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

Clarion

Clarion works on the full spectrum of family law issues, including pre- and post-nuptial financial agreements and divorce settlements; the practice also handles a number of matters relating to the Children Act encompassing hostile witnesses, relocations and criminal allegations, thanks to a strong dispute resolution capability. The fully integrated team also handles surrogacy cases. Justine Osmotherley leads the practice, and is a market leading name for nuptial agreements and complex financial settlements for high-net-worth clients. Director Sarah Buxton joined from Irwin Mitchell in early 2019, and specialises in business finance and children law issues.

Practice head(s):

Justine Osmotherley

Other key lawyers:

Sarah Buxton; Jane Ingleby

Testimonials

A good efficient team, who understand me and my objectives and tailor their advice to help deliver them.

Justine Osmotherley and Sarah Buxton have given clear concise advice that focuses on the issues, and gets results.

Work highlights

  • Represented clients using arbitration; private FDR; collaborative family law and roundtable meetings in order to keep disputes out of court and to achieve a better outcome for clients.
  • Acted for the parents of the husband in financial remedy proceedings that involved allegations of sham trusts; set-aside transactions and freezing injunctions involving matrimonial procedure and civil procedure.
  • Dealt with international assets in a number of pre-nup and post-nup agreements.

Jones Myers LLP

Jones Myers LLP has expanded its established offering in family law with the arrival of Nicki Mitchell as practice head from Lupton Fawcett in mid-2019, working in the firm's new York office. Mitchell has extensive experience in financial remedy cases (a speciality for the firm) with claims involving businesses assets, multiple properties and complex pensions issues. Richard Peaker is also noted for his work in financial remedies, with a wide client base and close relationships with financial advisers. Kate Banerjee leads the children law team, handling child abduction matters, cross-border adoptions and a growing number of Court of Protection cases.

Practice head(s):

Nicki Mitchell

Other key lawyers:

Kate Banerjee; Richard Peaker

Testimonials

The family team in York and Leeds are fantastic. They work together really well and are certainly one of the most joined-up firms we deal with. A pleasure to work with.

I work with Nicki Mitchell, Sam Sinclair and Lynne Richards in York, and Norman Taylor in Leeds. They are the best collaborative divorce lawyers I know. They stand out for me as a firm and as individuals by the way they are with their clients. They have the rare skills of making complex issues easily understood, of encouraging clients to express their emotions whilst not being derailed by them, of listening and being fair to everyone whilst not compromising on their values. I love working with them.’

I have worked with members of the Jones Myers team for over 10 years in my role as a Family Court Adviser and Children’s Guardian. The quality and clarity of the legal advice is consistently very good. Response is always prompt and the solicitors are supported by excellent para legal and administrative staff.

A dedicated team with considerable expertise in their field. Of all staff I would say their thorough and knowledgeable approach to complex issues is impressive. Supportive of each other, and of their clients, they work well together as a team. As a team they can deliver on all aspects of representation, including complex advocacy.

I think individually, and collectively, these lawyers offer a calm, measured and reassuring approach. Lisa Russell’s quiet demeanour should not mislead anyone into believing that she will not pursue her client’s cause tenaciously. Equally, Lisa provides clients with a clear and realistic appraisal of the strengths and weaknesses of their case. This helps clients to focus at an early stage on what they can reasonably hope to achieve, whether in terms of settlement or litigation.

The structure of the firm enables contact to be maintained with the individual contact but with the knowledge that if further specialist advice is required there would be others in the team who could offer support 

The main individual that I work with is Nicola Mitchell in the York Office. She is the best matrimonial lawyer I have known during my 39 years in practice – with her depth of knowledge and attention to detail , her tenacity in seeking the best settlement for her clients and , and still maintaining an empathetic approach is a rare skill.

Lake Legal LLP

Led by the 'totally committed' Lyn AyrtonLake Legal LTD supports clients in complex high-value divorce settlements, nuptial agreements, and financial remedy cases. The team works on matters including business interest considerations, property ownership disputes, and third-party interests, with a number of cross-jurisdictional matters. The team is experienced in the use of multiple dispute resolution methods, particularly arbitration, with Ayrton a founder of Family Financial Arbitration, a group of Yorkshire-based arbitrators. Clare Glaister was promoted to partner in 2019 and is recognised for her work in mid- to high-value financial settlements.

