cross-jurisdictional elements. It exclusively deals with privately funded family matters. Clients appreciate the firm’s cross-departmental offerings, with support available from the corporate and commercial, residential property, and wills and probate departments.

Practice head(s):

Ann Robinson

Other key lawyers:

Paul Lancaster; Josie Kirk; Andrew Foulds


‘Blacks has very talented lawyers, who are very quick to cross-refer other practitioners in other teams to help with issues. It is comforting to know that their team is so collaborative and that you are going to get a holistic solution to your issues, even when they don’t all sit neatly in one department. They are also friendly, knowledgeable people with lovely offices that are centrally located in Leeds.’

‘Andrew Foulds was strategic, compassionate and incredibly helpful, and working with him, we were able to achieve a resolution with our father that we couldn’t have imagined previously.’

‘The Blacks team are very human and understand the needs of clients. They regularly ensure that all available legal options are explained and reasonable adjustments to support are put in place to help clients though their case.’

‘Working with Josie Kirk from the Blacks family law team, I felt very informed and supported throughout my case. Josie outlined a clear plan for my case, including putting together a great legal team to support me winning my case in court.’

‘Josie is a great solicitor who respects and understands the situation of clients, while ensuring to provide clear legal advice with potential outcomes. Josie went above and beyond to support my case, by arranging conference calls to accommodate my late working shifts and reviewing all documentation in very aggressive timelines, prior to me needing to sign.’

‘Josie Kirk was extremely supportive, empathetic and handled everything with the upmost care and urgency. Throughout the course of my proceedings, I received the best advice in regard to what my options were and how best to deal with matters going forward.’

‘The firm has both in-depth experience and the resources to deal with the challenging workload that it undertakes. A number of people are familiar with each matter and are able to progress the processes in an efficient and effective manner.’

‘One thing that makes Paul Lancaster stand-out is that in dealing with family matters, the issues can become clouded with emotional and intransigent responses. Other lawyers can often make subjective comments not grounded in fact. Paul continually brings the cases back to the facts, he deals with the true facts of the case and removes the emotion.’

Work highlights

Consilia Legal

Consilia Legal’s family team across Leeds and Harrogate is made up of accredited mediators and family solicitors. Director and co-founder Laura Clapton is trained as a direct child consultant, able to speak to children as part of the mediation process, and as a hybrid mediator. The firm is dedicated to offering alternative dispute resolution solutions to clients, including through an online mediation service. It has notable experience of dealing with complex Children Act proceedings, including cases regarding parental alienation and coercive control. In addition, the team particular strength regarding overseas assets, pensions, and complex business structures. Sandeep Sandhu has extensive experience regarding intervener cases.

Practice head(s):

Laura Clapton

Other key lawyers:

Sandeep Sandhu

Work highlights

Harrogate Family Law

Andrew Meehan leads the team of ‘dedicated experts’ at Harrogate Family Law. The team specialises in matters involving coercive control and domestic abuse, with expertise regarding financial remedy arising from divorce. It also advises on pre- and post-nuptial agreements, and on children matters. Laura Mounsey has particular expertise regarding domestic abuse matters and Emma Doughty supports clients in complex divorce cases and pensions matters.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Meehan

Other key lawyers:

Laura Mounsey; Charlotte Carroll; Emma Doughty; Carol Jessop


‘Excellent and committed service to clients with a real attention to detail and achieving the best possible outcomes.’

‘Dedicated experts, who pull together for their clients, leaving no stone unturned.’ 

‘Carol Jessop shines with wisdom and strength in complex cases, Laura Mounseyis a savvy strategist, Emma Doughty and Charlotte Carroll show unrivalled understanding and insight in serious child arrangement cases.’

Work highlights

Irwin Mitchell

'A dedicated team who have a national presence’, the Leeds office of Irwin Mitchell is led by Helen Revill, who brings expertise regarding complex financial issues for high-net-worth clients, with particular strength regarding pre- and post-nuptial agreements. The team also has access to the firm’s wider national experts, and clients benefit from its full-service offering. Senior associate Scott Halliday is ‘an expert’ regarding LGBT+ family law, an area which in which the firm has notable experience, and is the national head of the firm’s complex children law team.

Practice head(s):

Helen Revill

Other key lawyers:

Scott Halliday; Roopen Kalirai; April Wood


‘Scott Halliday is a fantastic lawyer. He has a great legal brain and is an expert in his field. His cases are at the forefront of family law.’

‘Extremely capable family team which operates at London Magic Circle level whilst delivering that service nationally.’

