The 'absolutely amazing' Justine Osmotherley leads the family offering at Clarion. Adept at handling complex financial settlements and advising on nuptial agreements, the team is widely recognised for its support of corporate clients in wealth protection matters. In addition, the firm's expertise extends to children cases incorporating aspects of relocation, hostile witnesses and notably, surrogacy. Moreover, the practice has a strong reputation in co-habitation agreements/disputes which are often coupled with Schedule 1 Children Applications. Jane Ingleby was promoted to the partnership in June 2021; associate Charlotte Davies is another key contact.
Family: Leeds, West Yorkshire, North Yorkshire in Yorkshire And The Humber
Other key lawyers:
Jane Ingleby; Charlotte Davies
‘Clarion are a very warm, caring practice, who in very difficult circumstances are supportive in so many ways. I have a very long and worthwhile relationship with my teams in family law and would recommend them to others. They are responsive to the needs of their clients in a quick, efficient way.’
‘In my first interaction with Clarion I was very surprised at how they understood my requirements, was willing to listen with empathy and dealt with thing in a very efficient manner.’
‘Justine Osmotherley was absolutely amazing! I cant praise and thank her enough for her professionalism and ethical approach. I will use her again. ’
‘It is clear to me that they invest a lot of time, effort and resources in ensuring that their lawyers and the support staff have what they need to give their best and feel supported. This has been particularly clear during the pandemic where Clarion has ensured its people have been provided with the technology needed to navigate the difficult times we have all had to endure‘.
‘Jane Ingleby stands out due to her exceptional bedside manner with clients and calming aura, which is undoubtedly a result of her experience and command of her practice‘.
‘Charlotte Davies’ star is on the rise. She is a very capable practitioner who is wise beyond her years‘.
‘Jane Ingleby – excellent children law solicitor with focus on private law. She thinks strategically. Justine Osmotherley – provides real sound leadership to the team and is skilled particularly in matrimonial finance , down to earth , approachable and very good at what she does.’
- Acted for an entrepreneur with multiple business interest in different legal entities and argued for a departure from equality due to pre-marital assets and his contribution.
- Acted for party on a prenup involving 3 jurisdictions; wealth of almost $200m and issues surrounding citizenship; Visas and whether there was an intention for a marriage of convenience.
- Acted for a party claiming a share of a £26m trust involving family lawyers and trust lawyers and agreeing a settlement on favourable terms.
At Jones Myers LLP, Richard Peaker specialises in financial remedy while Kate Banerjee - 'a Rolls-Royce amongst practitioners' - is an expert in children's matters. They handle work for senior members of the medical profession (including pension issues and secondary income), partners in legal practice (notably covering the liquidity of business interests) and owners of SMEs (namely valuation, taxation and extraction issues). In addition, the firm has a strong track record in family matters pertaining to farming dynasties and in cases where parties maintain substantial family Trusts (both onshore and off). Nicki Mitchell and Anthony Parrish are other key members of the practice.
Richard Peaker; Kate Banerjee
Other key lawyers:
Nicki Mitchell; Anthony Parrish
‘This is the leading specialist firm in Leeds in the field of financial remedy. The team has adapted to the challenges presented during the pandemic, being able to offer accommodation to allow face-to-face activity within the social distancing rules but also adopting technology to ensure a superb quality of service. The team as a whole provides excellent advice, offering realistic and achievable goals at a very competitive fees. ’
‘Nicki Mitchell is known throughout the York legal world for her specialism in the field of matrimonial finance; she offers top-rate advice, support and value.’
‘I have found the firm to be excellent in particular with regard to marrying clarity of advice with the sensitivity of the situation. They have been very transparent on fess, stick to budgets and have been very responsive. They have managed client contact impressively given the pandemic restrictions. ’
‘Kate Banerjee is a first class operator in this area. She is technically superb with an instant knowledge of the law. You feel she is always fighting the client’s corner but she also delivers pragmatic, accurate advice and is realistic in managing expectations. Kate has been responsive at all times. Kate is also an excellent advocate. She is well connected at the family bar and seems to have the ear of the judge in hearings. She is an excellent judge of when to be aggressive and when a more subtle approach is required.’
‘I particularly would recommend Nicki Mitchell. Nicki is a collaborative lawyer who has a genuine interest in helping clients and is excellent in her communication skills and has a natural empathy towards clients who are experiencing an often difficult and contentious period in their lives. Nicki’
‘Anthony Parrish is a very well organised and totally on top of the facts in a case. He deals with his lay client and other professionals in a case with absolute courtesy but never loses sight of his own objective and the need to promote and develop that.
‘This firm built 20 or so years ago has become the county’s premier niche practice family law firm. Kate Banerjee is a Rolls-Royce amongst practitioners, always caring, always working, liked and respected by everyone. Simply the best. Always available to her clients and her team ’
‘Jones Myers has a really strong team which covers all areas of family law. My experience has been with the divorce and finances team, although I am aware that their children team has an enviable reputation locally. The finances team is very strong, deals with complex financial work and attracting much of their work through reputation.’
Lake Legal Limited
Lake Legal LLP's team is led by Leeds-based partner Lyn Ayrton. Advising clients on all areas of private family law, the firm maintains a particular focus on medium to high-net-worth individuals and handles complex cases involving business and trust assets. Adept at covering cross-jurisdictional issues, the firm also covers nuptial agreements and is increasingly active in cases involving the removal of children and 'finding of fact' hearings. The firm also advises on matters pertaining to the Trust of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996. Claire Glaister has an excellent reputation and is another key contact.