Practice head(s):

Lyn Ayrton

Other key lawyers:

Claire Glaister

Testimonials

All the team are highly qualified, motivated, and very sympathetic to the client’s needs. Most clients are extremely vulnerable emotionally, when asking for advice in a divorce. Many firms can overlook the need and ability for a lawyer to take the time to listen to a client, to attune themselves to a particular client, before giving the rather dry advice needed. Lake Legal has this quality in spades.

The outstanding individual lawyer who assisted me to obtain an extremely good settlement was Lyn Aryton. Not only is LA a highly experienced lawyer who has proved herself over many years, but I know from my case, that when smaller, but highly qualified, other family solicitors feel they need someone from a different league, LA is the lawyer they turn to. She has a wonderful ability to read, digest, & understand, complex family monetary arrangements; & then to explain them in layman’s terms.

Lake Legal is a firm of technically able individuals with a commitment to achieving pragmatic, cost effective solutions for clients who really come first.

Lyn Ayrton is a solution focused lawyer whose one aim is to achieve the best outcome for her clients. She is totally committed to their best interests. Lyn is the sort of lawyer whom it’s a delight to have on the other side as playing games is not in her agenda whilst you know that she will negotiate supremely well on behalf of her client. Lyn tells her clients the facts of life so they appreciate the parameters.

Lake Legal have remained highly attentive throughout what has been a particularly personal process for me. Contact with has remained consistent and diligent throughout.

Lyn Ayrton has been both supportive and practical every step of the way – she has made a difficult process seem relatively straightforward.

Mills & Reeve LLP

Mills & Reeve LLP fields a nationally-capable family law service, with practice head Philip Way highly experienced in complex high-value divorce and financial settlement cases encompassing complex trust, company and pension issues, including a number of multi-jurisdictional cases. Claudia Gilham has attracted praise for her work in domestic and international financial remedy cases as well as private children matters. The team has expanded its activity in children law cases, including surrogacy and fertility issues, and has also established a standalone practice that supports unmarried and cohabiting couples.

Practice head(s):

Philip Way

Other key lawyers:

Claudia Gilham

Stewarts Law LLP

Stewarts Law LLP focuses on high-value family disputes, with an experienced team handling a caseload that includes complex issues relating to corporate and trust structures, international tax work, and overseas assets in divorce and cohabitation settlements. 'Stand out' practice head Adrian Clossick is noted for his work with high and ultra-high-net-worth clients nationally and internationally, while recently-promoted legal director Ed Heaton is also highly active in multi-jurisdictional corporate and trust-related cases. Associate Sarah Harvey assists with complex financial cases.

Practice head(s):

Adrian Clossick

Other key lawyers:

Ed Heaton; Sarah Harvey

Testimonials

The team at Stewarts offer an exceptional level of service to their clients. They provide excellent (and sensible) advice, they are brilliant at case management and strategy, and always add value to whatever work they are doing. The quality of their work is second to none.

Incisive clear advice delivered extremely promptly. Excellent analytical, drafting and presentation skills. First class availability.

The Stewarts team in Leeds and for that in London are simply brilliant. They are the best lawyers that I have come across in any field/genre/area. There was real clarity of purpose amongst all the team members and the communication was first class with me as their client. They also did it in a manner that showed empathy and understanding, and at certain moments a warmth beyond the call of duty. I felt that they were totally engaged in making sure that I achieved the right outcome, without ever being unrealistic, weighing up the pros and cons at every stage. I never felt that they were driven by money and therefore creating unnecessary work. I couldn’t say that about some law firms.

Adrian Clossick, Edward Heaton and Sarah Harvey make a great team. Individually, they are all good communicators, knowledgeable about their field and meticulous in their approach. They never over promise and will always be up front about what is feasible, including all the potential downsides. I would like to single out Ed as a total star for his talent, honesty, transparency and communication skills.

Over the last ten years Stewarts Law in Leeds has established itself as one of the North’s leading matrimonial finance firms. Its team, headed by Adrian Clossick, has a wealth of experience in dealing with mid to high value cases, particularly those involving complex trust and company structures (including those with an international component). The team has considerable strength in depth and brings to bear an exceptional level of intellectual rigour and attention to detail, together with healthy pragmatism when required. The firm’s star is very much in the ascendancy in terms of its standing in the regional market, where it is undoubtedly blazing a trail.

