In the latest edition of the Spear’s 500 guide, Stewarts has 24 individuals listed once more. Our Divorce and Family team has 12 lawyers included, with four ranked in the ‘Top Flight’. Five lawyers or tax directors from the Tax Litigation and Investigations team are included, as are three individuals from Trust and Probate Litigation. Stewarts also has two Employment lawyers and one each from Media Disputes and Financial Crime included.

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


What does wealth mean?

To mark Spear’s 15th anniversary, the publication asked leading figures in various industries to address the issue of what wealth represents in today’s world.

Debbie Chism, Spear’s Family Lawyer of the Year in 2019 and a senior partner in the Divorce and Family team at Stewarts, said this:

“I think it is less of an understanding and more of a fact that wealthy families have relatively suddenly become ultra-wealthy. Whereas previously a significant proportion of our clients were multi-millionaires, we are now routinely involved in divorces worth hundreds of millions. The world in the past 15 years has become increasingly international and mobile, and we have seen international UHNW families flock to London, drawn to the financial success of the capital.

“London’s divorce courts also have a generous approach to carving up a family fortune, and so it remains the divorce capital of the world. This, combined with the rise of the ultra-wealthy, means we are dealing with an ever increasing number of high-value and complex cases. In 2014 the largest ever award by an English court at the time, £337m, was made in favour of the wife, Jamie Cooper-Hohn. Two years later this was superseded by an award of £453m, again in favour of the wife, Tatiana Akhmedova. Many other cases settle outside of court for even higher sums. The stakes for UHNW families are just getting higher and higher.”


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: Spear’s describes her as “one of the most respected family solicitors in London, known not only for winning fierce court battles, but also for devising creative out-of-court methods for complex disputes.” A testimonial says: “If you have a difficult divorce, there is nobody better in London than her.”

Head of Divorce and Family Stephen Foster says of Stewarts: “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.” Industry commentators say he is “an intelligent and superbly talented litigator” and “the go-to for complex financial proceedings.”

Spear’s praises Emma Hatley as “one of the very best family lawyers in the business”. A peer suggests she is “the essence of what HNW clients want and need in a family lawyer”.

Helen Ward is described by a client as having “a mind like a Swiss watch, and a warm heart – a rare combination.” Helen won the Spear’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2015.


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: “She has a diverse HNW client base and has significant experience in all aspects of family law, but her work focuses predominantly on the resolution of complex financial issues.”

Head of Divorce and Family in Leeds Adrian Clossick is listed as a Top Recommended Lawyer beyond London. “I am a firm believer that being an excellent technical lawyer is simply not enough,” he says to 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.”


Recommended Family Lawyers

Toby Atkinson is listed as a recommended lawyer in the guide and is commended for his international relocation expertise. “Peers say he is also popular with lawyers across the profession, thanks partly to his ability to stay calm ‘in the heat of battle’,” Spear’s says.

Richard Hogwood is noted for his work dealing with complex financial issues. The guide notes that “he is sensitive to the human aspect of cases, ensuring that clients have ‘the ability to move on with life when the legal process is over’.”

Matthew Humphries “has acted in ‘some very substantial cases’, with assets often in excess of £50 million.” He is a specialist in resolving complex financial claims arising on family breakdown.

Sam Longworth is listed in the guide as “outstanding in the field”. “He is recognised across the private wealth industries as a leader.” Sam says his “goal is to put clients in a position to make fully informed decisions as to their next steps… from the very first meeting”.

Lucy Stewart-Gould is a Partner in the team at Stewarts, having risen through the ranks since joining the firm in 2014,” Spear’s notes. The guide also notes that “all of her cases involve connections with at least one other jurisdiction and, for the majority, multiple jurisdictions.”

Senior Associate Ellie Hampson-Jones also receives a ‘Recommended’ ranking. “Ellie’s clients praise her for her client-focused demeanour and ability to put the client and their needs at the heart of everything she does”, the listing says.


Top Recommended Contentious Trust Lawyers

Head of Trust and Probate Litigation James Price is once again a Top Recommended lawyer for his work in this area. The listing says he “specialises in disputes relating to private wealth matters, trust and succession in England and other jurisdictions. He has considerable expertise in handling governance issues in a private wealth disputes context.”

Geoff Kertesz also features as a Top Recommended lawyer, with the listing noting that he “listens to clients, aware that they have been ‘living the dispute’ and that ‘their point of view is the starting point’”. He “aims to strike a balance between securing results and managing emotions.”

Top Recommended for the first time, Partner Emma Holland “acts for HNWs as well as trustees, companies and charities. Most of her clients are international, and her practice has impressive breadth.”


Top Recommended Tax Lawyers

Head of Tax Litigation and Investigations David Pickstone is listed as a Top Recommended lawyer for his tax litigation expertise. ”A number of our cases have the potential to change the way UK law is applied and are being watched by the market,” he tells Spear’s.

Lee Ellis also features in the list. Spears says he “seeks to bring all new clients up to speed as quickly as possible on the potential consequences of being in dispute with HMRC”, noting recent wins include helping a number of HNWs to resolve complex tax disputes.

James Le Gallais is also Top Recommended. “Much of his current practice involves representing clients in disputes related to tax, financial and investment advice”, according to the guide. James has “handled commercial fraud claims, as well as numerous other corporate disputes.”


Top Recommended and Recommended Tax Advisors

Tax Director Lisa Vanderheide is Top Recommended in the tax advisors section of the guide. “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.”

Sarah Stenton is also ‘Recommended’ by Spear’s. The guide says she “has an enviable reputation in the field of tax dispute resolution, established over her 17 year career advising across the full spectrum of taxes.”


Top Recommended Employment Lawyers

Head of Employment Joseph Lappin “regularly advises clients on grievance and disciplinary investigations, unfair dismissal, discrimination, whistleblowing, breaches of post-termination covenants and incentive schemes.” The guide says his “ability to resolve disputes and reach effective settlements comes from his ability to see problems from all sides.”

Charlie Thompson is also Top Recommended. “Workplace issues are intensely personal, and even the most amicable of exits can be difficult for a client,” he tells Spear’s. The guide says he “advises high-achieving people… on workplace issues from recruitment to exit and everything in between”.


Top Recommended Criminal Lawyers

Head of Financial Crime David Savage is included for his focus on sanctions and financial criminal litigation. Spear’s acknowledges his “expertise across the legal, regulatory and commercial aspects of financial crime”. David describes himself as “uniquely placed to face the significant and understandable pressures faced by clients”.


Recommended Reputation Lawyers

Head of Media Disputes Emily Cox is recommended for media litigation work in the reputation and privacy space. “Clients need confidence that you will tell them when a case is or is not worth pursuing for legal, financial or tactical reasons, rather than simply what you think they want to hear,” she tells Spear’s.


The full edition of the Spear’s 500 2022 can be found here.




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

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



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