Family Lawyers
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Valued for her calm approach, careful and attentive listening and unflappable demeanour, Gillian Bishop, one of the directors of Family Law in Partnership, qualified in 1982 and spent nine years in a civil litigation team of a full service law firm in Mayfair. Noticing the incongruity of civil litigation and family law being lumped under the same umbrella, she set up Family Law in Partnership – one of the first family law firms to offer mediation and counselling services in-house – in 1995. ‘We are at the cutting edge of how family law is practised in the UK,’ says Bishop. ‘We’re a niche family law firm offering all processes for resolving issues for separating couples so that we can tailor our services to the particular needs of our clients.’ Bishop and her team provide a wide range of dispute resolution options including litigation, mediation, arbitration and collaborative law. Their primary focus is on financial remedy and private children law disputes including a substantial amount of international and HNW work. Their clients range from celebrities to CEOs of multinationals, bankers and other senior professionals across all disciplines, and their spouses or partners. Many either live abroad or are foreign nationals, so the firm has an extensive network of contacts with specialist family lawyers overseas. ‘Our clients are looking for lawyers who will listen to them, treat them as individuals and understand their situations. They are also looking for discretion and for lawyers who will approach their case constructively, without rancour and with an eye to settlement. They do not want lawyers who will “litigate first and ask questions afterwards”,’ explains Bishop. She says that the worst aspect of the job is meeting other lawyers who ‘seem to think that if they are not being constantly aggressive, uncooperative and running down the other client they are somehow failing. In fact they are failing their clients by this approach.’ She explains that ‘the things we do as family lawyers, and the way we do them, have a direct and lasting effect on our clients and their children for years to come. It is a huge responsibility to try to not make things worse.’

Gillian Bishop
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