‘Scott Halliday is at the forefront of all of the cutting-edge cases concerning LGBTQ families. Exceptional knowledge on the rights of LGBTQ parents.’

‘An excellent firm. I have recommended them to others, and they have delivered above and beyond what I expected.’

‘A standout solicitor is Scott Halliday. He’s an intellectual heavyweight who punches above his weight. He is extremely bright and fights hard to achieve the best result for his clients. He is a safe pair of hands. I would have no hesitation in recommending him to potential clients.’

‘Irwin Mitchell Leeds is a dedicated team who have a national presence. They work with dedication, ability, and care to represent all their clients from a broad client base.’

‘Scott Halliday takes no prisoners and really goes the extra mile to fight for his clients and is determined, focused, efficient, capable and persuasive.’

‘Helen Revill has helped many of my clients, and all have given glowing feedback and recommended her onto other friends and family. Having the knowledge and professionalism to be able to advise and help combined with a warm, caring personality make Helen really stand out.’

Work highlights


The ‘extremely capable and dedicatedCarmelita Ardren leads the family team at Raworths in Harrogate. The team is made up entirely of members of Resolution, and three are trained as collaborative lawyers, demonstrating the firm's dedication to constructive solutions for clients. It is experienced in complex businesses, agricultural matters, pensions and trust assets, both nationally and internationally. Legal director Ellie Foster has particular experience regarding English pension sharing orders after overseas divorce.

Practice head(s):

Carmelita Ardren

Other key lawyers:

Ellie Foster; Joanna Lofthouse; Claire Hunter


‘The leading practice in Harrogate.’

‘Carmelita Ardren is very practical; an empathetic solicitor.’

‘Quality, first-class firm for medium to high-value clients. Led by Carmelita who has great sound judgment, wonderful people skills and great client service and attention to detail across the whole spectrum of family law.’

‘Carmelita Ardren is a real pleasure to work with, extremely capable and dedicated. Client focused, a great negotiator and always doing her best to get the best result – fought or negotiated for her client.’

‘They have a very effective team of solicitors who are capable of providing a bespoke service that is second to none, particularly with regard to clients with complex business structures and farms and estates.’

‘The team have really embraced the use of alternative dispute resolution approach, including round table conferences and private financial dispute resolutions, in order to achieve the outcomes that are in their client’s best interests.’

‘Joanna Lofthouse is an exceptional lawyer who has been a leader in her field for some years. She has a fantastic bedside manner and is always on top of her cases in a way that few others can match.’

‘A highly personable and professional team. Enjoy the best of reputations in Harrogate. They have many options available to their clients (lawyer, collaborative lawyer, one lawyer two clients etc.) and regularly refer matters out to mediation when this would better serve their clients.’

Work highlights

Stowe Family Law LLP

Stowe Family Law LLP operate out of 10 locations across Yorkshire, headed by Julian Hawkhead, Rachel Roberts and Sarah Barr-Young in Leeds, and Chris Birch in Beverley and nationally, the firm has over 60 offices. The team conducts a range of family law work, from complex financial remedy work to contentious children cases. It has experience of working on cases involving abuse, parental alienation, narcissism and complex Children Act issues. Clients benefit from access to the firm’s in-house forensic accountancy team.

Practice head(s):

Julian Hawkhead; Rachel Roberts; Chris Birch; Sarah Barr-Young

Other key lawyers:

Angela Sussens; Kate Sarsfield; Debbie Heald; Shanika Varga; Katie Kilburn; Hannah Ross


‘Angela Sussens and Kate Sarsfield are highly skilled practitioners with thorough knowledge and sensitivity.’

‘The team at Stowe are incredibly professional and apply a “can do” attitude to problem solving.’

‘Angela Sussens is a consummate professional who cares deeply about the wellbeing and aims of her clients.’

‘Stowe have a broad team with specialisms throughout it. Everyone practises to a high level.’

‘They are responsive and are really interested in the detail of the matter at hand – they don’t leave anything to chance. This grasp of the detail is what sets their key people apart.’

‘I have worked on matters with Rachel Roberts and Angela Sussens this last year, and both have been all over the detail of the matters.’

‘Nothing is left to chance. Rachel Roberts is particularly commercial, and able to take a step back in order to reach a good deal in the client’s favour, particularly where an issue becomes bogged down. Angela is able to spot issues you hadn’t thought of, which is invaluable.’

‘A solid team.’

