Who? Natalie Gamble, 38, fertility and alternative family law solicitor at Natalie Gamble Associates.
Why is she in the news? Acted for a gay couple who had been tricked into an informal surrogacy arrangement by a woman, S, who subsequently refused to surrender the child.
Sitting in the High Court, Ms Justice Russell criticised S for disrupting the men’s evidence during hearings, using ‘offensive language’ and claiming that Gamble’s gay clients were likely to be promiscuous and unfaithful.
She ruled that the child is ‘more likely than not to suffer harm’ if she were brought up by her obsessive mother rather than by her father and his partner. The girl should live with the couple, she ruled, and the mother should have only supervised contact at first.
Thoughts on the case: ‘UK law does not regulate surrogacy arrangements properly to prevent these kinds of disputes. We hope this case will trigger a discussion about the law. We would like to see a system in the UK which supports parents and surrogates to go into an arrangement with clearly agreed expectations and for there to be legal recognition of their agreement via a pre-birth court order.’
Dealing with the media: ‘We were heartened that most coverage was positive and recognised the court’s decision as a carefully made one in a difficult situation.’
Why become a lawyer? ‘I love to have an impact defending families, pushing the boundaries and making a wider difference to acceptance and diversity.’
Career high: ‘Our team has so many highs – fighting groundbreaking cases, getting laws changed and even just receiving photos of our clients’ long-awaited babies – that I find it really hard to pick just one.’
Career low: ‘Spending my lunch hours expressing milk secretly in the cold staff toilet when I was a trainee and a new mum. If I was doing it now, I would ask for heating, but I was too shy at the time.’