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Solicitor for high-flying CEOs, investment bankers, sports stars and entertainers, Bedford established Lee & Thompson’s family team from a ‘completely standing start’ seven years ago. Now a top-tier practice, it has built a considerable centre of gravity, drawing in talent from firms like Mishcon de Reya — Bedford’s previous employer — Vardags and Penningtons Manches.

‘We are nipping at the heels of our well-established competitors and we are doing things differently. Our only focus is the outcome for the client, not ourselves,’ she says. ‘Our aim is for a more professional and responsible culture — internally and externally — something that is lacking in the profession as a whole. It can only benefit the client, and it is bringing about great results.’

Bedford herself is experienced in exposing and defending trusts, as well as helping fathers to obtain sole residency orders in their favour and dealing with sinister realities. ‘I’ve personally received death threats,’ says the Oxford graduate. ‘I was for the wife and the husband was a very rich and powerful man who had some nasty links.’ Warm and engaging, the Canadian says her priority is to always reduce ‘strain, stress and emotional turmoil’ — a goal furthered by the firm’s emphasis on arbitration.

‘I know they’ve been around for ages, but we seem to be doing more and more of them,’ she says. ‘Why would you wait six, nine months — maybe even longer — to have a family dispute resolution in court when you can have a private one with a really good judge who everyone has chosen and who has taken the time to read every page? I couldn’t recommend arbitration highly enough.’

One Wall Street veteran was particularly impressed after Bedford took over from another well-regarded firm that had ‘made a shambles’ of his partner’s case. ‘She was superlative on all counts,’ he said. ‘A quick and accurate study, insightful and tactically smart. I would recommend her most strongly.’

Catherine Bedford