Family Lawyers

Spears 2020

Davina Katz

DAVINA KATZ

KATZ PARTNERS

Davina Katz’s decision to leave Schillings and set up on her own in 2019 was big news in family law. But when Spear’s catches up with her at GAIL’s Bakery behind the British Museum, she explains that it was a… Read More

PETER BURGESS & ANTONIA MEE

BURGESS MEE

Peter Burgess and Antonia Mee, both ex-Withers, joined forces in 2013 to form their compelling new business. It’s an offering that is rubber-stamped by Queen Bees – both Helen Ward and Diana Parker refer clients to them – and offers… Read More

BONFIRE OF THE STEREOTYPES

Divorce needs to split with gendered language, says Kate Van Rol With English and Welsh courts famed for their generous pay-outs, it’s no surprise that London is regarded as the ‘divorce capital of the world’. An equal split between partners… Read More

Kate Allen

KATE ALLEN

DAWSON CORNWELL

‘Today, we’re seeing increasingly complex and nomadic family set-ups,’ says Dawson Cornwell’s Kate Allen, who is described by clients as ‘incredibly bright and hard working.’ ‘My HNW clients are all very varied,’ she tells Spear’s, ‘which is what makes it… Read More

Tom Amlot

TOM AMLOT

ALEXIOU FISHER PHILIPPS

‘If I found myself divorcing, Tom is the London solicitor I would choose. [He is] absolutely first class,’ says one leading QC about Tom Amlot, family lawyer and partner at Alexiou Fisher Philipps. An accredited mediator and collaborative lawyer, the… Read More

Sarah Anticoni

SARAH ANTICONI

CHARLES RUSSELL SPEECHLYS

Charles Russell Speechlys’ Sarah Anticoni specialises in advising on or mediating complex financial claims upon divorce, along with future arrangements for children. No case is ever straightforward, and not everything can be settled or mediated, she explains.However, a particular success… Read More

Susan Apthorp

SUSAN APTHORP

SEARS TOOTH

Susan Apthorp’s career in family law was a ‘happy accident’ that started in a busy legal aid practice in Battersea. Recalling the experience, she tells Spear’s: ‘In the busy waiting rooms, juvenile offenders jostled for space with domestic violence victims…. Read More

Toby Atkinson

TOBY ATKINSON

STEWARTS

‘I’m not entirely sure how I ended up as a family lawyer in London’, reveals the likeable advisor Toby Atkinson, a partner at Stewarts. ‘I grew up in Kenya, and always thought I’d go into conservation to save the elephants!’… Read More

Camilla Baldwin

CAMILLA BALDWIN

CAMILLA BALDWIN

It’s been a particularly busy time for Camilla Baldwin. In addition to her impressive caseload of UHNWs and celebrities, Baldwin is also running her pro bono clinic, Not Beyond Redemption, at HMP Send to help women in prison see their… Read More

SARAH BALFOUR

IRWIN MITCHELL

Irwin Mitchell partner Sarah Balfour tells her clients that the family law system is, by nature, ‘discretionary’. Outcomes, in other words, can’t always be guaranteed. ‘However, I guarantee that I will work as hard as I can for them, and… Read More

Kim Beatson

KIM BEATSON

ANTHONY GOLD

‘I am a naturally curious person, which is why family law suited me. I also love problem solving,’ Kim Beatson tells Spear’s. As head of Anthony Gold’s family department for more than 20 years, she focuses on matrimonial finance and… Read More

Simon Beccle

SIMON BECCLE

PAYNE HICKS BEACH

Simon Beccle is one of a rare breed, having had two family cases heard in the highest court in the land. In 2000, he acted for the wife in White v White (2000), the case which established the 50:50 split… Read More

Catherine-Bedford

CATHERINE BEDFORD

HARBOTTLE & LEWIS

‘The last year has been my busiest yet’, reflects Catherine Bedford. ‘The group now accounts for over 15 per cent of the overall revenue of the firm.’ This is part of the wider growth in the private client offering at… Read More

NICHOLAS BENNETT

PAYNE HICKS BEACH

Complexity is enticing for Nicholas Bennett, who specialises in cases involving companies, trusts and tough jurisdiction battles – acting for business leaders, celebrities, landed families and international HNW couples in London or overseas. Privacy is often a key concern for… Read More

ROS BEVER

IRWIN MITCHELL

Ros Bever has had yet another successful year since the landmark Supreme Court decisions of Sharland and Gohil, the 2015 cases which saw wives winning against dishonest husbands. Enquiries have streamed in ever since, many from clients of rival law… Read More

Helen Blackburn

HELEN BLACKBURN

THE INTERNATIONAL FAMILY LAW GROUP LLP

‘The past year has been the busiest and most successful year of my career so far,’ Helen Blackburn proudly tells Spear’s. The partner and solicitor at The International Family Law Group has successfully ‘staved off’ an appeal to the UK’s… Read More

Zoë Bloom

ZOë BLOOM

KEYSTONE LAW

Formerly a senior consultant at McGuireWoods’ London office, Zoë Bloom joined Keystone Law in 2010, as the firm’s first solicitor specialising in family matters. ‘I needed them to accept that their model would work for family law, so I gave… Read More

