‘We don’t take on many clients – we turn away two of every three enquiries – but those we take on we are totally committed to’, says Rachael Kelsey, partner and co-founder of SKO Family. ‘The client will know the director will be personally involved every step of the way – they have my mobile number.’
Around half Kelsey’s clients are entrepreneurs or first-generation businesspeople, the others split between inherited and landed individuals, sportspeople, entertainers, artists and fashion. No two clients are the same, she says, but there is a uniting thread of ‘wanting to try to minimise loss… Whether that is managing the possibility of losing the relationship you have with your children; the potential relationship that you hoped for; the loss of control financially, not being able to continue to have a free hand to structure as you wish; pure financial loss and then loss of face or reputation,’ she explains.
Clients value her warmth, with one reporting ‘her enthusiasm, consideration and genuine empathy [was] invaluable.’ She says it has been a very busy year for contentious matters, and the firm has seen significant growth in its reputation management and privacy practice. Kelsey’s profile in family law is wide – she is president elect of the European Chapter of the International Academy of Family Lawyers.
It’s been an ‘incredible’ year for her. For a firm that’s usually out of the papers, it has worked on a number of reported cases across a range of issues, from privacy and conflict of interest in financial proceedings to overseas pensions and share options, and Supreme Court and Inner House matters in the child law sphere.
Doing a good chunk of Brexit-related work has been a personal highlight. ‘This year I have been involved in policy for the first time in my career and it has been a delight to be able to integrate my knowledge of the law and the practicalities that clients experience with policy development and law reform,’ she beams.
She is noticing a continued growth in intra-UK divorce and separation matters as more people become aware of the difference between Scottish and English law.
A no-deal Brexit, meanwhile, could diverge the ‘basic building blocks’ of divorce jurisdiction as well as a whole host of other issues. ‘People are realising they need to be trying to Brexit-proof their preand post-nups and that no-deal Brexit would have massive implications for not just divorce, forum shopping and enforcement, but also in child law matters,’ she says.