Stewarts has more individuals listed in the Spear’s 500 guide than ever before, with 24 individuals making the grade. The Divorce and Family team has 12 lawyers listed, including four in the top flight. Tax Litigation and Investigations has five lawyers or tax directors listed, while Trust and Probate Litigation has three. We also have two lawyers from Employment and one each from Financial Crime and Media Disputes in the guide.

The Spear’s 500 is the high net worth individual’s guide to the market’s best private client advisers. From wealth managers to family lawyers and property advisers to fine wine experts, Spear’s offers advice on the advisers.


Top Flight Family Lawyers

The Divorce and Family team had four individuals listed in the Top Flight Family Lawyers category, more than any other firm.

Debbie Chism, former Spear’s Family Lawyer of the Year, features in the Top Flight, with her recent Court of Appeal win on a special contribution case cited as a highlight. Spear’s says: “Commentators are effusive about Chism, with one praising her ‘truly excellent inspiring client care, solid legal analysis and unstuffy approach steeped in commercial reality’, while another testimonial says: ‘If you have a difficult divorce, there is nobody better in London than her.’”

Stephen Foster features in the Top Flight again this year, particularly for complex commercial cases. The guide says: “Industry commentators have described him as ‘a great lateral thinker’, ‘an intelligent and superbly talented litigator’ and ‘the go-to for complex financial proceedings.’” Of his team at Stewarts, Stephen says: “The size, strength and depth of the department sets us apart and means that we can deal with more of the largest and most complex cases than any of our competitors, including some of the largest cases before the English court.”

Emma Hatley also features in the Top Flight list, being lauded for her work on big divorce cases. The guide quotes a peer as saying: “She is fantastic, very capable, has a lovely manner and gets on with all kinds of lawyers.” Emma says her approach “combines rigorous intellect, hard work and technical expertise with compassion, to find fair solutions for domestic and international families”.

Helen Ward also features in the Top Flight where she is noted for her focus on high net worth cases. The guide says: “One of the top five individuals practising in this field, Ward is known for her high level of intellectual rigour, expertise and emotional intelligence.” Helen is quoted as saying “I am well equipped, and almost always succeed in finding creative solutions”.


Top Recommended Family Lawyers

Carly Kinch features in the Top Recommended Family Lawyers section and is noted for her work dealing with complex financial issues. The guide says: “Clients appreciate her style of service, with testimonials describing the lawyer as ‘tenacious’, ‘hard-working’, and ‘incredibly supportive’.” Carly is quoted in the guide as saying she feels “genuinely inspired by the unrivalled excellence that I see every day in our team”.

Adrian Clossick is listed as a Top Recommended Lawyer beyond London for his focus on high net worth divorce and cohabitation claims. Spear’s says in his profile: “‘When acting for divorce clients, one must always remember that the client is going through an emotional process,’ says Adrian Clossick, the Leeds-based partner who heads up Stewarts’ divorce practice there. ‘The client feels at ease if they have a lawyer they can talk to,’ he says. ‘It’s important to be able to distil complex legal concepts into practical, accessible advice – and to combine that with empathy and good humour.’”


Recommended Family Lawyers

Toby Atkinson is listed as a recommended lawyer in the guide and is commended for his international relocation expertise. The guide says: “Peers say he is popular with lawyers in the profession, thanks partly to his ability to stay calm ‘in the heat of battle’.” The guide continues: “Atkinson credits his ‘calm demeanour’, ‘pragmatism’ and ‘sense of humour’ as the attributes that have driven his reputation.”

Richard Hogwood is noted for his work dealing with complex financial issues. His work alongside Debbie Chism in the recent XW v XH Court of Appeal decision on special contribution is also mentioned. The guide says of Richard: “When dealing with cases he is always sensitive to the human aspect, ensuring clients have ‘the ability to move on with their life when the legal process is over’.”

Matthew Humphries is listed, with his focus being on complex high-value cases. Matthew says: “My main aim is to obtain the best possible result for my client.” He continues: “I am known for my attention to detail, which ensures that nothing – no matter how small – is overlooked.”

Sam Longworth is listed as “outstanding in the field” in the guide, with his focus being on high-value cases. He says: “My goal is to put clients in the position to make fully informed decisions as to their next steps – and do so from the very first meeting.” The guide says: “Described as a ‘tough litigator’, and a ‘fantastic lawyer’, Longworth has acted for clients from Europe, America and the Middle East.”

Senior Associate Lucy Gould is also listed as a ‘best of breed’ in the Recommended Family Lawyers and is noted for her work in dealing with complex international UHNWs and entrepreneurs. The guide says she “combines technical excellence and pragmatism when sourcing creative solutions in family law matters, believing in being an effective strategist when representing clients. ‘It’s about not being distracted by every issue, but instead identifying the fights that matter,’ she tells Spear’s.”

