The Leeds-based family team at Clarion is led by the ‘exceptional’ Justine Osmotherley. Its workload predominantly consists of advising on highly complex, and often very high-value financial settlements in cases of divorce and relationship dissolution, with expertise in pre and post nuptial agreements. In addition, the team acts on children’s cases involving fact-finding, relocation and hostile witnesses; Jane Ingleby specialises in the niche area of surrogacy. The team also advises on cohabitation disputes. Many of its matters are cross-jurisdictional. Sarah Manning is trained in hybrid and child-inclusive mediation and is a key member of the team.
Family: Leeds, West Yorkshire, North Yorkshire in Yorkshire And The Humber
Other key lawyers:
Jane Ingleby; Charlotte Davies; Siobhan Jeffels; Sarah Manning; Bronwyn Warmington
‘The main quality of Clarion is their knowledge, attention to detail and level of communication. They give the impression that they really wish to help the client rather than many lawyers who give the impression to the client that they should be grateful the lawyer has chose to act for them.’
‘From my quite extensive experience with Clarion, the firm displays a very professional service. The billing comes monthly and is broken down for easy analysis. I have just recommended a friend to Clarion for legal advice, such is the high esteem I hold them in.’
‘My dealings with Clarion have always been exceptionally professional. The good attitude and personal attention afforded to me have been brilliant. Justine Osmotherley and Bronwyn Warmington stand out in my mind for their integrity, honesty and their ability to give straight-forward, no-nonsense legal advice. They are quite outstanding and professional people.’
‘Jane Ingleby and her team have been an absolute pleasure to deal with. Jane has given sensible and pragmatic advice throughout the process, and I have been touched by the level of empathy and understanding shown to me in what has been an emotional and worrying time in my life.’
‘Excellent client care skills – very caring and nurturing of clients who are often very distressed at the start of the divorce process. Constant availability throughout the whole process, quite incredible – nothing is too much trouble.’
‘I have worked with both Justine Osmotherley and Sarah Manning; they both understand the importance of understanding their client’s circumstances and preferred outcomes before any advice is given. Their work is truly client-focused and they encourage clients to seek additional support, to be realistic about expectations, and encourage out-of-court solutions wherever possible.’
‘Without a doubt one of the best firms for family work, not just outside of London, but in the whole of the UK. I wouldn’t hesitate to put them forward for the full range of work, from a simple pre-nuptial agreement to a complex financial negotiation. The firm’s ethos of collaboration with other advisors really sets them apart.’
‘Justine Osmotherley is exceptional in every way. Tenacious, collaborative and thoroughly lovely, which is a vital quality when dealing with often emotional matters.’
Jones Myers Ltd
Jones Myers LLP ‘s team is co-headed by ‘outstanding matrimonial finance practitioner’ Richard Peaker and ‘standout children’s solicitor’ Kate Banerjee. The matrimonial finance team handles complex, high-value divorce matters, often involving the division of property and business. Elizabeth Bell ‘s financial disputes expertise covers offshore assets, company structures and trusts. The majority of the children’s department team are Children Panel members, and often advocate for victims on cross-jurisdictional and highly complex matters. Anthony Parrish is a sought-after lawyer in child abduction and care proceedings, whilst Andrew Fox has extensive experience in offshore trust structures. The York-based family team is headed by Nicki Mitchell, who is a highly regarded mediator.
Richard Peaker; Kate Banerjee
Other key lawyers:
Anthony Parrish; Elizabeth Bell; Julie Simpson; Andrew Fox
‘Jones Myers is, without question, the leading matrimonial finance firm in Yorkshire, with outstanding individuals and unparalleled strength in depth.’
‘Richard Peaker has been for some time, and remains, the outstanding matrimonial finance practitioner in Yorkshire and the North East. His wealth of experience, commercial acumen and client care skills make him stand out head and shoulders above most of his competitors.’
‘Kate Banerjee is the standout children’s solicitor in the North of England. She provides advice on all manner of children’s work from international relocation cases to public law care cases. She has a vast knowledge of all practical and pragmatic steps to be taken for a client. She cares. She is empathic. She works hard to meet her clients’ needs. Inimitable in all of Yorkshire.’
‘Jones Myers has a first-rate reputation in family law in Leeds and the surrounding area.’
‘Elizabeth Bell is an exceptional practitioner whose excellent reputation in financial remedies is very well deserved.’
‘Jones Myers rely largely on reputation and referrals to bring work in – a clear indication of the quality of the work that they do. One of the top tier family teams in Leeds.’
‘Julie Simpson in particular, shines. Her manner with young and vulnerable people is impressive – she has a calming confidence which gives her great authority in the eyes of the court. She is thorough and diligent.’
‘Richard Peaker is well known for his attention to detail and depth of knowledge.’
The resolution-focused team at Lake Legal is led by the ‘exceptional and dynamic’ Lyn Ayrton. The boutique firm specialises in complex, high-value financial remedy cases. Its work often involves contentious asset division divorce and separation matters. Such matters often feature such complexities as inheritance, tax, properties and children. The team prides itself on offering a variety of dispute resolution methods to its clients, including arbitration and collaborative law, as well as the traditional court process. Claire Glaister is described as ‘quality beyond her years’.
Other key lawyers:
Hollie Burnett; Claire Glaister
‘Lyn Ayrton is strong, extremely knowledgeable, pragmatic and devoted to her clients’ interests. She is committed to achieving a negotiated outcome, whilst being a person you would want on your team if that isn’t achievable. She is a player on a truly national level.’
‘A stellar practice, exclusively in family law. Blessed with immense strength in depth and two of the north of England’s most respected solicitors – Lyn and Claire.’
‘Claire Glaister is quality beyond her years. Clients love her realism and approachability.’
‘Lyn Ayrton’s reputation precedes her. Lyn is a exceptional and dynamic lawyer who has built a strong legal outfit around her and in her image.’
‘They are a boutique, specialist practice in family law giving the commensurate high-quality service to their clients, with years of experience within the team but a strength in depth with a strong recruitment policy. The practice includes senior members who are trained and operate in all forms of ADR: arbitration, collaborative law or mediation.’