Matthew Booth

MATTHEW BOOTH

PAYNE HICKS BEACH

‘In the family justice system, wealth won’t necessarily buy the outcome you may want,’ says Matthew Booth, who had a previous career as a classical musician, before switching to family law. Booth has been in the Payne Hicks Beach partnership… Read More

CAROLYN BOTTOMLEY

KEYSTONE LAW

Carolyn Bottomley deals with all aspects of family law with a particular emphasis on high-value, complex financial disputes arising from divorce and relationship breakdown as well as arrangements for children. She is an accomplished negotiator, expert in dealing with clients… Read More

CHARLOTTE BRADLEY

KINGSLEY NAPLEY

Charlotte Bradley, who heads the family team at Kingsley Napley, emphasises the humanity essential to the family lawyer, and aims to stay pragmatic. ‘It’s important that you remain calm and objective,’ she explains, ‘but you have to have empathy for… Read More

EMILY BRAND

BOODLE HATFIELD

‘Every client has their own unique story to tell,’ says Emily Brand, partner at Boodle Hatfield. ‘It’s our job to unpick the details and get the best results.’ A specialist in complex financial proceedings, Brand has a proven track record… Read More

Linzi Bull

LINZI BULL

PENNINGTONS MANCHES COOPER

Linzi Bull joined what was then Penningtons Manches in June 2018 and quickly settled in as a new partner in a dynamic team with expertise across the whole remit of domestic and international family law issues. She is known for… Read More

Russell Bywater

RUSSELL BYWATER

DAWSON CORNWELL

Renowned as a tough negotiator, Russell Bywater has worked in family law for more than 30 years, and is Dawson Cornwell’s longest standing partner. ‘I was a trainee (then an Articled Clerk) here, joining DC in 1983,’ he tells Spear’s…. Read More

Rebecca Carlyon

REBECCA CARLYON

PENNINGTONS MANCHES COOPER

‘I knew early on that I only wanted to practise family law, and this was confirmed by my two trainee seats in the family department,’ says Rebecca Carlyon. ‘Due to the very high level of day to day client interaction… Read More

Alex Carruthers

ALEX CARRUTHERS

HUGHES FOWLER CARRUTHERS

‘We are renowned for our ability to deal with complicated and unusual cases, and this is what the clients come to us for,’ says the niche family firm’s founding partner Alex Carruthers. The challenging and nonuniform nature of the work… Read More

Debbie Chism

DEBBIE CHISM

STEWARTS

It’s been a dizzying year for Debbie Chism, whose clients have included everyone from European royalty to pop stars, all the way through to ‘dynastic family wealth and overnight billionaires in the tech sector’. In addition to acting for the… Read More

Rebecca Cockcroft

REBECCA COCKCROFT

PAYNE HICKS BEACH

‘The best part of the job is inspiring trust and having a good, clear strategy from the outset, so clients listen to the advice and follow it’, says Rebecca Cockcroft – who in 2019 took over from Ian Airey as… Read More

PAMELA COLLIS

FAMILY LAW IN PARTNERSHIP

Having specialised in family law for 35 years, Pamela Collis is a partner with a rarefied practice at FLiP. ‘My practice is an eclectic mix of HNW and international cases,’ she tells Spear’s. ‘With a liberal seasoning of extremely unusual… Read More

Jane Craig

JANE CRAIG

PENNINGTONS MANCHES COOPER

Jane Craig, a fellow of the International Academy of Family Lawyers (IAFL), heads the 40-strong family team at leading UK law firm Penningtons Manches Cooper, acting in some of the key cases in England and Wales. Specialising in high-value financial… Read More

Sandra Davis

SANDRA DAVIS

MISHCON DE REYA

‘I always ask clients: “if you had a magic wand, what would you like to achieve?”, says Sandra Davis, who has headed the family department at Mishcon de Reya for over 30 years. Davis is the lawyer of choice for… Read More

Simon Donald

SIMON DONALD

GREENWOODS GRM

It’s been an eventful 12 months for Simon Donald, starting with the merger of GRM Law with Greenwoods Solicitors LLP in 2018. He has also tackled ‘a diverse range of cases, with interesting legal aspects.’ Greenwood’s Private Client and Family… Read More

DEBORAH EATON

1 KING’S BENCH WALK

‘There’s no better counsel for HNW private children law matters – she is a brilliant strategist,’ says one colleague of Deborah Eaton’s. ‘When we walk away from cases, the family have to carry on. I look at what I can… Read More

JOANNE EDWARDS

FORSTERS

A 2018 nominee for Spear’s Family Lawyer of the Year, Joanne Edwards heads a growing department at Forsters. ‘The past year has been absolutely phenomenal,’ she says, pointing also to the arrival of Simon Blain and Matthew Brundson Tully. The… Read More

RAOUL FELDER

RAOUL FELDER, ESQ.

