Behind the scenes of an award winning family law team

Lexis Nexis Family Law Awards, Southbank Ballroom

Lexis Nexis Family Law Awards, Southbank Ballroom - Credit:

The family law team at Stephens Scown LLP, which is based in Truro and St Austell, has been named the best in the South at the prestigious Family Law Awards 2019. But what is it that sets the team apart?

Sarah Atkinson

Sarah Atkinson - Credit: Archant

Stephens Scown's family law team was named Team of the Year - South at a glittering awards ceremony in London in November. To win a Family Law Award is akin to winning an Oscar for family lawyers. The way Stephens Scown looks after its clients and employees was singled out by the judges.

Doing things differently

Stephens Scown is unlike other law firms. The firm is innovative, often leading the way and trying things other firms have not considered. Employee ownership is just one example. Stephens Scown is the first large law firm to become employee owned, giving everyone who works at the firm a stake and say in the business, improving client service.

Looking after clients

When someone seeks help from a family lawyer, they are likely to be going through one of the most stressful and emotional periods of their lives. They need a trusted advisor who knows the intricacies of the law, but also has the sensitivity to realise what they are going through and is by their side throughout, guiding them proactively on important decisions.Stephens Scown's family law team understands that its clients often need more than just legal advice. In-house counselling is available for clients and tips from former clients on how to survive divorce are prominent in a free divorce guide the team has created. The team also keeps in touch with clients and former clients via a free e-magazine to help them through the non-legal aspects of separation and divorce - from expert advice on nutrition to suggestions for ways to make a fresh start and pick up the pieces after a relationship breakdown.

The service Stephens Scown provides is tailored to each individual's needs. In just one example, a member of staff helped a client by wrapping and delivering Christmas presents to his child when he was upset that he was unable to do so himself.

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Legal experts

Stephens Scown's family team is the only group of family lawyers in Cornwall to be recognised with Band 1 ranking by independent legal guide Chambers UK, which says: "They are excellent - very good at managing the client's expectations because they are very in tune with the thinking of the judiciary, which also helps them to negotiate good outcomes."With colleagues based in both Truro and St Austell, the team covers the full range of family law specialisms from divorce to cases involving children as well as protecting wealth with pre and post nuptial agreements. The team offers a wide spread of rates and work together to offer cost-effective support for clients. Many of the team are members of Resolution and focus on minimising conflict in the best interests of any children involved.

Meet Stephens Scown's award-winning family team

Mark Chanter

Mark Chanter - Credit: Archant

Sarah Atkinson, Partner and head of the family team in Truro

Singled out as a Band 1 lawyer by Chambers UK, Sarah specialises in divorces and associated financial matters that are complex or involve high value assets and pensions. Feedback to Chambers UK from one of Sarah's clients: "Sarah's approach was friendly, calm and positive from start to finish. She was always available to discuss matters and provide support, and her professionalism and guidance very much made me feel in safe hands."

Sarah Bell

Sarah Bell - Credit: Archant

Mark Chanter, Senior Consultant

An expert on financial divorce settlements and disputes between unmarried couples with a niche expertise in cases involving farms, Mark is also a mediator and collaborative lawyer. A long-established Band 1 lawyer in Chambers UK, where a client calls him an "exceptional and talented family law solicitor".

Victoria Walter

Victoria Walter - Credit: Archant

Sarah Bell, Senior Associate

Over 15 years' experience advising parents in relation to care arrangements for their children after separation, international and national relocation with children and protecting parents and children who suffer domestic abuse or coercive control.

Hayley Symes

Hayley Symes - Credit: Archant

Victoria Walters, Senior Associate

Specialist in advising separated couples, both married and unmarried, in relation to complex financial settlements for over 14 years. Her particular focus is on public sector pension schemes and their nuances. Victoria joined Stephens Scown in April 2019, further strengthening the team.

Kirstin Sibley

Kirstin Sibley - Credit: Archant

Hayley Symes, Chartered Legal Executive

Over 16 years' experience advising on all aspects of family law with a specialist focus on pension sharing on divorce. Provides huge support to clients and colleagues, proactively making sure progress is made.

Lauren Mankee

Lauren Mankee - Credit: Archant

Kirsten Sibley, Solicitor

Joined Stephens Scown in September 2018 and has a fast-growing reputation for her pragmatic and sensible advice on financial settlements and issues regarding the care of children and financial provision for children by unmarried parents.

Peter Marshall

Peter Marshall - Credit: Archant

Lauren Mankee, Solicitor

Qualified in November 2018 having trained in the team and been recognised for her sharp eye for figures. She is developing a growing practice advising on divorce and financial settlements and a niche expertise in child maintenance issues.

Andrew Lobb

Andrew Lobb - Credit: Archant

Peter Marshall, Partner and head of the family team in St Austell

Approximately 30 years' experience supporting separated parents including sorting out appropriate care arrangements for children, domestic abuse or coercive control, divorce and financial settlements and all aspects of family law. Peter is an experienced advocate with membership of the Law Society's Children Panel, Resolution Accredited Specialist in Private Law Children Proceedings; Advocacy and domestic violence.

Andrew Lobb, Senior Associate

Specialist children lawyer with over 28 years' experience representing children whose safety is at risk and advising parents and wider family members in adoption cases involving Social Services and mental health issues.

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