Role play in law firms is fairly commonplace – but one Manchester practice is taking things a step further. Family specialist Hall Brown is asking its junior lawyers to oversee and run entire divorce proceedings, from meeting clients to the financial dispute resolution hearing.

The twist is that the divorcing couple will be played by associates Alice Rogers and Ellen Walker – with both instructed to be as difficult and unyielding as possible. The pair ‘met’ with their assigned lawyers in December and documents are being prepared in advance of the hearing in March.

That hearing will be played out in full, overseen by James Brown, a partner in the firm, taking the role of district judge.

Brown explained: ‘It’s important to give our young lawyers real-life experience of family court hearings, but understandably clients want their case to be handled by someone experienced. This is a way to give that experience in as close to a real environment as possible.’