‘Managing lawyers is like herding cats,’ jokes Sarah Higgins, who heads up the family law department at Charles Russell Speechlys.
Beyond her management role, Higgins handles all areas of family law, with a focus on financial applications, often involving international elements and trusts, and complex children cases.
Higgins receives high praise from clients and colleagues alike, with observers noting that she is ‘very strong technically’, while having a ‘calming and reassuring presence.’
Clients are ‘a range of married, unmarried, parents, grandparents, trustees… old money or new money,’ says Higgins, who also notes an increase in international work since she started at the firm in 1990.
Another notable trend is towards resolving matters outside of the ‘creaking court system’, with most of her clients opting for private Financial Dispute Resolutions.
‘It seems extraordinary that some courts do not open post for weeks,’ says Higgins with a sigh.
Thirty years into her career, Higgins has become a trusted advisor to many of her clients.
‘I realised [this had happened] when clients sent their own friends, neighbours and families for advice, and the unlucky ones came back for a second divorce,’ she says.
So what draws Higgins to family disputes? ‘People’s stories and how they interpret them,’ she says. ‘It’s a privilege to be instrumental in enabling clients to move forward to a certain future, even if it isn’t the one they would have chosen.’