WiFL brings together women from across England and Wales, whether solicitors or barristers, judges or paralegals, all of whom have the shared aim of uniting and supporting women in the profession.
About Women in Family Law
Women in Family Law (WiFL) was founded in January 2020 by a group of women, all of whom work in the field of family law. WiFL brings together women from across England and Wales, whether solicitors or barristers, judges or paralegals, all of whom have the shared aim of uniting and supporting women in the profession.
The founding Chair, Hannah Markham QC along with Katherine Rayden, Vanessa Meachin QC, Frances Judd QC (now Mrs Justice Judd) and Simone McGrath began their discussions in the summer of 2019. As word spread, more women offered their support and expressed their desire to be part of this unique group. Now, we have a diverse Founding Board made up of women across all levels of seniority and from across the jurisdiction.
WiFL is a collective in which all women who work in the field can come together to share views, seek guidance, involve themselves in events and support the furtherance of women. We are acutely aware that women face particular challenges and fears within the profession, and that some may need that extra bit of care.
Our patrons, Lady Hale, the outgoing President of the Supreme Court, and Lady Justice King pledged their support very early on. They are just two of a number of female judges from the north and the south who have offered to assist WiFL. Others include: Mrs Justice Theis, Mrs Justice Leiven, Ms Justice Russell, Her Honour Judge Sapnara, Her Honour Judge Joanne Vincent, Her Honour Judge Sonia Harris, Her Honour Judge Rachel Hudson and Judge Vera Mayer.
Meet the team of talented women who form our diverse founding board. We are a board created of various levels of seniority and have vast experience across the jurisdiction.
Hannah Markham QC
Hannah is a silk at The 36 Group who specialises in public and private children law. She is Vice-Chair of the Family Law Bar Association.
Hannah was shortlisted as Jordan’s Family Law Barrister of the Year in 2015.
Leanne is a barrister at 7 Harrington Street in Liverpool and a door tenant at 10BW in London specialising in public and private children law. Leanne is the founder and Chair of the Board of Trustees of Temple Legal Centre, a Bar Council representative and Chair of the Pro Bono & Social Responsibility Committee, a member of the FLBA national committee and Treasurer Of the Human Rights Lawyers’ Association.
Jess is a barrister at The 36 Group with a focus on public and private children law. Before coming to the Bar, she was an Amicus ALJ intern at the Oklahoma County Public Defender’s Office, assisting with capital defence trial preparation, and a volunteer caseworker with Refugee and Asylum Seeker Participatory Action Research, and the National Centre for Domestic Violence. She remains actively involved with Amicus in the UK. In her pre-law life, Jess was a mental health community support worker and volunteer supervisor for the National Self-Harm Network.
Katherine founded Rayden Solicitors in 1995 and has taken the firm from strength to strength. Highly regarded by her peers and clients, she is listed in both the Legal 500 and Chambers Guides. Katherine is a specialist in both financial disputes and private children law (including international relocation and surrogacy). Working with her team of specialist family lawyers as Senior Partner, Katherine embodies the Women in Family Law values and ethos.
Vanessa Meachin QC
Vanessa is a silk at 3PB Barristers. Her practice spans care, adoption, matrimonial finance, private law children and Court of Protection work.
Vanessa is head of the family group at 3PB and she sits as a recorder (South Eastern circuit).
Victoria is a barrister at Fourteen specialising in international family law and financial provision on divorce. She is an elected member of the Family Law Bar Association’s National Committee. Before coming to the Bar, Victoria spent two years as lawyer to Lord Justice Thorpe, then Head of International Family Justice for England and Wales.
Mehvish is a barrister at Harcourt Chambers. She is a member of the Family Law Bar Association’s National Committee and has been instrumental in setting up the FLBA’s first working group on retention of women at the Family Bar. She is a trustee of reunite International Child Abduction Centre ad was named Jordans Family Law’s Young Barrister of the Year in 2013.
Charlotte is a barrister at East Anglian Chambers, practising in family, civil, and criminal law.
Prior to coming to the Bar, Charlotte was an intern at the Criminal Cases Review Commission as part of the Kalisher Trust Scholarship Scheme. She is the Chair of trustees at Suffolk Rape Crisis.
Social Media Officer
Tia is a senior associate and a solicitor-advocate at Crane & Staples. She was President of the Hertfordshire Law Society for 2018/19 and serves on her local Family Justice Board Council as Hertfordshire Law Society’s representative. In 2019, she was a finalist in the ‘Women in Law, 100 years’ category at the National Asian Legal Awards.
Social Media Officer
Malvika is a barrister at St Ives Chambers. She is part of the core group for The Transparency Project, a charity which explains and discusses family law cases in England and Wales with the aim of demystifying the family justice system.
She is also a member of the Young Legal Aid Lawyers’ National Committee.
Yolanda is a barrister at St Philips Chambers, with a particular emphasis on complex public law children.
She is head of chambers’ pupillage committee..
La-Toyah is a family solicitor and is due to commence a new role at Lamb Brooks in June 2020.
She deals with children, divorce and finances, with a view to building a specialism in children law.
Nassera is a barrister at No 5 Chambers, and a judge of the First-Tier Tribunal (the Special Educational Needs and Stability Tribunal).
She was named Barrister of the Year at the Leicestershire Law Society Legal Awards 2014.
Alison Grief QC
Alison is a silk at 4 Paper Buildings specialising in public and private children law, and a door tenant at Parklane Plowden Chambers.
She sits as a recorder and she was the former assistant coroner for Hertfordshire, Mid-Kent and Medway.
Abla is a barrister at 30 Park Place with a focus on public law, family law and civil law.
Before coming to the Bar, Abla worked as an advocate for a specialist education law firm.
Jo is a family and criminal barrister at Wilberforce Chambers. She is the barrister representative for Hull Law Society and a mentor for the National Bar Mock Trial Competition.
Barbara practised as a solicitor in England before cross-qualifying as a Jersey advocate. She co-founded Corbett Le Quesne in Jersey in November 2017. She is a member of the Law Society of Jersey’s Children Panel and Mental Health Panel and a fellow of the International Academy of Family Lawyers.
Linsey is an associate and a Chartered Legal Executive at Switalskis. She was named Chartered Legal Executive of the Year at the Family Law Awards in 2019. Linsey set up a networking group for women in Knaresborough called “The Three C’s”, which enables women to connect and develop relationships outside of business.
Suzanne is a consultant at Mills & Reeve, known as a “queen of arbitration” (Chambers UK High Net Worth Guide 2018). She wrote and co-trained the family law arbitration course in England and Wales and was one of the first accredited family arbitrators in this jurisdiction. Suzanne is a fellow of the International Academy of Family Lawyers and has received numerous awards including Citywealth Lawyer of the Year and Spears Family Lawyer of the Year.
Mary is a partner and the head of the family team at Shakespeare Martineau.
Shakira is a solicitor at Justin Law Solicitors. She deals with the full range of family matters including divorce, finances and children
Kalpna is a barrister at 30 Park Place.