The energetic Nicholas Westley works across all areas of the family law field, dealing with everything from financial disputes to pre-nups and post-nups, as well as private law children cases.
Described by one QC as ‘one of the best, if not the best’ family lawyers of his generation, the barrister-turned-solicitor also unpicks offshore assets, inter-jurisdictional disputes and complicated asset-holding structures. ‘My role is to simultaneously achieve the best possible outcome for the client, whilst making the process as easy, stress-free and cost-effective as possible,’ Westley tells Spear’s. ‘Unlike many of my competitors, I never oversell what I can achieve, nor do I underestimate the likely costs.’
Westley has enjoyed a strong year for himself and the department, which has brought in increased personal billings. New clients, he is pleased to report, are increasingly attracted by his ‘burgeoning reputation’ and ‘second-to-none’ service offered by the firm. ‘We are now a firm that has an employment department, property department, tax department – we can now offer advice and input on all these sorts of issues that very regularly come up in the cases that we do,’ he says of the recent changes at Harbottle & Lewis.
The department’s stature means that Westley is often dealing with high profile cases, with clients ranging from Premier League footballers to well known presenters and pop-stars. As he explains: ‘I act for anyone wanting an exemplary service, sophisticated yet practical advice and full transparency – both as regards the likely fees as well as the potential outcomes.’ The firm prides itself on its agility, being able to provide in-house advice on a number of the issues that can frequently arise out of family cases. ‘The other departments complement the services offered by the family department,’ says Westley, ‘enabling us to provide in-house advice and representation in relation to a number of issues that arise in family cases, such as tax, property, immigration and particularly reputation management. We don’t have a single approach,’ he adds. ‘We have to be supremely adaptable to our clients’ needs.’
Relationships with clients are close: ‘Two factors indicated to me that I had become a trusted adviser,’ Westley tells Spear’s. ‘The first is when you become your client’s first port of call for advice about resolving other issues/problems that they face in their life – not simply family law issues. The second is when your clients start referring all of their friends and family members to you.’