‘Hollie Burnett is becoming a recognised practitioner in financial remedy in the geographical area, with skills in resolution whilst knowing when to litigate a case.’
‘All members of the team are outstanding in their own right and work well as a team together. Anyone instructing Lake Legal will have the benefit of high quality representation and will feel fully supported.’
‘Lyn Ayrton sets the tone for the firm and aside from excellent legal skills, is highly personable and instils confidence in clients. Hollie Burnett is hardworking and thorough; a pleasure to work with and always efficient.’
The family offering at Mills & Reeve LLP in Leeds is led by Philip Way. The team boasts two collaborative family lawyers and one mediator. It works on a range of financial disputes, which are often multi-jurisdictional, involving pensions, trusts and marital agreements. In addition, it specialises in emotionally and technically complex children work, including child abduction, inter-country adoption and forced marriage matters. Notably, the team triumphed in the recent Court of Appeal case Re H-N & Others, which concerned domestic abuse – ‘star practitioner’ and ‘force of nature’ Claudia Gilham is a standout in the team. Further, the expertise across the wider firm allow clients to receive a well-rounded and holistic service.
Other key lawyers:
‘Claudia Gilham is a stand-out operator in the area, clearly ready for partnership. She leads her team with skill and humour. Her client care is phenomenal as is her attention to detail.’
‘A strong family department with expertise on a broad range of family law issues. They are committed to excellence in their approach to clients and the law.’
‘Claudia Gilham is a force of nature. She goes the extra mile for her clients both in marshalling the details of their case and in keeping in mind the bigger picture. Her dedication to her clients and their case is second to none.’
‘National presence, with great lawyers delivering exceptional results.’
‘Philip Way is the ‘go-to’ practitioner in the north of England. He has an immense knowledge basis, and is highly experienced in dealing with complex cases.
‘Claudia Gilham is another star practitioner. She reassures clients with her command of the case and her approach.’
‘Philip Way boasts a huge wealth of experience, common sense, approachability and legal skill.’
The ‘dynamic’ team at Stewarts Law LLP is headed by ‘star family lawyer’ Adrian Clossick . Its workload predominantly involves advising on financial disputes resulting from relationship dissolution. It focuses its efforts exclusively on high-value, and (technically and emotionally) complex matters, involving such elements as domestic abuse and coercive control. Its expertise extend to children cases also, including international custody disputes. Its cases are often cross-jurisdictional. Key members of the team are Ellie Hampson-Jones and Jenny Bowden.
Other key lawyers:
Sarah Harvey; Jenny Bowden; Ellie Hampson-Jones; Rebecca Worsley; Lisette Dupré
‘Stewarts’ family team is a cut above the rest. The team works incredibly well and efficiently together, and throughout my case they have consistently delivered top legal advice. They are the ‘go-to’ law firm for family and divorce matters, in my view, and I will undoubtedly recommend them to anyone in my circles who may need expert family law advice.’
‘Stewarts has at their disposal every expert who may be required to help with the case and they make sure the deployment of such services are joined up with theirs and that from a client’s point of view, it feels seamless. As far as I am concerned, Stewarts’ team is ‘The A Team’ when it comes to family and divorce law matters. They are truly in a league of their own.’
‘Adrian Clossick is an outstandingly clever family law and divorce expert. Adrian remains calm and measured at all times, yet is highly effective and on-target without fail. He has unique ability to deliver top expert legal advice in a compassionate, friendly and down to earth manner. Adrian is an exceptionally talented strategist who knows how to win a case, even in the most challenging and difficult circumstances. Adrian, in my view, is a star family lawyer!’
‘Ellie Hampson-Jones is a totally safe pair of hands – a lawyer anyone would want to have on their side. Her expertise is second to none and she consistently, and very quickly, delivers top quality and effective legal advice. Ellie is a deep-thinker; she strategises from day one, such that everything falls into place like clockwork. She will go the extra mile for her clients and will do so in an effortless manner. She is truly passionate and caring about her clients and work.’
‘Rebecca Worsley has been and will always be a standout person for us on our particular family journey and is someone who we are glad to have had the pleasure of working with. Sensitive, sincere, caring, astute, well organised and dedicated are just a few words that can be used to describe her although I’m not sure they compliment her highly enough.
‘I’ve dealt with Jenny Bowden and Rebecca Worsley, and I’ve found them both extraordinarily knowledgeable, responsive, and – importantly – sympathetic, sensible and understanding in negotiating a divorce and child arrangement orders. Both of them are a pleasure to work with. I would recommend them to anybody.’
‘The team are dynamic and always striving for excellence. They bring magic circle skills to the North and represent fantastic value for money.’
‘Lisette Dupré is an excellent lawyer who offered me invaluable advice and was lightning quick when my children were wrongfully removed from my care’.
Director Danielle Day leads the family team at Berwins in Harrogate. Advising on complex financial matters resulting from relationship breakdown is the team’s specialism. It strives for non-litigious dispute resolution. Its cases often involve the valuation and division of such elements as trusts; business interests; pensions and payment schemes. The team is experienced in assisting vulnerable clients, in sensitive and abusive situations, and also deals with cases with cross-border complexities.
Other key lawyers:
Stephen Root; William Kaye
‘Exceptionally strong on family dispute resolution by means other than litigation: mediation, collaborative law and arbitration.’
‘Stephen Root and William Kaye are deeply committed to client welfare and are exceptionally well versed in, and passionate about, dispute resolution.’
‘A great team, very professional. Always kept me updated on any progress and always got back to me very promptly, answering my questions and taking the time to explain the legal process.’
‘Stephen Root was recommended to me via a friend. He has many years of experience and dealt with my very complicated case extremely well. Managing to achieve the very best outcome possible for me.’
‘Fixed price alternatives on billing.’
‘Individuals who are extremely bright with the ability to think many steps ahead.’
‘William Kaye has been a source of calm and professional advice – he has been especially helpful in the area of finance. He has a professional approach, which I really appreciate. He is prompt, explains things well and if it wasn’t for his advice I don’t think I would have the energy to get to the end of this process.’
