Leaders List interview: 60 seconds with Barbara Corbett, Corbett Le Quesne

Date: 28 Feb 2023

Silvia Ricciardi

Citywealth speaks to Barbara Corbett, senior partner of the firm Corbett Le Quesne, which she manages together with Nicholas Le Quesne.

Barbara Corbett, Corbett Le Quesne

Citywealth speaks to Barbara Corbett, senior partner of the firm Corbett Le Quesne, which she manages together with Nicholas Le Quesne.

Tell Citywealth’s readers about your role.

  • I help people when their relationships break down, advising on divorce, separation, children matters and financial settlements.
  • I am an advocate so I also appear in court for clients. In addition to divorce clients, I also represent children and parents in public law cases.
  • I am the senior partner of the firm so I manage the firm together with my partner Nicholas Le Quesne.
  • I am also involved in the marketing for the firm and in our international family law conferences.

What are you working on at the moment?

We have just settled a long running high-net-worth divorce involving company assets and am now representing a client where there are significant trust assets.

I am representing a child in a contested leave to remove case, several public law cases involving children and some cases obtaining parental responsibility for same sex couples (necessary due to a gap in Jersey law).

Several divorce cases and the preparation of pre-nuptial agreements.

What is the biggest challenge you and your firm are currently facing?

The law in Jersey needs to be reformed to bring in no-fault divorce and regularise assisted reproduction for both opposite sex and same sex couples.

We have grown significantly in a short space of time. While this is exciting and we have some fantastic new people working with us, it also presents some challenges. We want to maintain the advantages of being a close collaborative team and focus on the things that inspired us to establish Corbett Le Quesne in the first place. I think that because this is so important to us, we will continue to prioritise this in the future.

Are your clients behaving differently in the present era?

Not significantly but the slowing down of the housing market is affecting our high-net-worth clients specifically.

I have to add that our clients seem more inclined to settle matters where they can and are responding more openly to alternative dispute options, even in previously highly charged contentious matters. We have settled some very challenging divorces recently in situations that had been extremely difficult for some time. This may be a reflection of the time as much as our hard work to find a resolution.

What are the most important skills and personal qualities to succeed in your role?

Empathy, being able to listen, to get to the root of the problem and to manage expectations. To be clear and concise in your advice and be fearless on behalf of your client when necessary.

I have five children and they have taught me a lot in this regard. Being strong and assertive yet remaining open to challenge is very important as a parent and as the partner of a law firm.

What is the most valuable piece of advice you have been given?

There are two sides to every story.

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