Other key lawyers:
‘Lyn Ayrton is superb as a technical lawyer, negotiator and adviser to her clients whom she supports to her utmost whilst always being prepared to deliver the bad news. She is truly excellent. Lyn’s ethos permeates the team she has built up.’
‘Lyn Ayrton – cuts through detail quickly and is able to elucidate cases with great ease and skill’.
‘The firm’s strength stems from its modest size as this has allowed the firm to retain its identity, ensure the quality of its work and enabled the exceptional talents of its principals to be absorbed by the more junior members of staff. ’
‘This brilliant team goes from strength to strength. It managed to change its reputation from ruthless and fairly unpleasant to friendly, efficient and forward thinking. ’
‘Lake Legal have an extremely strong and talented team. They have a depth and strength envied by many local firms. They are also extremely pleasant, collaborative and unfussy. They work very hard for their clients and achieve very good results.’
‘Lyn Ayrton: one of the foremost lawyers in the area. Extremely experienced and knowledgeable, doing high value and top quality work. Claire Glaister: soon to be one of the leading lawyers in the area. She will continue to go from strength to strength.’
‘The stand out partner is Lyn Ayrton. It is rare to find an individual respected universally within his or her field. Lyn is that rarity. She gets to grips with large volumes of complex material with ease and is able to get to the heart of the issues and look to a solution focused strategy and approach. Claire Glaister brings a no-nonsense and practical approach to complex cases. A formidable team.’
At Mills & Reeve LLP, Philip Way leads the family team in Leeds. The team handles multi-jurisdictional disputes, matters linked to pensions (both domestic and international), trusts and marital agreements. In addition, the practice has a strong reputation for its work in domestic abuse allegations, issues pertaining to emotional harm (and frustration of contact) and matters requiring expert instruction from psychologists and psychiatrists. Notably, it is also highly respected for its expertise in property disputes arising between unmarried couples such as proprietary estoppel and TOLATA claims. Principal associate Claudia Gilham is the name to note for private children cases.
Other key lawyers:
‘Philip Way: a nationally recognised leader in the field. He is the top of the tree outside of London but with his involvement in the Pension Advisory Group and his national standing generally he is one of the foremost family lawyers in the country.’
‘Claudia Gilham: an absolute standout performer. Producing quality of work and analysis at partner level already; she is punching well above her standing. Claudia is on course to become the standout family lawyer in the north.’
‘Both Philip Way and Claudia Gilham are unfailingly polite, unflustered and pleasant to work with.’
‘Philip Way leads the team and brings a level of gravitas that is second to none. Vastly experienced, he is at the top of his game, combining a sharp intellect with a strong work ethic. Caring and empathetic to his clients.Surely the go to man for divorce in Yorkshire. Ably assisted by senior associate Claudia Gilham, the future is safe.’.
‘Mills & Reeve are the stand-out quality firm in Leeds. They are a notch above everyone else. The quality of their work is unparalleled: the depth of analysis brought to bear on cases, the quality of their written work/documents, and the calm measured judgement.’
‘Absolutely superb, they remain at the cutting edge of developments in family law, having a vastly experienced and fully resourced team providing regular legal updates and insights as new case law emerges.’
‘They are the go-to team for resolving large financial disputes, incredibly thorough in their analysis of the detail and desire to achieve the right result for their client, who is completely safe in their hands.’
‘Fantastic negotiator’ Adrian Clossick leads the divorce and family offering at Stewarts Law LLP in Leeds. Acting exclusively on high value disputes, the team’s expertise covers issues relating to foreign assets in divorce, trust structures and multijurisdictional tax work. In addition, the firm has a strong track record in matters pertaining to childcare arrangements, financial protection for cohabiting couples and the complexities of privacy rights. Associate Sarah Harvey is known for her ‘sharp intellect’.
Other key lawyers:
Sarah Harvey; Jenny Bowden; Ellie Hampson-Jones
‘Quick to grasp issues arising from complex trust issues in divorce proceedings and incisive and robust advice resulting in satisfactory outcome with full protection of trust assets. Immediate attention and access on all occasions with very thorough and methodical approach to disclosure requirements and presentation of information. ’
‘Adrian Clossick and Sarah Harvey were wise, patient and thorough in my case. I valued their insight and compassion, although this never took their focus away from the salient matters to be dealt with.’
‘I found the firm to be, in a word, brilliant. Their case management was superb, their legal analysis first rate, and the overall service that they provided to the client absolutely impeccable. ’
‘Adrian Clossick is a brilliant lawyer and strategist and an absolute joy to work with. He’s very clever, a fantastic negotiator, and has excellent judgement.
‘Stewarts undoubtedly boasts one of the most enviable matrimonial finance teams in Leeds, with solicitors of the highest quality, across the team, from to to bottom. Their reputation and standing in the market place continues to go from strength to strength, and they provide their clients (typically at or towards the top end of the market) an outstanding service.’
‘Adrian Clossick has a wealth of experience in dealing with cases of the highest value and complexity, few in the region can match his track record. He is ably assisted by Sarah Harvey. Wise beyond her years with a sharp intellect and a steely determination to do her best for her clients.’