Adrian Clossick is one of the North of England’s stand out matrimonial finance specialists. He is exceptionally bright and inspires confidence in his clients. Ed Heaton also provides a wealth of experience of complex high value cases and a rigorous approach to the issues arising in any particular case. I would not hesitate to highly commend both Adrian and Ed as outstanding performers in the field of matrimonial finance.

Adrian Clossick is perceptive, skilled, empathetic yet strong in advice and guidance.

Berwins

Berwins is highly active in a variety of family law issues, notably handling divorce and other separation settlements for high net-worth individuals, involving shared property and other matrimonial asset disputes, jurisdictional issues, and business interests and trusts. The team also handles children matters and injunctions, pursuing a holistic approach to dispute resolution. Associate director Danielle Day leads the practice, handling collaborative and conventional family law issues, including nuptial agreements and high-value asset settlements. Stephen Root and Sarah Smith are full-service divorce lawyers with specialisms in inheritance issues and mediation respectively.

Practice head(s):

Danielle Day

Other key lawyers:

Stephen Root; Sarah Smith

Blacks Solicitors LLP

Blacks Solicitors LLP represents a variety of high-net-worth clients in financial settlements that encompass business, pension and jurisdictional elements; the group also works closely on children issues for separating or divorcing clients. The highly experienced Ann Robinson leads the team, and ably assists clients with complex financial considerations including international property and other overseas assets. Paul Lancaster is highly praised by clients for his 'patience and understanding' in complex divorce cases.

Practice head(s):

Ann Robinson

Other key lawyers:

Paul Lancaster

Testimonials

Paul Lancaster was very confident, he put us at ease and reassured us of our situation. I have to praise Paul for his patience and understanding given my health and situation. Paul filled us with every confidence that everything was under control, which it was thanks to his guidance.

Paul Lancaster – Very proactive, fast clear advice – ability to tailor the advice to understand the aims and needs of the clients.

Harrogate Family Law

Harrogate Family Law specialises in complex and contentious divorce and separation proceedings, including disputes over high-value assets, accusations of criminal misconduct, and child custody issues. The firm also handles pre-nuptial agreement negotiations and financial dispute resolution hearings. Practice head Andrew Meehan is highly experienced in dealing with complex cases, with a particular specialism in hidden assets. Carol Jessop is a Resolution-recognised specialist in financial disputes between cohabiting couples.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Meehan

Other key lawyers:

Carol Jessop

Raworths

Raworths specialises in intricate divorce proceedings, pre-nuptial agreements, and financial settlements on behalf of high and ultra-high-net-worth clients, with significant business interests, assets, and agricultural estates. The team also acts in dispute resolution and contentious children proceedings arising from family separations. Carmelita Ardren leads a team of specialist family lawyers, and has particular expertise in high-value financial agreements relating to future assets. Joanna Lofthouse takes a collaborative law approach to divorce settlements, children issues, and cohabitation issues.

Practice head(s):

Carmelita Ardren

Other key lawyers:

Joanna Lofthouse

Testimonials

The team are professional and knowledgeable but above all that, they are empowering and empathetic. Joanna and Carmelita have made me feel at ease throughout the 2 years I have been dealing with them. They are always on hand to speak to and if, for some reason they cannot speak to me, my queries are immediately passed on to another member of the team who knows my case inside out.

The Raworths team are professional, experts in their fields, meticulous, caring, sensitive and friendly. They have worked well together across departments when required.

Carmelita supports the collaborative approach to divorce as well as mediation and litigation. We share similar values of helping clients through delivering the right advice at the right time. Raworths are very well established in Harrogate and offer a full service law firm that sits within the old cliché of big enough to deliver and small enough to care.

Work highlights

  • Acted in contested children’s proceedings where a s37 report was required due to allegations of parental alienation and frustration of previous orders.
  • Advised on a pre-nuptial agreement for a high-profile businessman and national personality.
  • Advised on a case involving an application for a financial order.

Stowe Family Law LLP

Stowe Family Law LLP has offices and teams across Yorkshire, which provide holistic client services in all aspects of family law, including divorces, pre-nuptial agreements, child custody and abduction issues, adoptions and surrogacy matters. The firm also has growing expertise in international cases, alongside experience in same-sex relationship and Sharia-related cases. Key names across the firm include Julian Hawkhead and firm managing partner Rachel Roberts in Leeds, Sarah Barr-Young in Ilkley, and Neil Dring in Wetherby. All partners regularly work with high-net-worth clients on financial settlements.