Associate Ellie Hampson-Jones also features as a ‘best of breed’ within the guide, where she is noted for her focus on complex high-stakes cases. The guide says she “is conscious of the emotional complexity her cases involve. Despite the challenges the divorce landscape can bring up, ‘the aim is to always help clients look toward a brighter future’ she says.” The guide continues: “Clients are effusive in their praise, with one describing Hampson-Jones as ‘an absolute treasure’.”


Recommended Tax Lawyers

Head of Tax Litigation and Investigations, David Pickstone, is listed in the guide for his tax litigation expertise. Spear’s says: “Pickstone’s department is working on cases worth approximately half a billion pounds. Many of them are litigations raised from HMRC’s success in challenging tax avoidance schemes within the courts. ‘A number of our cases have the potential to change the way UK law is applied and are being watched by the market’, he says.”

James Le Gallais is listed as a Recommended Tax Lawyer. James’s focus is on litigation, and the guide says: “James Le Gallais has drawn praise from the legal press for his work supporting clients in their disputes against promoters of failed film finance schemes.” James himself says: “I advise my clients on negotiation, mediation, and if necessary, litigation, to help them achieve their objectives.”

Lee Ellis is listed as a ‘distinguished individual’ in the area of tax, focusing on high value and complex disputes. The tax team has recently expanded its offering, and Lee says: “Our aim is to provide a complete dispute resolution service all the way from enquiry to settlements and appeals.”

Tax Director Sarah Stenton is listed for her expertise in high net worth HMRC disputes. In the Spear’s guide, she says: “For HNWs, instructing an advisor on a tax investigation is a bit like visiting the doctor, no-one wants to go until you really have to, and you have to work out where you’ll get the best service possible.” Sarah continues: “Most complex investigations need both tax and legal input, so having chartered tax advisers, ex-HMRC inspectors and both lawyers and barristers means we can advise from all angles.”

Lisa Vanderheide, tax director, is also listed as ‘outstanding in field’ for her tax dispute resolution and investigations. Spear’s says of Lisa: “Defining her approach as ‘collaborative’, she says that ‘success comes from good professional relationships. This applies equally to my interactions with HMRC’. She describes herself as a ‘buffer’ between HMRC and her client, working to maintain a functioning relationship.”


Top Recommended Contentious Trust Lawyers

Head of Trust and Probate Litigation, James Price, is listed as a ‘distinguished individual’ for his work in this area. The guide says: “Trusts and estates litigation is only set to increase, and Price has seen a surge in the number of large scale contentious trust restructuring cases and matters involving the Court of Protection. ‘This type of work brings with it particular challenges created by events like death, divorce or family breakdown, so lawyers in this area require both emotional intelligence and technical expertise in equal measure,’ he says.”

Geoff Kertesz is also listed as a Top Trust Lawyer for his work in trust and probate disputes. About him, Spear’s says: “Kertesz has perfected the balance between securing results and managing emotions. He listens to clients, aware that they have been ‘living the dispute’ and that ‘their point of view is the starting point’ – hearing their aspirations and marrying them up with the law is his job after all. ‘I also listen to the opposition, and do not believe in point scoring or litigation by letter’, he says.”

Senior Associate Emma Holland is listed as a Rising Star and comes recommended for trust and probate litigation. Of Emma, Spear’s says: “She seeks to ‘remain calm when advising clients who are often in the midst of emotional chaos’, and has been described by commentators in the sector as ‘one of the best operators in her field’.”


Top Recommended Criminal Lawyers

Head of Financial Crime David Savage is listed for his focus on sanctions and financial crime. Spear’s says: “‘The clients I represent will come to me when they know or suspect they have a really serious problem,’ says David Savage, a sanctions specialist and recent addition to Stewarts’ financial crime team. 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. ‘My job is to offer practical advice and a tactical route to resolution,’ he says.”


Top Recommended Employment Lawyers

Head of Employment Joseph Lappin is listed as a ‘rising star’ in employment. Spear’s says: “Having already observed a Brexit-related rise in cases, Lappin now predicts that a failure to reach a satisfactory trade deal (or any deal) will result in further disruption for financial services firms in particular. ‘We expect to see more businesses restructuring to mitigate Brexit risks,’ he says. ‘And of course, any senior individuals ‘exited’ by their employers will want to understand their statutory employment and contractual rights.’”

Charlie Thompson is also listed as a ‘rising star’ for his focus on employment law and non-disclosure agreements. Spear’s says: “Thompson seeks ‘to put emotional intelligence at the centre of my service to clients. Workplace issues are intensely personal, and even the most amicable of exits can be difficult for a client.’ He employs a collaborative working style: ‘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.’”


Recommended Reputation Lawyers

Head of Media Disputes Emily Cox is listed as a ‘distinguished individual’ for media litigation. Spear’s says: “How does Cox – who practised at Linklaters for 11 years before heading up media litigation for the consumer affairs champion Which? – define her approach? ‘I believe in clear and commercial advice, delivering difficult messages when necessary,’ she says.”


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




You can find further information regarding our expertise, experience and teams on our Divorce and FamilyTax Litigation and Investigations,  Media DisputesTrust and Probate LitigationFinancial Crime and Employment pages.

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