‘I see the family team at Stewarts as operating at the top end of their sector. Their clear strength is an ability to advise clients on technical, complex high net worth matrimonial proceedings. They provide excellent quality advice and have an ability to communicate to clients clearly and sensitively, as well as to collaborate with other professionals and experts as needed to provide joined-up advice. I believe the team has grown in numbers which is testament to the work it attracts.’
‘Adrian Clossick is the partner I have dealt with predominantly. He understands clients’ circumstances and needs swiftly and also complex legal points. Clients trust him to provide clear, pragmatic and accurate advice. As a solicitor in private client law, I find Adrian excellent to work with collaboratively due to his grasp of the whole picture. I’ve also worked with Sarah Harvey in the last year and she is also efficient and personable and has provided excellent advice and service to mutual clients.’
Berwins' family team handles matters requiring complex trust advice, those relating to business interests and cases where assets are in excess of £1m. In addition, the firm has substantive experience in cross-border issues where clients reside overseas and hold matrimonial assets in the UK and other jurisdictions. Its client portfolio includes sole traders such as musicians and consultants and its approach is geared towards collaborative resolution (ADR is a key focus) of issues pertaining to divorce, separation, children matters and injunctions. Director Danielle Day leads the team of 'impressive individuals' which includes Stephen Root and William Kaye. Sarah Smith retired in November 2020.
Other key lawyers:
Stephen Root; William Kaye
‘The family team at Berwins comprises a set of impressive individuals, each with the intellect, negotiating ability and skill set to match any large City practice. That they have operated under the radar on the national scene until now is remarkable.’
‘Stephen Root: a calm but incisive operator and able to see a clear plan through complex financial issues. Strategically adept and highly persuasive.’
‘Danielle Day has an intellect and authority beyond her years and instils confidence with clear, confident advice.’
‘Very approachable and caring, not just another client with a pay cheque. Good to have option of hourly or fixed rate’
‘Stephen Root and William Kaye are leading lights in Collaborative Law, Mediation, and Arbitration, and all forms of ADR. ’
At Blacks Solicitors LLP, team lead Ann Robinson's knowledge of family law and client relations is said to be 'second to none'. The team deals solely with privately funded matters and regularly handles complex financial settlements which involve business assets, multiple properties and complex pension issues. In addition, the firm's strengths extend to children arrangements including issues such as prohibited steps orders, specific issue orders and grandparents’ rights. Moreover, cases requiring advice from specialists in wills and probate, corporate and commercial property benefit from the firm's 'multi-sector' approach. The 'excellent' Paul Lancaster is another key contact.
Other key lawyers:
‘The partner in charge of the department, Paul Lancaster, was responsible for advising me on my divorce settlement following separation from my wife. I will not have been the highest net worth individuals he has dealt with but he gave me his full personal attention at all times. He took a commercial approach throughout the process and made firm recommendations. ’
‘I dealt with Paul Lancaster for my whole case he was excellent, very supportive clear around the law. And explained fully everything. He discussed strategy and costs with me. He gave clear advice and provided excellent barristers.’
‘I have found this practice to be very professional and always made me feel a priority. The team’s strengths are that they go above and beyond to maintain client relations. The practice has superseded my expectations in these difficult and challenging times having to work from home due to the three lockdowns we have faced over the past 12 months. The knowledge of family law and how they look after their clients is of the highest degree which has been very reassuring in the challenging times I have faced personally. ’
‘I really can’t speak highly enough of Ann Robinson and her secretary at Blacks from the first initial call right through my lengthy divorce process. Ann has always made me feel very much at ease in what was a very anxious and stressful 12 months or so for me as an individual and as a father. Ann is very level headed even when things were extremely tough for me she was so calm in her approach and explained everything so precisely. Again as an individual Ann’s knowledge of family law and client relations is second to none. Ann’s ability to listen and advise is of the highest standard. ’
Harrogate Family Law
The team at Harrogate Family Law has a strong reputation for handling complex divorce and separation proceedings. Clients can also benefit from its expertise in negotiating pre-nuptial agreements and financial dispute resolution. Managing director Andrew Meehan founded the firm in 2010 - he is described as 'clever, calm and technically brilliant'. He works alongside Carol Jessop, who is a 'tower of strength throughout difficult cases.' She is the only lawyer in Harrogate to be accredited as a Resolution Specialist Family Lawyer with specialisms in cohabitation law and complex financial provision. During 2020 two other lawyers were promoted to the partnership - Emma Doughty, who has a specialism in dealing with pensions on divorce; and Laura Mounsey, who is on the advisory board of the Independent Domestic Abusive Service.
Other key lawyers:
Carol Jessop; Emma Doughty; Laura Mounsey
‘Andrew Meehan and Carol Jessop lead from the front. Both are incredibly talented practitioners but also have an unparalleled work ethic and desire to secure the best results possible for their clients. It is therefore unsurprising that both Laura Mounsey and Emma Doughty have followed suit and are future stars in the making.’
‘Laura Mounsey and Emma Doughty are both highly dedicated family lawyers, both with excellent deep-listening skills and both strong strategists. They walk by the side of their clients and counsel them carefully throughout.’
‘Carol Jessop is a calm tower of strength throughout difficult cases, always staying focused and pragmatic.’
‘Emma Doughty has been fantastic support and given sound advice whilst dealing with my extremely difficult ex-spouse. Always contactable even at short notice.’
‘Andrew Meehan has been one of the leading divorce lawyers in Yorkshire for a number of years, highly experienced, very knowledgeable, and has built up a strong family team at the firm.’