Testimonials

Stowe are extremely professional and knowledgable.

A dynamic firm of solicitors with a great team of hard hitting partners. A marvellous overall team.

Julian Hawkhead – a brilliant brain with street wisdom and client care skills in abundance.

Dedication to clients is second to none. Responsive and pragmatic advice at all times and available any time.

Rachel Roberts is a hands on leader but manages her clients in a professional way. leads from the front.

Stowe Family Law has excellent teams in Harrogate, Leeds and Wetherby (and indeed in many other towns/cities), in all of which they have a well deserved reputation for the quality of advice and service provided to clients. On any view, Stowe Family Law is widely regarded as being one of the leading matrimonial finance firms in the North. Accordingly, the firm has enormous strength in depth and benefits from the pooled experience at its disposal.

Work highlights

  • Acted in financial remedy proceedings after a long marriage, with assets of £15m, including complex property, business and trust assets, with significant arguments over the extent to which assets should be considered matrimonial or non-matrimonial.
  • Acted for the wife in a case involving significant dynastic wealth, and successfully limiting the husband’s claims to roughly 10% of the overall wealth.
  • Advised an elderly client with assets of approximately £50m regarding the preparation of a pre-nuptial agreement to protect pre-marital wealth.

Consilia Legal

Consilia Legal fields a varied family law practice, handling issues spanning divorces, child custody work and financial settlements. The firm has 'unrivalled skill' in family mediation proceedings, acting in child-related and financial cases. The practice is led by the 'energetic' Laura Clapton, a family specialist with strong capabilities in high-value financial settlements. Associate Sarah Manning focuses on Children Act proceedings, and senior associate Kelly Walters joined from Favell Smith & Lawson in late 2019.

Practice head(s):

Laura Clapton

Other key lawyers:

Sarah Manning; Kelly Walters

Testimonials

Knowledgable and able to offer sound advice but with a caring approach. Training in the team to ensure high standards and up to date practice.

Senior Associate Kelly Walters has dealt with my case for about 12 months. Due to complicating factors things have been far from straight forward and I have been subject to distressing changes of demands when there had been an agreement on several occasions. She has been available on many occasions at short notice and has offered excellent advice and support. She has maintained a professional manner at all times with appropriate boundaries and yet has still been able to show understanding, concern and kindness. She has demonstrated very good knowledge of family law.

This firm’s unique selling point is it’s unrivalled skill at mediation and they excel at mediation for both children and financial matters. They also don’t shy away from high value financial work and complex children cases.

Headed up by Laura Clapton, the team are absolutely dedicated to getting an outcome for parents that is workable, robust and that the parents have agreed together. All of the clients who I refer to Laura comment on her calm, considered and approachable nature. Whatever she does, she gets clients to a point of agreement which I am sure they were resolute they could not achieve before they met her! Her junior team compliment her work and approach well.’

A young but highly competent practice that probably punches above its weight in the market place. This is probably down to the energy and expertise of the head of the family team and its main partner/ director Laura Clapton now ably supported by Kelly Walters along with the energy of young solicitors Nikol Loutchanska and Sarah Manning . They also provide a mediation service.

Laura Clapton is young, professional and energetic . Good business head and sympathetic and understanding with clients . A good knowledge in all family work and will be around for many years.

Harrowells Solicitors

Lucy Phipps heads up the team at Harrowells Solicitors, which specialises in complex high-value financial settlements on behalf of high-net-worth clients, primarily in the agriculture industry. The team also works on private children cases, and handles mandates involving wealth and asset protection, land holdings and pensions issues. Amy Foweather is praised for her work in financial matters, particularly in cases with cross-border elements. Phipps is noted for her role in children cases and has key expertise in matters involving parental alienation.

Practice head(s):

Lucy Phipps

Other key lawyers:

Amy Foweather

Testimonials

One of my favourite firms to work with. Partners are efficient and friendly with a high level of expertise . They work from high quality offices in a good location. Sympathetic and understanding with clients both Lucy Phipps and Amy Foweather ( both partners) have a great understanding of the dynamics surrounding Family Disputes involving children. Both have experience in dealing with high net worth clients serving business and farming community. Also I would recommend the experienced Emma Walker who has a straight forward manner and approach.