Raoul Felder is so famous he’s frequently seen on national US TV shows and pops up in the Wall Street Journal and Vanity Fair. He has also been called ‘one of the world’s most powerful lawyers’. Brooklyn-born Felder worked as… Read More

JAMES FERGUSON

BOODLE HATFIELD

James Ferguson leads the family department at Boodle Hatfield, where he presided over a 33 per cent boost in revenue in 2018. He’s very quick to heap praise on his team. ‘This was achieved not just by our hugely talented… Read More

Miranda Fisher

MIRANDA FISHER

CHARLES RUSSELL SPEECHLYS

Miranda Fisher has the personal touch when working with clients within the context of a full-service firm. Named Family Lawyer of the Year at the 2018 Spear’s Wealth Management Awards, she is, says one observer, ‘already a star’. Fisher joined… Read More

Zoë Fleetwood

ZOë FLEETWOOD

DAWSON CORNWELL

‘I’m not just a family solicitor, but also a strategist and human rights adviser,’ says Zoë Fleetwood, partner in the children department of Dawson Cornwell, an international family law firm known for a progressive and enterprising approach. According to Fleetwood,… Read More

Edward Floyd

EDWARD FLOYD

PENNINGTONS MANCHES COOPER

‘I am born and bred Manches,’ says Ed Floyd, mentioning that he was lucky enough to be trained and mentored by ‘luminaries’ such as Jane Craig, James Stewart and Anna Worwood. ‘You need to draw from lots of influences before… Read More

Stephen Foster

STEPHEN FOSTER

STEWARTS

‘It was just me and a paralegal on day one,’ recalls Stephen Foster, the much-admired head of Stewarts’ divorce and family department. In the 12 years since he set it up, the department has grown into one of the most… Read More

Pauline Fowler

PAULINE FOWLER

HUGHES FOWLER CARRUTHERS

‘Interesting, busy and challenging in equal measure’ is how HFC’s founding partner Pauline Fowler describes her last 12 months. ‘I had some extremely interesting international financial work for UHNWs, and I was able to secure excellent results for them from… Read More

Mark Freedman

MARK FREEDMAN

OSBORNES LAW

Osbornes’ senior partner Mark Freedman is clear why HNWs should choose his firm: ‘A first class service from a team of lawyers who are ranked as a leading family department in London, and who hold external accreditations of excellence.’ Freedman… Read More

James Freeman

JAMES FREEMAN

CHARLES RUSSELL SPEECHLYS

The impressive James Freeman, a partner at Charles Russell Speechlys, sums up his year thus: ‘As usual, it was often challenging, occasionally fulfilling, intermittently maddening, and sometimes a bit odd.’ Freeman came from the Speechly Bircham side of the 2014… Read More

HARRY GATES

THE DIVORCE SURGERY

The past year has seen the launch of The Divorce Surgery on to the London market, to much acclaim. ‘Since the turn of the year, we’ve been inundated with enquiries from high net worth couples who have been quick to… Read More

MICHAEL GLASER

FOURTEEN

Being a top matrimonial barrister comes down to ‘judgement, humility and not forgetting it’s your client’s case,’ says Michael Glaser, a silk in the making who is both modest and friendly – despite having a rather formidable reputation. ‘And it’s… Read More

CLAIRE GORDON

FARRER & CO

‘The sexy ones are all far too confidential,’replies Claire Gordon when Spear’s asks about recent cases. Many of those have been in the £100 million range, which the Farrer’s partner says reflects the growth of tech HNWs. Gordon is astonished… Read More

Lucy Gould

LUCY GOULD

STEWARTS

‘The main challenge is still how to resolve seemingly intractable disputes within a court system that is chronically under-resourced,’ says Lucy Gould, a rising star at Stewarts. ‘At Stewarts, we believe there is a significant opportunity for the increased use… Read More

MICHAEL GOURIET

WITHERS

‘In my experience you may have to take it so far down the court route to get to a solution, but matters shouldn’t go all the way to court unless there are serious issues,’ says Michael Gouriet, whose clients include… Read More

JOSHUA GREEN

CHARLES RUSSELL SPEECHLYS

Charles Russell Speechlys’ senior associate Joshua Green specialises in all aspects of relationship breakdown including divorce, finances and arrangements for children post-separation. A former Spear’s Rising Star, Green often handles cases with an international element, involving complex financial structures such… Read More

Alison Green

ALISON GREEN

MACKRELL

Head of family law at Mackrell, Alison Green joined the firm in 1989 and qualified as a solicitor in 1991, becoming a partner in 2010. An expert in matrimonial work, she works on cases relating to divorce and the associated… Read More

Lucy Greenwood

LUCY GREENWOOD

THE INTERNATIONAL FAMILY LAW GROUP LLP

‘It’s been another exciting year,’ Lucy Greenwood tells Spear’s. The past 12 months have seen The International Family Law Group partner deal with more ‘fascinating – albeit taxing’ cases, as well as invitations to speak and lecture at conferences and… Read More

Georgina Hamblin

GEORGINA HAMBLIN

VARDAGS

Georgina Hamblin describes the last 12 months as ‘life changing.’ ‘I began this period as a Director of Vardags, not long since back from maternity leave, with a team of five or six lawyers working with me,’ she tells Spear’s…. Read More

ELLIE HAMPSON-JONES

STEWARTS

Ellie Hampson-Jones is now at Stewarts, having gone great guns as an associate at Penningtons Manches Cooper, working on high-stakes reported cases, including one that was heard in the High Court after a four-day final hearing. Prior to her traineeship… Read More

