David Lister

Partner, Head of Family Law

As a dad to two small children and a step-son I always thought the courts favoured mums and I was scared to apply for a court order. The children now live with me 50% of the time and I get regular time with my step-son, too. If I hadn’t gone to David, there’s a chance I might not be seeing any of them at all. That’s the difference a good lawyer can make – one who knows their stuff and isn’t afraid to roll their sleeves up. He was always available, late at night and on weekends and answered texts whenever I was anxious. He isn’t stuffy either – he talks like a normal person and you can tell he cares. I’d be worried about a thousand things but David would always say don’t sweat the small stuff and he was right. We just focussed on the end game. We also agreed a fixed price for my case so I knew exactly what to budget for which took a huge weight off my mind. I’ll be telling anyone going through separation to give David a call.Tim
I was very pleased with my lawyer and his team. He was David Lister, and his colleague is Chrissy Lightfoot. David’s level of integrity and thoughtfulness was outstanding. He is an excellent communicator and I felt very well guided and accompanied throughout the whole process. I am very grateful another lawyer (Michael Allum) who recommended David to me at a very distressing time. I am very pleased with the way the financial proceedings for my divorce and my case were all handled at very short notice. I am also very pleased with the outcome and the way David thoughtfully guided me with different choices and steps forward. He also recommended a wonderful barrister who I felt was experienced, grounded, and very well mannered yet fair with the other side in my court hearing. I would definitely recommend David again for any divorce issues.Maria
I approached Simpson Millar at a really scary time. My ex had taken our child without my consent and was refusing to return her. I didn’t know what to do and I was worried that I might never get her back. David and his team acted quickly, and in less than a week we were in Court and I got my little girl back. Simpson Millar secured the outcome I wanted. Everything was done by phone and email, with no hassle. They also charge fixed fees, so I knew what I was going to be paying and what to budget for and didn’t need to worry about hidden costs. I can’t thank them enough and would recommend them to anyone needing family law advice.C.M 
I worked with an individual solicitor David Lister when they were employed by their previous firm. They then moved to the head of family services at Simpson Millar and I decided to follow David on his journey. I had a good relationship with David and he has supported me through some of the most difficult times of my life.

He was always approachable and knowledge about the options I had. I could reach him at any time I wish and he always made himself available (where appropriate). He was supportive and gave guidance on how to move forward in my court proceedings whilst remaining calm and ensuring I was calm and thought carefully with a level head.


David is a Partner, a Solicitor and the Head of Family Law and Divorce at Simpson Millar. He supports our growing team of Family Solicitors operating out of offices in London, Leeds, Manchester, Liverpool, Bristol and Lancaster.

He has practised exclusively in Family Law for over a decade and before joining Simpson Millar, he worked in a senior role for the UK's largest full service law firm, ranked Tier 1 in the Legal 500 and Band 1 in the UK Chambers & Partners directory.

The Family Law team has been ranked in Legal 500 2022 edition, with special mentions for David. 

‘David Lister is rapidly transforming the national profile of the firm. David’s drive and enthusiasm is infectious and is clearly turning this very big firm around and into a firm of real quality.’

‘David Lister is endlessly positive, forward thinking and open to new ideas and ways of looking at cases. David will be (if he isn’t already) one of the national stars of the profession.’

David is also a Ranked Lawyer in Chambers and Partners 2022 guide. People who've worked with David commented:

"David is forward-thinking, dynamic and very commercial." and "He is determined to do the best by his client, is very empathetic and works incredibly hard to achieve the right outcome."

David is committed to adopting a constructive approach in all cases, but possesses the necessary skill and tenacity to fight someone’s corner if necessary. He is passionate about achieving the best results for all of his clients, which is why almost all of his work comes to him directly through personal and professional recommendations.

David was shortlisted for a National Family Law Award at the 2015 Jordan's UK Family Law Awards and later went on to win the coveted National Family Law Solicitor of the Year Award at the same event in 2017, after being nominated by his peers in the Family Law community, including members of the Family Law Bar and partners from rival firms, who respect his approach.

David owns his own successful family-run business, which was established over 30 years ago. This means that he has a very clear understanding of commercial issues and what really matters to business owners, which is key when approaching complex financial cases.

Professional Recommendations

“I have been wonderfully impressed by David during the case. He has managed an extremely difficult situation with considerable insight and maturity. David has shown a real ability to focus on matters that are really important and to support and guide the client through the whole process. I think he has a natural flair for the work and he works hard and productively. Ultimately he cares about getting the right result.”
– Catherine Wood QC, London.

“David has ‘people skills’ that those twice his age would like to have. He builds trust and empathy with clients quickly and appropriately as a result of his considerable charm, professionalism and knowledge of Family Law. He is a pleasure to work with and any client would be fortunate to seek his assistance at a difficult time in their lives.”
– Jonathan Tod, Barrister, London.

Interests Outside of Work

David sits as Chair of the Board of Directors of an award-winning children's sexual abuse counselling service.

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David Lister

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Family Law

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