I dealt with the York Harrowells team. I was responded to quickly when I first made contact with the company about the matter I wished to seek advice upon, and was also given additional instructions to find the venue for the first time which was helpful. My queries were also dealt with promptly – another strength. The matter I raised did not require much legal support, but I had dealt with the solicitor, Amy Foweather at her previous law firm for a more substantial amount of time. It was because of my experience of Amy’s outstanding help and support with my case previously that I chose Harrowells, so that I could continue to seek Amy’s advice with my matter. Therefore, I would say that, having Amy working for Harrowells gives the practice a unique strength due to her capabilities, experience and the effective legal support she provides.

Irwin Mitchell

Irwin Mitchell's Leeds team specialises in complex high-net worth financial matters and private children work, and fields team members with a range of international expertise in jurisdictions including Spain, the US and Australia. Sheffield-based Zoe Round and senior associate Helen Revill lead the team, which handles high-value asset disputes, pension sharing arrangements, child abduction issues, and financial disputes resolution hearings. Associate Scott Halliday specialises in LGBT+ marriage work across multiple jurisdictions. Katie McCann is now with Knights plc, and David Lister joined Simpson Millar LLP.

Practice head(s):

Helen Revill; Zoe Round

Testimonials

Excellent advice and representation.

Melanie Hadwin is a stand out senior associate. Her advice is excellent. She works incredibly hard.

Very dedicated team – always going the extra mile to ensure cases are fully prepared and sensitive and thorough advice is given. A platinum service.

A leader in the family law world in Yorkshire and beyond.

Scott Halliday- Scott has specialist knowledge in all matters concerning LGBTQ issues in family law. He is an expert when it comes to trans parenting issues. James Henshall – James is a bright lawyer. He gives clear solid advice. It is clear he is a partner in the making. Zoe Round – the doyenne of the family law world in Yorkshire.

The Irwin Mitchell family team in Leeds is an excellent team. They are very efficient and offer extremely sound advice across the board. They are head and shoulders above other firms in the region.

A standout associate at the firm is Scott Halliday. Scott is technically excellent and absolutely diligent in his approach. He is a good strategist and very intellectually sound.

Langleys Solicitors LLP

Langleys Solicitors LLP fields distinct family and children law teams, which are able to advise clients on a variety of contentious and financially sensitive issues. The family law team, which is led by Theo Hoppen, handles pre- and post-nuptial agreements, cohabitation issues, and high-value divorce proceedings regularly including complicated trust arrangements and large agricultural estates. The children team handles legal aid and other publicly funded cases relating to child protection and relocation. William Kaye specialises in matrimonial finance, while Mark Day focuses on high-value settlements and private children cases.

Practice head(s):

Mark Day; William Kaye; Theo Hoppen

Testimonials

High quality, engaging professionals at all levels, focused on delivering cost efficient outcomes.

Honest advice given in client’s best interests.

LCF Law

LCF Law acts for clients in divorce and separation proceedings involving client-owned businesses, negotiations over matrimonial assets, and third-party involvements, alongside child custody disputes. The team is led by Neil Shaw, who heads up the firm's personal law practice, and family law group head Rachel Spencer Robb, who has extensive experience in high-value matrimonial finance, asset protection, and children law matters, utilising collaborative law and mediation methods.

Practice head(s):

Neil Shaw; Rachel Spencer Robb

Lupton Fawcett

Led by the 'experienced' and 'capable' Chris Burns, the family team at Lupton Fawcett supports clients with family breakdown issues, including financial remedy cases, child custody proceedings, and restraining orders. The team is particularly experienced in assisting high-net-worth individuals with asset and business protection work; Andrew Smith has been advising married and unmarried couples on property issues since joining the York office from Blacks Solicitors LLP in late 2019. Nicki Mitchell is now with Jones Myers LLP.

Practice head(s):

Chris Burns

Other key lawyers:

Andrew Smith

Testimonials

Lupton Fawcett have a great team and they are always friendly and approachable which is not something that can be said for all legal firms. They are not pushy for work and give plenty of time to think about whether or not you wish to engage them as a firm.

Andy Smith is a fantastic professional and takes pride in his work. He has helped provide guidance on numerous occasions on legal issues to clients of mine and has not engaged in work where it was not needed.

Chris Burns – experienced, capable, easy to talk to, provides an all round specialised knowledge of family work.

They are committed to representing clients across all areas of family law and provide excellent service across the board.