The family team at Blacks Solicitors LLP in Leeds is led by Ann Robinson. Financial resolution following relationship dissolution and related children cases form the majority of the team’s workload. It deals exclusively with privately funded clients. Matters often involve cross-border elements, and such complex factors as taxation and property asset division, as well as sensitive cases of abusive family circumstances. The team offers a holistic approach to its clients, referring its matters across the wider firm; it aims for amicable solutions, but represents its clients in court where this is not possible.
Other key lawyers:
Paul Lancaster ; Josie Kirk
‘I worked with Paul Lancaster, who was excellent; very knowledgeable and very good in the court room. He was always available and very personable.’
‘Ann Robinson was very understanding of my situation, but also very direct when explaining things and negotiating on my behalf.’
‘Blacks is very focused on your personal situation. They aim to provide the best possible service regardless of your background or problem. The advice is of high quality and any complex legal issues are considered with precision and accuracy. The team is also effective in its communication in that information on the different steps in the procedure is provided and consequences of any choices is clearly explained and mutually agreed.’
‘Ann Robinson has been remarkable in understanding the difficult position in which I found myself with cases in a number of jurisdictions. She established a way out of this in the most efficient and professional manner using all the resources we had at our disposable. Her empathy and listening skills also distinguish her from others.’
‘Blacks Solicitors LLP is a firm who cares about each case it takes on, they review thoroughly whilst taking onboard their clients’ view. What really makes Blacks unique is their attention-to-detail and their ability to always find a way forward when it seems impossible.
‘They are a compassionate team of individuals who put the client first, ensuring that they are supported and that their case is handled with the client’s goal in mind. Blacks Solicitors LLP took on my case and now I am moving forward feeling both confident and positive of some sort of an agreed outcome.’
‘The family law team are amazing and cannot thank them enough for helping me. When is comes to fees Blacks are both competitive and realistic, they understand that clients are from different financial backgrounds, so provide a range of supportive options to help while keeping costs to a minimum, there is no pressure applied to made payments and they always ensure both constructive and understanding discussions happen well in advance.’
‘Josie Kirk was really understanding and supportive of my case. What really stood out for me was that Josie understood what I was trying to achieve. The real determination and hard work by Josie and the senior partner team was, I felt, above and beyond. Finally – a law firm that made me feel I was being listened to. I would recommend Blacks to all my friends and family without hesitation.’
Consilia Legal‘s family team is headed by the ‘fearless’ and ‘exceptional’ Laura Clapton. The team prides itself on its offering of mediation and ADR solutions to clients; Clapton has successfully introduced a ‘Hybrid Mediation’ model at the firm. The team’s workload predominantly involves high-value, complex financial disputes and children’s matters. It offers notable expertise in parental alienation and coercive control cases, specifically. In addition, its cases are often cross-jurisdictional in nature and the team is well-versed in dealing with overseas assets disputes. Sandeep Sandhu and Sophie Arrowsmith are key members of the family team, which is commended by clients for its ‘anxiety reducing’ ability to deal constructively and efficiently with diverse issues.
Other key lawyers:
Sophie Arrowsmith; Sandeep Sandhu; Kelly Walters
‘The team at Consilia Legal are used to dealing with complex child cases and those with an international element. They provide speedy responses and I’m always able to get hold of my solicitor when needed, which reduces stress in what is already a stressful situation.’
‘Sophie Arrowsmith has been an excellent support throughout my entire journey. From being in an abusive relationship to the place I’m in today: living with self-respect and much-needed mental peace. Sophie provided me with warmth and the assurance that she was always available for help and support. Sophie is very professional and always stuck to her commitments, and she ensured that timely advice was given and appropriate actions taken.’
‘A key strength of this team is how trainee solicitors are incorporated into the structure. I appreciated having women to provide me with all the support and advice required to get divorced. I would recommend them, especially to any woman seeking a female-only legal team.’
‘The diversity aspect has been really important to me which is one of the reasons I chose Consilla Legal. When looking for representation in the past, I often found that I had to explain a lot of details regarding my culture, wasting time and increasing my costs. I was having to explain details that would have been easy for someone from a diverse background to understand – I got that understanding from Consilla Legal. I am so grateful to have found them in my time of need.’
‘I really can’t put into words what Sandeep Sandhu has meant to me. She has always been there when I have needed her, offered me the best advice and made sure I understood all the legal terms which helped me make some of my most important decisions. Sandeep always remained professional but I knew she was there for me, it always felt as though I was talking to a friend, not my solicitor. Sandeep understood what I was going through and the cultural aspects of my separation which was so important to me – it made things a lot easier for me, and my anxieties were reduced by not having to explain the minute details of my situation.’
‘Consilia has a modern, progressive approach to Family Law, embracing and encouraging non-court dispute resolution where ever appropriate but also taking a robust approach where Court proceedings are unavoidable. Their preparation and attention to detail is impeccable. They are very approachable and user-friendly whilst also extremely professional in every respect. Although they are a relatively new firm, they have succeeded in already achieving a reputation as one of the best firms for Family Law in Leeds.’
‘Laura Clapton is exceptional in her conduct of cases on behalf of her clients. She is friendly and approachable and also fearless in representing her clients. Laura will always consider which method of dispute resolution is best suited to each case, and embraces all forms of dispute resolution, including Court proceedings where necessary. Clients benefit from her high level of expertise in ADR, and also her tenacious approach if court proceedings ensue. She also provides effectively leadership to others in her team and is widely respected by practitioners throughout the North East. Kelly Walters is also a very able family law practitioner. Her case preparation is meticulous and she leaves no stone unturned in pursuing her clients’ cases.’
‘Sophie Arrowsmith has a wealth of experience in complex child cases and those with an international child element. She listens to my concerns and needs and addresses them accordingly.’
Harrogate Family Law
Harrogate Family Law‘s ‘exceptional’ offering is led by Andrew Meehan. The team focuses on medium to high-net-worth financial proceedings of divorce or cohabitation breakdown, involving such factors as hidden assets and trusts. In addition, the team works on private children matters. Its cases are often complex, both technically and emotionally; its clients often vulnerable, having been victims of abusive or controlling behaviour. ‘Top-rate solicitor’ Emma Doughty and the ‘unflappable’ Laura Mounsey are stand-out team members.
