Published on 27 February, 2024 | Melanie Hadwin

Strength in depth and an increase in casework has helped Hall Brown Family Law’s Sheffield team win a prestigious regional legal award.

The office held off challenges from rival practices across a number of different specialisms to be named as Niche Firm of the Year in the Sheffield and District Law Society annual awards.

The triumph comes less than four years after Hall Brown launched its operations in South Yorkshire and just 12 months after its growth prompted it to move to new and larger premises.

Partner Alison Fernandes, who leads the Sheffield office, collected the trophy with her colleagues in a ceremony at the city’s Royal Victoria hotel.

She described the award as “fantastic recognition” for the hard work of the firm’s fee earners and support staff.

“Every one of us is truly thrilled to be honoured by our Law Society peers.

“Since we opened our doors, we have been very much aware of the impact which our reputation has had, both in this region and much further afield.

“That is not just reflected in the size and nature of the work which we do but the fact that we have been able to attract very high calibre professionals who are eager to play their own part in our success.

“Living up to our core values of excellence and flexibility has been an essential thread running through everything that we have done.

“As a result, Hall Brown has become a byword for the very best in family law expertise in South Yorkshire and this award is testament to that.

“We have no intention, though, of resting our laurels and are well advanced with plans to build on what we have already achieved.”

The Niche Law Firm award was one of 13 individual and sector-specific categories, intended to recognise the “best and brightest” among the Sheffield and District Law Society’s members.

Hall Brown opened its doors in the city in April 2020 but has quickly grown in caseload and staff numbers, and moved to larger offices in the Balm Green area of Sheffield city centre early last year.

It now boasts nine fee-earners and two support staff, handling complex cases involving the financial aspects of divorce and children law on behalf of some of South Yorkshire’s best-known professionals, entrepreneurs, high-profile sportsmen and women.

In addition to its award success, the Sheffield team has earned the highest possible accolades in the UK’s leading legal rankings, featuring in the very top tier of Legal 500 and Chambers and Partners.

Legal 500 described how “a wealth of experienced advocates make this team second to none in this area”, singling out Ms Fernandes and her colleagues Partner Martin Loxley and Consultant Zoe Round as Leading Individuals.

The contributions of Ms Fernandes and Ms Round were also identified by Chambers and Partners, meanwhile, along with that of Emma Hubbard, who was referred to as an ‘Associate to Watch’.

Hall Brown’s progress in Sheffield mirrors its success elsewhere.

The firm, which has its headquarters at the Grade II-listed Ship Canal House in Manchester, also has teams in London and Leeds, and opened a fifth office in Birmingham in December last year.

In April, it revealed double-digit increase in turnover, while its staff roster grew by a similar proportion over the same period. It now employs a total of 64 people, 48 of whom are fee earners.

Hall Brown claimed a clutch of awards – being named the Boutique Law Firm title at the eprivateclient Excellence Awards in London and Medium-sized Law Firm of the Year in the Manchester Legal Awards (MLAs) – on the same evening in June.

In another indication of the firm’s reputation, its Managing Partner, James Brown was also appointed to an influential Law Society advisory group, set up to offer guidance on best practice and innovation to senior solicitors working either in-house or in private firms across England and Wales.

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