Private client, family and employment

Having successfully stewarded legal aid firm TV Edwards through no fewer than eight mergers, the Co-operative knew it was on to something good when it poached the firm’s managing partner Jenny Beck.

Jenny Beck, Co-operative Legal Services

Alternative business structures go live this month and Beck, who also co-chairs the Legal Aid Practitioners Group, has been charged with launching Co-operative Legal Services’ (CLS) family law division. One of Beck’s first tasks will be to set up a CLS-branded ‘access to justice’ academy for LPC students to provide an alternative pathway into the profession for ‘socially responsible lawyers’. The CLS’s family law division will be rolled out across the UK in July, giving Beck plenty to think about. But as she has already effectively run one of the largest family departments in the country, it should be plain-sailing for the incisive lawyer.

Gareth Brahams, Stewarts Law

Gareth Brahams is the employment lawyer who in 2010 was responsible for launching a practice at litigation boutique Stewarts Law. In one year alone the talented employment lawyer, who is the current chair of the Employment Lawyers Association’s training and management committee, handled two cases listed for five-week trials facing magic circle opponents. Last year he went on to beat Allen & Overy in Beck v Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, winning both the main hearing and three appeals. From a standing start in May 2010 Brahams now heads what will, as of January 2012, constitute a team of three partners and eight other fee-earners. It is particularly impressive growth in what is widely regarded as a contracting market for employment lawyers. The team is expected to grow again significantly this year.


Rebecca Cockcroft, Manches

Widely described as a star performer, Rebecca Cockcroft made Manches’ partnership in 2010. In her 10 years at the firm Cockcroft has steadily built a stellar reputation as a razor-sharp family lawyer who can cut through her opponents like the proverbial knife through Lurpak. With her particular expertise in advising on complex financial cases, especially those with international dimensions, Cockroft last year successfully represented a defendant in Hague Convention proceedings that allowed a child to remain in the UK with her mother. It is little wonder that Cockcroft, who is known to be fiercely protective of her clients, receives regular referrals from magic circle firms and investment banks to act on high-profile

City-based and celebrity divorces.


Ivan Sampson, AI Sampson & Co

The laws surrounding cohabitation became an even more complex maze following one of the most heavily publicised and controversial cases of 2011 – Jones v Kernott. Sole practitioner Ivan Sampson proved his mettle, scoring a victory for his client Patricia Jones who, after years of battling, won the right to 90 per cent ownership of a property she originally bought with her partner. After a rollercoaster journey through four different courts, the case ended at the Supreme Court, laying the foundations for future legal argument and becoming a significant precedent that will go down in the textbooks.

Timothy Scott QC, 29 Bedford Row

Known for his intellect and unyielding tenacity, 29 Bedford Row’s Timothy Scott QC is widely hailed as a guru in the field of family law, including both children work and matrimonial finance. Most of his practice has an international element and he has fast become a go-to counsel for cases involving prenuptial agreements made abroad. Throughout his long and distinguished career Scott

has led on a wealth of standout cases, including advising the parents of missing child

Madeleine McCann in 2008. Most recently Scott acted on Z v Z – the first case contested in front of a High Court judge in which the application and the limits of Radmacher v Granatino were tested. Acting for the wife, Scott won the first round before Mr Justice Ryder, securing English jurisdiction.

Andrew Taggart, Herbert Smith

An expert in High Court litigation and employment law aspects of regulatory investigations, Andrew Taggart has fast cemented his reputation as one of the most tenacious employment lawyers in the market. Last year Taggart landed a number of leading roles advising big-name clients on employment disputes, including Ernst & Young on the administration of the European businesses of Canadian telephone manufacturer Nortel Networks and Greenberg Traurig Maher in the defence of a high-profile discrimination claim brought by a former partner against the firm. Taggart is currently advising Swiss bank UBS in relation to the highly publicised alleged rogue trading by Kweku Adoboli, which lost the bank $2.3bn.