Other key lawyers:
Laura Mounsey; Charlotte Carroll; Emma Doughty; Carol Jessop
‘An exceptional group of talented lawyers with a diverse background, who have accomplished the needs of their clients in the Harrogate and surrounding area.’
‘Laura Mounsey is hard working and unflappable. She has an ability beyond her years.’
‘Andrew Meehan’s experience and knowledge are obvious from the first moment you meet him. He is excellent to work with, he looks for pragmatic solutions if possible but will really fight his client’s corner when necessary. Laura Mounsey is extremely knowledgeable and quickly builds a rapport with clients. Charlotte Carroll is very thorough and diligent and is definitely one to watch for the future.’
‘A young team (of mainly women) that demonstrates strength across all aspects of private family law with particularly exceptional client care and responsiveness. Clients receive high quality advice before counsel is brought in on a case, meaning that expectations are appropriately managed but interests fiercely represented during the course of litigation. In my experience, this reassures clients and builds trust within their “team” ahead of pressure points in litigation.’
‘Emma Doughty stands out as a top-rate solicitor. She is compassionate with lay-clients, pragmatic with her advice, and has a strong grasp of the nuances in financial remedy proceedings. She works very well with counsel to achieve the client’s objectives and map out constructive solutions to real-life problems. It is a pleasure to work with her on any case.’
‘A friendly and efficient team with a wide skill set amongst the practitioners I have worked with. They appear to have a good understanding of the most appropriate ways to deal with complex pension cases and they have expertise in dealing with high-net-worth cases. In addition, the team has a strong ethos on ensuring that staff training is a high priority for them in, ensuring the team remains up-to-date with legal developments, such that they can give the best possible advice to their clients.’
‘Carol Jessop is a very capable and experienced individual who has the confidence and expertise to deal with the most complex of pension cases from mineworkers’ pensions to public sector pensions. Emma Doughty is very strong on public sector cases.’
‘Andrew Meehan is a brilliant steward of the firm who leads from the front by way of example. Top lawyer who is the solicitor of choice for those experiencing complex and financial remedy proceedings.’
- Obtained assets of £5.5m for a client in a case involving business interests in China, after the husband initially claimed net-assets were worth £460k.
- Advised on a case where assets that had initially appeared to be under £100k, were discovered (through use of third party disclosure orders and the resultant uncovering of trusts) to equate to £575k; secured a lifetime interest for the client.
- Secured an order that the client receive almost all of the equity to rehouse and discharge their litigation loan, after demonstrating that the opposition had transferred assets out of the jurisdiction to a third party.
Ramsdens Solicitors LLP
The ‘extremely diligent’ family team at Ramsdens Solicitors LLP is led by head of family Helen Thewlis and head of child care Joanne Coen. It advises on a broad range of matters; a significant portion of the team’s focus is set on asset division disputes resulting from relationship dissolution. It also drafts and advises on pre and post-nuptial agreements. Its workload predominantly consists of high-value, complex matters involving such emotionally and technically difficult issues as domestic abuse. In addition, the team specialises in children cases, acting disputes involving custody and childcare.
Helen Thewlis; Joanne Coen
Other key lawyers:
Kate McNally; Sarah Ward; Laura Beevers; Rebecca Sargent
‘Rebecca Sargent has quite literally been my rock. She has always been professional and despite me not always wanting to hear her advice, I know she has always given it based on the law and what was in the children’s best interests. Rebecca has been constantly patient and tolerant with me and I have always felt she had given me the absolute best service and advice. Charlotte Eastwood is also very dedicated to my case and I always feel that I have been a priority for all the staff.’
‘The individuals that work for the practice make it stand out from other firms. The family team are exceptional in this firm.’
‘Ramsdens has a wealth of solicitors who are dedicated, hard-working and extremely diligent. Their representation within the Children Act sphere is second to none. Their cases are thoroughly prepared and it is evident that clients have been given realistic advice.’
‘Rebecca Sargent is an extraordinary solicitor. Her cases are always thoroughly and diligently prepared. She constantly maintains excellent client care skills. Rebecca’s advice is always realistic which ensures that the client has a real focus on the issues at hand. This enables those she instructs to focus on obtaining the best outcome for the client. I cannot speak highly enough of Rebecca, she truly is a star.’
‘Sarah Ward is an exceptional lawyer with a keen eye for detail and brilliant judgement. Her collaborative approach gets the most out of every case.’
‘Helen Thewlis is top-class and leading in her field. The team are very prepared as a firm and have a very reasonable, realistic and well-rounded approach to their cases, which is invaluable.’
‘Joanne Coen is a real specialist in her field, she is knowledgeable and confident, in a warm and approachable way.’
Carmelita Ardren heads the team at Raworths, which ‘has an excellent reputation in Harrogate and beyond for providing legal services of a very high quality’. The scope of the team’s workload involves advising on the financial aspects of relationship dissolution cases, and advising on complex children cases; the team prides itself on its dispute resolution abilities, reaching settlements without recourse to court. It also has a niche specialism in obtaining English pension sharing orders after overseas divorces. Its matters are high-value and often cross-jurisdictional. The firm at large has collaborative abilities which afford its client a strong depth and quality of service.
Other key lawyers:
Ellie Foster; Joanna Lofthouse; Claire Hunter
‘I work with Carmelita Arden. She is always extremely quick to respond and finds the time to action things with a quick turnaround where necessary. This has been extremely important in the matter she has been assisting with. She is also always keen not to just follow instruction but to talk through the scenarios and make sure I am aware of the potential outcomes.’
‘Businesses are all about people, and Raworths scores very highly in that regard; they manage to present a more human approach to what can be a relatively inhuman legal wrangling and negotiation, at times. They offer a collaborative, pragmatic approach, which helps to achieve a desired outcome. No one likes bills, but Raworths’ processes are transparent and efficient.’
‘Ellie Foster came recommended to me and I never had cause to doubt my decision to engage her services. We plugged away to find solutions and Ellie ensured that my wilder excesses of judgement were brought back to reality. So, it was an excellent working relationship.’
‘Carmelita Ardren, Joanna Lofthouse and Claire Hunter are all excellent lawyers. They are astute, pragmatic and knowledgeable – aiming to achieve the best outcome for clients but tempered, with realistic expectations.’