‘Carol Jessop and Laura Mounsey are strong performers. Carol is very experienced with knowledge of a large variety of cases dealing with complex issues.’
‘I deal with Laura Mounsey and I have found that not only has she got the technical ability required for the role she also has given me a great deal of emotional support. This I have no doubt is unique in this field.’
‘I have found Laura Mounsey to stand out as an individual not only in her role as my solicitor but also in my experience of professionals in general. I think that it is both exceptional and unique to find such reliable support emotionally and technically, and given the distress that a divorce puts on a person, this is something that is absolutely needed at this time.’
Raworths' family offering is led by Carmelita Ardren, a partner described as 'one of the key lawyers in Harrogate'. Acting for ultra-high net worth individuals, SME owners and those with with agricultural/rural estates, the team handles acrimonious separation, divorce and cases involving complex children disputes. Joanna Lofthouse and Ellie Foster (who handles pension and trust assets) are additional names to note.
Other key lawyers:
Joanna Lofthouse; Ellie Foster
‘The practice is incredibly personable form the moment you walk through the door. Each department including reception are attentive, thoughtful, knowledgeable and very honest. They keep you on the right track, focused and also keeping costs in mind. Very reassuring, answering emails and calls as soon as possible and having knowledgeable staff as assistants should your main contact be busy or away. All excellent and in times of trauma and upset, wonderfully supportive and constant. ’
‘My solicitor was exceptional. It was a very traumatic time and she kept me away from hysteria and only concerned with the main points and keeping costs down. She kept me going through the whole process, was incredibly honest and knowledgeable and became a confident and someone of great support and knowledge. She was also very realistic about costs and what was the most important. ’
‘A small but top quality team. The team are all highly able and intelligent. Very bright lawyers but not over the top of showy. Quality from top to bottom of the team.’
‘Carmelita Ardren: one of the key lawyers in Harrogate. Very experienced and highly intelligent. Always looks to try and find solutions, not problems. Jo Lofthouse: very down to earth, very intelligent and very personable.’
‘Ellie Foster is excellent, particularly in cases involving tricky pension issues. ’
‘Carmelita Ardren – an iron fist in a velvet glove when needed’.
‘Ellie Foster is hugely impressive. Her legal knowledge and capacity for strategic thinking are truly exceptional.’
At Stowe Family Law LLP, the key names in the region are Yorkshire regional director Rachel Roberts, senior partner Julian Hawkhead and Ilkley and Leeds managing partner Sarah Barr-Young. The practice has a number of niche specialisms such as adoption, surrogacy, TOLATA, same-sex relationships and Sharia law. In addition, in order to complement such work, the firm operates an in-house forensic accountancy team that effectively 'unravel' complex financial situations. Moreover, clients can benefit from its expertise in high-net-worth financial cases pertaining to prenuptials and complex 'intervenor' matters. Christopher Birch is the lead partner for Harrogate, Beverley, York and Malton
Rachel Roberts; Julian Hawkhead; Sarah Barr-Young
Other key lawyers:
‘Julian Hawkhead hs a delightful manner which often lulls opponents into a false sense of security. He deals with the firm’s biggest and most complicated cases with efficiency. His judgement is exceptional and he has the confidence to know where and when to pick his fights. ’
‘As the largest family law firm in the country they provide an excellent level of client service and have a depth of knowledge to draw upon including the provision of in-house forensic accountancy services which is often invaluable.’
‘Sarah Barr-Young – excellent client care skills and a depth of knowledge.’
‘Stowe Family Law are a leading law firm that have grown from a regional firm to a large national firm off the back of their brilliant reputation’
‘A strong team, with partners, associates and assistants working together to provide the best possible service to clients. ’
‘Stowe have become a national firm relatively quickly, but their excellence has not been diluted by this expansion, which is impressive. You still get the attention and service you would from a boutique firm. ’
‘Rachel Roberts – has a wealth of experience in matrimonial law, and will go the extra mile for her clients.’
At Consilia Legal, the family offering is led by the 'dynamic and innovative' Laura Clapton. Working between Leeds and Harrogate, she oversees a team viewed as the 'go-to family law mediation service in Leeds and West Yorkshire'. In particular, the boutique practice handles divorce/civil partnership dissolution, financial remedy and matters falling within the parameters of the Children Act. In addition, the firm's expertise extends to the complexities of pre/post nuptial agreements and TOLATA applications. Zara Rafiq is another key name to note.
Other key lawyers:
‘Laura Clapton and Zara Rafiq both impress as excellent matrimonial finance solicitors.’
‘Laura Clapton and Zara Rafiq are establishing themselves as highly respected exponents in the field.’
‘Laura Clapton and the team provide an unparalleled level of service and truly put their client at the heart of any matter.
‘They are the go-to family law mediation service in Leeds and West Yorkshire. Laura is highly regarded as being a very considered and safe pair of hands. You know clients are going to be assisted by a mediator who is committed to trying to bring about an amicable and fair outcome.’
‘The advice is caring and the pursuit of the clients’ aims tenacious and dedicated.’
‘The individuals in the team are really friendly, down-to-earth and hard-working. There is an extremely positive and open ethos within the firm. I know that if I refer clients to Consilia legal, those clients will be well-treated and expertly served.’
‘Energetic family law practitioners . Well liked and friendly, well resourced and a caring family law firm.‘
‘Laura Clapton is dynamic and innovative.’
