Revenues hit £1.2m at JMW Liverpool family law unit

“It was quite an achievement for a Scouser to be appointed to the board of a Manchester law firm,” lawyer Beverley Jones tells LBN as her Liverpool family law team see revenues rise again. Tony McDonough reports

Beverley Jones
Family law expert Beverley Jones, an equity partner at JMW Solicitors


Law firm JMW’s Liverpool family law operation has seen annual revenues hit £1.2m, up from £955,000 the previous year, as the team has now seen five straight years of growth.

It was early in 2018 when Beverley Jones, then head of family law at DWF in St Paul’s Square in Liverpool, was on maternity leave. She was approached by JMW, a Manchester firm, that was keen to establish a family law base in Liverpool.

Beverely, already established as a leading family lawyer in the city, decided to accept the JMW offer. She was joined by her whole team and they set up their new office just yards away in The Plaza.

“We were given the opportunity to open JMW in Liverpool and it was an opportunity I couldn’t say no to,” said Beverely in an interview with LBN to mark the fifth anniversary of the move.

“We came across and started in May 2018 and only a small team. It has just grown every year since,” she added.

When the team set up shop it comprised three solictors. Now there are seven solictors plus a paralegal and a trainee. Including support staff the headcount is now 12. They are supported by in-house counsel Abigail Bennett who also sits as a deputy district judge.

Beverley added: “JMW Liverpool went straight in as a Tier 1 practice in the Legal 500 directory so that was good for us from the start.

“JMW lets us get on with things here in Liverpool. They appointed me to the board as an equity partner in 2021 and that was quite an achievement for a Scouser to be appointed to the board of a Manchester law firm.”

No sooner had Beverley’s team established themselves as a firm fixture in Liverpool’s competitive family law market, the COVID pandemic hit in early 2020 forcing the team to quickly change how it operated.

Already ‘paper-lite’ according to Beverely, the team had to go completely paperless as staff found themselves working from home. There was little time to settle in as lockdown caused an immediate spike in relationship breakdowns.

“At the beginning of the pandemic we were really busy. It happened that quick. We are all trying to juggle our own arrangements but new clients are just coming through all the time,” Beverley explained.

“Almost immediately at the start of lockdown as soon as people were stuck at home they were discovering text messages and emails that were exposing affairs.

“Pre-pandemic there were usually peaks and troughs for relationship break-ups – so they might be just after the summer holidays or just after Christmas and New Year.

“But during the pandemic, and since, it has become much more constant because, with hybrid working, people are still spending a lot more time at home than they used to.”

Her experience is confirmed by official figures. According to the Office for National Statistics there was a spike in divorces in 2021 – 113,505 in England and Wales, 9.6% up on 2020. Many of those proceedings would have been initiated in 2020.

And that momentum has continued for the JMW Liverpool team. Beverely said: “We have had to keep recruiting since we opened the office as more and more work just keeps coming in.

“There is a real mix of work – divorce and finances are the biggest areas. Then private children work and surrogacy law as well.

“They often tend to be linked. When people are separating they are not just separating their finances but doing that for other areas of their life as well, co-parenting being one of the main examples. They have to make big decisions.

“Majority of our work is recommendations either through people we work with currently or previous clients. The best advert is to do a good job for someone. They will be the ones who will recommend you if you have done a good job for them.

“If you are about to go through a divorce you are, in the first instance, likely to seek advice from someone who has gone through it and had a fairly decent experience with their lawyers.” 

Many of JMW’s divorce clients are high net worth individuals. She added: “You are always going to be dividing one financial pot between two or having to come to arrangements over the children.

“But if you get them through the other end it means they can get on with their lives. Divorce is never a good experience but if we do a good job people remember.

“Most people who get divorced are not happy about it and they come to see you to help them navigate the process and see them through to the other end. They do appreciate it when you do that.”

As mentioned above, family law is a competitive field in Liverpool with a number of high profile firms in the market. But the city also has a tight-knit professional community and people like to be supportive of each other.


Beverley Jones with her family law colleagues at JMW at the Hope Street Hotel
The Plaza
JMW is based in The Plaza in St Paul’s Square. Picture by Tony McDonough


Beverley said: “We do network because it is good to have a profile in the city. But that is more about us supporting other businesses and them supporting us.

“We tend to have a team around our clients – we might need to refer them to a counsellor or an accountant or a wealth manager. And we get referrals from other departments in the firm.

“People do know each other in family law. They will have relationships with different solicitors. If one has a conflict of interest, for example, they may refer to another practice.

“Thing is, in Liverpool, we all want each other to do well and we want the city to do well. We were always seen as a little bit of an underdog in the past but I think Liverpool now holds its own now in terms of the quality of work we get.”

Up 100 guests attended JMW’s five year anniversary party on the rooftop terrace of the Hope Street Hotel in Liverpool. Beverely is now looking forward to the next five years. She says the office may expand into private client work.

READ MORE: New jobs as law firm Fletchers opens Liverpool office

And she hopes her own elevation within JMW will offer inspiration to her younger colleagues. She added: “I suppose the first five-year plan was just to get us established in Liverpool and I think we are now.

“We have grown every year and I want us to maintain that momentum. There is plenty of work out there.

“And I want to see the team progress and move up the ladder. We have some great junior solicitors, trainees and paralegals that are coming through.

“I was probably one of the youngest members of the board. I think it is really good for the team. I have a team of women here and I think that is a really good thing for them to see – that, as a woman, you can do it.”

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