‘Raworths has an excellent reputation in Harrogate and beyond for providing legal services of a very high quality in family law. Clients benefit from the multi-disciplinary nature of the firm and the fact that they are able to obtain advice in related areas, if needed.’
‘Carmelita Ardren is a highly regarded family law practitioner with particular expertise in financial remedy matters.’
‘Ellie Foster and I have worked together on client cases and very much approach these cases as a team to ensure the best outcome for the client. I thoroughly enjoy working with Ellie and would always recommend her to my clients.’
- Advising on a financial remedy case with complex corporate, trust and pension structures.
- Securing English jurisdiction to the benefit of the client and negotiating a settlement in a multi-jurisdictional case.
- Advising a client in a cross-jurisdictional maintenance dispute under the Schedule 1 Children Act.
The team at Stowe Family Law LLP is led by Julian Hawkhead and Rachel Roberts from the Leeds office, and Sarah Barr-Young and Christopher Birch from elsewhere in the region. The family team is one of the largest in the Yorkshire and specialises in high-net-worth and ultra high-net-worth matters. Financial resolution following relationship dissolution makes up a large proportion of the team’s workload. Such matters often involve cross-jurisdictional, technically complex cases including nuptial agreements and division of such assets as potential business sale profits and pensions. In addition, the team has experience advising on sensitive children matters involving abuse and alienation.
Julian Hawkhead; Rachel Roberts; Sarah Barr-Young; Christopher Birch
Other key lawyers:
Angela Sussens; Kate Sarsfield; Debbie Heald
‘Debbie Heald was very patient and kind throughout and consistently replied in a timely manner. She had expertise relevant to the case, and when appropriate she sought the advice of a barrister.’
‘All interactions with Stowe Family law team members has been positive. There is an apparent culture of kindness, helpfulness and, importantly for me, straightforwardness.’
‘My main contact has been with Julian Hawkhead. I trust Julian and value his opinion and advice. I feel he has my best interests at heart, but at the same time, tells it how it is.’
‘Throughout my dealings with Stowe Family Law I received nothing but the highest levels of service, a thorough and up to date knowledge of may complicated case, and excellent and understanding advice.’
‘My case was handled by Angela Sussens and I cannot recommend her highly enough. At all times she had a thorough and up to date understanding of the case and had immediate recall of all details throughout.’
‘Sarah Barr-Young, Rachel Roberts, Angela Sussens and Chris Birch are all are excellent in their field and able to deliver effective and realistic advice.’
‘Wide-range of knowledge and their depth of specialism is second to none. They have such a broad range of solicitors that any potential client can be matched to accordingly.’
‘Stowe Family Law is an exceptional firm of family solicitors which is synonymous with quality, thorough preparation, excellent client care and high professionalism. The quality of the partners and associates is consistent throughout the firm.’
Abbid Majeed and Meena Kumari lead the family and child care offering at Duncan Lewis Solicitors from Bradford. The team’s workload includes advising on complex financial matters. The team specialises in domestic abuse cases, and has expertise in forced marriage and FGM. In addition, it advises on complex private children matters, including emergency protection and adoption cases, often internationally. The wider firm prides itself on its cross-cultural awareness, which strengthen its ability to provide support in unorthodox family matters.
Abbid Majeed; Meena Kumari
Other key lawyers:
Sophie Hussain; Talat Manir
‘I appreciated the fact that my opinions and feelings were closely taken into consideration prior to any decisions made. I am so grateful to Sophia Hussain, who worked outside of hours to ensure I received the help I needed, and to make sure all work was completed; she supported me more than I expected.’
‘Abbid Majid took time out of his regular work to make sure my case was taken care of.’
‘They have been very forward and clear in setting out steps that should or should not be taken, whilst still giving me the choice to make the decisions that I feel are best for my case.’
‘They are helpful and friendly. They won my case and when I needed advice after completion, they still helped me.’
‘Solicitors are helpful and understanding at this firm. Abbid Majid was very supportive. In court, all the talking was done for me, which made me feel at ease.’
‘Working with Abbid Majeed was a breeze. He went above and beyond to help me understand everything regarding my case and more.’
Mark Heppinstall, who has 'a very well-deserved reputation as one of the best matrimonial finance exponents in Leeds', heads the Leeds-based family team at Freeths LLP. A significant portion of the team’s workload involves handling high-value financial remedy proceedings. These matters regularly involve division of such complex assets as businesses, properties and pensions. The team also advise on sensitive childcare cases, often involving injunctions.
‘Mark Heppinstall continues to develop a very well-deserved reputation as one of the best matrimonial finance exponents in Leeds. Mark is exceptionally bright and brings to bear a highly impressive level of attention-to-detail in the conduct of his cases. Mark’s analytical skills and his conduct of negotiations always impress, invariably resulting in client satisfaction.’
‘Mark Heppinstall is a stand-out individual with an excellent technical grasp of the law.’
‘Mark Heppinstall was my solicitor during my divorce case. He was compassionate and understanding – he gave me practical and procedural advice, explained things simply and did not make me feeling inadequate when asking questions. I might not have liked what he said sometimes, but he was definitely acting in my best interest. I would have no hesitation in recommending Freeths – especially Mark Heppinstall.’
‘Freeths have a broad range of experience in family law and related areas. Mark’s clients benefit from his expertise and that of others in the firm, including the corporate team.’
‘The calibre of client that they attract and represent (high-net-worth and complex financial set up), show the level at which they are working.’
‘From my experience of working with Mark Heppinstall, he is a solicitor that provides realistic and sensible advice. To his credit, he supports clients to participate in dispute resolution out of court, focusing on what is in their best interests.’
‘They are a very high quality yet approachable and accessible specialist family team, with a broad-ranging practice. They don’t just focus on net worth, but provide excellent service whether there is a lot or a little at stake financially. They also undertake the full range of child arrangements and relocation cases. They focus not just on litigation but on other solutions aimed at resolving disputes through ADR and mediation.’
‘Mark Heppinstall really stands out as someone who fights passionately for his clients. He is immaculately prepared and very hard working and really instils confidence in the client, as someone who cares about them as individuals.’
