‘A newly wealthy client once said to me after her divorce, “Thank you – I now have freedom and responsibility.” These two things are what I think most people – whatever their situation – aspire to,’ says Ben Parry-Smith. He certainly has spotless credentials. Educated at Eton, he read law at Merton College, Oxford, trained at Mishcon de Reya and, upon qualification in 2008, joined Payne Hicks Beach. One stand-out moment in his career was undoubtedly the Work v Gray case, which threw up questions regarding special contribution and how to value different contributions to the marital partnership. ‘The focus after Work v Gray is on disparity of W – is there sufficient disparity such that a court ignoring it would lead to unfairness?’ he asks. Parry-Smith believes that the ‘alleged tension’ between transparent justice and protecting privacy is overblown. ‘It is often possible for the courts to report interesting legal developments while protecting the privacy of clients,’ he says. As for arbitration, ‘it provides people who can afford it a swift and confidential way to resolve their dispute. However, if a case raises novel legal arguments, it is likely that the spouse advancing such arguments will want to put them before a judge.’ Parry-Smith deals with a wide range of clients, from those with inherited wealth to entrepreneurs. Currently, he is representing clients from west Africa, Lebanon, Malaysia, France, Italy, Pakistan and the US.