I found it hard to hide a wry smile when reading The Times survey of those considering themselves – or judged by others – to be the top family lawyers in the country. Without exception, the lawyers concerned were partners in leading law firms juggling millions, and in some cases billions, of assets for their clients.
What a luxury it must be to have so much available. No wonder they scored full marks for ingenuity, imagination and flair.
I wonder if they ever faced the prospect of sorting out a divorce settlement where the available assets were little more than a modest house with a large mortgage, a wife tied to the house with three young children, a husband struggling in a menial job and a small pension due at the end of his labours.
In my early days, we had guidance of the wonderful Wachtel v Wachtel, suggesting a two-thirds split in favour of the wife, later to be replaced by a host of cases indicating a 50/50 split wherever possible.
Of course, in the sort of circumstances outlined above [such an outcome] was not remotely fair or possible.
Concurrent with grappling with these difficult issues was the constant irritation of dealing with legal aid authorities.
Finally, in legal aid cases, the exhausting process of taxing the bill at court and then struggling with the complicated paperwork to get in the claim and – eventually – to get paid.
Most of us would be dealing with numerous cases of this sort at the same time. It would be interesting to know how many cases these current high-flyers are dealing with at once.
John Greenwood, Chippenham, Wilts