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

Malcolm Stevens

Malcolm qualified in 1977 and has been Head of the Family Law Department at Hugh James for almost 12 years. He specialises in high net worth financial claims and private law children matters. The ethos of the Department is to provide support in a professional and sensitive manner and to achieve solutions by negotiation rather than litigation if at all possible. The Department has the advantage of being able to call upon expertise within the firm in the fields of tax, asset management, employment, trust and corporate law. Malcolm has been recognised in the 2012 edition of Legal 500 as having “a strong reputation, within the region and beyond, and regularly acts in multi-million pound divorce cases”. In the 2011 version he was described as having an “excellent, client-based, focused attitude, and is commercial: a very safe pair of hands”. The Department has a top tier rating. In Chambers UK 2011 Malcolm was described as having clients who have “absolute trust in him because he won’t settle for second best”.

Sophie Hughes

Sophie is a Partner and Head of the Family Team with expertise in high value financial arrangements following divorce and also cohabitation disputes. Sophie trained and qualified at a “magic circle” firm in London in 1991. Sophie is an accredited specialist of Resolution; the first in South Wales to be accredited for small and big money cases. She also holds specialist accreditation for domestic abuse cases. Sophie became a collaborative lawyer in 2010. Sophie always looks for creative solutions; “thinking outside the box” – which is an attribute ideally suited to the collaborative process. 

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.

Sali Jackson-Thomas

Sali Jackson Thomas is a family law Solicitor and Partner in JCP Solicitors. With offices in Swansea, Carmarthenshire, and Pembrokeshire, Sali is on hand to offer her services in collaborative law across the whole of South and West Wales. Sali has more than 20 years of experience providing family legal advice. In 1996 Sali underwent training as a Mediator with the late Professor John Haynes PhD, who was known to be a leading authority on Alternative Dispute Resolution. Sali then qualified as a Collaborative Lawyer in 2005, after undergoing training with Pauline Tesler, a San Francisco Bay area Collaborative Lawyer. Sali is an expert in cases involving family businesses, pensions, overseas trusts, and assets outside the jurisdiction. Sali and her team have been actively involved in developing new approaches to partnership and living together agreements for many years. As well as being a member of Collaborative Lawyers in Wales, Sali is a member of the Solicitor's Family Law Association (now Resolution), The Law Society Advanced Family Panel and the UK College of Mediators.

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.