‘There are two extremes in this work,’ says David Lister. ‘One is to do a clean, negotiated settlement – the utopia – and the other is when you have someone sticking two fingers up at the court and their partner. Then it’s gloves off.’
This year marks an eventful three decades in matrimonial law for Lister, who has been a partner in Mishcon de Reya’s family department for a decade. He specialises in complex HNW international financial and property cases, which are often multi-jurisdictional and require asset tracing and international enforcement. An increasing number of his cases involve at least one party from overseas. Lister is also adept at sensitive children’s cases.
‘There are an increasing number of small boutique firms setting up, offering family law advice without the internal provision of essential supporting areas like tax, reputation, trusts and real estate. As a result, he is proud to be part of a ‘full service’ law firm as ‘a hands-on, experienced family law practitioner specialising in difficult cases (asset tracing, often multi-jurisdictional, facing non-compliant individuals).’
‘I’m supported in the department by a team of aspiring and ambitious lawyers and, outside the department, by a full service law firm,’ he adds.
Outside of work, Lister can often be found at a local stable, ‘trying to become a dressage rider’, or else tinkering with boats, cars and motorcycles – albeit ‘not all at the same time!’, he tells Spear’s. Lister is also a trustee of the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA).