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Excellent results in The Legal 500 2022 rankings

September 30, 2021

It was another excellent year for Stowe in The Legal 500 UK 2022 rankings.

‘SFL is a specialist family law firm with huge coverage nationally and has a wealth of experience in all offices. The firm is modern and innovative and despite its size provides exceptional personal service.

The Legal 500 rankings are a top independent leading guide to the best lawyers and law firms across the UK.

The rankings reflect a detailed analysis of law firm submissions and thousands of interviews with GCs and private practice lawyers, conducted by a team of experienced researchers.

This year,

Yorkshire

maintained its tier 2 listing and was noted for being:

‘ A leading law firm that has grown from a regional firm to a large national firm off the back of their brilliant reputation.’

‘A strong team, with partners, associates and assistants working together to provide the best possible service to clients.’

‘A national firm relatively quickly, but their excellence has not been diluted by this expansion, which is impressive. You still get the attention and service you would from a boutique firm.’

‘As the largest family law firm in the country, they provide an excellent level of client service and have a depth of knowledge to draw upon including the provision of in-house forensic accountancy services which is often invaluable.’

There were personal mentions for:

Julian Hawkhead ‘a delightful manner which often lulls opponents into a false sense of security. He deals with the firm’s biggest and most complicated cases with efficiency. His judgement is exceptional and he has the confidence to know where and when to pick his fights.’

Rachel Roberts, ‘ has a wealth of experience in matrimonial law, and will go the extra mile for her clients’

And Sarah Barr-Young ‘excellent client care skills and a depth of knowledge.’

Maria Coster was listed as a Next Generation Partner.

Chris Birch was mentioned as a key lawyer.

Birmingham

With an impressive arrival into Tier 2, the Birmingham team is described as providing a ‘Rolls-Royce service’’ and excellence in client care and way of working.

‘An excellent family law firm, proactive and able to deal with all family-related matters in a clear and compassionate way.’

‘First-rate firm. Easy to work with, excellent instructions and bundles and very well prepared. The lawyers also really know their stuff and have some exceptional lawyers working there.’

‘Client-focused, down to earth firm that is knowledgeable and supportive for clients.’

‘The lawyers are well-respected specialists. It is a formidable firm to face on the other side. Clients are given sound advice and their cases are managed efficiently by experienced lawyers.’

‘The team is amazing, extremely hardworking and dedicated professionals. The lawyers go the extra mile for the client.’

Rebecca Calden-Storr is highly credited for her commitment and dedication to clients:

‘ Highly respected. She fights passionately for her clients and is excellent at building their trust. She is a very sound lawyer; with a good knowledge of the up to date developments in the law. Her instructions are succinct.’

‘A bright and clever solicitor whose case preparation has impressed over and over again.’

‘Approachable, but also takes a no-nonsense approach, guiding clients to the best outcome.’

‘Always approachable replied to questions and emails always as quickly as possible. She definitely always went the extra mile for me and even returned prematurely from her holiday to be able to be personally present at my final hearing – she wanted to be there physically to support me. I would not have won the case without Rebecca’s excellent advice to me and her meticulous work, superb expertise and most of all her dedication and compassion for my situation.’

‘Cares for her clients and adds a personal touch to each of her cases. when you are instructed by Rebecca she brings you into the case to work closely ensuring that you have a united approach.’

Listed as a key lawyer, Shelley De’Worringham receives a number of glowing testimonials:

‘Offers continued support and professionalism with a sympathetic approach. Shelley has that approachable and understanding side. She continually offers 110% effort and support, and always has the time to listen whilst offering unbiased opinions.’

‘Shelley is exceptional. She specialises in a range of financial cases and private children act matters, gets to grips with complex issues very quickly and has first-class client care skills. She definitely has a bright career ahead of her.’

‘A great personality who brings this to all aspects of her work. She blends pragmatism and enthusiasm in all her dealings. Fantastic client handling skills.’

Relatively new to the firm, Hollie Orgee is also listed as a key lawyer and recognised for:

‘Working very hard for clients; looking for every angle by which to gain the upper hand. She is always well-prepared.’

North West

The North West team maintained its tier 3 listing and was recognised for its approach and transparency:

‘This practice is extremely professional, caring and sympathetic. The billing process is completely transparent and there are no nasty surprises.’

‘A dedicated and skilled team of family lawyers across a number of different branch offices. Committed to resolving issues through court where this is necessary yet open to referring clients to dispute resolution where the case requires it and it will benefit clients.’

There was a personal mention of Helen Miller and the strength of the team in Altrincham – ‘Helen Miller leads a strong team in the Altrincham office.’

Gareth Curtis maintained ‘Next Generation Partner’’ and received several personal mentions:

‘I have worked for some years with Gareth Curtis in an extremely complex international family law case. He has been objective, professional, resourceful, realistic, reassuringly supportive and clear, both in his explanations and methodology. I’m grateful to have found him and to have him act for me. On this legal journey, with various twists and turns, I’ve been reassured by his quiet kindness and empathic understanding and relieved in the way he has structured my case. I would not hesitate to recommend him.’

