Western Mail, 1st March 2006
One of the UK’s leading specialist family law practices, in its 10th successive year of growth, has announced a new partnership structure.

Wendy Hopkins Family Law Practice, Cardiff , was founded with just three solicitors in 1996 as the first law firm in Wales devoted entirely to family law.

Growth has been such that it expects turnover to reach more than £1.6m next financial year while its staff numbers will have increased to almost 30, including 14 lawyers.

The firm also announces that one of its four partners, Wendy Hopkins, is retiring from this partnership. Founding partner Melanie Hamer and fellow partners Thea Hughes and Debbie Frazer will continue the partnership, which is based in Windsor Place , Cardiff city centre.

Melanie Hamer said, “It had for a long time been our dream to set up a niche family law practice and clearly we are extremely happy with the way our team of lawyers has developed since 1996 and secured a reputation for the firm as one of the country’s leading niche practices.

“While our fee income gives an indication of the way the firm has developed, I am more pleased at the way we are acknowledged for the type of service we provide.

“We cover all aspects of family law including divorce and separation, children matters, finances and services for the elderly and we are committed to dealing with matters in a non-adversarial way.”

“We have a management team of myself, Thea and Debbie who are committed to adopting the same approach that has helped us develop Wendy Hopkins Family Law Practice to this stage. I believe we are one of the strongest firms in the UK in the field of family law.”

Melanie has been a member of the Law Society’s Children’s Panel since 1996, enabling her to represent children. She was one of the first two solicitors in Wales to gain entry to the Solicitors Family Law Association specialist panel. Her speciality on the panel is advocacy and children matters.

Thea Hughes qualified as a solicitor in 1992 and has since then specialised in all aspects of law. Her background is with Eversheds, Cardiff , from where she went on to head up the family department in a busy office of a large South Wales law firm.

Thea joined this firm in 1996 and became a partner in 1997. She is a member of the Law Society’s Family Law Panel.

Debbie Frazer joined the firm in the Autumn of 2001. She qualified as a solicitor in 1993 and since then has specialised in family law. She is the legal advisor and a trustee for Family Mediation, Cardiff , and sits on the Cardiff Family Proceedings Court User Group. Her specialities are financial and children matters.

In December last year the practice became one of the first firms in the UK to provide a new law service for same sex marriage partners.