At Harrowells Solicitors, team lead Lucy Phipps demonstrates 'sound knowledge of the law and excellent instincts'. The firm has expertise in cases involving farming partnerships, incorporated businesses, international assets and financial disputes. The practice also has particular strengths in high-net-worth matters and is increasingly active representing clients based in London and the South East. Amy Foweather is an additional name to note.
Other key lawyers:
‘Lucy Phipps is very able. Practical and down to earth she is easy to work with. Sound knowledge of the law and excellent instincts.’
‘One of my favourite family law firms in Yorkshire with two great partners in Lucy Phipps and Amy Foweather . They look after their clients with a soft but firm touch, good legal minds and an inner steel.’
‘Lucy Phipps Partner – one of my favourites solicitors. Good, no nonsense , unfazed and sensible but happy to take on all-comers.’
With lawyers in both Leeds and Sheffield, Irwin Mitchell's family team in the region is led by senior associate chartered legal executive Helen Revill. Recognised for its work in complex, high-value financial matters, the firm is particularly adept at handling children law cases for heterosexual and LGBT clients. In addition, while demonstrating a reach beyond Yorkshire (the firm has both London-based and international clients), it is also expert in spousal maintenance, family businesses, high value pensions and tax matters upon relationship breakdown. Associates Scott Halliday and Roopen Kalirai are additional names to note.
Other key lawyers:
Scott Halliday; Roopen Kalirai
‘As you would expect from this firm, they will pull out the stops and work around the clock to get results for their clients, but there is a young and enthusiastic dynamic to this team which makes them very fresh and innovative. They are keen to look at every option including newer areas such as arbitration to create a truly bespoke service for each client.’
‘Roopen Kalirai is an up and coming lawyer who is very determined to make her mark and go the extra mile for her clients‘.
‘Scott Halliday is a bright, engaging and committed solicitor. His enthusisam for his case is matched by his excellent legal judgment and hard work. A star of the future.’
‘Fantastic firm. Even though it has a big national presence, it still offers a very much local service.’
‘Scott Halliday – the go to lawyer for all matters relating to LGBTQ+ family law issues. He is involved in cases that are at the cutting edge of family law.
‘Scott Halliday is one to watch and will be a star of the future (he, in fact, is already a star). Has expertise beyond his years in a wide range of family law areas already, but has a particular specialism in international cases and alternative family cases.
‘Irwin Mitchell is an excellent firm, head and shoulders above other firms in the region.’
Led by Rachel Spencer Robb in Ilkley and Neil Shaw in Bradford, LCF Law‘s family team has been kept busy of late advising owner-managed businesses on the impact of divorce and how to protect against claims from spouses (particularly those affected by Covid-19). The firm specialises in the representation of Asian families regarding complex family arrangements and asset ownership as well as ex-pats involved in Spanish divorce proceedings. The broad offering also covers pre/post-nuptials and cohabitation agreements. Harjit Rait was promoted to the partnership in 2020.
Rachel Spencer Robb; Neil Shaw
Other key lawyers:
‘The team is led by the wonderful Rachel Spencer Robb, who combines business acumen and all the key skills of the best family lawyers to expand the team beyond its original base in Ilkley into Harrogate and Leeds offering their bespoke service to the wider Yorkshire client base and beyond. The team’s approach is refreshingly solution-driven. Rachel and her team take a pragmatic, collaborative and sensible approach to their dealings with both clients and opponents.’
‘The greatest compliment I can give Rachel Spencer Robb is that I would recommend her to others. There are very few in the region about whom I could say that. She brings a superb common sense and a commercial view to her cases together with a quick grasp of the important issues. She does not get sidetracked by the small points, which serves her clients extremely well, and focuses on achieving a cost effective and fair outcome. Her interpersonal skills are top drawer which combined with a deep knowledge of the law makes her a very classy operator.’
The 'extremely capable' Christopher Burns leads the family offering at Lupton Fawcett. Offering clients traditional legal approaches or collaborative alternatives, the team handles matters arising from pre and post nuptial agreements, cohabitation and financial provision disputes. The firm has a strong reputation for its work in personal futures and has expertise in relation to security, tax and pensions issues. Andrew Smith is the name to note for TOLATA and Schedule 1 Children Act mandates.
Other key lawyers:
‘They are very highly regarded both in Leeds and beyond as providing clear and realistic advice and being dependable.’
‘Christopher Burns is extremely capable in all areas of family law, including cohabitation.’
At McCormicks, Harrogate-based partner Stephen Hopwood leads the family team. The firm specialises in financial matters, domestic abuse and children's law. Its strengths are complemented by a number of strategic partnerships with accountants and mediators, as well as budgeting controls on each matter to provide financial certainty for clients of various income streams.
‘A solid practice with a good reputation in the local area.’
‘Stephen Hopwood is a pragmatic and sensible lawyer who has excellent client skills.’
North Family Law
At North Family Law in Leeds, the 'experienced, skilled and highly respected matrimonial finance solicitor' Simon Preston leads a team recognised for its 'robust, personal approach'. Covering relationship disputes arising from divorce, financial relief, co-habitation and separation, the practice also handles inheritance claims and parenting matters. The firm's clients are largely made up of entrepreneurs, business owners, the farming community and various professionals.
‘Simon Preston, who established North Family Law, is one of the most experienced, skilled and highly respected matrimonial finance solicitors in the North of England.’
‘Simon Preston – brings considerable intellectual rigour and commerciality to bear in providing an outstanding level of service to his clients; he inspires confidence in his clients, who greatly appreciate having him in their corner.’