The ‘fantastic’ team at Harrowells Solicitors is led by the ‘amazing’ Lucy Phipps. The team specialises in managing high-conflict cases and high-net-worth divorce and financial remedy cases. It also deals with children matters that result from these separations. Sensitive scenarios arise in the custodial battles the team advises on, including threat of abduction and it has been to the Court of Appeal with such cases. Team member Emma Walker is a farming divorce specialist in the team.
Other key lawyers:
Emma Walker; Amy Foweather
‘Lucy Phipps is amazing. She is always realistic about what is likely to be achieved and not afraid to tell you if she thinks your ideas of the outcome are unlikely. She is very empathetic and also takes on board the situation and it’s affect on the children in your divorce. I could not praise Lucy higher. When dealing with her I did not feel like I was just another client, she really does care about the outcome for you.’
‘All the team that I have had dealings with have been fantastic, nothing has been too much trouble. I find the firm very efficient and speedy with anything I need. In the lockdowns there was always someone on the phone and my solicitor would ring me from home. I will always recommend Harrowells. They are not the cheapest but they are the best.’
‘Emma Walker has a very honest approach and guided me all the way through family proceedings. I will always listen to her advice, she is amazing at what she does. I also had dealings with Matthew, I can not remember his name but he is head of data protection, he has been amazing too. I have been with Harrowells for nearly six years and I wouldn’t go anywhere else.’
‘The calm, supportive and collaborative nature of the practice got me through what was a really emotional experience. I felt supported and connected to all members of their team right through the long journey. Nothing seemed too much bother – they really seem to understand the emotions clients are going though, and I really felt like a person – not just a client case number. The Harrowells family took the time and interest to get to know a lot about me, which also in tern I’m sure, helped to secure an unlikely successful outcome for my children.’
‘All members of the Harrowells family team are friendly, engaging and really supportive. However, the standout for me is Amy Foweather. Besides being supportive all the way through, Amy had a knack for controlling my emotions and keeping me completely on track strategically in order to succeed in obtaining the best outcome for my children. Amy has personal values and traits that truly make you feel like a valued customer and not just a client.’
‘I have worked with Lucy Phipps on a very complex private law children’s case which involved an outing to the Court of Appeal. Lucy was resolutely determined to get the right outcome for the child and the client in this case and gave robust, sensible advice at the various stages of the litigation and in highly charged/emotive situations. A calming presence court-side.’
‘The team provide extremely high quality family advice. I am always well briefed and its solicitors work extremely effectively in conjunction with counsel to deliver the right outcome in private children and finance matters.’
The Leeds-based family team at Irwin Mitchell is led by wealth protection specialist Helen Revill, who also heads up the firm's Middlesbrough, Newcastle & Glasgow teams, working out of Leeds and Sheffield. The team’s workload consists mainly of advising on complex, high-value financial matters, including managing pre and post-nuptial agreements, as well as advising on complex children matters. The team aims for non-contentious resolution for its clients, but is also well-equipped to litigate on such technical matters as pension sharing orders, family business valuations, liquid capital and tax. Associate solicitor Scott Halliday is a key member of the team.
Other key lawyers:
Scott Halliday; April Wood; Roopen Kalirai
‘Extremely well-respected family law team across Yorkshire with very experienced lawyers.’
‘Irwin Mitchell LLP is an outstanding firm characterised by exceptional client service, high levels of professionalism, and unmatched efficiency. Instructions from this firm are synonymous with excellent quality work and detailed preparation. I should add that this firm is exceptional in the level of preparation and training that it affords its trainees and paralegals, whose competency and professionalism far outweighs that which is seen in other firms.’
‘The firm is spoilt for choice in relation to outstanding individuals. I have worked with Roopen Kalirai recently in a finance case, where her pragmatism, attention to detail and client care have truly impressed me.’
‘Helen Revill is an outstanding partner. She is thorough, efficient, pleasant to work with and extremely experienced. I am always pleased to receive instructions from Helen, as I know that I will receive excellent quality work from her.’
‘The team offers a bespoke family service. Whilst being a national firm the regional offices have a personal approach to representing their clients. They offer realistic advice and tenaciously pursue their clients’ cases. The firm also has a progressive approach to social inclusivity to make their work accessible.’
‘Scott Halliday approaches each case with enthusiasm. His briefs are always thorough and focused. He is happy to involve counsel from the early stages of the case. He is responsive to suggestions and leaves no stone unturned.’
‘April Wood – is sympathetic to clients and attuned to their needs. She ensures that counsel is fully briefed and that the clients’ case is prepared thoroughly. When her cases are before the court, they are prepared to a standard that is second to none.’
A leading national UK charity, which supports fathers, mothers and grandparents through establishing contact and meaningful relationships with their children, following separation.
The ‘practical and solution-focused’ family team at LCF Law is headed by the ‘excellent’ Rachel Spencer Robb. The team advises on high-value matrimonial financial disputes; advising owner managed businesses and individuals on the implications of divorce or separation. In addition, it handles complex custodial children’s matters in relation. Harjit Rait is another key member of the team; experienced practitioner Rachel Baul recently joined the team frm Jones Myers LLP.
Rachel Spencer Robb
Other key lawyers:
Harjit Rait; Rachel Baul
‘At all times they were extremely professional, well organised and efficient.’
‘With LCF Law, I really felt I was in safe hands and that I was getting the best legal help at all stages in my divorce. They were also very understanding and sensitive with regards to my legal needs and personal needs.’
‘Anyone I spoke to at the firm was very professional. From the solicitors to their assistants, to people in the billing department, to receptionists. I needed a solicitor that understood my family dynamics, and that’s what I got.’
‘I would advise LCF to my friends and family, or to anyone who wants a professional legal firm that tailors their legal service to you as an individual.’
‘Harjit Rait was my legal representative for my divorce and she is a genuine and lovely lady, who cared about my health and mental well-being, obviously she is also a very professional and excellent legal representative.’
‘Practical and solution-focused. Very experienced team and good to deal with’
‘Have been on the other side of Rachel Spencer Robb on several occasions. She battles hard for her client, always with an eye to finding solutions. She is always open to proposals and is firm but fair.’