Sara Hannell

SARA HANNELL

ALEXIOU FISHER PHILIPPS

An experienced and respected lawyer with an international clientele, Sara Hannell has specialised in family law for more than 20 years. She advises on all aspects of family law, with a particular specialism in cases with an international element, as… Read More

Mark Harper

MARK HARPER

HUGHES FOWLER CARRUTHERS

It’s been another ‘very busy’ year for Mark Harper, whose highlights included two major reported judgments and a ‘significant win’ in a long-running case acting for a Russian oligarch. Harper is particularly pleased about the case of S v S,… Read More

CHARMAINE HAST

WEDLAKE BELL

Wedlake Bell’s Charmaine Hast, who has a degree in psychology as well as in law, is a specialist in high profile cases, where privacy is paramount. ‘In a particularly high profile case, we pride ourselves on confidentiality during this stressful… Read More

Emma Hatley

EMMA HATLEY

STEWARTS

Star divorce lawyer and winner of the Family Lawyer of the Year title at the Spear’s 2017 Wealth Management Awards, Stewarts’ Emma Hatley is known for her pragmatic and compassionate approach to family law, seeking to disentangle the knot of… Read More

ALISON HAYES

LEVISON MELTZER PIGOTT

Alison Hayes describes her route into family law as ‘very bland’, saying she fell into it accidentally rather than by any personal design. ‘I probably thought I’d be an entertainment lawyer – but I did a seat in family law… Read More

ELIZA HEBDITCH

FARRER & CO

Landed aristocrats, royalty, celebs and billionaires are among Eliza Hebditch’s clients. This is no surprise – the Farrer & Co solicitor is lauded as a leading individual in Legal 500’s 2020 Hall of Fame. Hebditch has a ‘deep instinctive understanding’… Read More

NEAL HERSH

HERSH MANNIS

Neal Hersh is a rare breed of trial lawyer whose service never stops, even when relaxing in the evening with a glass of Scotch: ‘I don’t want any client stewing overnight about something when I could have spent five minutes… Read More

ELIZABETH HICKS

BRYAN CAVE LEIGHTON PAISNER

As head of Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner’s family asset protection team in London, Elizabeth Hicks tells Spear’s she’s thrilled to be back after a year on leave. Hicks, who’s regularly interviewed by the press on key family issues, is now… Read More

Sarah Higgins

SARAH HIGGINS

CHARLES RUSSELL SPEECHLYS

‘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… Read More

David Hodson

DAVID HODSON

THE INTERNATIONAL FAMILY LAW GROUP LLP

David Hodson co-founded The International Family Law Group with Ann Thomas in 2007 and has not looked back since. The Covent Garden firm has grown from a team of just four staff to its current company of 24, including eight… Read More

Richard Hogwood

RICHARD HOGWOOD

STEWARTS

‘There appears to have been a rise in the number of cases and the proportion that litigate,’ says the impressive Richard Hogwood, one of 10 partners in the family department at the litigation-only firm, Stewarts. ‘Whether part of this has… Read More

Henry Hood

HENRY HOOD

HUNTERS LAW

‘Hunters blends the old and the new,’ says Henry Hood, partner and head of its family department. ‘We are the fifth oldest law firm in the country and have acted for some families for generations. However, we aim to provide… Read More

Frances Hughes

FRANCES HUGHES

HUGHES FOWLER CARRUTHERS

‘Often the highlights are the cases you’ve settled,’ says Frances Hughes, who, despite her reputation as one of the best litigators in the field, strongly disapproves of ‘headbanger lawyers’ who are too keen to push things towards court. ‘Thank goodness… Read More

Matthew Humphries

MATTHEW HUMPHRIES

STEWARTS

Matthew Humphries, one of 10 partners in family at Stewarts, reckons there’s a misconception about divorce lawyers. ‘A good ‘divorce lawyer’ is there to assist their clients and achieve a settlement wherever that is possible,’ he tells Spear’s. ‘We are… Read More

Anne-Marie Hutchinson

ANNE-MARIE HUTCHINSON

DAWSON CORNWELL

Anne-Marie’s name is on just about every list of the top family lawyers,’ fellow Dawson Cornwell partner Kate Allen tells Spear’s as we try to track down the busy lawyer. Hutchinson acts in all areas of family law, specialising in… Read More

SARAH HUTCHINSON

FARRER & CO

Sarah Hutchinson’s practice is split between financial matters on divorce and children work. ‘Child arrangements require a different approach,’ she explains. ‘This is because the situations are ongoing, and parenting plans can accommodate some, but not all, situations.’ A sizeable… Read More

Mark Irving

MARK IRVING

HARBOTTLE & LEWIS

Mark Irving has fast become one of Harbottle & Lewis’s most sought after and busiest lawyers thanks to a consistently stellar performance since joining the firm’s thriving family law practice in 2017. ‘We are now widely recognised within the industry… Read More

Deborah Jeff

DEBORAH JEFF

SEDDONS

‘It’s time we cracked on and made prenups binding,’ Deborah Jeff, founder and head of Seddons’ family department tells Spear’s over the phone. ‘If you can say what happens on death in your will, then why shouldn’t you be able… Read More

Bryan Jones

BRYAN JONES

HUGHES FOWLER CARRUTHERS

Family law all-rounder Bryan Jones is expert in acting for international HNWs in financial and children matters, including Children Act proceedings. Jones joined Hughes Fowler Carruthers in 2010, amassing a wealth of experience in heavily litigated HNW divorces in the… Read More