Chris Burns is excellent and pursues his client’s case tenaciously and leaves no stone unturned.

McCormicks

McCormicks advises clients on a variety of family law issues, encompassing financial settlements, children issues, and domestic abuse allegations, with an emphasis on the early settlement of cases. The team acts for clients from a variety of income groups and is able to handle complex cases with cross-border elements. Stephen Hopwood leads the team.

Practice head(s):

Stephen Hopwood

Testimonials

Despite a long and bitter battle to resolve finances following my divorce I have been supported all the way through. They have made sure my interests have been well supported legally and emotionally. Due to circumstances outside our control it has been a protracted process, but the actions taken have been well considered and targeted with the aim of reducing the cost impact. Their resolve and understand has kept me sane in difficult circumstances.

Stephen Hopwood has been a rock and gone the extra mile to keep me strong. He has had to decipher a complex situation created by the nature of the case and the individuals involved. Resilience of Stephen and his team alongside well considered focus have been something that have been something that has been important for me to rely on.

Work highlights

  • Acted as applicant in a complex case involving a high-value property built across boundaries encroached upon third parties.
  • Acted for the applicant husband in a divorce with competing demands from several mortgage companies.
  • Acted for a mother on issues relating to the schooling of a child involving controlling and coersive behaviour by father.

North Family Law

The 'outstanding' Simon Preston heads up matrimonial finance boutique North Family Law, and focuses on complex high-value financial settlements. Matters regularly involve complex corporate structures, inherited wealth and offshore assets, and cross-border elements; the firm is able to work on cases throughout the UK and abroad.

Practice head(s):

Simon Preston

Testimonials

The team is extremely experienced in dealing with all levels of family law matters, particularly those involving more complex issues.

Simon Preston is a highly experienced family lawyer who is approachable and personable. He gives pragmatic and timely advice.

The team provide sound advice and cut through the drama to deal only with the most important issues, going the extra mile for their clients.

Simon Preston is outstanding. His calm and unflappable approach hides a steely determination to achieve the best possible outcome for his clients.

Simon Preston set up North Family Law from scratch a few years ago, and has established the firm as a leading player in the regional matrimonial finance market. Whilst Simon remains the firm’s leading light, he is now supported by a very able assistant Rachael Wheatley. Having lower overheads than many of his competitors enables Simon to provide an outstanding level of experience and service at a lower than average cost.

Simon Preston is undoubtedly one of the leading matrimonial finance solicitors in the North of England. He is exceptionally experienced in the conduct of mid and high value cases, including those of the most complicated type, such as those involving complex company and trust structures/international aspects. Simon is both highly personable and committed to his clients’ cases, and he inspires confidence in them accordingly.

Ramsdens Solicitors LLP

Ramsdens Solicitors LLP has particular expertise in sensitive child protection issues, including domestic abuse matters, care leaver proceedings and adoption and special guardianship mandates; Joanne Coen leads the bespoke care practice. Helen Thewlis takes the lead on divorce and financial settlements, promoting a collaborative law approach to dispute resolution, alongside handling matters involving emergency protections for abuse victims. Sarah Ward is also noted for her work on matrimonial finance issues.

Practice head(s):

Joanne Coen; Helen Thewlis

Other key lawyers:

Sarah Ward

Testimonials

Great Team. Excellent client skills and approach to litigation. Client’s best interests at the forefront of their minds.

The team has strength in depth. They can be relied upon to provide robust and realistic representation, always in a manner which is sensitive to the particular client’s needs.’

This is the best firm in the geographical area in which it practises. The team is fully resourced and has the level of knowledge and experience to be able to negotiate or contest cases as required.

Helen Thewlis has many years of experience and great leadership skills, so to manage and delegate cases to ensure that they are dealt with, with properly/fully and in a cost-efficient manner. Her personal knowledge of the law in matrimonial finance stands out in the local area. Sarah Ward is one of the up-and-coming leaders in the area of family law and matrimonial finance in particular. She has attention to detail and an excellent understanding of the law.

The team are always willing to take work at short notice and are flexible in their approach. They have a number of experienced solicitors who are reliable and are good at keeping us informed. There is a lot of knowledge within the team regarding family law and they will often go the extra mile to ensure a good understanding of complex legal situations. They are a reliable and go-to firm for family law matters.

