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I am a Senior Associate Solicitor and practise exclusively in family law. Alongside assisting Martin Loxley with high net worth financial and complex children cases, I run my own caseload, which is largely made up of clients who have been referred to me by existing and former clients. My workload is split evenly between disputes concerning the arrangements children following a separation and divorce and matrimonial finance work. I have a very clear understanding of commercial issues, which is crucial when approaching complex divorce and financial cases. I am solution focussed and give honest, practical and strategic advice.
I have a piece of artwork that I drew when I was a small boy, which my grandfather saved. It has a picture of the future me in it, wearing a brightly coloured tie. Being a miner's grandson who played in the coal shed at weekends, I didn't often see people wearing ties as a youngster. They fascinated me. Ties turned people in dark suits, whom I found quite disconcerting, into creatures that I wanted to learn more about. My grandfather always told me that if I worked hard in school, I could become a solicitor and wear a tie. I ditched the coal shed for the courtroom and have never looked back, though I still visit my grandparents on Sundays.
Helping a person secure their own or their children's future is what really drives me. Clients generally walk through our door at an extremely low ebb. Some of them come willingly, asking for help to escape a situation that they find unbearable and an expert hand to guide them. Others are forced to seek help and need our protection, financially as well as emotionally. Being their shield and helping them to face their future, with the confidence and protection they need to move forward is fulfilling.
Family issues are not limited to usual office hours and I try my utmost to be as accessible as possible, so that clients can be confident that they will always have someone on hand to assist them when difficult situations arise. I am passionate about achieving the best results for all of my clients.
I am the Chairman of a Rape and Sexual Abuse Counselling Service which supports children and adults who are or have been victims of sexual violence.
I have three very cheeky nephews and a wonderful niece, all of whom I love to spend time with.
"From the outset David has been truly outstanding and really took the time to understand my needs. He adopted a highly effective and robust approach in order to meet my objectives. Providing legal advice was just the beginning, what made the difference was his ability to give first class support and guidance, constantly going that extra mile. Above all he fought my corner with commitment and compassion. Together we achieved a result which surpassed my every possible expectation. I would recommend him without any reservation as he is truly a first class operator."
Dr Elizabeth Houghton | Associate, Eckington Dental Practice | Sheffield
"Throughout my case I received the highest level of care and attention from David. Nothing was too much trouble and the opportunity to unburden myself to a professional yet human individual was invaluable. I was immediately put at ease which made handling a stressful and emotionally draining situation far easier than I could have ever expected. David is a first class solicitor, handling cases in a professional manner with a full understanding of his client's needs, yet retaining the ability to discuss sensitive situations on a personal level. I would wholeheartedly recommend both IM and David and would not hesitate to re-engage him in the future, should the need arise
David Airey | Director & Shareholder
"In what has been an extremely tough year, David has been a phenomenal support with the work he has carried out. Never 'off duty' David has provided great comfort, guidance and advice, whilst continuously showing real empathy and understanding of any issues that arose. It's a weird thing to feel in such circumstances, however, I feel his services have been great value for money and I'd recommend him in a shot! Thanks David."
Martin Sykes | Corporate Trading Manager at Zurich Insurance plc.
"During a very difficult separation, David has been a tremendous help to me and my family and has been very professional and supportive throughout, often answering emails and writing correspondence late into the night. His passion, energy and knowledge of Family Law is immense and his communicative skills are well beyond his years. I predict and hope for great things for David in the not too distant future."
Jay Reid | Rope Access Technician
"Your knowledge and advice combined with your professional approach to a highly charged emotional family matter were fantastic and produced a result which I cannot thank you enough for."
Mark Skinner | Director | Phoenix Steels (Sheffield) Ltd.
"David provided grounded and level headed advice during an emotional period of my life. Furthermore, he was a good listener and I am delighted with the eventual outcome of the proceedings. I would not hesitate to recommend David or Irwin Mitchell to anyone."
Owen Grazebrook | HSBC | Senior Service Quality Officer
"I went into his office full of dread for my future but he put me at ease straight away and made sure my divorce was painless and I didn’t come out on the losing side. Thank you."
"David is an expert in his field; he not only delivers for his clients but genuinely cares about their situation and as such he deals with every matter with great empathy and honesty. He has always given me the best possible advice and service. I not only completely trust his judgement but would highly recommend him to others."
