‘Being a family lawyer is sometimes about understanding a client’s life back to front,’ explains Emma Percy, a former Spear’s Rising Star who was promoted to partner in 2018. She says she first realised she had become a trusted adviser when UHNWs started calling her out of hours to discuss not only their cases but other aspects of their personal lives as well.
‘Every time we take on a case we do so knowing that this is one of the most important and emotionally challenging paths our clients will ever take. Therefore it does often feel like you are running a marathon together,’ she continues. She says it is her duty to ‘navigate them through the tough bits and get them to the finish line with their heads held high’.
One of her highlights of the year is a complex case involving valuable assets in the High Court, which set an important precedent and a favourable outcome for the Russian wife she represented. Mr Justice Holman made it clear that a husband’s absence in proceedings does not mean no final financial order should be made. ‘It was an important clarification, as if this were the case, every husband in Part III proceedings would avoid involvement.’
Percy completed her training contract at a regional firm in Surrey, before joining Camilla Baldwin in 2014. Her professionalism in dealing with complex multi-jurisdictional cases has not gone unnoticed, as she was recently crowned Family Partner of the Year at the Citywealth Future Leaders Awards. ‘It came as such a shock, given I had only been a partner for one year and still felt like I was finding my feet,’ she admits.
The rapid progression in her career was made possible by the collegiate environment that founder Camilla Baldwin has created, where young associates are given opportunities to work on challenging cases early in their career – based on merit, rather than age. ‘There is a real sense of camaraderie in the team,’ she enthuses.
The firm has been expanding, both in size and sphere of work, she says. As the founder is passionate about social reform and pro bono services, the team has been focusing on helping women in prison who face difficulties in having contact with their children while incarcerated, and then also upon their release back into society. Percy is proud of the pro bono Child and Family Law clinic the firm organises once a month at HMP Send near Woking. She stresses that the diversity her role provides is ‘extremely rewarding’. Outside work, Percy is having an exciting time becoming a mother for the first time. ‘Any woman that can succeed in business while being a wife and a mother is a hero in my book,’ she responds, when asked who inspires her professionally.