Work highlights

Duncan Lewis Solicitors

The family team at Duncan Lewis Solicitors is led by Abbid Majeed in Bradford, and Meena Kumari in Manchester. The team has experience across a range of family law matters, including matrimonial and divorce issues, alongside private, public and cross-border children work. It has particular expertise regarding forced marriage protection orders, female genital mutilation cases, and international child abduction cases. The firm's strength in culturally complex cases has led to its appointment to the International Child Abduction and Contact Unit. Talat Manir has particular experience regarding children law, including situations involving vulnerable clients.

Practice head(s):

Abbid Majeed; Meena Kumari

Other key lawyers:

Talat Manir; Sophia Hussain.


‘Duncan Lewis provided an exceptional service in assisting me with a legal matter.’

‘The team is extremely professional, highly knowledgeable and puts people at the centre.’

‘Throughout my entire process, I have felt in safe hands and listened to.’

‘Throughout my entire process, the team was available at virtually all times of the day and evening.’

‘I have felt well-informed, and I have not for a moment felt any type of worry.’

‘The entire handling of the case and the process has been extremely satisfactory, and I will at any time reach out to Duncan Lewis and especially this team, should it become relevant again.’

‘This was by far the best counsel I have ever had from all aspects.’

‘My case was handled with precision and professionalism whilst explaining the details and obstacles throughout the matter.’

Work highlights

  • Represented a mother, who had been subject to domestic abuse, and obtained a Non-Molestation Order and Prohibited Steps Order.

Freeths LLP

Freeths LLP’s Leeds-based team is led by director Mark Heppinstall. The team is experienced in working with business owners and those with agricultural and multiple property interests, carrying out family work from financial remedy cases to children disputes. Its children work typically involves complex situations such as parental investigation and alienation. As part of a full-service firm, the team is able to refer clients for support regarding employment, tax, trusts and estate planning concerns.

Practice head(s):

Mark Heppinstall

Other key lawyers:

Sarah Scullion


‘Mark Heppinstall is an excellent solicitor. I have known him for many years and I find him very knowledgeable and thorough.’

‘Mark Heppinstall is extremely down to earth and not confrontational in any way. He works hard to find a solution.’

‘Sarah Scullion has been a very good and astute addition to the team at Freeths. She shows great expertise as a more junior solicitor and is collaboratively trained. It is clear that he has a real knack for family law. Her client care skills are excellent.’

Work highlights

Harrowells Solicitors

Amy Foweather leads the family team at Harrowells Solicitors in York. The team has particular strength regarding agricultural and farming family work, including notable experience dealing with complex farming divorce cases. It also has expertise regarding contentious children cases involving allegations of parental alienation. Emma Walker works out of Pocklington and Thirsk, and is highly recommended.

Practice head(s):

Amy Foweather

Other key lawyers:

Emma Walker


‘Harrowells Pocklington is accessible to its clients, it is local, professional and their strengths include being friendly and approachable and understanding of clients’ needs.’

‘The team at Harrowells were all really responsive, reactive and understanding.’

‘Each individual I dealt with was polite and friendly, knowledgeable and highly responsive. If they said they’d get back to you, they did and kept me informed along the way of delays etc.’

Work highlights


The LCF Law team works across Bradford, Harrogate and Ilkley and is led by Rachel Spencer Robb. The team has experience across matrimonial and childrens law, and acts for a range of clients, including family businesses and vulnerable children. Clients benefit from access to the firm’s range of departments including probate and commercial, and the team’s ‘solutions-based approach’. Collaborative law is a priority across the team, and both Spencer-Robb and Rachel Baul are trained mediators.

Practice head(s):

Rachel Spencer-Robb

Other key lawyers:

Rachel Baul; Harjit Rait; Simon Stell


‘Well-established, mainly Leeds-based firm with two very experienced and competent lawyers in the family team.’

‘Both Rachel Spencer-Robb and Rachel Baul are highly thought of, practical family lawyers.’

‘A solutions-based approach is taken, and the team has great legal knowledge.’

Work highlights

Lupton Fawcett

The family team at Lupton Fawcett is led by Christopher Burns in Leeds, while Andrew Smith heads the York team. The team provides clients with a range of support, from traditional legal solutions to collaborative law where appropriate. Its workload includes advising on financial provision after relationship breakdown, and the team also offers expertise on the impact of separation on security, tax, pensions, companies and trusts. In addition, the team has notable strength in complex cross-jurisdictional children cases. Senior solicitor Richard Buckley is a trained mediator.

Practice head(s):

Christopher Burns

Other key lawyers:

Andrew Smith; Richard Buckley; Emma Rennison


‘The team at Lupton Fawcett have their client’s interests at the forefront of everything they do. They combine efficiency with a very high standard of client care.’

‘Christopher Burns is particularly impressive. His legal knowledge and commitment to his clients is second to none in Yorkshire.’

‘The Lupton Fawcett Family Team in Christopher Burns and Andrew Smith make an impact all over Yorkshire with offices in Leeds, Sheffield and York. They have evolved into mainly doing private client family work, which they invariably source and serve themselves.’

Work highlights


The ‘fast-paced and accurate’ family team at McCormicks in Harrogate is led by managing partner Stephen Hopwood. The team includes Resolution members, and is committed to early negotiation and resolution for clients. Clients benefit from distinct experts in finance, domestic abuse and children law across the team. Its workload includes financial remedy after separation in situations involving businesses and multiple properties; additionally, the team has experience in children law cases involving domestic abuse and criminal allegations.

Practice head(s):

Stephen Hopwood


‘The team at McCormicks are very fast-paced and accurate.’

‘They provide pragmatic advice and do not do work just for a fee.’

‘They have long-term, well-thought-out strategies and stick to them.’

‘They are professional, prompt and provide you with confidence and industry leading advice.’

‘Stephen Hopwood – diligent, well researched pragmatic advice. Very organised and also caring. A pleasure to deal with.’

Work highlights

  • Advised a husband whose properties are held in family trusts, including gaming land.
  • Advised a wife in financial proceedings who had been subject to controlling and coercive behaviour.
  • Advised a mother about a children matter who had been subject to an abusive relationship.

Ramsdens Solicitors LLP

Ramsdens Solicitors LLP's family team is led by Helen Thewlis, who has notable expertise in complex ancillary proceedings, and ‘top-class’ head of care Joanne Coen. It advises on a range of matters, from asset division disputes in relationship dissolution to pre- and post-nuptial agreements, alongside extensive experience in children cases. The firm recently launched an emergency protection domestic abuse team, led by Wakefield senior associate Rebecca Sergeant  and it operates out of 12 offices across Yorkshire, including Leeds, York, Huddersfield and Wakefield.

Practice head(s):

Joanne Coen; Helen Thewlis

Other key lawyers:

Vikki Horspool; Rebecca Sergeant


‘Clear advice and balanced and effective representation of children and young people. Confidence in the specific area of law.’

‘Prompt responses. Confident, well-informed and balanced advice offered in a clear and understandable manner.’

‘A team that oozes quality from every branch office in its empire. Doing important work in relation to the safeguarding and protection of children throughout the county.’

Work highlights

Ridley & Hall

Emma Hopkins Jones leads the Leeds family team for Ridley & Hall, while James Cook heads up the Huddersfield office alongside Vicky Medd, who also heads the Barnsley team and the firm also works out of Pontefract. Alongside broad work regarding financial remedy after divorce, the team has a particular focus on advising women in such financial relief cases. This is complemented by the team’s domestic abuse expertise. The team has notable expertise regarding grandparents and kinship carers in children cases, for which Nigel Priestley was awarded an MBE in 2021.

Practice head(s):

Emma Hopkins; James Cook; Vicky Medd

Other key lawyers:

Nigel Priestley; Karen Roberts; Clare Linden; Helen Moody; Sarah Brown; Michelle Silcox; Shelley Harper.


‘Throughout my divorce, I have worked closely with Emma Hopkins-Jones. She has been a wise, patient and compassionate counsel. My focus has been on fairness and resolution, and she has regularly reminded me of decisions I have made and sought to explain the implications.’

‘Vicky Medd dealt with my divorce and from the minute I met her I knew she would be perfect. She was very understanding and drew on her own personal experiences to make me feel more at ease.’

‘The firm’s knowledge and understanding of issues relating to kinship care is second to none. The firm will also go above and beyond for kinship carers, offering free advice when they can.’

Work highlights

Silk Family Law

The ‘strong team of skilled practitioners’ at Silk Family Law is led by Margaret Simpson. The team provide clients a depth of experience across family law, including financial issues, divorce and separation, and children cases. It has particular experience regarding complex financial remedy on separation, including Trust of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act cases. In-house barrister Ian Kennerley is also a key member of the team.

Practice head(s):

Margaret Simpson

Other key lawyers:

Ian Kennerley; Matthew Miles


‘Silk Family Law are a specialist firm of matrimonial and family lawyers who have a strong team of skilled practitioners with experience of complex cases particularly involving high value properties, farms/estates and residential/commercial properties.’

