‘I chose to do what I do because it is challenging and endlessly interesting. There is never a dull moment,’ says Julia Stanczyk, senior partner at Miles Preston & Co, the boutique family law firm – ‘as far as I know, the first boutique family law firm’ – which she co-founded in 1994. The firm undertakes the full range of family cases, specialising in those involving HNWs and with an international element, and also private Children Act cases. Since qualifying in 1984, Stanczyk’s particular interest has been in complex financial cases, often involving trusts and overseas assets. Clients include the full range of HNWs – professionals, business people and celebrities to landowners, City workers, judges and aristocrats – and the last 12 months has been an exciting time, with more and more work flooding in, and one of her cases being reported over several days in the national press. Stanczyk sees the firm’s main challenge as keeping costs down and staying client-focused, while raising awareness of alternative dispute resolution as a route to try to avoid litigation. ‘We strive to keep costs proportionate, which my firm does well but not all firms do,’ she says, ‘and there is a trend among some firms to litigate the life out of a case no matter how unaffordable the costs.’ She once had a client ask for her star sign to check whether they would be compatible – though she usually relies on less random reasons.