Western Mail, 3rd March 2010
A family lawyer has become the first in Wales to be admitted as a Fellow of the International Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers – one of the profession’s most prestigious worldwide organisations.

Rhian Howells, a partner with Cardiff-based Wendy Hopkins Family Law Practice, has become one of just 540 Fellows of the IAML across the globe.

She said: “To be elected as a Fellow of the Academy is a personal honour, but more importantly it reflects the strength of our family law practice which has been one of the fastest-growing legal firms in Wales in recent years.

“Membership of the Academy is recognised worldwide as a stamp of approval for the quality of matrimonial services provided by a firm, while fellowship serves to underline this recognition.”

Membership of the IAML is by invitation only. Lawyers who are interested in joining the Academy are asked to submit information about their legal practice, and must satisfy established criteria for membership to obtain the approval of the main board of admissions.

Since 1986, the IAML has grown steadily, both in terms of the countries represented and in terms of the overall membership.

Originally, most of the members were from the US and UK, but the number of countries now represented is 40.

Wendy Hopkins Family Law Practice was founded with just three solicitors in 1996 as the first law firm in Wales devoted entirely to family law. It now has 14 fee earners.