Setting up a law network is not the easiest of legal jobs, but for Newcastle divorce lawyer Nicky Hunter, she has had Britain’s “diva of divorce”, Ayesha Vardag to back her.
And so, handing in her notice, she approached Ayesha to see if she and a partner could open the Newcastle office for Ayesha’s expanding legal network, rather than sending London lawyers north to set it up.
Tynemouth-born Ayesha is one of the most famous of Britain’s divorce lawyers and a frequent television guest, as well as someone w ho handles some of the highest profile divorces in the country.
The Newcastle office will be the fifth to be opened by Ayesha.
Ayesha Vardag won a landmark case in 2010 protecting the £100m fortune of German heiress Katrin Radmacher from her ex-husband Nicolas Granatin. Katrin’s husband argued in court that the pre-nuptial agreement was unfair but the judges disagreed, and divorce law history was changed forever.
Now Nicky Hunter and her partner are taking clients and marketing the new business.
As the Newcastle Chronicle reports, the move to Vardags is a landmark a move for Nicky, who only discovered an aptitude for the law, family law in particular, after spending some time travelling around the US.
She worked for a law firm for almost 10 years handling a range of cases but also working on her finance practise expertise.
April 2013 brought in sweeping changes to legal aid, when the Government removed access to legal aid for most private law cases – these were cases in which, for example, the wife of a millionaire businessman would no longer have access to funding to be represented. It took all scope of private law children and finance cases out of legal aid, unless domestic violence was involved.
Nicky said: “It was just cost-cutting. To this day it has created huge unfairness. There are a lot of people who can’t access legal advice unless they pay for it. What we would do, however. is what we called ‘unbundling’, helping where you can.
“The Government’s hope was that everyone would go to mediation. Mediation has its place but there are certain people it wouldn’t work for.”
Over time, and by adapting to changes in the law, Nicky has become an expert in cases involving complex financial issues arising on separation following marriage, civil partnerships and unmarried relationships.
The burgeoning Vardags legal network offers a ‘bespoke’ family law service in a niche market – one of the keys to succeeding in the law business.
In London the clients for the firm are generally those with assets of £1.5m to £2m are on their books,although that is not the case in the smaller centres.
For Ayesha Vardag, the growth of her business and reputation are making her Britain’s most feared litigator – as well as a highly successful businesswoman.