A financial remedy and Children Act specialist, Mark Irving qualified into the family department at Manches in 2007, where ‘the personal client interaction and tactical planning got me hooked and there was no looking back,’ he says. ‘I originally wanted to deal in commercial disputes and very nearly qualified as a contentious construction lawyer!’
Following a stint at Lee & Thompson where he was made partner, Irving moved as partner to Harbottle & Lewis in 2017. He is highly experienced dealing with complex financial cases, especially those involving complicated asset structures and valuation issues. Another area of expertise is complex private children work including dealing with internal and international relocation cases, abduction cases and resolving complex parenting disputes such as those involving psychological and parental alienation issues.
Clients come from a broad cross-section of backgrounds and industries, and many have substantial assets, offshore and corporate asset-holding structures, are in the public eye or have reputation management concerns.
Colleagues and QCs are extremely complimentary, describing Irving as ‘an outstanding family lawyer with an exceptional strategic brain’ and as a lawyer who knows ‘when to litigate and fight a case hard, and yet also… when to compromise’.
Irving has worked on a number of high profile and UHNW cases, many of which have taken place in the last 12 months. The details are confidential, but he points out that he enjoys working with clients ‘from all walks of life, with different backgrounds, facing different challenges’.
A notable trend is the lack of understanding about the legal implications of getting married and of having children together. ‘This often results in clients being in a position they never expected to be in and, worse, didn’t think they were in!’ says Irving. ‘Some are fortunate enough to be able to seek advice before the event, consider prenuptial agreements and understand their legal positions. Most are not. Education is needed and the profession needs to lead the way on this. Clients need to get advice early.’
While an associate, Irving won the Young Turk award in the Spear’s Family Lawyer of the Year category in 2013, and he was credited for his ‘judgment, diplomacy, speed and determination’. Three years later, having taken partnership at Lee & Thompson LLP, he was ranked by Spear’s again as a rising star. He is married with three children and, when he finds the time, performs in his band, which once – ‘in a past life’ – had a management and recording contract with a record label.