What Does Legal 500 Mean for Clients?


Legal 500 is a big deal for law firms across the UK – but what exactly does it mean for clients? Our Family Partner Catherine Polli breaks down what the rankings are all about.


What’s your position at Pinney Talfourd?

I am head of the family team and have been since I joined the firm in 2004.  Prior to that, I was a barrister for 7 years practising in Central London. I then joined a smaller firm in Essex for a short period of time before moving to Pinney Talfourd. I lead a team which comprises of five partners, two senior associates, an associate and a solicitor.

What exactly is Legal 500?

Legal 500 is the largest and most in-depth independent survey of the UK legal market. Most lawyers regard it as the definitive guide! To enter Legal 500 you need to put together a very detailed submission referencing the most important and significant cases you have been involved in over the last year. Independent references are then taken from your clients, opponents and Counsel.  Only 14 firms in the whole of Essex are listed in Legal 500 for excellence in family law.

Why do you enter Legal 500 UK each year?

We believe Legal 500 provides us with independent recognition for the work we do. Being recommended by Legal 500 sets us apart from the rest – it provides clients and potential clients who are referred to us with an independent assessment of our ability and provides a flavour of who we are, the type of work we do and what makes this team special.

What sets Pinney Talfourd’s Family team apart from the rest?

Pinney Talfourd’s team has been handpicked over many years – many lawyers apply to join us who are unfortunately unsuccessful.  Each specialist lawyer in our team is different and possesses skills and attributes unique to them. They also all hold different professional qualifications such as Resolution AccreditationLaw Society Advanced Family Panel or Collaborative status. 

The one thing we all have in common is a ‘can do’ attitude and an absolute commitment to client care. The size of our team means that when clients come to us, we can hand-pick the lawyer best suited to them and their case. We also work as a team which I think is quite unique in this industry. We support, help and bounce ideas and tactics off each other. We also cover each other’s work so when a lawyer is off their clients are completely supported at this difficult time.

Do you feel you deserved Tier 1 status?

Yes. Without trying to blow our own trumpet, this team has had a fantastic year. We’ve seen, yet again, a significant growth in the number of clients we act for. Many of our cases are now referred to us from previous clients. We’ve had some very complex work, including very significant financial remedy trials in which we have had great success. Our work covers Essex and London with many clients now being referred from outside our geographic area.

The quotes we received were phenomenal and they describe the individuals in our team perfectly. Michael Sheville is described as knowing “every trick in the book which might be perpetrated by an opponent”Claire Spurgeon “is particularly good at providing clarity and giving a realistic view on client expectations” and Jenny Herbert is described as possessing the “perfect combination of excellent lateral thinking and a calm, reasoned and reassuring approach with her clients”, to name but a few. Sarah TsindidesCatherine Loadman and Sebastian Burrows are also named as next generation lawyers which I know they are all thrilled about.

What does this mean for your clients?

I think Tier 1 means clients can be assured of our technical ability, legal acumen and know that when they come to us, they are in extremely safe hands. Only four firms are in Tier 1, with only 15 in Legal 500 overall for family law. That’s very significant when you consider all the firms in Essex which practice this specialism.

Will you be celebrating your win in any way?

Yes; we’re going out for Pizza for lunch on Friday – but not for long. There is work to be done and clients to look after. But that’s Pinney Talfourd!


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