Top Ten Family Lawyers
A veteran of family law’s top set for more than a quarter of a century, Sandra Davis is described by one peer as a ‘fantastic lawyer who does her utmost for clients’. She took over as head of Mishcon de Reya’s family department in 1981 and has an impressive list of previous clients, including Princess Diana, Jerry Hall, Tamara Mellon and Thierry Henry.
The big cases keep on coming. In 2014, she achieved the largest divorce settlement ever awarded — a cool £337 million — for the wife of a high-profile hedge fund manager. In the past year, Davis acted on two widely reported cases — Juffali v Estrada and Thakkar v Thakkar — the latter on behalf of the wife of Africa’s so-called ‘youngest billionaire’, who originally disclosed assets worth less than £500,000. Following a five-day hearing in February, the judge in the case found the husband to be the sole beneficial owner of the Mara Group of companies, with a reported turnover of more than US $1 billion.
Davis likes to act ‘creatively and commercially’. ‘It’s about pushing the boundaries for the benefit of our clients. I encourage even the most junior members of the team to think in the same way,’ she says. Her department’s work also includes a ‘sizeable and extraordinary’ range of children’s cases: ‘I make sure that children’s voices are heard — [their welfare is] central to the work we do.’ I do,’ she says. ‘You can’t do this job if you don’t care.’