JANE KEIR

KINGSLEY NAPLEY

Jane Keir concluded her five-year term as the first female senior partner at Kingsley Napley in April 2018 – having played a key part in making the firm one of the most diverse in the industry. ‘We made it work,’… Read More

Rachael Kelsey

RACHAEL KELSEY

SKO FAMILY

‘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… Read More

Richard Kershaw

RICHARD KERSHAW

HUNTERS LAW

A highly accomplished ‘solver of relationship generated problems’, Richard Kershaw describes his work last year as ‘incredibly satisfying’. He explains to Spear’s that one highlight was the culmination of a particularly testing case, ‘helping a client to emerge from the… Read More

Carly Kinch

CARLY KINCH

STEWARTS

Carly Kinch is the newest solicitor to join the top echelons of divorce at Stewarts, recently becoming a partner in the boutique after a swift 12-year transition from paralegal. Insodoing, she’s earned the admiration of none other than Baroness Shackleton,… Read More

SUZANNE KINGSTON

MILLS & REEVE

In April 2019, Suzanne Kingston made the move from Withers to Mills & Reeve – and Jo Grandfield, her new firm’s head of family, is certain the addition of Kingston will take her team ‘to another level’. Kingston’s ability to… Read More

Renato Labi

RENATO LABI

HUGHES FOWLER CARRUTHERS

‘The relationship between a family lawyer and their client can be a peculiarly close one,’ says Renato Labi of Hughes Fowler Carruthers. ‘You need to earn your client’s trust, you need to be emotionally engaged without being emotionally involved, and… Read More

KATHARINE LANDELLS

WITHERS

Katharine Landells heads up Withers’ European families and family offices group, specialising in stress testing and wealth planning advice from the perspective of securing the succession of wealth across generations. A lateral thinker who focuses on finding solutions as the… Read More

Melissa Lesson

MELISSA LESSON

MISHCON DE REYA

‘People don’t seem to have the same appetite for litigation. Far more people are trying to do a deal early on,’ explains Melissa Lesson, a partner in the family department at Mishcon de Reya. Lesson specialises in separation, divorce, trusts… Read More

Jeremy Levison

JEREMY LEVISON

LEVISON MELTZER PIGOTT

The founding partner of Levison Meltzer Pigott, Jeremy Levison is truly one of the greatest characters in the divorce law profession – renowned for his depth of knowledge (he has over 40 years’ experience in dealing with complex financial settlements… Read More

JULIAN LIPSON

WITHERS

‘In my experience, clients do not want to be a reported case. They want to be an unreported one,’ says Julian Lipson, who narrowly missed out on being Spear’s Family Lawyer of the Year in 2018. After university, Lipson worked… Read More

David Lister

DAVID LISTER

MISHCON DE REYA

‘There are two extremes in this work,’ says David Lister. ‘One is to do a clean, negotiated settlement – the utopia – and the other is when you have someone sticking two fingers up at the court and their partner…. Read More

Lucy Loizou

LUCY LOIZOU

THE INTERNATIONAL FAMILY LAW GROUP LLP

Widely recognised as one of the country’s leading young family lawyers, Lucy Loizou undertakes complex financial disputes. She has worked on a number of cases involving HNW issues, several of which with have involved a significant international dimension. ‘I’m dynamic,… Read More

Katie Longmate

KATIE LONGMATE

ALEXIOU FISHER PHILIPPS

A family lawyer with more than a decade’s experience, former Spear’s Rising Star Katie Longmate focuses on financial disputes arising from divorce and separation, frequently of an international nature. She often prepares and advises on pre- and post-nuptial agreements, and… Read More

William Longrigg

WILLIAM LONGRIGG

CHARLES RUSSELL SPEECHLYS

‘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… Read More

Sam Longworth

SAM LONGWORTH

STEWARTS

Sam Longworth joined Stewarts in 2007, back when the boutique firm was a relatively unknown challenger brand. And it proved to be an inspired decision. As Longworth tells Spear’s: ‘I now have clients from all across the wealth sectors, from… Read More

JOHN M. TEITLER

TEITLER & TEITLER

When asked by Spear’s to name the US-based family lawyers they would recommend, several UK lawyers mentioned John Teitler, the go-to for some of New York’s most complex financial cases. Teitler is the firm’s third generation torchbearer, whose father and… Read More

David Margo

DAVID MARGO

DIVORCE SOLUTIONS

David Margo has made a genuinely innovative contribution to the divorce experience. After nearly 40 years as a senior partner in City law firms dealing with the commercial world, Margo heard a friend remark: ‘I need to do something about… Read More

LEWIS MARKS QC

QEB

According to colleagues, Lewis Marks QC is ‘almost frighteningly intelligent, able to grasp the most complex of issues extremely quickly and present them in a way which makes them look so simple.’ ‘He is always available to assist and is… Read More

KIM MARSHALL

KEYSTONE LAW

Kim Marshall has more than 20 years’ experience in family law. She provides legal expertise for clients who primarily consist of HNWs, senior management professionals, business owners, entrepreneurs and international clients. Marshall specialises in financial settlements on relationship breakdown, often… Read More

