CATHERINE THOMAS - Spear's Magazine



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Perhaps of all the lawyers on this list, none has had so meteoric a rise as Catherine Thomas, who reached partnership at Vardags at just 26. At an age when most practitioners are still learning the ropes, Thomas was playing crucial roles in reported cases such as Young v Young, Chai v Peng (which went up to the Court of Appeal) and Al-Baker v Al-Baker.

In Al-Baker, which concluded in October, Thomas’s client was awarded over £63 million, in what is thought to be the largest Part III financial relief payout in English legal history and the highest award ever against a spouse after a foreign divorce.

‘We’re still on a lot of the big-ticket finance and complicated jurisdictional work,’ says Thomas, who is also well-versed in collaborative law and mediation. ‘There’s slow progress towards people taking up arbitration, and people are suspicious of change.’

Thomas is also keenly aware of the sensitive nature of her work. ‘The children are often at the forefront of clients’ minds. Each divorce is as different as the marriage it’s involved with. You have to adapt from divorce to divorce — the key part of my job is to work out early on what the priorities are.’