‘Gareth Curtis was the lawyer who worked on my case. He was extremely responsive to emails and phone calls. He was professional at all times and is a very calm and caring individual who put me at ease from day one. His knowledge of the law is outstanding. If he says he will do something, he will. He is an asset to the firm.’

‘Gareth Curtis is exceptional. Thorough knowledge of law and procedure Excellent client care skills meticulous preparation ’

Camilla Burton-Baddeley; Jason Stanley; Kaleel Anwar; Matthew Taylor were noted as key lawyers.

London

This year, the London team was mentioned for its ‘its commitment to achieving the best outcomes for  clients is evident in its approach from the start to the finish of the case’ and its client service:

‘The firm’s ability to assist clients with such cases is second to none. It has a strong abduction, leave to remove and international finance team. The lawyers are fully equipped to deal with the most complex of cases involving jurisdiction issues.’

‘My main experience is with London offices and I have always been very impressed with both the level of work and service given to clients.’

‘Consistent and high-quality service offered to clients across all of its offices.’

And strength of lawyers:  ‘A strong all round set up with good lawyers from top to bottom.’

‘Broad spectrum of very good lawyers in a forward-looking, modern law firm of national reputation.’

Phoebe Turner was credited as being ‘the standout practitioner in this firm. Calm and composed, and incredibly realistic in her advice.’

Both her and Phoebe Hill were noted as ‘stand-out names in the London office. They are both very on the ball, fight hard for their clients and give good advice.’

Sarah-Jane Lenihan was recognised as a ‘Leading Individual’ and  received several personal mentions:

‘Sarah-Jane Lenihan is very impressive. She is down to earth, efficient, accessible and a pleasure to work with. She really cares about her clients and achieving the best possible outcome for them, but is not afraid to give practical and commercial advice.’

‘I have worked closely with Sarah Jane Lenihan on two particular cases, and she managed to achieve great results for both of her clients.’

‘Sarah Jane Lenihan – fantastic! Down to earth and extremely approachable. Clients love her!’

And a shared mention with Alice Wightman:  ‘The standouts include Alice Wightman and Sarah Jane Lenihan. They are brilliant. Efficient, always there for the client and thoroughly prepared. Some of the best that I have worked with. Leaders in the field.’

Gavin Scott was mentioned as having ‘a reassuring and calming presence who is brilliant at supporting clients.’

And Phoebe Hill was described as having ‘a strong reputation with Chambers.’

Gavin Scott; Sarah Jane Lenihan; Phoebe Hill; Alice Wightman were all listed as key lawyers.

Essex

Achieving a Tier 3 ranking,  the team were recognised as offering:

‘A first-class service, be it in matrimonial finance – including complex cases, private children disputes (with international or other complicating factors such as alleged domestic or substance abuse), and disputes involved cohabiting couples.’

‘Adept client management and sensible robust advice. Realistic and open about prospects of success.’

And noted for its strength:

‘This is a strong team, with knowledgeable and helpful solicitors able to assist clients and barristers alike.’

And growth:

‘Stowe Family Law in Chelmsford is in the ascendant.’

This year Sebastian Burrows was noted as a Leading Individual and received several personal mentions:

‘Always brings clarity to the issues when he seeks instruction. He has the ability to reduce complex issues so that they can be comprehended by his clients and by the accountant instructed. Seb never seems harassed and I imagine that calmness is comforting to his clients.’

‘I have worked with Seb Burrows and his interaction with us has been timely and useful. His understanding of his client’s position enables me to provide accurate technical advice to help move matters forward.’

‘A strong reputation in matrimonial finance matters, particularly when it comes to litigating City bonuses, dividing pensions and achieving top class results in dividing property portfolios. His natural affable charm is the icing on the cake of his considerable legal and practical knowledge. He is very able – being a gifted litigator and strategist. Seb’s confident and reassuring bedside manner is matched with his legal skills in moving cases forward in court, where correspondence has not delivered the necessary results.’

‘Seb Burrows has guided the ship masterfully through the choppy waters of lockdown, maintaining engagement with clients using modern technology. Stowe Chelmsford benefits from Seb’s management and his years of experience, together with the assistance ably provided by Lucy Birch.’

‘Sebastian Burrows is an extremely able and immensely likeable practitioner. He has the intelligence to understand even the knottiest points, the experience to identify what matters (and, often more importantly, what does not) and the skill to present his client’s case – whether on paper on in negotiations – in the most persuasive light possible. He is a reassuringly unflappable presence in even the most fraught dispute.’

‘Sebastian is a charismatic and intelligent lawyer. Eloquent and a strategist.’

Lucy Birch was listed as a key lawyer and received two personal mentions:

‘Together with the assistance ably provided by Lucy Birch.’