Helen Thewlis provides a significant level of experience and unstinting client service throughout West Yorkshire. Sarah Ward efficiently provides hard working compassion to her clients in children work.

Ridley & Hall

The 'unique' team at Ridley & Hall focuses on child protection and care proceedings, including child abuse and molestation cases, grandparents rights advocacy, and multi-jurisdictional children proceedings. The team also provides support in divorce proceedings and financial settlements, led by Emma PearmaineJames Cook takes the lead on child protection and guardianship issues, with Huddersfield-based senior partner Nigel Priestley specialising in grandparent and kinship carer matters. Melanie Hartley heads up the family department in Leeds, handling financial cases, while Vicky Medd leads the equivalent team in Huddersfield.

Other key lawyers:

Nigel Priestley

Testimonials

Nigel Priestley is known not only across West Yorkshire for his public and private law family work but across the country. For him the work is a vocation and he gives of his time freely and without exception to provide training in child care law not only in this country but abroad. His team includes his colleague James Cook who handles some of the most complicated and harrowing child abuse cases in West Yorkshire.

The unswerving commitment to the client and their children, including to significant amounts of complex work undertaken pro bono. Nationally recognised expertise in achieving the maximum state support for families who have adopted or fostered difficult children with complex needs. Outstanding international expertise in adoption and human rights, particularly article 8 rights to private and family life for the child and his family.  I think that Ridley and Hall is not just exceptional, it is unique.

As a team they excel in legal knowledge and client care. They know the options and communicate them well to clients who are often vulnerable.

I think this is a strong team and they have good leadership. The expertise and client care is of a high standard. They are conciliatory and proportionate with a good grasp of the law.

Emma Pearmaine is a very conscious lawyer who can get to the bottom of an issue quickly and find a way forward for her clients. Emma uses clear language and she inspires confidence.

Silk Family Law

Silk Family Law is a boutique family law firm with growing teams in Leeds and Aske complimenting its existing offices. The firm acts across all areas of family law, including divorce and financial remedies, children issues and child support work, cohabitation disputes, and pre- and post-nuptial agreements. The practice is jointly led by Teresa Davidson, who has great experience in complex financial and children issues, having joined from Irwin Mitchell in 2019; and Margaret Simpson, who specialises in matrimonial finance issues relating to significant assets and farming estates.

Testimonials

I have been overwhelmed by how professional and committed they are to my case. Their attention to detail, honesty and experience is helping me through an incredibly difficult situation that I just couldn’t have navigated without them.

Teresa Davidson is looking after my case. She has been unbelievably reliable, supportive and professional. Teresa has always been very honest with me about the options and decisions in front of me. Teresa has also been relentlessly supportive.

Boutique feel and excellent personnel.

Teresa Davidson – Excellent knowledge, reputation & professionalism with a genuinely caring and empathetic approach.

Silk are a very polished firm, well organised, with strength in depth and the ability to go the extra mile to secure good results for their clients. They can hold their own with any of the big family law firms outside the North East.

Margaret Simpson – class operator, puts clients at ease, fights their corner when necessary, but doesn’t look to score points needlessly or make the process any longer than it needs to be.

Duncan Lewis Solicitors

Led by Meena Kumari and Abbid Majeed, the team at Duncan Lewis Solicitors focuses on sensitive child protection issues including abduction matters, child abuse work, and wardship and adoption mandates, alongside a notable specialism in FGM protection orders. The practice often works on a cross-border basis, particularly in abduction and FGM cases.

Practice head(s):

Meena Kumari; Abbid Majeed

Work highlights

  • Advised a father on matters relating to international child abduction issues, non-molestation order and s8 orders.
  • Represented the respondent mother in application for a Female Genital Mutilation Protection Order (FGMPO) by a local authority in respect of the client’s daughter, now ten years old.
  • Advised on a matter concerning wardship and care proceedings.

Shoosmiths LLP

Shoosmiths LLP handles a range of divorce and family breakdown cases, including financial settlements and child custody and care issues. The team has notable expertise acting for incapable clients and handling Islamic law matters through solicitor Siddique PatelPeter Morris heads up the Leeds-based team and is highly praised for his client care.

Practice head(s):

Caroline Watson

Other key lawyers:

Peter Morris; Siddique Patel

Testimonials

During a very difficult period personally, Peter’s almost immediate availability for me, providing advice and reassurance as well as navigating a difficult landscape, made a huge difference to how I was able to deal with the overall situation and maintain my focus on being a new mum. We were able to have open conversations that were solution focused and with keeping my costs down as a primary focus.

From the first interaction, they have genuinely listened, provided help and guidance. They take time to explain things in layman’s terms and ensure I understand the options available and the implications of each, so I can make an informed decision. They have my best interests at heart always.

Peter Morris is fantastic and I would have no hesitation in recommending him. He has a wonderful balance of seriousness and light-heartedness, which makes a difficult situation easier.

The family team at Shoosmiths are unique because of their empathy and tact towards clients. They are approachable, reliable and professional at all times. They are very patient with clients and non judgemental.’

In my experience, Shoosmiths in Leeds can be relied upon to give an exceptional level of service in every respect. I felt supported by all of the professionals that I came into contact with. My solicitor Peter Morris is an exceptional lawyer, who I believe is held in high esteem by both his peers and the staff upon whom he relies for administrative support. His knowledge and professional skills are complemented by his well- developed personal, social and communication skills. He uses these to good effect with clients, demonstrating a genuine empathy and understanding of their situation. 

Simpson Millar LLP

Simpson Millar LLP 's national family teams are led out of its Leeds office, enabling the firm to act across the UK on matrimonial finance and children law issues. The family finance practice was boosted by the arrival of national head David Lister from Irwin Mitchell in 2019, while Patricia Cannon leads the child care team.

Practice head(s):

David Lister; Patricia Cannon

Testimonials

Very good – in particular the public law children team has a thorough and professional service which is often not seen in similar firms. The firm stands out in the crowd.

I have worked with Patricia Cannon on a long running care case. Patricia was fully prepared, gave the clients a really professional service and ensured that she was on hand to assist both me and senior counsel as necessary. I valued the added dynamism that she brought to the case and to our team.

I believe that the strengths to making this practice unique is their employees. Everyone you speak to want to help and want to resolve any enquiry you have and support you through your query. 

I worked with an individual solicitor David Lister when they were employed by their previous firm. They then moved to the head of family services at Simpson Millar and I decided to follow David on his journey. I had a good relationship with David and he has supported me through some of the most difficult times of my life. He was always approachable and knowledge about the options I had. I could reach him at any time I wish and he always made himself available (where appropriate). He was supportive and gave guidance on how to move forward in my court proceedings whilst remaining calm and ensuring I was calm and thought carefully with a level head.

Ward Hadaway

Ward Hadaway advises clients on high-value divorce settlements, with some cases containing significant cross-border asset considerations. The team also works with carers, children and guardians in care proceedings and child safeguarding matters. The practice is led by Jonathan Flower , with Andrea Dyer also playing a key role in complex financial cases.

Practice head(s):

Jonathan Flower

Other key lawyers:

Andrea Dyer

Weightmans

Weightmans works across the full spectrum of family law issues, including nuptial agreements, divorce settlements and children issues. The Leeds team is headed up by Louise Walker, who has particular expertise in divorce proceedings containing complex corporate and trust structures, high-value investments, and cross-jurisdictional assets.

Practice head(s):

Louise Walker

Testimonials

I only had contact with my solicitor and her assistant. My solicitor instilled confidence from day 1. No question I asked was an issue, her clear to the point explanation of the divorce procedure was welcomed. Both her and her assistant responded to emails in a timely fashion and the whole process was smooth.’

Weightmans remains a full service law firm and therefore has support from all teams to provide wider advice to their family law clients. The team has strong leadership in Louise Walker (former partner at national firm Irwin Mitchell and Legal 500 Tier 1 firm Jones Myers) who has built a solid team scratch in only two and a half years from a standing start. The team now has fee-earners at all levels ensuring client work is done at the right level. The team offers highly level specialist advice on mid- to high-net-worth finance and complex Children Act matters from Leeds up to and including Newcastle.’

Louise Walker has firmly established Weightmans a key player in the family law North East circuit. I have found her to be an excellent opposite number being able to get to the heart of the issues of a case, being pragmatic and solution driven which greatly appreciated by clients and the court alike. Her top class pedigree in the family law world gives her the edge. She is commercially astute and is at least equal to her direct contemporaries being the previously named Leading Individuals in The Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners. A short hiaitus from the legal world is the only reason why she would not have consistently appeared for the last three years. Her team of Natalie Smith and Fay Kerrigan are of great and efficient support.’