‘Simon Preston is an incredible lawyer and also a really great human. His practice is unique because he has ‘big law’ firm experience but operates now in his own firm. He can work as flexibly as required and he can control his billing. He also undertakes work himself which means clients are not “sold” by a partner and passed to junior and inexperienced team members. ’
‘Simon Preston is fantastic at what he does. First things first and, as expected, he knows the law. Simon is then able to clearly set out the law to clients in a way that is clear and understood even at times of huge stress. Perhaps more importantly, however, is that Simon understands people. He doesn’t judge; he listens to his clients and he works to ensure that his services are required for the shortest period possible. Simon Preston is one in a million and I cannot praise him highly enough. ’
‘Robust, personal approach backed by genuine expertise’
‘Simon Preston is particularly impressive. He is team player and fights his client’s corner with intelligence and commerciality.’
‘Simon Preston continues to bring top quality City advice at regional rates. He excels at offering a bespoke service free from of the trappings associated with larger firms. He is agile and flexible and able to respond quickly to client demands.’
‘Simon Preston offers high intellectual rigour combined with a down to earth and approachable personality. He is no-one’s fool and works constructively to ensure he gets the best possible result for clients.’
Ramsdens Solicitors LLP
Joanne Coen in Dewsbury and Helen Thewlis in Huddersfield lead the family team at Ramsdens Solicitors LLP. Handling child protection, domestic abuse (including emergency protection), care leaver proceedings and special guardianship, the firm is equally adept at assisting clients with divorce and financial settlements. The 'tactically astute' Laura Beevers and matrimonial finance specialist Sarah Ward are other key contacts.
Joanne Coen; Helen Thewlis
Other key lawyers:
Sarah Ward; Laura Beevers
‘Ramsdens have an exceptionally dedicated team who have great attention to detail and understand the needs of their clients from both a legal and personal perspective. I have found that the advice which they give their clients is of a high quality and relevant. The team provides excellent service and are all friendly and approachable.’
‘Helen Thewlis is quite simply excellent. She has sound legal knowledge and judgment and always knows her cases very well. Sarah Ward is equally impressive with great attention to detail and sound judgement.’
‘Ramsdens is the market leader in the ‘Heavy Woollen’ area of West Yorkshire for financial remedy cases. The number of offices and size of accommodation has allowed clients to enjoy face-to-face meetings where requested, but the firm has also shown adaptability and engaged fully with technological advancements to offer a high quality service under remote circumstances.’
‘Laura Beevers has exceptional communication skills and always provides practical, real-world advice alongside the legal position. Very good at empathising with clients and helping get the job done.
‘Ramsdens’ Yorkshire family team are second to none. They are the standout firm locally. The Care Team in particular has many of the best local solicitors and undertakes the most substantial work. ’
‘Joanne Coen is simply superb. She is an incredibly experienced lawyer, a very able advocate and always calm and serene under pressure.
‘Helen Thewlis is on outstanding family lawyer who boasts a wonderfully balance of tactical prowess with a passion and commitment to her clients. I had the pleasure of dealing with her during a long-running case. She was outstanding from start to finish and thoroughly committed to securing the best for the client. A brilliant family lawyer ’
‘Laura Beevers is a first-class solicitor: highly intelligent, realistic and tactically astute, totally committed to her clients.’
Ridley & Hall
At Ridley & Hall, the team possesses 'strong expertise in the full range of family law matters'. Led by Emma Pearmaine, James Cook, Vicky Medd and Melanie Hartley, the practice is recognised for its work regarding financial issues within divorce proceedings, spouses of business owners, domestic abuse and kinship carers in children cases. Emma Hopkins Jones (who joined from Rollits LLP in September 2020), Deborah Hardy and Nigel Priestley are other key contacts.
Emma Pearmaine; James Cook; Vicky Medd; Melanie Hartley
Other key lawyers:
Emma Hopkins Jones; Deborah Hardy; Nigel Priestley
‘I have worked with Deborah Hardy on a number of cases and she is an excellent advocate for children. She is determined to challenge on children’s behalf and ensure their wishes and best interests are represented and always kept at the forefront of Court decision making. Deborah will always go the extra mile to engage directly with children and think creatively about how to do so.‘
‘Diverse team of very experienced advocates who are extremely passionate about the clients they represent and go the extra mile to ensure the cases are prepared to the best possible level. During Covid they have quickly adapted to using new technology for conferences to ensure the continuation of their excellent service.’
‘James Cook is a very experienced advocate who works above and beyond for each client. James is passionate about the rights of the children, ensuring that he skilfully advocates to ensure that their voices are heard.’
‘There is genuine strength in depth across the team, particularly at partner level, which gives them a strategic advantage in the market. They have a broad based skill set across both financial and children cases along with a commitment to ADR. They have a genuine commitment to supporting victims of domestic abuse.’
‘Emma Permaine and Melanie Hartley are standout individuals. Emma is well known for her effective style and considerable management experience along with a genuine commitment to client care. Melanie has excellent technical skills and will go the extra mile for her clients. ’
‘Nigel Priestley regards this work as a vocation, not a job. He does lots of training and is part of an advocacy group which travels the world. He is extremely experienced and always adopts a realistic and collaborative approach to ensure the best for his client.’