WILLIAM MASSEY

FARRER & CO

With over 25 years of specialising in the field, the head of Farrer’s family and disputes teams has fought many battles, but prenups often provide the toughest challenge in William Massey’s work. ‘You’re treading a bit of a tightrope,’ he… Read More

Jane McDonagh

JANE MCDONAGH

SIMONS MUIRHEAD & BURTON

More than two decades in family law has taught Jane McDonagh many lessons, but none more so than the time she helped a close family member through divorce. Realising that she had the right mix of legal skills and empathy… Read More

Philip McGuirk

PHILIP MCGUIRK

PAYNE HICKS BEACH

‘It’s the breadth of the work in the Family Division that attracts – as well as the pleasure derived from being part of a process where, over time, a clearly defined picture emerges from what was once opacity,’ says Philip… Read More

Simon McKirgan

SIMON MCKIRGAN

VARDAGS

Vardags’ Simon McKirgan works on the firm’s divorce cases involving the greatest assets. Experienced across a wide range of family law issues (including international child relocation cases), he leads a formidable team specialising in complex international financial disputes, working solely… Read More

Magnus Mill

MAGNUS MILL

ALEXIOU FISHER PHILIPPS

‘Magnus Mill is your perfect lawyer,’ says one industry colleague, who praises him for seeing cases through cost-effectively, with minimal stress and absolute discretion. The Alexiou Fisher Philipps partner has been a family lawyer since 2000, and handles all aspects… Read More

KATIE O’CALLAGHAN

BOODLE HATFIELD

‘Bright and incisive… a star of the future,’ says one barrister of Katie O’Callaghan, a senior associate who joined Boodle Hatfield as a trainee. Known for excelling on complex financial points, she is currently acting as lead associate on several… Read More

Claire O’Flinn

CLAIRE O’FLINN

KEYSTONE LAW

‘I am almost the fourth emergency service at times,’ says family law specialist Claire O’Flinn, Consultant Solicitor at Keystone Law. ‘Clients call me when they need urgent help. Sometimes this is because it is a legal emergency, and sometimes because… Read More

Caroline Park

CAROLINE PARK

HUGHES FOWLER CARRUTHERS

‘When the quantum of assets is eye-watering, the stakes on divorce are high,’ says Cambridge graduate Caroline Park. ‘This emphasises the importance of being honest with clients about what can be achieved, but then tenacious in pursuing it.’ Park joined… Read More

DIANA PARKER

WITHERS

Diana Parker’s status is nothing short of legendary in family law, having been at the forefront of the industry for more than 30 years. Parker serves an ‘interesting and eclectic bunch of clients’, but you won’t see most of her… Read More

Ben Parry-Smith

BEN PARRY-SMITH

PAYNE HICKS BEACH

Ben Parry-Smith is a likeable and infectiously fun partner at Payne Hicks Beach, who has also served as a protégé of Fiona Shackleton. Parry-Smith has a wide-ranging practice, advising on all aspects of matrimonial law: cohabitation, pre and post nuptial… Read More

Jay Patel

JAY PATEL

HUNTERS LAW

‘My clients instruct me to get things done. I am firm but fair.’ Hunters’ Jay Patel describes his professional approach in two words: ‘the enforcer’. Having billed ‘in excess of £450,000 in the last year’, Patel has enjoyed a successful… Read More

KATHRYN PEAT

SINCLAIR GIBSON LLP

Spear’s readers will be glad to know that Sinclair Gibson’s Kathryn Peat is back on her feet and raring to go after a badly broken ankle needed major surgery and – in her own words – ‘me being in a… Read More

Lisa Pepper

LISA PEPPER

OSBORNES LAW

A well respected family lawyer, Lisa Pepper acts on financial cases as well as disagreements over child-related contact and living arrangements. She has won accolades for settling cases out of court and is one of only eight ‘Band 1’ lawyers… Read More

Emma Percy

EMMA PERCY

CAMILLA BALDWIN

‘Being a family lawyer is sometimes about understanding a client’s life back to front,’ explains Emma Percy, a former Spear’s Rising Star who was promoted to partner in 2018. She says she first realised she had become a trusted adviser… Read More

SUSAN PHILIPPS

ALEXIOU FISHER PHILIPPS

‘A phenomenally bright, tactically astute family law solicitor with remarkable intuition’, according to market authorities, AFP’s cofounding partner Susan Philipps is an experienced lawyer who acts across the full breadth of family and matrimonial matters. Described as ‘incredibly committed to… Read More

Simon Pigott

SIMON PIGOTT

LEVISON MELTZER PIGOTT

‘The past year at Levison Meltzer Pigott has seen a significant number of large money cases, and I’m happy to say that we have successfully achieved settlement in the vast majority,’ says Simon Pigott, who founded the firm back in… Read More

MARTIN POINTER QC

1 HARE COURT

Martin Pointer QC has appeared in no fewer than 100 reported cases since being called to the Bar in 1976 – an achievement no other family barrister can claim. His expertise lies in division of intractable assets, particularly concerning arguments… Read More

JUDITH POLLER

PRYOR CASHMAN

The lawyer of choice for notable HNWs – ‘My clients are high-end because my billing rate is high,’ she says – Judith Poller has acted for stars such as Scarlett Johansson and Drew Barrymore. ‘Privacy is a huge concern to… Read More

