‘The last year has been my busiest yet’, reflects Catherine Bedford. ‘The group now accounts for over 15 per cent of the overall revenue of the firm.’
This is part of the wider growth in the private client offering at the firm, which is going from strength to strength. Harbottle & Lewis, where Bedford heads the family law department, continues to punch above its weight.
Highlights of her year include acting as a trusted advisor to a Monégasque resident husband involving ‘fiercely contested’ jurisdiction proceedings, and representing a wife amid significant ongoing media scrutiny. In a number of cases, clients have moved their instructions to her from other top tier firms. ‘Those clients have then remained with me to the end, and we have achieved outstanding results for them’,’ explains Bedford.
The firm stands out for its ability to provide a comprehensive service to HNWs experiencing family problems. As well as being able to offer excellent family law advice, the other departments are able to advise on many of the wider issues that regularly arise in the context of relationship breakdown and the consequent resolution of financial issues such as reputation management, tax, trusts, employment, etc.
A go-to choice for those looking to escape the prying eyes of the tabloids, Bedford earned her formidable reputation by establishing Lee & Thompson’s family department – and making it one of London’s most renowned. She took her entire team to Harbottle in 2017 after being convinced of the firm’s merits by Spear’s Outstanding Achievement Award winner of that year, Gerrard Tyrrell, and the firm’s managing partner, Glen Atchison. She hasn’t looked back since. ‘It is a privilege to lead a team like this, which is now at the forefront of family law’. Bedford notes the current era’s emphasis on the protection of data and personal information, and has observed clients taking control of their privacy by turning to private proceedings, saying: ‘In a similar vein of taking control, nuptial agreements continue to be used more and more widely, to give clients greater autonomy about financial arrangements at the end of their marriage – thereby hopefully avoiding any litigation.’
Despite the inherent uncertainty of Brexit, Bedford is finding plenty of reasons to remain positive in her outlook – thanks in part to a steadfast belief in the firm’s service. ‘We fight our client’s corner, but do so with respect and consideration for all the wider implications’, she explains.
‘As a priority, we ensure that our clients’ interests are protected both skilfully and creatively,’ adds Bedford. ‘We take pride in giving our clients the best possible service, whilst identifying clearer solutions to meet their objective. There is no “one size fits all”.’