Stewarts has 22 individuals ranked in the 2020 edition of the Spear’s 500 guide, with 13 Divorce and Family lawyers, four Tax Litigation specialists, two Trust and Probate Litigation lawyers, and one lawyer each from Financial Crime, Media Disputes and Employment being recommended.


Top Flight and Outstanding family lawyers

Stewarts has three partners listed in the Top Flight category of family lawyers. Head of department Stephen Foster and partners Helen Ward and Debbie Chism were hailed as ‘Outstanding in the field’.

Stephen was praised for his “pragmatism and gravitas”, and for “leading Stewarts’ phalanx of family law to the top of the pack”. Debbie Chism, who won Family Lawyer of the Year at Spear’s Wealth Management Awards at the end of 2019, was described as “clear and strategic”. It has been an eventful year for Debbie whose clients have included European royalty, pop stars and overnight billionaires in the tech sector. Lady Helen Ward is lauded for her “outstanding ability to reach settlements and to advise pragmatically”. Helen was described “as possessing a mind like a Swiss watch and a warm heart”. She was also described as an “absolutely fantastic expert in complex multimillion pound ancillary relief matters”.

Also, Emma Hatley, a star divorce lawyer and winner of Family Lawyer of the year at the 2017 Spear’s Wealth Management Awards, was described by industry commentators as “one of the best family lawyers in the London market”. Emma was commended as being outstanding in the field.

Other London family partners commended as ‘Outstanding in the field’ were Sam Longworth, Toby Atkinson and Richard Hogwood.

Sam Longworth who is popular among clients, referrers and peers, was praised as being an “assertive, charismatic lawyer who is calming when needed, and is never one to shy away from a challenging client”. Toby Atkinson is noted for his highly sensitive work in international relocation cases and child abduction. Toby adds that a recent outcome in that area is one of the most satisfying of his career. An expert in pre-nuptial agreements, Richard Hogwood believes that pre-nups are not just for the rich and famous. He says: “It would be more helpful for them also to be viewed as a litigation avoidance insurance, rather than merely as a way of protecting the assets of a wealthier party.”


Distinguished and Best of Breed Family Lawyers

Partner Carly Kinch, who is lauded by clients as “tenacious, really hard working and incredibly supportive”, has been recognised as a ‘Distinguished individual’. Partner Matthew Humphries and senior associate Lucy Gould are mentioned as ‘Best of Breed’.

Matthew is recommended for his international work, with one client claiming him to be part of her ‘dream team’, stating: “I cannot rate them highly enough – and I should know, having had to change my legal team halfway through due to lack of confidence.” Lucy was also named as a ‘Future Leader’ in the Wealth Management Awards in 2018, and is quoted as welcoming the increased use of arbitration to obtain successful results for clients.


Family Lawyers Beyond London and ‘Young Turks’

Under the indices of ‘Top Recommended Family Lawyers Beyond London’, the founder of our Divorce and Family team in Leeds, partner Adrian Clossick, has been recognised as a ‘Distinguished individual’. Adrian is one of the few high-profile family lawyers in the north dealing with The Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996 (ToLATA) claims as matrimonial finance claims.

Also, in the family lawyers beyond London category, legal director Ed Heaton is named ‘Young Turk’ and recognised by industry commentators for “his high value matrimonial finance cases, including ones involving complex company, trust and international elements”.

The latest addition to our Divorce and Family team, rising star lawyer Ellie Hampson-Jones, is named a ‘Young Turk’.


Best of Breed for Media Disputes

In addition to the firm’s family lawyers, Ryan Dunleavy, a partner and head of our Media Disputes team, is hailed as ‘Best of Breed’ in the ‘Recommended Reputation Lawyer’ indices. Ryan specialises in high-profile media disputes. In the directory, Ryan says: “I see myself as much more of a creative problem solver than a lawyer, and the best result is often achieved from lateral thinking rather than simply opening legal textbooks.”


Top Recommended for Employment Disputes

Joseph Lappin, a partner in our Employment team who regularly advises on whistleblowing, discrimination and unfair dismissal, is named a ‘Young Turk’. Discretion is key in employment cases, with Joe stating: “The vast majority of our cases do not end up in the tribunals or courts. Often it is in our client’s best interests to settle disputes confidentially and without litigating.”


Outstanding and Top Recommended for Financial Crime

Richard Kovalevsky QC is recognised as ‘Outstanding in the field’ in the ‘Top Recommended Criminal Lawyer’ index. Richard is a partner and the head of our Financial Crime team and has acted for a growing number of high net worth and ultra high net worth individuals over the past 12 months.


Distinguished for Tax Litigation and Investigations

Two partners and two directors from our Tax Litigation and Investigations team are also recognised. Partner and head of department David Pickstone is acclaimed as a ‘Distinguished individual’. Under David’s leadership, his department is working on cases worth approximately half a billion pounds across the full range of tax litigations arising from HMRC’s success in challenging tax avoidance schemes in the courts. Partner Lee Ellis is also named as a ‘Distinguished individual’ for his work with high net worth clients, who include celebrities, sports stars and senior professionals. Tax directors Sarah Stenton and Lisa Vanderheide are listed as ‘Distinguished individuals’. Sarah, who began as a graduate trainee at HMRC, now focuses on high net worth HMRC disputes at Stewarts. And Lisa, who was a tax inspector at HMRC, is now a specialist in complex HMRC interactions.


Top Recommended for Trust and Probate Litigation

Two individuals from our Trust and Probate Litigation teams are recognised in the ‘Top Recommended Contentious Trusts’ lawyers index. Head of department and partner in our Trust and Probate Litigation team, James Price is named as a ‘Distinguished individual’, and senior associate Emma Holland is recognised as a ‘Young Turk’. She has been described by commentators in the sector as “tremendously strong” and “one of the best operators in her field”.


The Spear’s 500 became the world’s first comprehensive guide to the top private client advisers, wealth managers and high net worth service providers when it was published last year.

The Spear’s 500 covers the top 500 individuals across the entire spectrum of wealth management and private client practice in the UK from private banking to philanthropy, family offices to family lawyers.

To view the full list of advisers ranked in the Spear’s 500, please click here.



You can find further information regarding our expertise, experience and teams on our Divorce and Family, Tax Litigation and InvestigationsMedia Disputes, Trust and Probate Litigation, Financial Crime and Employment pages.

If you require assistance from our team, please contact us or request a call back from one of our lawyers by submitting this form.



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