Hailed as being ‘an important new firm in the family law market,’ The Divorce Surgery was founded in 2018 by Samantha Woodham along with her business partner Harry Gates.
‘This business was a long time in the making – from first conception to becoming regulated by the Bar Standards Board,’ Woodham tells Spear’s.
‘Harry and I set it up to try to improve the experiences of divorcing couples everywhere – bearing in mind what we would want for our friends and family. We knew the system could be so much better than it is, and we take considerable pride in the positive client reaction to our service.’
‘Many couples want legal advice, but do not want to go into separate legal camps to get it,’ explains Woodham. ‘We enable couples to get the impartial and expert legal advice they both need to negotiate constructively and within the parameters of what the Court will consider to be fair. This is essential, because at the end of the day any agreement needs to be approved by a Judge for it to be made into a Court Order.’
Woodham’s legal career started at corporate law firm Freshfields, but she quickly realised that she wanted to work with individuals rather than corporates, and that she would like to be her own boss. In 2006, Woodham moved to the Bar to practise family law, and has been based at 4 Paper Buildings, the largest family law set in the country, ever since. ‘Anyone advising a family that is currently in crisis is in a hugely sensitive and privileged position,’ she says. ‘I see my role as assisting clients, whether they be couples through The Divorce Surgery or individuals in my private practice, to navigate through the legal process with dignity and ultimately to reach a successful outcome.’
The pair ensure that they meet every client couple for individual sessions at the beginning of the process. ‘This is so that we can ensure the service is right for them, and so that we can then match them to the barrister best suited for their circumstances.’
‘Due to strong HNW demand, we have already placed clients with leading family silks,’ notes Woodham, who says she’s been ‘overwhelmed by all of the media coverage we have received. Since divorce is so common – but our service is so unique – there has been much press uptake, and on a personal note I was thrilled to survive a live BBC TV interview without it becoming a total fiasco!’