‘Rachel Spencer Robb has recently been joined by Rachel Baul. Both are excellent lawyers who are pragmatic and commercially aware.’
Christopher Burns heads the Leeds-based family team at Lupton Fawcett. A significant portion of its workload involves advising high-profile clients on complex financial dispute matters of significant value, resulting from relationship breakdowns, involving divorce or cohabitation. In such matters, the team is well-equipped to advise clients on tax, security, trust, business and pension implications. The team also works on children’s cases, namely advising and representing local authorities in public law Children’s Act proceedings. The team also advises in private law children’s cases. Andrew Smith , head of the York team and ‘erudite mentor’ to clients, is a noteworthy member of the team.
Other key lawyers:
‘Chris Burns is calm, has sound judgment and is very measured. His advice is always nuanced and he doesn’t sit on the fence.’
‘Lupton Fawcett’s Leeds team has been outstanding in all areas relating to my case. Chris Burns and his team treat my case with the utmost dedication, commitment and consistency. Lupton Fawcett LLP are above and beyond any other firm I have experienced. The most incredible qualities of this firm, is that they have experience, ability and passion to go the extra mile for their clients, as part of they day-to-day roles and responsibilities. Most importantly, the team always put the interests of my child and family at the heart of their focus and objectives.’
‘Chris Burns enabled me to feel confident and reassured. Not only has Chris played an instrumental part in giving me and my family our quality of life back, he has cemented our future- there is no better feeling as a client. I feel incredibly lucky to have found Chris and his wonderful team.’
‘Lupton Fawcett provide direct, straightforward advice in a way which clients find easy to understand. Compared to other firms they are very good at assessing the strengths and weaknesses of a case.’
‘Andrew Smith was my solicitor and handled my case with great care. It was a very personal and painful situation regarding a divorce and he was at all times professional. He was also very honest and managed my expectations as to what we could achieve. He listened to my personal requests, and managed the situation with great dignity.’
‘My experience with Lupton Fawcett is that they give clear and complete advice, build trust and are committed to building long-term relationships. Lupton Fawcett is client-driven; they understand your true concerns and priorities.’
‘In my experience, when needed, Andrew Smith is an erudite mentor who makes complicated situations understandable. He is trustworthy, reliable, and committed. He always has your back.’
The family department at McCormicks in Harrogate is led by Stephen Hopwood. The team predominantly advises on division of asset matters following relationship dissolution. In addition, the team lends a portion of its focus to children’s matters, namely custodial disputes. Its cases often involve technically and emotionally complex factors such as domestic abuse or criminal allegations against one of the involved parties.
‘A strong practice comprising of individuals, expert in their field, working as a team with a customer-centric ethos.’
‘Stephen Hopwood is a hands-on solicitor who works closely with his clients.’
- 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 who had been subject to an abusive relationship on a children matter.
Ridley & Hall
Emma Pearmaine and Emma Hopkins Jones head the Leeds-based team at Ridley & Hall, whilst Jane Munden heads the recently established Barnsley office and Vicky Medd and James Cook head the Huddersfield office. Its workload is focused on financial issues within divorce proceedings, namely advising women so as to empower them in emotionally and technically complex cases of domestic abuse, child care or guardianship. Huddersfield-based senior partner Nigel Priestley specialises in grandparents and kinship carers children work.
Emma Pearmaine; James Cook; Vicky Medd; Emma Hopkins-Jones; Jane Munden
Other key lawyers:
‘Nigel Priestley acted for me during the breakdown of my adoption and subsequent care proceedings. This has been an extraordinarily stressful period for us, heart breaking and completely disorientating. I was extremely fortunate to find this practice. The team reassuringly expressed a sense of urgency and Nigel immediately inspired confidence. I felt my burden and worries were shared and that we were in safe hands.’
‘The team are friendly and remember who you are. The company is centred around the client. They also understand that they are supporting you in what is likely to be the most difficult time of your life. They are realistic in the advice they give you, even when the information is hard to hear. They supply information in a timely manner and are able to give you this information in whatever media suits you. The company is also upfront and clear about the costing of any matter.’
‘A wealth of experience from top to bottom in all family law matters involving children and financial . They offer a first class service to clients at highly competitive rates. Their client care is excellent with pragmatic advice and good preparation for all court hearings. Nothing is too much trouble for them including instructing counsel early in complex cases.’
‘Highly approachable, offering a wonderful mix of reassurance and understanding. Nothing is too much trouble for them, they will always go the extra mile with client care including out of hours. Excellent preparation of documentation for court hearings’
‘I have worked with Ridley & Hall for several years. The quality and clarity of the legal advice is consistently excellent. Responses are always prompt and the solicitors are supported by excellent paralegal and administrative staff.’
‘Nigel Priestley was absolutely fantastic, a real champion in fighting my particular case. He was really positive and resilient, and I can’t speak highly enough to his character and ability.’
‘Ridley & Hall have an excellent team of very experienced solicitors. They are approachable and build relationships with counsel and clients, to form a good working partnership to get the best possible outcome for the clients.’
The team are fierce advocates when it comes to ensuring that their clients are properly represented. They are always fully aware of the developments in each case, ensuring that opposing parties are held to account when they do not perform their duties adequately. They work above and beyond, including outside of normal hours, to ensure they deliver a high quality, but personable, service.’
Silk Family Law
The team at Silk Family Law, which operates from bases in Newcastle, Leeds and Richmond, North Yorkshire, is described as ‘bringing a magic circle touch to the North East’. The practice specialises in the full spectrum of complex family matters, including divorce and separation; financial remedy; nuptial agreement; cohabitation and civil partnership; asset division; child care; injunction and Inheritance Act claims. Its cases are often cross-border in nature and of high-value.
Other key lawyers:
Margaret Simpson; Matthew Miles; Emily Bell; Nia Jameson
‘I was extremely impressed with the efficiency of Silk Family Law as a business. The level of technical expertise of their solicitors is second to none. I was guided through a very difficult period with honesty, support and extremely high levels of service.’
‘Emily Bell is excellent and has been extremely supportive throughout my case.’
