Harriet is a consultant with Family Law in Partnership. She is a divorce and family law specialist with over 20 years experience. Known for her sensible, straightforward approach, Harriet’s aim is to help guide clients through the maze of decisions and consequences which flow from divorce or relationship breakdown at a pace and in a style which suits each client.
“Over the past 20 years, I have found that the vast majority of my clients want a fair outcome both in terms of finances and their children. However, almost all fear that once lawyers get involved, the maelstrom of hurt, guilt and emotion will cause everything to spiral out of control.
My responsibility as a lawyer is to maintain perspective for my client when they risk losing sight of it for themselves. That doesn’t mean rolling over but rather keeping an eye on longer term goals when immediate frustrations can be overwhelming. Lawyers have an amazing potential to make a ‘better’ divorce and I see it as my role to steer my client through the many decisions; protecting their interests whilst never losing sight of their longer term aims for themselves, their former spouses and their children. To that end, I must help my client decide when to negotiate, when to concede and when to stand up and be counted. I hold close to me, my client’s trust that I am on their side in these decisions and it’s a responsibility I am passionate about. It’s why I find my work so satisfying.”
Over the past 20 years, Harriet’s practice has centered around professionals and their spouses. Her focus is on the financial consequences of divorce & separation and the resulting arrangements for any children. Her clients represent the full range of professionals; accountants, lawyers & bankers, airline pilots & company executives, management consultants, surgeons & doctors, footballers, sports personalities & entertainers, entrepreneurs, designers & business owners. There is a pretty equal balance between acting for men and women, the professionals themselves or their spouses/partners. Harriet’s experience of remuneration packages, pensions, royalties and stock options benefits either the professional or the spouse seeking support from them. Harriet’s work frequently has an international dimension and many of her clients have significant assets based both on-shore and off-shore.
Harriet adopts a strategic approach. She likes to agree with the client what they want to achieve and then devise a strategy to get there by the shortest, most expedient route. She is a skilled and highly-experienced negotiator with a wealth of traditional Court-based expertise should formal action be necessary. As a trained mediator and collaborative lawyer, she also offers a full range of alternative dispute resolution experience and capabilities to help clients find the right process, avoiding Court if desired. Clients find Harriet easy to deal with; straight-talking and likeable, non-judgmental, fair on costs with a much-needed clarity of thought.
What Harriet’s clients say:
“Divorce is a painful process but you can be assured Harriet will guide you throughout. I was comforted, knowing I was receiving the best advice”.
“The service I have received has been direct and incisive with a no-nonsense approach which, considering the volatility of my situation, was a gift. In a situation where I was extremely vulnerable there was no judgment but an empathy and a desire to help and tremendous support in and after the divorce with “on the button” financial and strategy advice”.
“Divorce is a very emotional experience but Harriet was, with great sympathy and calmness, able to steer me through the process in an unconfrontational manner. Resolving issues with my ex-partner that from the inside seemed unsolvable and at the same time managing to protect my interests in the face of stiff opposition. She came highly recommended and I am enormously grateful to her”.
“Lastly, I want to thank you for your support and guidance through what has been the most difficult and trying experience of my life. There were times where I thought I would never get to the end and I really appreciated you keeping me focused and resolute and maintaining momentum through what I suspect even you would say was a particularly demanding case”.
“From the start you have been extremely supportive and also balanced in your views, not afraid to tell me if my requirements were “excessive” or otherwise and this approach was extremely appreciated – especially as early on my thoughts / requirements were being ruled by emotion versus practicality. Whilst of course natural, one does need a strong person alongside to help – of which you did a great job. I firmly believe that what has now been agreed is fair to both sides and am extremely comfortable with that” .
Harriet is a contributor to various legal journals and has featured on the BBC Radio 4, Law Today programme. She is ranked in Chambers UK 2014 and 2015 as a leading individual in family law and has featured in Chambers over many years. According to Chambers she is “a key figure in the market, with sources particularly highlighting her experience in handling complex high net worth financial disputes“: “Harriet Burge received extensive market praise…sources say that she “has the benefit of a professional City firm style of manner and insight” combined with a “calm, reassuring and reasonable” approach””: “Known for her expertise in cases involving asset tracing“. Legal Business Magazine: The New Divorce Elite commented about Harriet: “A very level-headed, sensible person….”: “A very good lawyer…conscientious, a great negotiator, someone who will look for and achieve imaginative and fair solutions….”
Read Harriet’s recent blogs:
Harriet is a member of Resolution, the International Academy of Collaborative Practitioners, the Family Mediation Association, the multidisciplinary alternative dispute resolution groups, Pathway and Collaborate, and the collaborative law group Collaborative Partners. She spent over 10 years working with Withers LLP and then co-founded Harcus Sinclair, a boutique family law firm. Harriet established her own practice, Harriet Burge Solicitors in 2005 before joining Family Law in Partnership as a consultant in 2012.