Family Lawyers
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A specialist in international family law and co-head of private wealth (including the family, immigration, and tax and trust departments) at Penningtons Manches, James Stewart speaks of the firm’s ‘sector-orientated approach’ that is in line with the increasing complexity of family law. ‘Clients want a more holistic service,’ he says, as the evolving demand requires lawyers to look at divorce cases without ignoring the tax, trust and immigration issues that arise. Stewart’s practice spans across private individuals, family offices, and a number of cases with a US, Middle East, Russian and CIS dimension.Stewart says clients also expect lawyers to come up with ‘creative solutions to the practical problems that arise from divorce’. He says ‘a collaborative round-table approach’ works, as clients are ‘well aware of the fact that the court arena is only appropriate in a minority of cases’. Stewart says it is time for family lawyers to rethink their approach, as it has traditionally been ‘an area of law where ego has been too important. The ability to place the client’s interests before one’s own ego is crucial, as is the capacity to make clients feel at ease in often highly emotional circumstances.’ Even when proceedings are issued, even in international cases which start with litigation, he says it is never too late for solicitors to ‘park their egos’ and ‘meet the other side’ to avoid a final hearing – saving the client both time and cost.

James Stewart
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