MAGGIE RAE

NEWTON KEARNS

Maggie Rae was preparing for a tour of Easter Island when she picked up a call from Spear’s, at a time when the UK was in Brexit deadlock. ‘I’m not coming back!,’ she jokes, before expressing worry over the future… Read More

FIONA READ

RUSSELL-COOKE

Described by peers as ‘fiercely intelligent and extremely able’, the personable Fiona Read describes her practice as ‘everything from district resolution – so mediation and family arbitration – to highly complex international cases’. ‘Brexit will definitely have an impact on… Read More

Barbara Reeves

BARBARA REEVES

MISHCON DE REYA

Mishcon de Reya was founded in 1937 as a one-man office in Brixton. Today, it is one of the best-known law firms in Britain, employing more than 900 people, offering a wide range of legal and related services to individuals… Read More

JESSICA REID

DAWSON CORNWELL

Jessica Reid was made a partner at Dawson Cornwell in June 2019, soon after conducting the advocacy for a vulnerable wife at an FDR and settling the case on her client’s terms against an ‘angry and wrongly entitled’ husband, when… Read More

Julian Ribet

JULIAN RIBET

LEVISON MELTZER PIGOTT

‘The past 12 months have been extraordinarily busy, but in a good way,’ says Julian Ribet, one of the undoubted stars at boutique firm Levison Meltzer Pigott, and known by peers to be ‘a great tactician’. ‘During the last year… Read More

COLIN ROGERSON

DAWSON CORNWELL

This year, Colin Rogerson was made partner at Dawson Cornwell, having built up his career since he qualified in 2011 to become ‘the go-to lawyer’ for surrogacy cases. Most of his HNW clients are professionals or celebrities entering into international… Read More

MICHAEL ROWLANDS

JMW SOLICITORS

Michael Rowlands is an exceptional lawyer, ‘a class operator who always goes the extra mile with clients,’ a peer says. An impressed client concurs, crediting Rowlands’ ‘patience, great kindness, understanding and communication’ and his always bringing ‘a dose of good… Read More

Neil Russell

NEIL RUSSELL

SEDDONS

Choosing Seddons is a no-brainer, according to the firm’s Neil Russell. ‘We have leading lawyers in the private client world offering a Magic Circle service, without their overheads and associated costs,’ he explains. His work helping clients navigate the trials… Read More

THOMAS SASSER

SASSER, CESTERO & SASSER

Thomas Sasser could not possibly escape Spear’s transatlantic radar, no matter how sensitive and discreet his caseload. The firm’s clientele is made up of ‘captains of industry, celebrities, athletes and small business owners’. They also look after the family law… Read More

Gretchen Schumann

GRETCHEN SCHUMANN

COHEN RABIN STINE SCHUMANN LLP

‘The year has been a whirlwind of activity,’ says Cohen Rabin Stine Schumann’s founding partner and star performer Gretchen Schumann. ‘The firm, including myself, is busier than ever handling complex negotiations and litigations involving property, finances, children, tax and trust-related… Read More

ROSIE SCHUMM

FORSTERS

‘We’re doing a lot of private work, which we think is the way forward,’ says the warm and highly impressive Rosie Schumm, one of the partners at Forsters. ‘It’s all about that “next gen” narrative. We are a different kind… Read More

Amy Scollan

AMY SCOLLAN

HUNTERS LAW

‘It was a complicated case, involving the crème de la crème of London lawyers,’ recalls Hunters’ senior associate Amy Scollan as she talks Spear’s though her year. ‘Richard Kershaw and I represented a client in one of the highest-value pieces… Read More

Fiona Shackleton

FIONA SHACKLETON

PAYNE HICKS BEACH

Fiona Shackleton, who joined Payne Hicks Beach as a partner in 2001, is a phenomenon – ‘probably the greatest family lawyer of all time’, according to one observer. This may sound like a huge endorsement, but for once the hype… Read More

Erica Shelton

ERICA SHELTON

CHARLES RUSSELL SPEECHLYS

Erica Shelton deals with all areas of family law, particularly complex ancillary relief cases, many involving international couples with offshore corporate, tax and trust structures. A partner at the firm with over 30 years’ experience, Shelton has had a very… Read More

PAM SLOAN

ARONSON MAYEFSKY & SLOAN

Pam Sloan of Aronson Mayefsky & Sloan is highly respected by her London peers, and renowned for being ‘a straight-talking, formidable negotiator’. The attorney is known to achieve favourable settlements for her clients, who often come to her with a… Read More

James Stewart

JAMES STEWART

PENNINGTONS MANCHES COOPER

Described by peers as ‘an absolute leader in the family law world’, James Stewart is a specialist international family lawyer and co-head of the private wealth team (which includes the family, immigration and tax and trust departments) at Penningtons Manches… Read More

CHARLOTTE SYMES

FAMILY LAW IN PARTNERSHIP

Charlotte Symes is a French speaking solicitor who mediates and has a collaborative practice at Family Law in Partnership. Expert in financial issues arising from divorce, separation of cohabitees, complex issues surrounding business, tax, pensions and investments, as well as… Read More

