The head of Withers’ family practice group, Lipson specialises in pre-nups and complicated financial cases that often overlap with French and American jurisdictions.
He has seen that this year while arguing for the special contribution rights of a client who had invented ‘a product we all use daily’ and created a huge fortune. Although it’s an argument almost never accepted by judges, the case was nevertheless successful.
The chance to think creatively and work closely with clients is something Lipson says is particularly enjoyable, especially those ‘who’ve done phenomenally interesting things or had strokes of genius’. Sadly, genius isn’t something he attributes to the increasingly two-tier legal system, which sees those who can afford it contract out into privately funded hearings. ‘Yes, that’s good for the running of our cases, but it does deprive the law of the ability to evolve by the fewer number of court-reported decisions.’ That means more than ever that the onus is on the lawyers to take responsibility: ‘One needs to have the confidence to say, “If I were you, I’d do such and such,” rather than to sit on the fence and give a list of non-committal options.’