Managing Partner: Stephen Harker
Number of partners: 11
Number of associates: 15
Number of assistants: 2
Number of other fee-earners: 12
Managing Partner: Stephen Harker
Children’s Issues: Carolina Marín Pedreño
Family Law: Russell Bywater
Dawson Cornwell is a leading specialist family law firm, described, in the words of Chambers and Partners, as “a leader in the field, not just nationally but internationally.” The firm combines its highly regarded expertise in all aspects of family law with an unrivalled reputation in the field of international children law. The firm is unusual in that it has developed two specialist departments: the matrimonial department and the international children department, which work together with ‘clear communication between everyone.’ The matrimonial partners are Russell Bywater who is “tactically aware, practical and down-to-earth”, the “excellent and hugely experienced” mediator Jeremy Abraham, the “personable, super-intelligent and on the ball” Charlotte Conner, Jessica Reid who is “very collaborative, very approachable and knowledgeable”, Sarah Jane Lenihanwho “is efficient, accessible and really cares about her clients” and Simon Bruce whose “reputation for excellence of service is fully deserved”. The matrimonial department also includes consultants: the “very strategic lawyer” Kate Allen and Rhiannon Lewis who is “excellent and extremely knowledgeable”. The international children department is headed by the “absolutely superb” dual-qualified partner Carolina Marín Pedreño who “is hugely experienced with an international profile. She is extraordinarily good with clients and sees cases in a strategic way”, Sulema Jahangir who is a “fantastic, empathetic family lawyer” and Amy Rowe who is a “truly exceptional international children lawyer”. The departments are supported by very experienced associates.
The vast majority of the firm’s cases are international. The firm’s lawyers have extensive experience dealing with jurisdiction and other international issues. ‘They have every language under the sun covered’, including Azerbaijani, Bengali, Catalan, Creole, French, German, Gujarati, Hindi, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Punjabi, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish and Urdu. They are trailblazers in the field of cross-border children work, to which their unparalleled and ongoing record of reported cases is testament.
The firm also has a highly regarded reputation in international surrogacy, assisted reproduction law and same sex parenting cases and has represented several high-profile commissioning parents in this field.
The firm prides itself on its partner led approach, with strategic thinking and deft negotiation. Whilst fee earners assist partners to ensure that all work is undertaken cost effectively, clients are always able to speak directly to, and deal directly with, the partner in charge of their case. Each partner deliberately has a different speciality so that they are able to offer collaborative law and mediation through to a high level of experience in jurisdictional work and complex litigation and trusts. At the same time, the firm is known for being united in resolution rather than litigation and proportionality in respect of costs.
Sources say that the firm has ‘an excellent team that has a good mix of experienced heads at the top of the tree and a lot of young, keen and clever junior lawyers coming through’.
Types of work undertaken: The firm advises clients in the UK and internationally on all areas of family law, including prenuptial and post-nuptial agreements, separation, divorce, dissolution of civil partnerships, international forum disputes, complex financial investigations, high-net-worth financial settlements, child maintenance, enforcing foreign orders, EU regulation cases and pensions.
Its award-winning specialist international children department undertakes international custody disputes, child abduction, adoption, relocation, leave to remove, stranded spouses, forced marriage, honour-based violence, EU regulation recognition and enforcement, and complex international care cases.
Provided by Dawson Cornwell