The ones to watch

Elizabeth Clarke

Queen Elizabeth Building

Called to the bar: 1991

Professional achievements/associations:

Acting secretary to Family Law Bar Association (FLBA).

Areas of practice:

All aspects of family law with an emphasis on divorce and matrimonial finance.

What others say about her:

A junior of eight years call, Clarke is singled out as a "shooting star" in the family bar.

Family lawyers rate her for money cases, saying she is adroit with figures, clever and hard-working. They also like her dynamic and punchy style and no-nonsense approach.

One solicitor in a leading family law firm says: "Everyone here who has used her has been very impressed by her." Others describe Clarke simply as "brilliant".

"She does not have many years call but she is up-and-coming and in future will be a star at the family bar," says another family lawyer.

Tim Amos

Queen Elizabeth Building

Called to the bar: 1987

Professional achievements/associations:

Member of FLBA and British German Jurists Association.

Areas of practice:

Family law, in particular matrimonial finance and Anglo-German cases or cases with an international element.

What others say about him:

Amos figures in almost every leading family solicitor's list of top counsel. Described as having similar qualities to his Queen Elizabeth

Building colleague Lewis Marks, he is rated for his ability on money cases.

"He has a very good reputation, mainly for money," says one solicitor. Another leading family lawyer describes Amos as "young, bright, thorough and imaginative".

Other practitioners say Amos is enthusiastic, clever and good with figures. Fluent in German, Amos has experience of working in German law firms and courts.

Nicholas Francis

29 Bedford Row

Called to the bar: 1981

Professional achievements/associations:

Assistant Recorder 1998, member of FLBA and the Bar Council. Several articles on ancillary relief for Family Law and contributor to Legal Network TV.

Areas of practice:

Family law, particularly matrimonial property and finance, and professional negligence.

What others say about him:

Francis is consistently recommended by family solicitors as being a "superb" barrister.

In fact, many believe he is the finest junior barrister at the family bar.

Rated for both money and children work, Francis is also regarded as offering good value for money, because he has not yet taken silk.

One instructing solicitor praises the way thst Francis makes himself available 24-hours-a-day, saying he offers a level of service that was unheard of at the family bar a few years ago.

In the words of one solicitor, Francis has a "glowing reputation". He is considered to be IT literate, efficient and good with people.

Lucy Stone

Queen Elizabeth Building

Called to the bar: 1983

Professional achievements/associations:

Member of FLBA committee 1993-1996, member of Bar Council Law Reform committee 1994-1997.

Areas of practice:

Family law, particularly big money ancillary relief cases.

What others say about her:

Stone is another barrister who seems to be on every family lawyer's list of favourite counsel. Described as "supremely able", solicitors say she successfully combines a forthright approach with a good bedside manner.

"She is very incisive and thorough, and has a very good manner with clients," says one leading family solicitor.

Stone is also described as a very good advocate, who is conscientious and very sound on the law.

One practitioner who rates Stone highly says: "She doesn't suffer fools gladly. She speaks her mind, is very firm and won't stand for any nonsense."

Stone only recently moved from 29 Bedford Row to Queen Elizabeth Building. She has many high-profile clients in the entertainment world.

Jennifer Roberts

Queen Elizabeth Building

Called to the bar: 1988

Professional achievements/associations:

Assistant Recorder 1999, member of FLBA, member of the Western Circuit.

Areas of practice: Family, particularly heavy financial cases with an international element.

What others say about her: Roberts is rated as "very sound" on money and children work.

Family practitioners say she has a good bedside manner, is extremely able, totally calm under pressure, and wise.

Roberts is experienced in forum conveniens (the appropriate jurisdiction for divorce proceedings), pre-nuptial agreements and claims under Schedule 1 of the Children Act 1989.

She is a good all-rounder, particularly strong on money applications for children.

One lawyer says: "I had her on one of my most complicated financial cases as a junior and I take my hat off to her, she really got her head around it."

Lewis Marks

Queen Elizabeth Building

Called to the bar: 1984

Professional achievements/associations:

Member of FLBA.

Areas of practice: Divorce and matrimonial law, specialising in big money and international cases.

What others say about him: Family solicitors say Marks has all the qualities needed to be a leader in his field. He is a strong advocate who knows his law, is good on his feet and gets on well with difficult clients. But what really singles him out, they say, is his ability and speed with figures and his effective use of IT.

On complex financial cases, says one lawyer, he is probably the star.

"I rate him for his financial acumen, his ability and speed. And he is fun to work with."

Others praise his "absolutely brilliant" mind. One solicitor says Marks is particularly skilled at breaking down complex information and presenting it in an accessible format.

The top four silks…

Judith Parker QC

One King's Bench Walk

Called to the bar: 1973

Took silk: 1991

Recommended in family law, particularly child care including child abduction.

Paul Coleridge QC

Queen Elizabeth Building

Called to the bar: 1970

Took silk: 1993

Recommended in family law, particularly matrimonial finance.

Barry Singleton QC

One King's Bench Walk

Called to the bar: 1968

Took silk: 1989

Recommended in family law, particularly matrimonial finance.

Bruce Blair QC

1 Mitre Court Buildings

Called to the bar: 1969

Took silk: 1989

Recommended in family law, particularly matrimonial finance.