‘Ridley & Hall are my first recommendation for clients seeking advice in public law matters and also where they are legally aided. The team have strong expertise in the full range of family law matters and whether you are speaking to one of the partners or secretaries, you feel confident that the client is being looked after not just in the legal advice they receive but the ongoing and tireless support during such a difficult time.’
‘Melanie Hartley is an outstanding family solicitor who I do not hesitate to recommend to clients and also friends and family. Melanie has both legal knowledge and personality in spades. She is able to build a strong professional relationship with her clients and is pragmatic in her advice and robust when she needs to be. She is definitely not to be underestimated.’
Silk Family Law
Teresa Davidson leads the 'exceptional team' at Silk Family Law in Leeds. Covering the full spectrum of family law, the firm is notably strong in divorce, financial disputes, children matters (including live with orders, adoption, abduction and special guardianship) and nuptial agreements. In addition, the practice handles cohabitation agreements, civil partnerships, Inheritance Act claims and complex matters pertaining to injunctive/emergency relief. Harriet Reid and associate Matthew Miles are other key contacts.
Other key lawyers:
Harriet Reid; Matthew Miles
‘Silk Family Law are very professional, understanding and they make efficient progress. Silk keep me up to date regularly with accurate estimates of future costs. I find then whole team work well together, there is always somebody to pick up the phone and immediate help is always available.’
‘Matthew Miles has been absolutely fantastic throughout during a very difficult, and at times emotional journey. His support, guidance and rationale on the way we navigated the case ensured I had the very best outcome. His expert knowledge held my trust whilst his understanding and empathy made me feel more confident about my own decisions and the outcome in general. Highly valued and easily recommended.’
‘All the individuals that I have come into contact with in this firm have always been cheerful and very helpful. My solicitor, Teresa Davidson is extremely understanding and empathetic. She explains things I don’t understand and will always listen and consider my opinion. She has an excellent understanding of my particular situation and is especially good at getting to grips with the intricacies of the companies involved.’
‘I have dealt with Teresa Davidson, who has been unerringly professional, empathetic and has inspired confidence. She has ensured that I fully understand proceedings and has been supportive of my decisions. She has been open that some things were not her speciality and provided details of, or arranged for, other professionals who could assist me. She is prompt, accessible and has made what has been a difficult time for me, more bearable.’
‘Teresa Davidson is organised and very clear. She is also compassionate in finding solutions.’
‘This is an exceptional team. They are a head above their competitors. They work extremely well as a team and are outstandingly innovative. ’
‘I would particularly earmark Harriet Reid and Teresa Davidson as exceptional – Harriet brings a real tactical prowess to the heavyweight cases she deals with – she adds significant value to the client’s case. Teresa’s ability to identify the real issues which the court will be interested in, and her ability to turn those to the client’s advantage also marks her out from the crowd. As expected at this level of representation, both these solicitors are committed, efficient and sympathetic to their clients in difficult and highly stressful circumstances.’
‘Teresa Davidson heads the Leeds office and is very adept at dealing with big money cases, whether that be old or new money. She has an excellent understanding of how businesses operate and what challenges divorce proceedings may bring to the ongoing business operations. She is comfortable dealing with difficult situations and will always look to offer a workable solution to these.’
The family team at Duncan Lewis Solicitors' Bradford base is led by Abbid Majeed and Meena Kumari. Recognised specialists in all aspects of matrimonial and private children law, the firm has a niche practice representing domestic abuse victims under both legal aid and financial order proceedings. In addition, it is recognised for representing clients in matters linked to forced marriage protection orders, FGM, domestic abuse and and emergency protection orders. Sophia Hussain is another key contact.
Abbid Majeed; Meena Kumari
Other key lawyers:
‘I liked the fact that they dealt with my case with honest and clear explanations. They told me what possibilities to expect from my case. There was no beating round the bush. Everything was explained to me clearly – the good and the bad. ’
‘Sophia Hussain goes above and beyond to help with my case. Even at times working overtime to get everything we needed done to make sure everything went smoothly. Being honest and open with me every step of the way regarding my case. Which was my main concern. I did not want a fairytale story given to me, or have a solicitor tell me everything will definitely go my way even though it may not (as that is what I had been told by previous solicitors). ’
‘Abbid Majeed was very good at explaining the processes for me and including my views.’
‘Very helpful and always there to answer any questions I may have.’
At Freeths LLP, the national family practice is led from Oxford by Rachael Oakes; the key name in Leeds is managing associate Mark Heppinstall, who joined the firm in 2019 after earlier stints at Stowe Family Law LLP and Irwin Mitchell. He advises on contested divorce and financial remedy proceedings and children disputes, handling a range of high value matters, working alongside associate Nicola Heslop, and is praised for his 'excellent bedside manner with clients'.
Other key lawyers:
‘Small niche private client office led by Mark Heppinstall who is measured , meticulous, modest and methodical.’
‘The team is known for offering practical solutions to complex problems and punches above its weight in terms of the skillset within the team.’
‘Mark Heppinstall is someone I have respect for and who stands out due to his encyclopaedic knowledge of family law.’
‘Mark Heppinstall has been a very supportive and caring lawyer. He has been understanding and sensitive to the unusual and painful circumstances that I have found myself to be in. He is able to clearly see my perspective and has been able to see and to inform me of all sides of the situation in detail and with clarity.’
‘Mark Heppinstall: a very able lawyer with a bright future.’
‘Mark Heppinstall is a very pragmatic and practical advisor, with an excellent bedside manner with clients.’