‘I have also worked with another member of the team, Lucy Birch, at her previous firm, and she was very competent.’

Hampshire

Ranked in Tier 3 and with offices across the south coast, the team are considered a ‘strong choice for Hampshire-based high-net-worth individuals.’

Along with a strong reputation and flexible approach:

‘Stowe has a strong reputation in the field of family law. They provide an all-round good service, sound and realistic advice, good management of client expectations, well prepared in case management documents, work effectively as a team with counsel.’

‘The team are very supportive and knowledgeable. Above all, I value the collaborative approach taken at all times, along with their ongoing flexibility and approachability to meet my requirements.’

‘A very friendly and flexible practice, helpful at all times, easy to contact. This is my first time using solicitors, but they made me feel at ease at each stage.’

There is a special mention for practice head Vicki Rawlins, who joined in the summer:

‘Vicki Rawlins offers strong and pragmatic advice to her clients. Her years practising locally gives her a real insight as to how the courts deal with matters on the Western circuit. ’

And for key lawyer Cath Porter:

‘Cath Porter is brilliant; down to earth, helpful and she explained in easy terms the legal side of things to enable me to make decisions regarding the direction of the divorce process.’

Kent, Surrey, Sussex

Retaining its Tier 3 ranking, the team is recognised for its client service, way of working, care, empathy and expertise:

‘A well organised and professional firm who have assigned appropriate and experienced individuals to my case. They have guided me well, managed expectations and on the admin side have been open, transparent and upfront on what to expect around billing arrangements etc.’

‘Thoroughly impressed by the service I was provided throughout the divorce process. Everything was clearly explained at every step and I was guided through some tough decisions with a good understanding of options as well as implications. All was done with a great degree of responsiveness.’

‘Dedication to their client’s cases and a professionalism that is not often found in other places. This business is all about people and Stowe can pride themselves on having some very excellent staff who go the extra mile and ensure the best outcomes for their clients.’

‘Lovely bunch of people, able to offer clients excellent service and real support. Lay clients really appreciate the personal touch. Very team orientated and keen to involve counsel early on, collaboratively. Take sensible approaches to cases and offer realistic advice.’

‘SFL’s ethos is what makes it unique, focusing on care and empathy as well as legal expertise. Their structure allows work to be delegated appropriately and lawyers to focus on what they do best.’

There were several special mentions for Emma Newman:

‘Huge fan of Emma Newman, who combines a sunny personality with a sharp legal mind. Much beloved by lay clients who really feel they can rely on her.’

‘Emma Newman remains an outstanding family lawyer, her empathy and ability to put clients at ease really make her stand out. She has also significantly developed as a successful leader, growing her own office rapidly over the past six months and taking on greater responsibility in the firm as a whole.’

‘Emma Newman is very personable and warm, backed up with strong competency in family law. Sound judgement based on many years of experience, gives good solid advice. Very reliable.’

Sarah Hodges; Niamh McCarthy; Rebecca Coates were all listed as key lawyers.

South West

Retaining its Tier 3 ranking, the team is credited with ‘offering a wide range of services to clients and are keen to look at the bigger picture. They invest a great deal of time into offering more than just legal services which is demonstrated by their commitment to the local areas their offices are located in.’

And recognised for its innovative and holistic approach to supporting clients:

‘Very professional and caring firm, really take the time to empathise with clients. Innovations such as the use of a divorce coach and counsellor have been received very positively.’

‘The team at Stowe in Bristol are excellent – very responsive, very knowledgeable and very reassuring to their clients. They work holistically with other professionals to provide clients with a full level of support.’

‘A firm which prides itself on a comprehensive service – exploring every avenue and taking every step to achieve the best for its clients. Good use of divorce coaches to support clients through the process in a more cost-effective way.’

‘Extremely dynamic’ Jemma Slavin is ‘well-regarded for her client care and ‘very approachable manner’ and personally noted for as being:

‘Incredibly knowledgeable and experienced, with a very approachable manner.’

‘Extremely dynamic and has really pushed on the development of the Stowe brand in the Wales and South West area in the last few years. Her client care is very good, and she strikes a perfect balance between empathy and measured, tactical advice to suit the client’s dispute.’

Rachel Fisher, listed as a key lawyer, is credited as ‘a sensible solution to issues which arise’ along with being:

‘calm and unflappable, she is effective at pouring proportionate water on the flames of indignant litigation. She is conscientious and will empathise with a vulnerable client.’

Joanna Newton is also listed as a key lawyer.

Thames Valley – Reading

Reading maintained its Tier 3 position with a special mention to Amanda Phillips-Wylds who joined the team this year.

‘Amanda is described as ‘a force to be reckoned with – a first-class lawyer’, is very driven, with a particularly nice manner and ethos’ and ‘exceptional. She fights hard for client and manages their expectations at all stages of the proceedings.’

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