Riverview unveils “groundbreaking” fixed-fee divorce service for wealthy couples

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By Legal Futures

8 May 2012

Bayliss: Riverview Law allows clients to go straight to the source

Riverview Law has today launched a barrister-led service for high net-worth couples that it claims is the first to publish and guarantee the cost of divorce.

Riverview, which launched in February and combines solicitors and barristers, is a fixed-fee business law service but has added a divorce element to aid clients facing divorce who have assets worth in excess of £500,000.

Through Riverview Chambers – whose barristers retain membership of their existing chambers for other work – Riverview Law provides access to a team of seven barristers, including three QCs, who have acted in some very high-profile divorces.

They include Deborah Bangay QC, who has previously acted for Elena Golubovich in her high-profile divorce from a Russian financier, and Karen Parlour, ex-wife of former footballer Ray Parlour; Katharine Davidson QC, who acted for city broker Richard Grey in successfully challenging his alimony payments because his ex-wife was co-habiting with another man; and Nicolas Saxton, who acted as the junior barrister for millionaire businessman Eric Keith Richardson in taking his son to court to win new terms for a multi-million pound divorce settlement with his by then deceased wife.

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Riverview says that by appointing a barrister-led team to conduct the case from the outset, clients reduce any duplication of effort and cost involved with the traditional model and have direct access to barristers “who operate at the sharp end of divorce disputes”.

The service is offered in four stages, with prices depending on whether a QC or junior barrister is instructed to lead the team, which also draws on support where needed from Riverview Solicitors.

The fixed fee for the initial conference – where the merits of the case are examined and a strategy developed – starts at £1,000 for a junior barrister. The first court appointment to decide how the case will proceed starts at £5,000. The financial dispute resolution hearing starts at £17,500. A bespoke fixed fee will then be quoted if the case goes to a full-blown trial.

QC prices start at £2,000, £7,500 and £25,000 for each of the first three elements respectively.

Pre-divorce advice is also available, such as a pre-nuptial or mid-nuptial agreement, and starts at £2,500 for a junior and £5,000 for a QC.

Adam Shutkever, COO of Riverview Law, said: “We recognise that divorce is as much an emotional process as a financial one, and we want to bring reasonableness and fairness to all parties.

“Lawyers tell clients that it is impossible to know the cost of divorce, but we believe it can be done with complete transparency and predictability. Fixed fees are at the core of the Riverview Law ethos and by building our model from the client’s perspective, rather than the lawyer’s, we can deliver a quality service at an upfront price.”

He explained that divorce fitted with Riverview’s business-to-business focus “in that we are providing a service to high net-worth clients, who will often be senior managers or owners of businesses. Interestingly, a number of the early enquiries received from business owners after registering on our MyView portal were divorce-related issues.

“It is important that we are able to offer a comprehensive service to businesses and people who own and run them – advice on divorce… is a key element of this.”

Chris Baylis, CEO of Riverview Chambers and head of the divorce team, added: “By forming teams led by top divorce barristers, Riverview Law allows clients to go straight to the source. We adopt a pragmatic and commercial approach to each case and form the best team, including solicitors where appropriate, to match our clients’ requirements.

“We’ve already received an incredible response for this service and expect to bring more of the UK’s top divorce barristers into our team over the coming weeks.”


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