This year’s Spear’s Family Law Index once again lists more lawyers from Stewarts than any other firm. Thirteen of our Divorce and Family partners from our Leeds and London offices are included as well as one senior associate.

The Top Flight rankings once again include Head of Department Stephen Foster and fellow partners Debbie Chism and Emma Hatley. Five of our partners are Top Recommended: Head of Divorce Leeds Adrian Clossick, Richard Hogwood, Carly Kinch, Sophie Chapman and Sam Longworth. The Spear’s Family Index also lists Toby Atkinson, Lisette Dupré, Matthew Humphries, Lucy Stewart-Gould and Ellie Hampson-Jones as Recommended lawyers. Finally, Helen Ward is recognised this year in the new Senior Statesperson category.

“When dealing with a high-value divorce, or issues around cohabitation, child custody, pre- and post-nuptial agreements and mediation, HNWs tend to require specialised and internationally-minded legal experts who can help them to obtain a fair financial settlement or plan their lives following a separation,” Spear’s says. “The best family lawyers provide close support to their clients at every stage of a separation or divorce, and combine legal knowhow with an emotional understanding of a client’s situation.”

In an editorial piece for Spear’s, Stephen Foster noted that a team with strength in depth is essential as each person can only take on so many clients or so much work. When it comes to the complex, multi-jurisdictional matters that define modern HNW family law, this is even more apparent. “It can’t be one person doing everything, it has to be a team,” Stephen says. “It’s not like flying a Spitfire any more, it’s more like flying a Dreamliner.”


Top Flight Family Lawyers

“The much-admired head of Stewarts’ divorce and family department,” Stephen Foster is “known for handling sensitive children’s matters and international cases for clients from the City and entrepreneurs.” Spear’s says he has been described as “a great lateral thinker” and “the go-to for complex financial proceedings”.

Debbie Chism is “recognised for her expertise in collaborative law and her ability to handle complex divorce cases, including those involving high net worth individuals.” A former Spear’s Award winner, she has made significant contributions to family law, including re-defining the law around special contribution arguments.”

Emma Hatley is a previous Spear’s Family Lawyer of the Year winner. “Since then, her career has continued to climb to new heights,” Spear’s says. “Known for her intelligence and tough negotiation skills, she advises high-net-worth individuals and families on international matters involving significant assets.”


Top Recommended Family Lawyers

Adrian Clossick is Head of the Leeds Divorce and Family team, but is acknowledged for his reputation beyond the Northern market: “I am fortunate that many of my cases involve international jurisdictions and, for example, overseas trust assets,”, he said to Spear’s.

Sam Longworth is also Top Recommended once again. He was the lead partner in the recent landmark case of Standish v Standish, acting for the husband where the wife’s settlement was reduced by 45 per cent to £25 million, believed to be the highest ever value and percentage reduction by the Court of Appeal. Spear’s covered the case in full shortly after the judgment. Sam was also named The Times’ Lawyer of the Week for his work on the case.

Richard Hogwood “has clients of all backgrounds and from all around the world, including France, the US, the UAE and Sweden.” The Index notes that he gets “tangible results, both financially and personally, for his clients.”

Sophie Chapman “brings a constructive approach to all aspects of family law, supporting her clients through the divorce or separation process and into their new co-parent status with pragmatism and sensitivity,” according to Spear’s.

Carly Kinch is recognised for her “diverse” client base, and for having “shot up from paralegal to partner within the space of 12 years. She has a “detail-orientated approach to her complex family law cases, many of which involve high-value assets.”


Recommended Family Lawyers

Lucy Stewart-Gould is “a popular lawyer among HNW business people (and their spouses).” Having also acted for the husband in Standish v Standish, she wrote for Spear’s on how the landmark ruling in favour of our client will have a lasting impact on future cases.

Lisette Dupré “is a highly competent and knowledgeable specialist on cross-border and multi-jurisdictional cases.” Based in Leeds, she “regularly advises on pre-nuptial agreements and complex disputes involving international families.”

Toby Atkinson “is popular with lawyers across the profession, thanks partly to his ability to stay calm in the heat of battle,” Spear’s says. “As the capital has cemented its position as the world’s financial centre, more and more UNHWs have been drawn here,” he notes.

Matthew Humphries recognises “the emotional hardship often faced by clients going through difficult divorces.” The Index recognises that “in recent years, he has acted in ‘some very substantial cases’, with assets often in excess of £50 million.”

Senior Associate Ellie-Hampson Jones “is conscious of the emotional complexity of her cases.” Parties she as acted for praise her “for her client-focused demeanour and ability to put the client and their needs at the heart of everything she does.”

The full list of lawyers within the Family Law Index can be accessed on the Spear’s website.



You can find further information regarding our expertise, experience and team on our Divorce and Family pages.

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