The eighth edition of The Spear’s 500 guide to the best private client advisers includes 27 Stewarts lawyers, more than in any previous year. All 13 partners and one senior associate from our Divorce and Family team are included, with four partners ranked in the ‘Top Flight’. Four members of our Tax Litigation and Resolution team feature, as do all four partners from Trust and Probate Litigation. Stewarts also has two Employment, two Commercial Litigation and one Media Disputes partner included.

Spear’s editor Edwin Smith says in his introduction to the guide: “Spear’s has become a byword for quality advice by recommending only people and companies that exhibit excellence. These rankings are the product of the research carried out by the Spear’s Research Unit, which comprises in-person and telephone interviews, peer reviews, analysis from subject-matter experts and information supplied by clients as well as the advisers and firms themselves.”


New listings 2023

Lisette Dupré, Sophie Chapman, Marcus Parker and Marc Jones are listed for the first time in the 2023 edition of Spear’s 500.


Top Flight Family Lawyers

Once again our team is unrivalled in the Family Lawyers section of the guide, with more featured individuals than any other firm.

Head of Divorce and Family Stephen Foster is once more listed in the Top Flight. “In the dozen or so years since he set it up, the department has grown into one of the strongest in London, with the depth to ‘deal with cases ranging from up-and-coming City professionals to some of the largest cases before the English Court’,” his listing says.

Debbie Chism has “a formidable reputation for working with complex issues that arise from divorce, ranging from asset valuation and business interests to trusts and wealth protection structures… her clientele often includes high profile HNWs.”

Previously Spear’s Family Lawyer of the Year in 2017, Emma Hatley is “one of the very best family lawyers in the business” and is described by a peer as “the essence of what HNW clients want and need in a family lawyer”.

A prior winner of the Spear’s Lifetime Achievement Award, Helen Ward “attracts clients with the highest profiles and has fought for the likes of Andrew Lloyd Webber, Paloma Picasso, Guy Ritchie and the Countess Spencer.”


Top Recommended and Recommended Family Lawyers

New to the Stewarts ranks in Spear’s in 2023, Leeds-based Lisette Dupré is Recommended by the guide. “She regularly advises on complex disputes involving international families,” and is “a highly competent and knowledgeable specialist on cross-border and multi-jurisdictional cases.” Spear’s also mentions that Lisette is Founder and Chair of the EU Law Working Group, a member of the Brexit and Family Law Working Group and Resolution, a fellow of the International Academy of Family Lawyers and sits on the Law Society’s Family Law committee.

From the London office, Sophie Chapman appears in the Spear’s guide for the first time. “Much of her practice is international and high-value, including offshore trusts and business valuations across borders and jurisdictions,” her profile says. “Sophie brings a constructive approach to all aspects of family law, supporting her clients through the divorce or separation process into their new co-parent status with pragmatism and sensitivity.”

Top Recommended Carly Kinch “shot up from paralegal to partner within the space of 12 years,” and is praised by Spear’s for her “attitude of ‘no stone unturned’ and her ‘results-focused’ mindset.”

Head of Divorce in Leeds Adrian Clossick is also Top Recommended. He told Spear’s: “The real skill is in being able to take that technical expertise and convert it into pragmatic commercial advice that clients can understand.”

Toby Atkinson is again Recommended in 2023. “Most clients want the same thing – to reach settlement quickly, efficiently and without acrimony – and I work hard to achieve that,” he notes.

Richard Hogwood “has clients of all backgrounds and from all around the world, including France, the US, the UAE, and Sweden. When dealing with family cases he is always sensitive to the human aspect.”

Matthew Humphries has “handled some ‘cutting edge’ matters, including set-aside injunctions and nuptial settlement,” all while “recognising the emotional hardship often faced by clients going through difficult divorces”.

“My goal is to put clients in a position to make fully informed decisions as to their next steps – and do so from the very first meeting,” Sam Longworth tells Spear’s in his listing. “If a settlement is unlikely to be reached without going to court or launching arbitration, then those processes should begin as soon as possible.”

Spear’s says that “all of Lucy Stewart-Gould’s cases involve connections with at least one other jurisdiction and, for the majority, multiple jurisdictions.” Her ranking notes she “regularly acts for well-known figures in entertainment and sporting arenas.”

