‘I was trained by, and worked for, Peter George for many years; one of the best known family lawyers of his day. His clients loved him, and he got wonderful results,’ says William Longrigg, a longstanding star partner at Charles Russell Speechlys, who joined Charles Russell (as it then was) back in 1985.
It would also be a good description of Longrigg himself. When Spear’s meets him for lunch, he is convivial and excellent company. Longrigg is a highly international lawyer, celebrated for his important work on behalf of the International Academy of Family Lawyers. He served as president from 2014-16 and is also a past president of the European Chapter of that organisation. He is also well known for his lectures on a range of family law issues, including trusts and matrimonial breakdown.
‘It’s astonishing how much of our work is now international,’ he says. ‘The work is far more challenging. An understanding of inter-jurisdictional issues is essential. It has definitely made practice more exciting.’
Longrigg’s many friendships in the profession testify to his ability to remain calm in the heat of battle.
‘There are of course exceptions, but most of us actually enjoy each other’s company,’ he explains.
His love of the profession has also remained intact all these years: ‘I would recommend family law to most aspiring lawyers – despite the rather stressful workload and long hours – but you have to want to do it; it doesn’t suit everyone – and you need the right personality.’