A ‘good, solid and sensible’ family lawyer according to market sources, Kate Allen is respected for her thriving collaborative law practice and strong negotiating skills. The family courts system she works with is anything but good, solid and sensible: ‘It is no longer fit for purpose’ she says. ‘Underfunding has led to unequal access to justice. The pressure on parents to resolve private law children’s matters without judicial assistance means parties are left to struggle.’ Approachable and thoughtful, Allen acts for the specialist family law firm’s diverse range of private clients, from film producers and artists to venture capitalists, specialising across the full range of Schedule 1 children’s cases (work with both mothers and fathers) and financial issues on separation. For all her technical ability and prowess in court, she’s a conscientious lawyer as much as anything else: ‘At the moment there has been an unhappy shift in focus to litigation — an attitude that litigating well is something to aspire to rather than a sign that an opportunity has been lost,’ she says. ‘The way some cases are conducted for very wealthy couples is not something to be encouraged.’ The keen collaborative law specialist qualified as a family practitioner in 1998 (she trained at Dawson Cornwell), and became a partner at the firm in 2004.