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Our Team

Already ranked in the top tier for family law in the region by the leading legal directories, Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners, we were over the moon to be recognised as the Family Law Team of the Year by the prestigious Yorkshire Legal Awards.

We work together to ensure a real collective approach can be brought to cases. The team has been described as having “no weak link” and has been commended for its client service.

Lyn Ayrton

Managing Partner

Lyn is the Managing Partner of Lake Legal and Head of the Family Law Team.

Lyn is regarded as one of the most effective practitioners in family law in the North of England. She has over 25 years’ experience in dealing with complex and high value financial settlements arising from divorce and separation.

Lyn has represented a number of clients, or their partners, who appear in The Times’ Rich List. Lyn is only one of three family lawyers in Leeds and Bradford ranked as a Star Individual by Chambers & Partners and one of just five identified as Leading Individuals in Yorkshire by Legal 500. Legal 500 describes her as someone who is “robust” and whose “technical ability is matched by a very pragmatic approach” and Chambers UK confirms that she is consistently picked out as a leading family law practitioner. She is described as "seriously impressive" when it comes to the financial aspects of a case with clients reporting that she provides "clear and targeted advice, both legally and strategically”. Lyn has appeared on the radio and in the press both locally and nationally.

Lyn is a member of Resolution, the former Chair of the Precedents Committee for Resolution and is a member of the Law Society Family Law Accreditation Scheme. Lyn is a qualified collaborative lawyer and a qualified Family Law Arbitrator, one of only a handful in Yorkshire. She is a member of The Chartered Institute of Arbitrators. Clients appreciate Lyn’s no nonsense approach and value her sound advice, judgement and experience.

Claire O'Donnell

Associate

Claire can pin point the start of her interest in family law when she was just 19 years old and did some work experience with Lyn, who at the time headed a team at a large corporate practice in Yorkshire. Claire went on to qualify as a solicitor at another firm but returned to work with Lyn in 2010 after the launch of Lake Legal the previous year. Claire is central to the firm's development, which was reflected by her promotion to Associate status.

Claire is experienced in dealing with financial settlements across a wide range of cases: from high value with complicated financial structures to complex cohabitation and cases involving arrangements for children.

Clients appreciate Claire’s practical approach coupled with her ability to get straight to the heart of the matter. She is recognised in Chambers & Partners for her rising status in the team (naming her as ‘The Associate to Watch’), reporting that sources say Claire has a "calming attitude and a can-do attitude which, coupled together, are powerful attributes".

Alison Schmidt

Solicitor

Having started legal life as a corporate lawyer at one of London's "magic circle" firms, Alison has been a firmly committed member of the family law profession since 2006. Specialising in financial settlements upon divorce and private law children matters, Alison gained a wealth of experience in medium to high net worth financial cases and complex Children Act proceedings during her six years at Levison Meltzer Pigott, one of London's leading niche family law firms.

Returning to Yorkshire in 2012 with her young family, Alison initially practised in Harrogate before joining Lake Legal. Alison is a member of Resolution and wholly endorses a constructive approach to the resolution of family matters. Alongside her practice as a solicitor, Alison also acts as a mediator, having trained in 2011 as an ‘all issues’ family law mediator with Resolution and being registered with the Family Mediation Council as working towards accredited mediator status.

Sam Haslam

Solicitor

Sam qualified as a solicitor in 1999 at a local Leeds firm and has practiced solely in family law in both Leeds and Harrogate since then, including working previously with Lyn when they were both at Gordons.

Sam is experienced in a wide range of family related issues, but with particular emphasis on financial settlements and child related issues arising on separation and divorce. She acts for parents seeking permission to move abroad with a child.

Although adopting a constructive and conciliatory approach to her work, Sam has a reputation as a strong negotiator.

Frances Milner

Legal Assistant

Frances has been a member of the team since the firm was first established. She has invaluable hands on experience of all aspects of family law issues and is often the first port of call for clients. Frances is complemented for her sensitive and sympathetic manner with clients and provides a cost effective service.

Our clients say it all