‘Mark Heppinstall is an exceptionally competent, technically astute lawyer who has a broad practice. He gives excellent advice and manages his clients’ expectations well.’
‘Mark Heppinstall is the standout individual within the team and displays all the attributes you would wish to see in a family lawyer. Clients and opponents praise his technical knowledge and practical skills along with excellent client care skills.’
At Shoosmiths LLP, the family team is known for its expertise in complex financial remedy cases, and the practice is equally adept at handling private law children matters and advising in relation to pre-marriage financial planning. Peter Morris heads up the team in Leeds. The firm’s work contains a substantive international component, often catering for clients with significant financial resources. A recent area of growth for the offering is pre-nuptial agreements, an area in which it represents high and ultra high-net-worth individuals.
‘Peter Morris is one of the most professional, most understanding solicitors that I have had dealings with. ’
‘The team is very discreet and compassionate and organised. ’
‘Peter Morris was very friendly and compassionate and understanding as well as discreet.’
‘The team that I have had experience of exhibited all of the professional skills and expertise that one would expect from a law practice of repute. One strength was their ability to communicate with clients both verbally and in writing. There was a clear sense of shared purpose and collegiality. I have dealt with other practices in the past where this has not been the case. Shoosmiths must be congratulated on the way in which their staff interact with and support clients. The quality of legal advice offered is obviously paramount but I feel that this is enhanced at this practice by well trained administrators and front of house personnel. ’
‘Fantastic service , very professional offering amazing support and very knowledgeable ’
‘Peter Morris – absolutely amazing guy, would recommend him to everyone, amazing knowledge, sensitivity when needed and also a true gentleman whilst doing so, more than capable of running rings around the opposition in a good honest way.’
‘The firm have a good a personable approach. They have a comprehensive insight into the family court requirements for mounting a good case and good attention to detail.’
‘Peter Morris was particularly good and showed empathy throughout whilst giving good legal counsel, he was flexible with his time and gave tremendous support to my daughter whilst going through a divorce and child custody hearing which have been a traumatic experience.’
Simpson Millar LLP
The team at Simpson Millar LLP is well reggarded for'representing individuals in complex, high worth and high quality cases'. Co-led by the 'endlessly positive' David Lister and 'outstanding lawyer' Patricia Cannon, the team handles complex divorce, financial and child-related proceedings where the relevant assets are mid to high-net-worth. The firm also provides representation to children in proceedings where the Court considers it necessary to make them a party and often advises in relation to special guardianship.
David Lister; Patricia Cannon
‘Patricia Cannon has become a very respected practitioner in West Yorkshire.’
‘David Lister is rapidly transforming the national profile of the firm. David’s drive and enthusiasm is infectious and is clearly turning this very big firm around and into a firm of real quality.’
‘David Lister is endlessly positive, forward thinking and open to new ideas and ways of looking at cases. David will be (if he isn’t already) one of the national stars of the profession.’
‘Simpson Millar have a strong reputation for representing individuals in complex, high worth and high quality cases. They are accessible and committed to the representation of each individual client and this is reflected in every case they appear on.’
‘Patricia Cannon is an outstanding lawyer who prepares her cases thoroughly and who is committed 100% to each clients case. I have seen Patricia Cannon provide emotional support to a distraught young mother whilst keeping her eye firmly on the presentation of the case and ensuring this client received clear and robust advice.’
At Ward Hadaway LLP, the family team continues to handles high value divorces, with work including multi-jurisdictional cases where assets are held as far afield as France, Germany, Greece, Spain, the Cayman Islands and Turkey. Led by Steven Petrie, the team also includes the 'excellent' Andrea Dyer who is recognised for her expertise in financial issues and children's law.
Other key lawyers:
‘Andrea Dyer’s service has been impeccable. Right from the beginning she made it very clear she was available for advice at any time during what was a particularly stressful and distressing time. She explains everything in detail more than once when needed. She knows what needs to be done and how to do it and she gets it done.’
‘Very experienced in private family finance and medium to high net worth work.’
‘Andrea Dyer is an excellent family lawyer.’
At Weightmans LLP, the Leeds family law department is led by 'incredible divorce lawyer' Louise Walker. With particular expertise in pre and post nuptial agreements, the team also handles the treatment of inherited wealth, offshore trusts (including variation), pre marriage asset acquisition and cohabitation issues. The firm is increasingly active in landed and inherited wealth cases and is recognised for its strengths in children disputes where it covers cases involving international abductions.
Other key lawyers:
‘Louise Walker is an incredible divorce lawyer. Her perspicacity enables her to pre-empt issues that other lawyers wouldn’t anticipate. She has both sapience and intelligence in spades.I can’t recommend her highly enough.’
‘The family team at Weightmans, lead by Louise Walker is developing into a force to contend with. Supported by the wider teams in the firm they offer specialist advice in all aspects of family law and can support clients at all levels from partner to assistance. Despite the pandemic, their levels of service have not faltered.’
‘Louise Walker is a longstanding member of the Yorkshire’s elite lawyers that practice family law with an expert yet commercial and pragmatic approach, representing her clients in a firm yet supportive and sympathetic way. No stone is left unturned and yet she is great to deal with as an opposition. ’
‘Louise Walker is a top class lawyer with Rottweiler tendencies, who always looks after her clients and doesn’t suffer fools gladly, but acts for her client professionally at all times.’
‘Louise Walker. Great insight into a case, especially those with a knotty point of law and procedure. She relishes a tricky situation to resolve.’