Our History | Specialist Family Law Solicitors

Our History

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Our History

Family Law Partners was founded in April 2011 by Alan Larkin and Robert Williams (together with Linda Lamb). Their desire was to establish a specialist family law firm to provide alternatives to the costly and adversarial court system.

Our History

Family Law Partners was founded in April 2011 by Alan Larkin and Robert Williams (together with Linda Lamb). Their desire was to establish a specialist family law firm to provide alternatives to the costly and adversarial court system.

In 2021, in the same year that the firm celebrated its 10th anniversary, the team was awarded Law Firm of the Year (South) and DR Team of the Year at the Family Law Awards 2021.


Alan, Robert and Linda were previously partners and the driving force in a Chambers UK/Legal 500 ranked family team at a regional firm.Chambers UK 2010 had described that team  as becoming a significant player in family matters and in 2011 commented the team continues to grow and to gain recognition in the regional market. It acts for high profile and high net worth individuals in ancillary relief the service is exemplary and the Partners always make themselves available.

Since its creation in 2011, the reputation and profile of the firm has gone from strength to strength. Within our first year, we were proud to achieve a ranking in Chambers UK and went on to become the only specialist family law firm in Sussex to achieve a prestigious band 1 ranking.

Since then, we have retained our top position in Chambers UK where we were acknowledged for our deep expertise in all forms of dispute resolution, including mediation and collaborative law. Chambers states that we are: A team with an unfailing desire to achieve the best for their clients. They are a personable team and they focus on customer care and service levels.

In addition to this external recognition of our strong team performance, the directors are ranked by Chambers UK and Legal 500 as leaders in the field of family law.

The team comprises of 10 collaborative lawyers, 5 mediators and an arbitrator.

All of our lawyers are members of Resolution and most have accredited specialist status as family experts.

Robert sits as a Deputy District Judge on the South Eastern Circuit in the County Court and Family Court. He has been appointed by the President of the Family Division to deal with private law cases involving children. He is also a family law arbitrator and member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators.

Alan has used the freedom offered by being in a specialist practice for the last 5 years to pursue technological innovation in family law both within Family Law Partners and externally. Alan is our Head of Innovation & Technology.

Linda left the firm on 31st August 2017.

Building on our reputation for innovation in legal services we are also co-founders of Sussex Family Solutions a network of professionals from different disciplines who are committed to helping separating couples through their relationship breakdown using the collaborative law model. Our Brighton-based collaborative lawyers are members of Brightpod.

Our unparalleled reputation for exceptional client service continues with the support of our practice manager, Miriam Walters who has worked in the legal arena for nearly 20 years. We are also fortunate to have our Client Assistant & Systems Administrator, Lucy Fowler who builds our workflow and administrative systems. Laura Peters supports the team as our Office Administrator.

The team was further strengthened in 2013 with the arrival of Senior Associate and collaborative lawyer Lisa Burton-Durham and solicitor Christopher Maulkin. We were delighted to welcome the experience of Sarah Jelly and Hazel Manktelow as consultants with Family Law Partners in 2015. We were also pleased to welcome Karen Jeary, Trainee Solicitor. Gemma Garrett joined the team as a specialist family law solicitor in March 2016 from a London boutique firm.  Julian McEvoy joined us a Surrey-based consultant at the end of 2016. Our team expanded again at the beginning of 2017 with Gemma Hope, Senior Associate, and Lauren Guy, Specialist Family Law Solicitor joining us. Both Gemma and Lauren are collaborative lawyers.

As part of the firm’s Knowledge Transfer Partnership with the University of Brighton and Innovate UK, Sam Paul was welcomed to the Family Law Partners team.

In July 2018 we welcomed Senior Associate Solicitor, Gemma Vines, to our growing team who previously worked at a well-known City Law firm and has achieved 5 reported cases since qualifying in 2008, one of which reached the Supreme Court of England and Wales in 2016.

We were delighted to announce in 2019 our expansion into London with a new office opening in Marylebone and the arrival of Mark Harrop, Director and Head of our London team. Jackie Marcus, Trainee Solicitor also joined the team in March 2019.

The arrival of highly-respected family solicitor Kate Elliott in April 2019 led the firm to establish a permanent base in Horsham. Kate was made a Director in October 2019 and was joined in Horsham by specialist family solicitor Rachel Nicholl.

October 2019 was a significant month for Family Law Partners, with the opening of the Horsham office and the team winning the Medium Law Firm of the Year Award at The Law Society Awards 13th annual ceremony.

We welcomed Emily Pain in April 2020 as our Consultant expert family solicitor in Hartley Wintney. Emily also advises clients in Fleet, Hook and the surrounding areas, including Guildford, Farnham, Farnborough, Wokingham, Alton and Basingstoke.

In July 2020, Chris Maulkin and Rachel Nicholl were promoted to the role of Senior Associate Solicitor. We were thrilled to welcome Polly Dallyn to the growing Horsham team in September 2020 to work alongside Kate and Rachel. Polly’s extensive experience includes high value, complex financial matters.

Family law specialist and Collaborative Lawyer Louise Buttery joined the team in September 2020 as a Consultant based in Essex.

2021 began with the arrival of Solicitor Rosa Schofield, who joined our London team. In January 2021 Gemma Garrett was promoted to Senior Associate. In March, we were joined by City-trained solicitor Hattie Gibson, and Charlotte Plowman in our Horsham team, who previously worked at a specialist top-ranked family firm.

We started our new financial year in April 2021 with the arrival of Farhana Shahzady who joined our London office as Director, and experienced Consultant Jayne Llewelyn who is based in Winchester.

In the same month, we celebrated our 10-year anniversary by announcing the creation of a £36,000 scholarship fund with the University of Brighton’s Business & Law School to support law students from disadvantaged backgrounds. 

In May we were joined by Solicitor Mimi Hadley who joined us in Horsham. Autumn 2021 saw further growth for our Horsham team with the arrival of Senior Associate Solicitor and Mediator Hannah Viet, and a move to new expanded premises.

In October we were joined by Kim Crewe, a relationship therapist and a family consultant, as Director of Client Wellbeing. In the same month we were also announced as winners of the Business Impact Award at the Innovate UK KTP Awards 2021 for our innovation partnership with Brighton University.

November was a significant month in the firm’s history, as we were recognised in The Times Best Law Firms list for the first time and also awarded Law Firm of the Year (South) and DR Team of the Year at the Family Law Awards 2021.

The start of 2022 saw the arrival of Trisha Siddique as a Director in our growing London team, followed by Emilie Helm as another Director in London.

The Brighton team saw the arrival of Solicitor, Eleanor Pollard and Consultant Zoë Summers. In April 2022, Rachel Nicholl and Hannah Viet were promoted to Directors and Polly Dallyn and Charlotte Plowman to Senior Associates within our Horsham team.

On the eve of No Fault Divorce, as the long-awaited legislation became law, we were beyond excited to announce the launch of Agreeable, a new service for divorcing and separating couples.

Led by our exceptional Director of Innovation & Technology, Alan Larkin, we were pleased with the news in April 2022 that we were finalists in the Resolution Awards 2022 for our commitment to innovation.

Family law specialist and Mediator Alice Scambler joined the team in June 2022 as a Consultant based in Kent, expanding our offering further across the South East.

If you would like an appointment with one of our specialists then please contact us on 0330 055 2234.