Lewis Powers advises on all areas of family law, with a particular emphasis on complex financial settlements. His cases often involve an international dimension, offshore trusts and assets, inherited/dynastic wealth, arguments concerning pre-marital and post-separation wealth and the valuation of family businesses. The Legal 500 consistently ranks Lewis as a “Rising Star” and notes he is “wise beyond his years – a star of the future”.
As Pride Month 2023 draws to a close, we look at Lewis’ career story.
My first step towards the law
Growing up, I was not sure what I wanted to do. I had wanted to act and can remember rocking up to ITV studios in Leeds, during the summer holiday between high school and sixth form, and auditioning to play the son of a new farming family that were joining Emmerdale. I didn’t get it (I’m not bitter…) and all I had to show for my ‘acting career’ was a summer spent (annoyingly back in school) as an extra on BBC’s Waterloo Road.
It was not until sixth form (having quenched my thirst for stardom) – and following work placements at my local Magistrates’ Court and the Manchester Civil Justice Centre that I considered a career in law. I was lured by the bright lights of London and left my small market town on the outskirts of Manchester to study law at Queen Mary, University of London.
I was the first member of my family to go to university, so it was an adjustment, but I soon fell in love with the law, specifically family law. I find it fascinating how the law interacts with families and home life. I am drawn to the fact that this area of law is constantly evolving (although I would argue nowhere near as quickly as it should) to play catch up with the needs and demands of modern-day families. I also love that everyone, no matter their job or background, has an opinion on family law and what we do for a living.
At the time, my university was the only one in London with a Legal Advice Centre (LAC). Members of the public would drop in and attend meetings with students, supervised by a solicitor. The students would use the session to gather information and then prepare a letter of advice for the client under the supervision of a solicitor. My time at the LAC helped cement that a career in law (in an area that interacted with people’s lives) was for me.
Life before Stewarts
I graduated in 2013, and following a brief stint working at my university, I was offered a job as a paralegal at a small divorce and family firm based in Chancery Lane. Being sent to appear before the urgent business judge at the Central Family Court on my third day (and birthday) felt like a baptism of fire, but what an introduction.
The firm offered me a training contract in 2015 (I was their first trainee) and sponsored me through my LPC. I studied for my LPC in the evenings alongside my training contract; I qualified in November 2017.
I cut my teeth on some interesting and challenging family law work. A highlight was when we acted for the appellant wife in the landmark case of Sharp in the Court of Appeal. The case concerned the correct approach when dividing wealth in short and dual-career marriages, and we were successful in reducing the husband’s award.
I also headed back to my university, and, coming full circle, it was now my turn to supervise the family law clinic at the LAC.
I look back fondly at my training and my first few years as a qualified solicitor. I am grateful for the opportunities I received to build my confidence and ready myself for the next stage in my career.
In early 2020, an opportunity arose to apply for a role at Stewarts. I was familiar with the divorce and family department and their reputation as being the best in the country. I wanted to spread my wings and take on the challenge of joining a much larger firm, so I was delighted when the firm offered me a role.
I joined the firm in May 2020. We were in the middle of lockdown and overnight I had gone from a firm of four to 400. It was a steep learning curve, but I am so pleased I made the move and joined the firm. The Divorce and Family department is undoubtedly the best in the business.
I specialise in all areas of family law with a particular emphasis on complex financial settlements. I enjoy the complexities and problem-solving that come with advising high net worth (and often international) individuals on their divorce and separation.
A particular highlight of mine was assisting Debbie Chism and Matthew Humphries on the reported case of IR v OR. This case dealt with numerous complex issues, including the valuation of a family business, the division of non-matrimonial wealth and the tests applied to determine the validity of a pre-nuptial agreement. This matter started just after I joined Stewarts in May 2020, so it will always hold special significance for me. The case culminated in a multi-day trial in the High Court in 2022 in which we achieved an award of over £70m for the wife (exceeding the husband’s offer by over £20m).
I have always felt valued at Stewarts and encouraged to be myself. It is always daunting, as a member of the LGBTQ+ community, to change employers, but I needn’t have had any anxieties. I feel at home at Stewarts, and it is great to see the work undertaken by the firm to foster a culture of inclusion and acceptance.
I wasted no time in getting stuck in with diversity initiatives, and in 2021, I was appointed a Diversity Champion as part of the LGBT+ Focus Group. We are continually working to support our LGBTQ+ colleagues and allies. A few highlights of my work as a Diversity Champion include speaking to Amal Fashanu regarding diversity in football and taking part in firm-wide discussions on the evolution of marriage equality and allyship.
Stewarts Career Stories
We encourage our people to strive for excellence in everything they do. Our culture promotes a good work/life balance and supports the career progression of our staff.
We’ve highlighted some of the careers of our people, outlining the diverse paths they have taken to get where they are today.
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