‘The company adopts a very proactive and diligent approach to their cases in our experience.’

‘Strong knowledge base and extensive experience of property and legal matters.’

‘High-quality, dedicated family law specialists, with a well-deserved first-class reputation.’

‘They have a very strong team of solicitors who are extremely effective.’

‘The level of service provided is second to none, particularly with regard to clients with complex business structures, farms and estates.’

‘Margaret Simpson is very much a specialist in the field of matrimonial finance with particular expertise in dealing with farms/farming cases and estates, a speciality of Silk Family Law.’

‘Matthew Miles is an outstanding, dedicated, hard-working solicitor with great attention to detail. He has great judgment and is able therefore to provide realistic and timely advice and great negotiation skills.’

Work highlights

Ward Hadaway LLP

The family team at Ward Hadaway LLP in Leeds is co-led by Andrea Dyer, an expert on multi-jurisdictional financial disputes, including the protection of inherited wealth, and David Lister, who offers the ‘one lawyer, two clients’ divorce model. The team is made up of Resolution members, and clients benefit from access to the wider expertise within the firm – notably, corporate, agriculture, tax and property teams. It has particular strength working with vulnerable clients, including those with mental and physical health concerns.

Practice head(s):

Andrea Dyer; David Lister

Other key lawyers:

Ella Dodgson

Work highlights

Weightmans LLP

Weightmans LLP’s family offering in Leeds is led by the Manchester-based Emma Collins. The team has particular experience regarding pre- and post-nuptial agreements, financial remedies involving inherited wealth, and digital / crypto assets. It also has notable expertise regarding children work, including international abduction cases. Antony Ball leads the firm’s national mediation practice and Lucy Phipps joined the team in November 2022 from Harrowells Solicitors.

Practice head(s):

Emma Collins

Other key lawyers:

Antony Ball; Lucy Phipps


‘The Weightmans team is very highly regarded in Leeds and beyond. Being part of a firm with a significant nationwide reputation means that it is able to draw on the strengths of other departments, which is of significant advantage to clients.’

‘Lucy Phipps is a very impressive family practitioner. She pursues her client’s cases with tenacity and vigour, and clients are in no doubt that they are in very capable hands.’

‘Weightmans are a professional but caring firm that in a situation of a divorce have an abundance of knowledge to help clients in all situations.’

‘Lucy Phipps is exceptionally supportive and caring towards any client going through divorce/family issues. She leads her team with support at the core. She makes clients feel at ease because they need to be in a position to bear all, and they feel that they will not be judged. Her vast knowledge is amazing.’

‘Lucy Phipps is an extremely effective solicitor who pulls out all the stops for her clients. She has a no-nonsense approach and keeps a cool head in the most challenging of situations.’

‘Weightmans have a skilled, respected and dynamic family team, placing a strong emphasis on ADR and mediation. In the past few years, their work has gone from strength to strength, partly due to very successful new appointments.’

‘Lucy Phipps is a fantastic solicitor. Her tactical decision-making in litigation is excellent. She is a power of strength to her clients, and her commitment and care for a case is second to none.’

‘Antony Ball works hard to ensure clients get value for their money. He puts the hours in and works tirelessly to get the right outcome for his clients. Professional and caring with a wealth of knowledge, I would be happy to recommend him to anyone.’

Work highlights

Winston Solicitors

Winston Solicitors‘ family team is led by the ‘highly accomplishedTeresa Davidson in Leeds. The team advises on a range of family work, including pre- and post-nuptial agreements, civil partnerships, child arrangements and injunctive and emergency relief. Clients benefit from the firm’s wider teams regarding will and tax advice. Sidraa Razaq supports clients in relation to Islamic divorces, while Harriet Reid has expertise regarding family businesses and farming divorces.

Practice head(s):

Teresa Davidson

Other key lawyers:

Harriet Reid; Sidraa Razaq


‘Winston Solicitors have the gems of the Northern matrimonial finance world. Though the family team has only been set up in recent years, they have strength and depth of experience. They are the absolute go-to team.’

‘Teresa Davidson offers expertise, judgment and warmth. She is everything you want in a matrimonial solicitor.’

‘Teresa Davidson – highly accomplished lawyer, able to draw on her vast experience in matrimonial finance cases.’

‘Teresa Davidson is very approachable and extremely knowledgeable when it comes to divorce advice. At a time of crisis for my clients, she is a very safe and capable pair of hands who treats people with sensitivity and care.’