CATHERINE THOMAS

DAWSON CORNWELL

Catherine Thomas joined Dawson Cornwell 2019, where she specialises in HNW settlements rising out of divorce and relationship breakdown. Adept at dealing with cross-jurisdictional disputes, Thomas has acted for a raft of high-profile individuals, pre and post-nuptial agreements, which she… Read More

Ann Thomas

ANN THOMAS

THE INTERNATIONAL FAMILY LAW GROUP LLP

Things continue to ‘grow from strength to strength’ at The International Family Law Group, as co-founder Ann Thomas is happy to report. Some 13 years after the firm was founded with husband David Hodson, the firm has blossomed from a… Read More

SUZANNE TODD

WITHERS

Is London still the ‘divorce capital of the world’? It’s a firm ‘yes’ from Suzanne Todd at Withers, who adds that the characteristics of the English legal system that put London at the top of the jurisdiction pile remain in… Read More

Raymond Tooth

RAYMOND TOOTH

SEARS TOOTH

Raymond Tooth’s name has long been synonymous with the UK’s toughest divorce wins, and this year he doesn’t disappoint, citing a string of successes, including cases in the Court of Appeal. A noteworthy case was S & V, a leave… Read More

JOE VAITILINGAM

VAITILINGAM KAY

Joe Vaitilingam boasts more than 20 years as a family lawyer. He started out as a trainee at Hughes Fowler Carruthers, becoming a partner in 2005, before launching Vaitilingam Kay in 2014. ‘Our basic pitch is that you get me… Read More

Ayesha Vardag

AYESHA VARDAG

VARDAGS

To say that Ayesha Vardag has made an impression on the family law world would be more than an understatement. Since founding her firm in 2005, she acted in the landmark 2010 prenup case Radmacher v Granatino – in which… Read More

ALEX VERDAN

4PB

Peers attest that the bar’s ‘go-to children silk’ is quick to put clients at ease with his ‘down-to-earth and diplomatic’ approach. Alex Verdan’s ‘powerful and eloquent’ advocacy skills have also won him praise from a celebrity client base: he achieved… Read More

Nicholas W. Lobenthal

NICHOLAS W. LOBENTHAL

TEITLER & TEITLER

As Teitler & Teitler is a firm known for its grasp of complexity, especially in matrimonial matters, it’s only natural for Spear’s to ask top attorney Nicholas W. Lobenthal about the scale of complications he deals with. ‘It’s not just… Read More

Izzy Walsh

IZZY WALSH

HALL BROWN FAMILY LAW

It’s been just months since lzzy Walsh set up Hall Brown’s branch in Lincoln’s Inn Fields, but clients are streaming in. Many are Russian/CIS HNWs who can be ‘more reluctant to compromise’, with cases including complex and cross-border divorce and… Read More

Lady Helen Ward

LADY HELEN WARD

STEWARTS

Lady Helen Ward is ‘not merely one of the best, but the best family lawyer in London,’ Lewis Marks QC once said of Stewarts’ undoubtable star player in the family lawyer field. Long recognised as one of the top five… Read More

Jackie Wells

JACKIE WELLS

TAYLOR VINTERS

Jackie Wells joined Taylor Vinters in 2000 to set up its family law practice. It is always the human interest angle of a case that keeps her hooked. ‘I am a firm believer in investing time at the outset in… Read More

Nicholas Westley

NICHOLAS WESTLEY

HARBOTTLE & LEWIS

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… Read More

Sarah Whitten

SARAH WHITTEN

CHARLES RUSSELL SPEECHLYS

Sarah Whitten has had a busy year, working on a mix of divorce, sorting out finances and children matters. ‘I’ve done even more prenuptial agreements than usual,’ she tells Spear’s. ‘Particularly for clients who are marrying for the second or… Read More

BRADLEY WILLIAMS

FAMILY LAW IN PARTNERSHIP

In a firm particularly known for its role in advancing mediation and settlement, it’s intriguing to find a litigator of such quality as Bradley Williams. Likeable and modest – but with a certain quiet authority – Williams is just the… Read More

Luned Rees Williams

LUNED REES WILLIAMS

CAMILLA BALDWIN

Since joining in January 2017, Luned Rees Williams has become an important figure at Camilla Baldwin. She was plunged ‘straight in at the deep end’, conducting a case in the High Court with the formidable Fiona Shackleton on the other… Read More

MARIKO WILSON

FAMILY LAW IN PARTNERSHIP

Mariko Wilson trained at Anthony Gold under Kim Beatson, and now at FLiP she acts for HNWs, with ‘a particular interest in the tax and pension aspects of divorce’. Personable and impressive, the senior associate regularly acts for people in… Read More

SAMANTHA WOODHAM

THE DIVORCE SURGERY

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… Read More

ANNA WORWOOD

PENNINGTONS MANCHES COOPER

Anna Worwood is no stranger to the limelight, with her cases often in the headlines. A leading authority on relocation (she has edited a book on the subject, with another on the way), Worwood has worked on a slew of… Read More

TOBY YERBURGH

COLLYER BRISTOW

As the head of family law at Collyer Bristow, Toby Yerburgh concentrates on international, high value and complex domestic divorce litigation including jurisdiction disputes, preand postnuptial contracts and disputes regarding children. Over the last 12 months, he has seen an… Read More