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Highly acclaimed family solicitor joins Ward Hadaway

A highly regarded lawyer has joined Ward Hadaway as we continue to strengthen our expert team following strong growth.

Multi award-winning solicitor David Lister joins as a partner in the family and matrimonial team. His priorities will focus on the growth and development of the team and expanding our family and matrimonial client base as it continues to build on its strong and trusted reputation across England.

The Ward Hadaway family team is led by Christine Barker and Liz Bottrill and has grown significantly under their leadership. The team regularly advises clients in relation to divorce and cohabitation issues, prenuptial and postnuptial agreements and financial solutions, and issues relating to children, as well as surrogacy agreements.

David has built a reputation for his innovative approach to family law. For instance, he was the first solicitor in England and Wales to represent both parties in a divorce and financial proceedings in 2021. Now known as the ‘one lawyer per couple’ model, it is one of the fastest growing methods of resolving family disputes.

He specialises in complex cases involving separation and children in areas such as financial disputes and parental alienation. During his prolific career, he has acted for a range of high profile TV personalities and sports stars.

As part of his work to continuously improve family and matrimonial law, David sits on the National Committee of Resolution, the main family law member body, which is the driving force for improvements in the family justice system.

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Emma Digby, executive partner of Ward Hadaway Leeds, said: “David is one of the best family lawyers in the UK and I’m absolutely thrilled to have someone of his calibre on board as our family and matrimonial services continue to grow. David’s exceptional skillset and great character are an asset to our hugely talented and motivated team.”

The appointment follows a strong performance from Ward Hadaway over the last financial year which saw firm-wide turnover increase by 11% to £43 million, with more than 40 legal appointments at all levels over the past year. As the family and matrimonial team continues to expand nationally, Heather Armstrong has also recently joined as an associate, where she will predominately work out of the Newcastle office.

Christine Barker, a partner and joint head of the matrimonial team, said: “Our highly skilled and innovative team of lawyers, with a diverse range of experience, sets us apart. David’s appointment brings with it an added dimension. We are really excited to be working together, and to achieving great things for our clients, and for Ward Hadaway.”

David won Partner of the Year at the 2022 Yorkshire Legal Awards and was the youngest solicitor in the British legal system to be appointed as a national head in a large law firm at the age of 33. He was also named National Family Law Solicitor of the Year at the Lexis Nexis Family Law Awards last year and a national finalist in the Partner of the Year category at the Modern Law Awards.

Talking about his appointment, he said: “I chose Ward Hadaway because of its people and its potential. The opportunities for development at the firm are endless and Ward Hadaway has made some huge strides recently, experiencing firm-wide growth and expansion of the team across numerous departments.  It’s exciting to be a part of such a driven and skilled team. My main objective is to raise the profile of Ward Hadaway’s family and matrimonial services, driving growth by working alongside and supporting the team to innovate and develop. I can’t wait to get started.”

For more information about Ward Hadaway, its people and services, please visit

Please note that this briefing is designed to be informative, not advisory and represents our understanding of English law and practice as at the date indicated. We would always recommend that you should seek specific guidance on any particular legal issue.

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