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I am a Partner at Irwin Mitchell and Head of the national Family Law department. I specialise in the financial aspects of relationship breakdown particularly, but not exclusively, those with larger assets and incomes. I have always been a family lawyer. I enjoy working with, and still gain satisfaction from, helping a client resolve what can be a very emotionally draining experience.
I am a specialist in high-value ancillary relief cases involving substantial assets including pensions, co-habitee disputes (including same-sex) and international issues, as well as pre-marital agreements and private children issues.
I am a former member of the Management Board at Irwin Mitchell and currently sit on the Personal Legal Services Executive Board.
My inspiration came from a desire to be analytical but wanting to be with and help people. I could not have been a medic - I'm not good with blood. I find the practical application of the law (not necessarily the academic study) the most rewarding.
There is no doubt that helping the client is still the buzz. To start with a client who does not know where to turn and does not want to be in the position of having to see a lawyer (a bit like the dentist) and bring that client to a final conclusion where they can get on with their life is the ultimate reward.
Irwin Mitchell is part of me. I have spent more than half my life working here. We are fair employers. We promote and encourage all our people. We are not afraid to be bold. We are not afraid of change. We are successful but we as a group of partners have kept our feet on the ground. We have not forgotten our roots.
My family of two teenage daughters and a wife (who deserves the accolades, not me) are priority number one. After that it is sport and music. I should have played football for Sheffield Wednesday and been the lead singer for Led Zeppelin. Regrettably I have to make do with my dreams.
“January is often our busiest period but it’s a bit of a myth that people who have had a terrible Christmas are sat waiting by the doors of law firms on the 3rd January.
“People don’t usually contact divorce lawyers out of the blue, it is something which has been considered for a while. January is the time for New Year’s resolutions and new starts in life and that is often the prompt people need to take that formal step of ending their relationship after a difficult few months or years.
“Our research and experience shows that often partners have already agreed to separate but stay together for one last Christmas with their children rather that cause a massive upheaval during the festive holidays. Our research showed that 26% of people admitted to staying in unhappy relationships ‘for the kids’."
“Christmas can be a tough time of year for some as there is a huge emphasis on spending time with family and friends and it can mean there are tricky decisions for parents to make.
“Modern families are now more complicated with second and third marriages more common than a decade ago and it raises more issues in terms of contact with children and other members of the family such as grandparents.
“Our research has found that Christmas may be very different for both mothers and fathers with all parents potentially facing some difficult decisions and choices on behalf of their children.
“We would advise people to try not to make the holiday period more stressful than it already is, especially as most children facing a separated festive period for the first time are under 15-years-old and clearly will be relying on their parents to help things run as smooth as possible. There will likely have to be compromises and agreements and it is important that children are always the first priority.
“Common problems that get reported to us by divorcing couples include using Christmas presents to points score with children and not compromising on travel and contact arrangements. With the courts strongly favouring both parents being involved in a child’s life where possible, it’s important that parents try to put aside their differences and appreciate the other parent’s point of view too at this potentially tricky time of year.”
“We are incredibly committed to putting our clients first at all times and to be recognised for the hard work undertaken by our expert lawyers makes me very proud.
“We have a significant and growing number of high net worth private clients regionally and internationally. Our family and contentious probate teams are working on groundbreaking legal cases, highlighted perfectly by our two successful Supreme Court divorce cases last autumn.
“Our Private Client teams have already built a formidable reputation on a national and regional level and we look forward to building on that in the coming months and years.”
I’m thrilled and honoured to be given a place on this year’s list but my name actually represents all of the great people at Irwin Mitchell and the amazing clients with whom we work.
Although I do a lot of work with clients in London, which I love, I am proud of the fact I’ve been born and bred in Manchester and I’m proud to be flying the flag for family law outside the capital.
We can be proud in Manchester that we have nationally renowned lawyers working on cutting edge cases . People don’t have to go to London to get the very best legal advice.
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