Who We Are

Collaborative Law Wales is an organisation of specialist family lawyers who share a commitment to resolving the issues following relationship breakdown in a constructive and amicable way.  We are all members of Resolution and all trained Collaborative lawyers.  Some of us are also trained mediators, arbitrators or accredited as specialist by The Law Society and/or Resolution.

Choosing a lawyer that is right for you is one of, if not the most important decision you can make.  Take time to explore our members’ profiles and individual firm websites.  Please do also feel free to call us for an informal chat to see whether the Collaborative process is right for you.

Some of the CLW members

Joanna Purnell

Jo qualified in 1992 and since then has practised family law. She is a Resolution accredited specialist and an advanced member of the Law Society’s Family Law panel. Jo became a collaborative lawyer in 2009 and is committed to assisting couples to achieve a fair and conflict free outcome to relationship breakdown.

Max Davies

Max Davies is a family law barrister who practices from 30 Park Place Chambers in Cardiff. He is a collaboratively trained lawyer and is able to act either as a jointly instructed expert or by way of sole instruction where both clients would benefit from the use of Counsel. Called to the Bar in 2005, having had a brief previous career spent mostly at the Daily Telegraph, Max quickly specialised in Family Law and in particular in Matrimonial Finance and property disputes between cohabitees. He has lectured at for Resolution, the Confederation of South Wales Law Societies, the Solicitors Group and at in-house chambers events on numerous subjects within this field. He is a keen advocate of the Collaborative Law alternative to the court process and is committed to resolving marital breakdown with a future focussed approach.

Valerie Henley

I am a Solicitor, Partner and Head of the Family Department at Rubin Lewis O’Brien. I run a busy department and overseeing 3 Solicitors and various support staff. I deal with all areas of family law including divorce, separation, children and finances and represent clients at court. Matters are often complex involving complicated financial issues which I must readily understand. I am able to interpret complex personal finances. I am a specialist member of ‘Resolution’. I trained as a collaborative lawyer with Resolution in 2011. I also trained as a Mediator and have been a Trustee of a local Women’s Group. I also give talks to professionals from various agencies on Domestic Abuse and the legal framework. I have a keen interest in collaborative law. I see it as a further option open to couples attempting to deal with Children and financial issues following family breakdown. It allows them to stay in control of their own futures. I wholeheartedly see its benefits and support its ethos of helping couples to work together with their lawyers to reach agreement without recourse to costly, stressful Court battles. I am committed to minimising the financial and emotional pain of family breakdown. I studied my Law Degree at Leeds University and then went to Chester Law College. I finished my training at a Cardiff City Centre Law Form. I have been with my current firm since 1993 where I have been a Partner since 1994.

Sally Matthews

Sally joined the firm in 1996 and qualified as a solicitor in 1999 becoming a partner in 2002.

Sally trained to be a Collaborative Lawyer in 2010.

  Sally has many years experience in dealing with divorce/civil partnerships, high value and complex cases, cohabitation disputes, pre-nuptial agreements, private Children Act cases and domestic violence issues.

  Sally is an accredited specialist member of Resolution in ancillary relief and domestic violence. 

Sally is a trustee for a local Women’s Aid and governor of a junior school.

Sandra Horwood

Sandra is the Head of the Matrimonial and Family Department at Quality Solicitors J A Hughes. Sandra specialises in all aspects of Family law, including divorce, children and financial matters, including both private and legal aid work. Sandra also advises in care cases. Sandra meets with clients in any of the 3 offices in Cardiff, Barry and Penarth. Memberships: Sandra is a member of the Law Society Advanced Family Panel and trained Collaborative lawyer. Career: Sandra qualified in 1987 having partially served her articles with J A Hughes. She was made Partner in 1992 and became head of the Family and Matrimonial department the same year. Education: Sandra enrolled at Cardiff University to study Law. On graduation from Cardiff University Sandra moved on to Lancaster Gate, London to study for her Law Society Finals and obtain her status as a legal professional. Sandra graduated from her finals and quickly obtained her first legal role. Personal: Sandra is married with one child and living near Cardiff. Leisure: Sandra spends her spare time enjoying time with her family, gardening and reading.