Joanne Booth | Strategy Consultant (United Arab Emirates) at BBDO Worldwide
"David was extremely experienced in knowing exactly how to act in the various situations I faced during this difficult time, communicated what my legal position was at all times, reassured me across anxious times where my ex was threatening me and led the process through to the end result. Overall, I couldn't have been happier with the service provided, from his approachable personality to his concise and clear communication."
Andrew Dawson | Addidas Group
"David was a great help during a difficult time for me. The added difficulty was me living and working outside of the UK in the UAE. This never posed a problem for David, he was always available and gave sound advice which has helped me move forward with my life. David, many thanks."
Paul Williams | Manager of Operations at TCIMS, Abu Dhabi
"I have been wonderfully impressed by David during the case. He has managed an extremely difficult situation with considerable insight and maturity. David has shown a real ability to focus on matters that are really important and to support and guide the client through the whole process. I think he has a natural flair for the work and he works hard and productively. Ultimately he cares about getting the right result."
Catherine Wood QC | 4 Paper Buildings | London
"David has 'people skills' that those twice his age would like to have. He builds trust and empathy with clients quickly and appropriately as a result of his considerable charm, professionalism and knowledge of family law. He was a pleasure to work with and any client would be fortunate to seek his assistance at a difficult time in their lives."
Jonathan Tod | Barrister at 29 Bedford Row | London
"Star performer… pivotal in the strengthening of the team. Lister has a 'natural flair for children’s work’ and 'punches well above his weight'"
Legal 500, 2018/19
"If you can’t serve divorce papers by traditional methods because you don’t have an address or an email address then you can apply to court for permission to use another method. If you can show that Facebook is a way in which the person to be served can be notified and there are no other methods such as email that can be used then the court may allow you to use Facebook. It will be up to the individual judge and the circumstances of the case.
“I have served papers via Facebook before when my client married a Thai lady who later left him. She literally vanished and it was the only way of contacting her. We had to apply to the courts for permission to serve the divorce papers via social media and provide proof of other attempts that had been made to try to locate her.
“Relationships ending because of affairs conducted or evidenced over social media is something divorce lawyers will hear of on a regular basis. Now we are seeing the next steps in that Facebook is being used in situations whereby divorce papers cannot be served by another method.”
Many family lawyers strive to resolve family issues in a non-confrontational and constructive way, so conscious uncoupling is not a totally new concept. The idea of a ‘friendly’ divorce is an aspiration that we should all share.
"Acknowledging or accepting that a relationship has irretrievably broken down is often extremely difficult, especially when a couple has tried their best to make things work and if they have children they are responsible for. What is good to see is that people now have the option of choosing how to separate and appear to be thinking a lot more carefully about their choices.
"The mechanics of obtaining a divorce are usually quite straightforward, particularly if the couple agrees that the marriage is over. The difficulties tend to lie in resolving the related practical issues stemming from divorce, such as how to separate, where to live, the arrangements for the children and any financial matters. How those issues are dealt with will vary depending on the family involved.
"We have seen a major shift in attitude in recent years with the emergence of a variety of dispute resolution methods such as collaborative law, and more recently family arbitration. In addition, family law judges are keen for people to focus on mediation to reduce the number of contested court cases and ultimately make separating less difficult for all involved.
"If a reconciliation is not possible, then being in charge of how you separate emotionally, as well as practically and financially can be the key to remaining on good terms. This is particularly important where there are children involved – and if the two partners are likely to remain in similar social circles."
There is a lot of support for reform, including from lawyers, but where the line ought to be drawn is the subject of much debate.
"A major concern amongst the legal profession is that the presence of the media may adversely affect family proceedings, with family courts being stretched and some believing that applications for court access may only create more delay and divert attention from the court’s true purpose.
"Whilst the media might be well positioned to highlight flaws in the legal system, how judges decide what can be reported remains largely unaffected and the law still falls heavily on the side of those who require protection, often in the form of anonymity.
"The President’s vision is not that the press ought to be able to report unreservedly on what happens in the family courts at the expense of the most vulnerable.
"It must be remembered that if the rules governing media access are too relaxed then there is a real risk that the judiciary’s ability to use its discretion will be curtailed. However, if the rules are too restrictive, then the flaws in the system may go unchallenged or unaccounted for and the existing problems with transparency will remain. A balance has to be struck.
"Ultimately, the increased number of public judgements these days is definitely a move in the right direction to achieve open justice in this area, but the importance of anonymity must never be forgotten."
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