‘The main challenge is still how to resolve seemingly intractable disputes within a court system that is chronically under-resourced,’ says Lucy Gould, a rising star at Stewarts. ‘At Stewarts, we believe there is a significant opportunity for the increased use of arbitration as a discrete and effective way of concluding disputes for our client.’
Gould qualified at Withers before joining Stewarts in January 2014, and then going on to become senior associate in April 2017. She was also named Spear’s Future Leader in Private Client at the Spear’s Wealth Management Awards in 2018. ‘I am now turning my attention to getting rid of the “Future” bit!,’ she laughs.
Gould specialises in complex, high net worth matrimonial finance work. ‘I have a particular interest in trust disputes arising within matrimonial finance litigation,’ she explains. ‘All of my current cases involve assets or proceedings in or with connections to at least one other jurisdiction.
And, for the majority, multiple jurisdictions are involved,’ she adds.
So what qualities do such clients require in a private client advisor? ‘These clients need someone intellectually rigorous who can think across different legal areas and understand the detail of their financial interests,’ says Gould. ‘However, they also require someone strategic and discreet who, understanding the complexities, can find a smart way through to get the job done.’
And what trends is Gould now seeing? ‘Anecdotally, there seems to be an upturn in child abduction issues amongst ultra-high net worth individuals (as opposed to generally),’ she tells Spear’s.
‘The team at Stewarts have been involved in an increased number of complex abduction cases over the past 12 months.’ Gould views the introduction of ‘no-fault’ divorce as ‘a positive step for families’, adding: ‘I really hope that the reform is not lost on the parliamentary agenda in the Brexit furore.’ Gould also notes that the litigation-only firm was one of those that took part in the government consultation. ‘We are industry leaders, because from the most junior to the most senior members of the team, we are savvy and clinical in our approach.’
This is a lawyer who also believes that ‘rigour, in everything’ is what separates the good from the truly great. And her mantra? ‘Be clear about where you want to get to and why you want to get there – and if a step doesn’t make the boat go faster, don’t do it.’