‘It was just me and a paralegal on day one,’ recalls Stephen Foster, the much-admired head of the divorce and family department at Stewarts. In the 12 years since he set it up, the department has grown into one of the most remarkable in London. ‘The size and strength in depth of the department means that we can deal with cases ranging from up-and-coming City professionals to some of the largest cases before the English Court,’ he says. ’We have a particular expertise in dealing with international cases straddling various jurisdictions.’ The past 12 months have been the busiest in the department’s history, Foster is happy to report. France, Switzerland and Luxembourg have been ‘particularly prominent’, with the Middle East, Russia and Ukraine also significant. Foster himself has dealt with two ‘very highasset cases’. ‘I think the age of individuals [alone] dominating the family law landscape is in the process of being replaced by a small number of highly regarded firms,’ he says. ‘It’s not enough to have one or two star partners – everyone in the firm needs to demonstrate excellence.’ Stewarts is in good stead. One private client lawyer recently described the department as ‘the Slaughter & May of family law’.