Stewarts has had five lawyers listed in the Spear’s Family Law Index 2020, including four in the ‘Top Flight’ – more than any other firm.

Helen Ward, Debbie Chism, Emma Hatley and Stephen Foster made the ‘Top Flight’ and Carly Kinch was listed as a ‘Top Recommended Family Lawyer’ in the Spear’s Family Law Index 2020.

First published 10 years ago, the Family Law Index provides a list of “the finest family lawyers in the land – the best people to guide HNW clients through iron-clad prenups, big-money divorces and complicated custody battles”. The 2020 edition of the index contains 63 lawyers in total, including 15 in the Top Flight, 40 Recommended Family Lawyers, three rising stars and five barristers.

Stephen Foster is listed in the ‘Top Flight’ category and is noted for “building Stewarts’ reputation as an ‘entrepreneurial’ family law firm since 2006”. He is noted for his clients from the City and the fact many of his cases have an international dimension. Stephen’s full profile can be found here.

Debbie Chism, who is the current holder of the Spear’s Family Lawyer of the Year title, is also in the ‘Top Flight’ category, being described as “an absolute star performer”. The guide mentions her recent Court of Appeal win in XW v XH with Debbie saying, “We shut the door on a lot of special contribution arguments,” and Spear’s saying, “Lawyers called it a ‘critical win for gender equality’”. Debbie says: “I am always looking for a creative way to solve a case. It’s always best to find a solution that both parties can live with.” Debbie’s full entry in the guide can be found here.

Emma Hatley, who is listed in the ‘Top Flight’, is noted for having a large number of recommendations from the family law community and is described as “an incredibly good lawyer”. Spear’s notes Emma’s negotiating skills, and she tells them: “I absolutely go into every case with the intention of trying to negotiate a settlement but with a litigation strategy underpinning it. We do not have the reputation of litigating endlessly and needlessly.” But, she adds: “If a fight is to be had, then I will definitely put the gloves on.” Emma’s entry on the Family Law Index can be found here.

Helen Ward is also listed in the ‘Top Flight’ with Spear’s saying: “Lady Helen Ward’s place at the pinnacle of the profession seems safe for some time to come.” Praise from her peers includes Lewis Marks QC stating that she is “not merely one of the best, but the best family lawyer in London”. A rival recounts how quickly Helen picked up on a mistake their client had made in court when others seemed to have not noticed. Helen’s full profile can be found here.

Carly Kinch was listed in the guide as a ‘Top Recommended Family Lawyer’ for a second year running after being promoted to partner in 2018. She is described as “tenacious” by a client and someone who always gives “Rolls-Royce service”. Her profile in the Spear’s Family Law Index can be found here.

The wider Divorce and Family department also gets a mention, with Stephen describing the team he leads to Spear’s by saying: “We have 10 of the best partners in London.” Emma says it is the “strength in depth” of the team that has attracted high quality instructions to the firm, stating: “Whoever you deal with here, you get a [high] calibre lawyer.” Spear’s quotes one peer as saying the team has “really come into the ascendancy”.

The full Spear’s Family Law Index for 2020 can be found here.




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