Lucy was part of a 2022 Spear’s feature highlighting 13 top family lawyers at different stages of their career, charting the evolution of the profession and anticipating changes to the way big-money break-ups unfold.

Senior Associate Ellie Hampson-Jones “enjoys the ‘varied and high-tempo cases’ that Stewarts is known for handling,” including “multi-jurisdiction, highly complex cases with assets in excess of £100 million for UHNW individuals”.


Top Recommended and Recommended Contentious Trusts Lawyers

Head of Trust and Probate Litigation James Price is Top Recommended again in 2023. The Trusts team at Stewarts “has grown significantly since he set it up over five years ago and he believes that trusts and estate litigation is only set to increase”. James says in the guide: “Lawyers in this area require both emotional intelligence and technical expertise in equal measure.”

Geoff Kertesz “knows that clients have to be able to depend on him,” Spear’s says. Geoff notes: “Whether there is conflict within the family, tension within a trust structure, or illness or death has struck a family member, my clients need sound commercial guidance.”

Emma Holland has “undertaken some of the most complex cases in the landscape involving high value assets” as part of the Stewarts team. Spear’s describes her as a “rising star… Most of her clients are international, and her practice has impressive breadth.”

New addition to the team Marcus Parker is Recommended by Spear’s. “He is a highly experienced and trusted practitioner in the management of complex disputes between wealthy families and their associated wealth structures” according to the guide. Based in the Cayman Islands for eight years, Marcus “is very well versed in the island’s laws and corporate structures.”


Top Recommended Tax Lawyers and Advisers

Head of Tax Litigation and Resolution David Pickstone “has developed large class actions, including the Ingenious, Eclipse, Scotts Atlantic and Invicta 43 group actions, and acted for various well-known HNWs in individual tax disputes.”

James Le Gallais is also noted and “has drawn praise for his work supporting clients in their disputes against promoters of failed film finance schemes. Much of his current practice involves representing clients in disputes related to tax, financial and investment advice.”

Lee Ellis’ “recent wins” are highlighted, including “defending a large waste management company from claims of £30 million for overpaid landfill tax and helping a number of HNWs to resolve complex disputes with HMRC.”

Tax Director Lisa Vanderheide is also featured again in 2023. “Whether there is a disagreement with HMRC regarding a technical issue, suspected tax fraud, or a client involved in a tax avoidance arrangement under enquiry needs assistance, she navigates the relationship between the client and HMRC to arrive at the best solution,” the guide says.

All four are ‘Top Recommended’ by Spear’s.


Top Recommended Employment Lawyers

Head of Employment Joseph Lappin speaks of “the firm’s shared willingness to invest ‘time and effort’ in fully appreciating clients’ needs.” Joe says: “We work with clients to achieve both legal and non-legal objectives, so understanding what they want to achieve is paramount.”

Charlie Thompson is likewise Top Recommended this year. “Because my clients are high-achieving and intelligent, I aim for both of us to leverage the other’s expertise to come up with the best strategies,” he says.


Top Recommended Commercial Litigation Lawyers

Included in the Cryptocurrency section of the guide for the first time, Marc Jones “has developed a varied client base which includes financial institutions, states and state-entities, companies, and HNW private clients.” Spear’s recognises his work in the pivotal case of Robertson v Person Unknown (where Bitcoin was treated as legal property by the High Court) and notes he is a founding member of CFAAR, a global network for Crypto Fraud and Asset Recovery professionals.

David Savage is listed as a Top Recommended criminal lawyer. The listing says: “With expertise across the legal, regulatory and commercial aspects of financial crime, Savage says his typical client can be anyone from a large corporate suspecting internal foul play, to an HNW who finds their bank accounts frozen.”


Recommended Reputation & Privacy Lawyers

Head of Media Disputes Emily Cox “provides would-be litigants with a realistic assessment of their case right off the bat. [She] practised at Linklaters for 11 years before heading up media litigation for the consumer affairs champion Which?”.


The full 2023 edition of Spear’s 500 can be found here.



You can find further information regarding our expertise, experience and teams on our Divorce and FamilyTrust and Probate LitigationTax Litigation and Resolution, Employment, Commercial Litigation and Media Disputes pages.

If you require assistance from our team, please contact us.



Subscribe – In order to receive our news straight to your inbox, subscribe here. Our newsletters are sent no more than once a month.


Key Contacts

See all people