‘Teresa Davidson has gone above and beyond to get the very best outcome for myself. She has been professional and empathetic at all times. She has been realistic but optimistic about possible outcomes. I can not speak highly enough of the service I have received.’

‘Harriet Reid was very informative as she extensively explained the process of divorce to me. Teresa Davidson was always cool, calm and collected and very empathetic to my situation.’

‘We worked directly with Harriet Reid in a divorce matter. Harriet’s knowledge base and experience were first class. She was attentive and answered all our queries in a full and timely manner.’

‘Everyone I spoke to seemed to understand my problems, and acted accordingly. I never had to chase anyone, everything was carried out very efficiently.’

Work highlights

Austin Kemp

Amandeep Kooner leads the family team at Austin Kemp in Leeds. The team focuses on all aspects of family law, including financial remedies, divorce and dissolution, international divorce and cohabitation agreements alongside children work. The Leeds team is supported by colleagues in Manchester and London. It prioritises individual client care at all levels.

Practice head(s):

Amandeep Kooner

Work highlights

Chadwick Lawrence LLP Solicitors

Sarah Power leads the family team at Chadwick Lawrence LLP Solicitors across Huddersfield and Leeds. The team has experience of the financial consequences arising from divorce, complex children work, including situations of abuse, and it acts for high-profile clients.

Practice head(s):

Sarah Power

Other key lawyers:

Joanne Jones; Emily Bird; Angela Thorp.


‘Sarah Power, undoubted technical expertise partnered with great kindness, compassion and candid advice. A very calming influence throughout an extremely turbulent time for me. A wonderful human being who just happens to be pretty amazing at law too.’

‘The family law team at Chadwick Lawrence LLP are excellent. Solicitor Sarah Powers specifically is outstanding in getting to grips with complex and challenging family law matters. Her personal and professional approach make working together very simple and easy.’

‘Partner Sarah Powers is outstanding. Sarah takes her job very seriously and is great at making the client feel comfortable in what is inevitably a highly emotional area of law (e.g Children Act Matters). Sarah goes above and beyond what any client would expect from a solicitor.’

Work highlights

Emsleys Solicitors Limited

Rosaline Blaza leads the Emsleys Solicitors Limited family team in Leeds. Its workload includes financial remedies following relationship dissolution, intervenors, emergency freezing orders and Trust of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act applications. Anna Barnard specialises in legal aid for children and Domestic Abuse Act matters, and supports Polish-language clients.

Practice head(s):

Rosalind Blaza

Other key lawyers:

Anna Barnard


‘They are willing to take time to explain everything to you, if a particular member of the team is unable to answer a question for you then they swiftly put you in touch with the correct person or department.’

‘Their personal touch and empathy and a willingness to listen and advise correctly as a result of listening to what you may need help with.’

‘Efficient staff, including family team members and wills department.’

Work highlights

Simpson Millar LLP

Patricia Cannon leads the childcare proceedings team at Simpson Millar LLP in Leeds, and also heads up the firm’s public law family department nationally. The team deals with complex public law childcare cases involving vulnerable clients, and has substantial experience working with local authorities. Additionally, it has notable experience regarding adoption matters and special guardianship orders.

Practice head(s):

Patricia Cannon

Other key lawyers:

Lidia Foster


‘The team is small but very experienced. They work very hard for their clients. They work collaboratively, the sense of team work is evident.’

‘Partner Patricia Cannon has a wealth of knowledge and experience that she is always happy to share with her team. She is supportive of her team and is very client focused.’

‘This is a strong, national team, headed up by the excellent Patricia Cannon. The team has strength and depth of experience, and the client care standards are second to none.’

‘Patricia Cannon is an attentive, sensitive and intelligent lawyer who is both supportive yet realistic with clients at the same time. Her commitment to client care and clear communication with the client really stands out to me. She is keen to ensure that the client is engaged in the process and understands in clear terms the process they are involved in.’

‘Expert knowledge alongside excellent client care.’

‘Simpson Millar have a great reputation and have a fantastic presence in Leeds. They are involved in many of the biggest cases and are at the forefront of public law family in the local area.’

‘Patricia Cannon is very approachable and incredibly hardworking. She is an excellent Head of Public Law Child Care and Private Law Family Departments. She has a straightforward no nonsense manner with her approach to cases and is very experienced, particularly in public law proceedings.’

‘Patricia Cannon is organised, efficient, knowledgeable and caring. An able advocate who is at the top of her game.’

Work highlights