Major US divorce firm lands in UK with ambitions to dominate the market

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29 May 2015

Johnson-Stern: very interested in continued growth

Johnson-Stern: very interested in continued growth

A family law practice that specialises in acting for men and has more than 100 offices across the US has opened in London with the prediction that it could “very quickly dominate the UK market”.

Cordell & Cordell launched last week – the first US firm of its type to enter the UK – and is already running radio advertisements announcing its arrival under the tagline ‘A partner men can count on’.

The London office is currently being overseen by US partner Barbara Johnson-Stern and solicitor Karim Assaad, who has joined from QualitySolicitors Orion in west London.

Ms Johnson-Stern said the firm was “very interested in continued growth” – having expanded hugely in recent years – and that London was the first overseas location because “it made sense”. She said “the market is ready” for a proposition such as Cordell & Cordell.

Mr Assaad described the practice as “revolutionary” in the UK because of its focus on men’s rights, although Ms Johnson-Stern said she “never understood why more women don’t seek us out” for the very reason that the firm understands the male perspective on divorce.

The stated aim is to open more offices, but she said there were no specific plans at the moment while the scale of the opportunity was being assessed. Mr Assaad said the operation in the US had “progressed phenomenally” and was able to move into new areas rapidly. If the UK embraced the concept of a men-focused divorce firm, he reckoned “we could very quickly dominate the UK market”.

Co-founder Joseph Cordell said: “Men are still unfairly represented in family courts in the UK. We recognised the need to provide a better service back in 1990 in the US, so it’s great to expand the business and help more fathers and husbands in need of advice and representation.

“Our goal is to bridge the gender gap that has been part of family law for too long now.”

Ms Johnson-Stern said the opportunity to become an alternative business structure was not a factor in the move, but that the firm would “look at the options here” if they helped improve client service.

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