The impressive James Freeman, a partner at Charles Russell Speechlys, sums up his year thus: ‘As usual, it was often challenging, occasionally fulfilling, intermittently maddening, and sometimes a bit odd.’
Freeman came from the Speechly Bircham side of the 2014 merger with what was then Charles Russell, and is taking stock of how things have changed: ‘Both prior firms did family law at a high level,’ he tells Spear’s, ‘but it’s notable how different we are now from either predecessor.’ There’s a common thread, though: ‘We do big, complex, difficult cases,’ he says. ‘Because that’s what we’re good at.’
Freeman may be part of a large firm, but there’s also an individual touch of humour to his advice. ‘I act for all sorts of people with all sorts of problems,’ he explains. ‘It could be some fiddly thing about an offshore trust structure. It could be a soul in pain. And quite often it’s both.’
In the past year, Freeman has been extremely busy – sometimes on acrimonious matters. ‘In most cases, there is at least a bit of right on each side.’ he concedes. ‘But in a few, there isn’t. I had one of those earlier in the year. Thankfully, we were on the side of light. Also thankfully, we won.’
Freeman, who advises on all issues arising from relationship breakdown, is also a broad thinker. Asked if he has any heroes in the profession, he replies: ‘The world really does not need any hero divorce lawyers.
Anyone still doing legal aid work in family law – or any law really – has my admiration and gratitude.’