‘Nia Jameson at Silk Family Law worked on my case comprehensively. Nia was focused, professional, caring and covered every aspect with superb knowledge. Nia worked with great diligence and clarity and I would have no reservation recommending her.’
‘Personable, charismatic and just brilliant at what they do. These are words that I would use to describe everyone I have been instructed by at Silk. They bring a magic circle touch to work in the North East and they are just a delight to work with.’
‘A growing team of well-established and young solicitors with a diverse make-up. The firm are very easy to contact with a collaborative approach from the outset. Their specialist local knowledge and understanding of their client’s needs, particularly with regards to land owner and clients in the farming communities, is second to none.’
‘Matthew Miles is one to watch. Brilliant with clients and a top lawyer. Emily Bell has a warm, approachable manner that is a hit with clients.’
The family team at Austin Kemp is led by Amandeep Kooner in Leeds. Its workload consists of advising on matrimonial financial dispute cases, involving the division of assets of significant value. The team also advises on children matters, namely custodial disputes, which often involve technically and emotionally complex elements such as allegations of abuse.
Emsleys Solicitors Limited
The family team at Emsleys Solicitors Limited in Leeds is led by Gabbie Clasper. The team’s work includes advising on financial remedies following relationship dissolution, divorce, cohabitation disputes. The children faction of the team is led by Anna Barnard. The team prides itself on its ability to deal with diverse and complex family situations, including acting for parties who are suffering significant mental health issues.
Other key lawyers:
‘I have direct experience of working with Anna Barnard both in relation to financial remedy applications and private children matters. Anna has a very thorough approach and is exceptional in her client care.’
‘Emsleys were polite and knowledgeable right from the start, they have always returned calls and emails, and I found making payments easy using online banking. I have every faith that my case will have a good outcome although it has been very complex, I feel I have made the right decision in using Emsleys.’
‘Gabbie Clasper has been outstanding from the start; helpful, polite and I’ve been made to feel assured everything will turn out ok. All the reception staff are also always helpful and polite, I highly recommend this team.’
‘Helpful in every way.’
‘Emsleys are a firm with a high profile in Leeds and one which I often recommend to clients who are looking for a solicitor. Their fees are reasonable in comparison to similar high profile firms.’
The ‘meticulous and thorough’ Peter Morris is the key name for family in Shoosmiths LLP's Leeds office. The team’s caseload consists mainly of financial disputes stemming from relationship dissolution, involving asset division of high-net-worth and ultra-high-net-worth clients, often in cross-jurisdictional circumstances. The boasts experience with non-traditional relationships. In addition, it deals with complex child care proceedings, often involving such difficult factors as domestic violence.
‘A national law firm with a proven track record in representing high-net-worth individuals.’
‘Peter Morris has impressed me as a meticulous and thorough practitioner who adopts a methodical approach to his cases. He is very good with handling client expectations, whilst always making them feel totally supported during one of the most stressful periods of their lives. He is sensible and always prepared to reach a fair out of court settlement when possible. If not, then he is more than capable of representing a client’s interests robustly in court.’
‘Shoosmiths provided outstanding team service and I really was pleased with all of them.’
‘Peter Morris was my lawyer involved in a international law divorce between the United Kingdom and the United States. His performance and final resolution of the divorce was professional, negotiated and resolved at the highest level. It was handled in an expedient manner and I was well advised and guided through the legal process. I could not have had a better solicitor/attorney then Peter Morris.’
Simpson Millar LLP
The family team at Simpson Millar LLP is co-led by head of matrimonial David Lister and head of child care Patricia Cannon. Its matrimonial matters include complex financial disputes following relationship dissolution, involving high-value asset valuation and division. The team also deals with children matters of complexity, with increasing experience in the niche areas of platonic parenting and surrogacy.
David Lister; Patricia Cannon
‘Excellent, practical, cost-effective advice. Headed up by David Lister, who inspires the whole team to be constantly outstanding.’
‘David Lister is 100% the family lawyer you want on your side in a crisis. He cares passionately about his clients, their cases and the children involved. A fighter.’
‘I have only worked with Patricia Cannon and have always found her to be proactive, knowledgeable and passionate in her work.’
‘Patricia Cannon is very approachable and she is thorough in her responses. She appears to go above and beyond to ensure that all angles are covered. I feel like I am in safe hands with her, therefore I know that she is a safe option for the children we work with.’
‘The family team provide a client focused service with excellent support.’
‘Patricia Cannon is a highly experienced solicitor who fully grasps all the details of a case and is able to offer knowledgeable support throughout proceedings – she is efficient and always gets tasks done to the high standard required to ensure the smooth running of litigation.’
‘The team is nationwide yet remains grounded in the areas in which their offices are based. I am instructed by them on public law childcare proceedings and the solicitors with whom I work are able to bring local, specialist knowledge to the fore in order to provide their clients with a good service.’
‘Patricia Cannon is a partner and head of the care proceedings team. I really felt as though we were working as a team. Her ability to focus on the issues at hand based on a in-depth experience of care proceedings was invaluable.’
Weightmans LLP recently bolstered its Leeds offering with the hire of former Knights plc and Keebles partner Antony Ball. The team’s workload predominantly involves advising on high-value financial remedy cases, with notable experience in non-traditional family structure cases. In addition, it acts on complex and sensitive children matters.
‘Weightmans LLP are an excellent firm. Antony Ball is an experienced solicitor and mediator and is able to deal with more complex, high-net-worth mediation cases due to his skill set.’
‘Antony Ball is an experienced solicitor and mediator with a conciliatory approach. Antony is an excellent addition to Weightmans.’
‘Antony Ball is a great family lawyer. He is hard-working, diligent and has a lot of patience with clients, he is always friendly and polite and he will always go the extra mile. In addition, he is a skilled mediator and a true advocate of conciliation and early resolution.’
‘Antony Ball is a great mediator and collaborator. Always calm, constructive and solution-focused. I refer clients to Antony. It’s always a pleasure working with him, as when he is on the other side you can be assured that he will make sensible progress in a timely and respectful manner.’
‘The team works well together, they are clear with their messages and intentions.’
‘Antony Ball is caring and operates with integrity. He is wonderful to work with because he is professional but also laid-back and friendly, nothing is too much trouble and his clients all love him.’