Associate in the family law team at Moore Blatch, Richmond, Surrey
Who? Katy Barber, an associate in the family law team at Moore Blatch, Richmond, Surrey.
Why is she in the news? Represented Claire Chipperfield, who won a High Court battle with her ex-partner Andrew Horn over their £1m home. The couple purchased the home in 2006 in joint names as joint tenants with the majority of the funds coming from Horn. When they separated, Horn tried to sue Chipperfield for claiming an equal share.
Thoughts on the case: ‘The case is all about property ownership. Its importance comes from the often harsh and different treatment of married and unmarried couples. My client’s partner effectively tried to rewrite history post-separation, and this was his downfall. We argued successfully that a party cannot simply ignore reality and create a new narrative as he went along.’
Dealing with the media: ‘Key to dealing with the media is an understanding of their time constraints and deadlines. If you want to engage successfully you need to do it immediately, especially as most journalists will be writing for both the online and print publications and will be looking to file copy within minutes of a news story breaking and not hours. The other important consideration is brevity. The Daily Mail, for example, summarised the case in just 800 words, whereas the judgment ran to 5,300 words.’
Why become a lawyer? ‘Being a solicitor is so much more than having the ability to help others, although like most other lawyers this was the initial reason I entered the profession. Family lawyers tend to get a lot of flak in the press, which is why it is not the obvious area of specialism for budding trainees. I enjoy bucking this trend and showing that what we do is diverse, complex and gives the ability to connect to so many other people and professions.’
Career high: ‘Successfully changing the residence of a nine-year-old autistic child to his father, from that of his mother. The boy had repeatedly told people, for years, that it was what he wanted most, but that his wishes had been overlooked and not taken seriously due to his autism. The father sent me such a touching email after the case, thanking me for believing in his son and giving him a voice. An unforgettable moment.’
Career low: ‘When I was a trainee, I remember my supervisor relieving me of my umbrella to hand it to the client in what could only be described as torrential rain. I had to plod behind them dragging the case files in a suitcase and becoming wetter and more windswept with every step… Trainees don’t know how easy they have it now!’