When Debbie Chism last spoke to Spear’s she told us that she had a client who resembled James Bond. ‘I’m now working for people who would hire James Bond,’ she laughs. The hard-working family law veteran of 25 years has acted across a kaleidoscopic range of complex cases since co-founding Stewarts’ hard-hitting family team (her ‘proudest role’) — including the most valuable collaborative case to date, worth £200 million, and pre-nup involving ‘billions’ of pounds worth of assets spread across seven jurisdictions. She’s equally pleased to have recently resolved a collaborative divorce settlement for one unnamed UHNW, and wrapping up a High Court case litigating some of the ‘hottest topics’ in family law. She says that the recent case of Owens v Owens demonstrates a desperate need for a ‘no-fault’ divorce regime to be recognised in law: ‘Unfortunately, it appears that government time will be so diverted into Brexit that long overdue changes in family law such as this will continue to be sidelined, leaving families living in an antediluvian legal era.’ Respected for her technical skills and the creativity she brings to cases, she advocates the collaborative approach: ‘The clients are really empowered and feel in control, and the lawyers work as a team.’ Those clients certainly back the warm and personable solicitor in their droves. One even wonders whether he was ‘effusive to the point of being unctuous’ in thanking her.
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