Leading law firm Simpson Millar has announced the appointment of David Lister as its new National Head of Family Law in a move that will ‘significantly strengthen’ its private client offering across the country.
The appointment represents a real coup for Simpson Millar, as Lister joins from one of the UK's largest full-service firms which was ranked Tier 1 in the Legal 500, and Band 1 in the UK Chambers & Partners directories.
It follows a series of high-profile acquisitions for the private equity-backed firm, which has ambitious plans for further growth in the coming years.
Having practiced exclusively in high value and complex family law cases for over a decade, Yorkshire-born Lister will support a growing team of specialist family lawyers operating out of offices in Leeds, Manchester, Central London, Kingston Upon Thames, Bristol and Lancaster.
Speaking following his appointment he has already announced plans to expand into other areas such as Liverpool, where the firm already has a well-established office.
On his decision to join the firm, Lister says: “it was easy to align myself with the firm’s open lawyer proposition because, for me, it’s always been about the clients. Getting it right for them is my priority and my track record is testament to that.”
His comments fit with what the 2020 legal directories say about him, in which he is described as ‘superb with clients’, and someone ‘with a natural talent for grasping the issues in the case’. The same listing went on to say that ‘his clients love him; he makes them feel very much looked after and at the same time is always pragmatic and realistic’.
Previously listed as one of only four Rising Stars from across the Yorkshire region, Lister is already known as a family lawyer who ‘punches well above his weight’ and in Chambers & Partners UK he is especially noted for his experience in ‘matrimonial finance cases, particularly those involving foreign properties, in addition to Children Act proceedings’.
At 33, he is thought to be one of the youngest lawyers to be appointed to such a prominent role within a national firm, but that doesn’t cause concern for Simpson Millar’s experienced leadership team.
Sarah Ryan, who heads up the firm’s Private Client arm, said: “David’s experience certainly belies his youth. His energy and creative vision coupled with his ability to forge enduring client relationships on a national scale is what attracted us to him.”
Lister, who recently won the coveted Jordan's UK Family Law Solicitor of the Year Award, adds: “It’s exciting to have joined a firm nimble enough to be able to react quickly to a rapidly changing legal market. Creating and delivering extraordinary separation solutions for ordinary people in ways that fit around family life and within budget is a key strategic aim.”
The firm also welcomes into the National Family Law Team two additional hires; James Skinner, with 15 years’ family law experience, who re-joins the department following a stint in the firm’s Court of Protection team; and Maya Bhatiani, a well-known face in London who joins the central London office as a Senior Associate, having formerly headed up the Family Team at Farringdon private client practice, Laurus.