‘The older generation are screwing it up,’ Westley says of some veteran divorce solicitors who ‘massively overcharge’. It is ironic in an industry where clients, he says, want better value and are asking: ‘Can you do me a deal? Do you do fixed fees?’
‘They are seemingly more interested in their own reputation, getting their picture in the Evening Standard with their client, walking to court,’ he says. Short-termist ambition is not viable for younger lawyers: ‘If we just sit there charging the earth and giving people a bad service, people will hate divorce lawyers the same way they hate MPs at the moment — we’ll lose our jobs!’
After eight years in his previous role as a barrister at QEB, Westley moved in 2013 to Lee & Thompson, where he has worked with a spectrum of firms in the industry. A former colleague says he brings ‘the full force of his intellect’ to cases.
‘It’s fun,’ he says, as he describes advising film and music stars and UHNWs who cross over from the firm’s media and entertainment law departments. With the ability to ‘help calm even the most difficult of situations’, according to a peer, he specialises in protecting family wealth in big-money cases, often with complicated offshore assets and inter-jurisdiction disputes.