Farzana Naz: Paving the Path to Justice and Compassion in Family Law

Farzana Naz
Farzana Naz

From a Passion for Problem-solving to Leading a Family Law Department!

Family is the cornerstone of society, a bond that’s meant to provide love, support, and security. However, even in the closest-knit families, disputes and challenges can arise, leading to the need for legal intervention. This is where family law steps in, aiming to balance justice and compassion in often emotionally charged situations.

In this world of law, there are practitioners, and then there are those like Farzana Naz, Partner and Head of Family at Saracens Solicitors, who embody the essence of empathy, dedication, and the relentless pursuit of justice. Farzana’s journey from a young woman with a passion for assisting others to a prominent figure in the field of family law is nothing short of inspiring.

From her earliest years, Farzana displayed a natural inclination to help those in need. When confronted with problems, she didn’t shy away; instead, she eagerly sought solutions. While a career in law may not have been on her initial life path, she firmly believes that destiny led her to the field where she now thrives. It was a perceptive schoolteacher who recognised her potential and nudged her toward a legal career, one that she would ultimately embrace wholeheartedly.

Farzana’s educational journey took her to Thames Valley University, where she delved into the intricacies of law, a subject that quickly captured her fascination. During her time there, she developed a keen interest in criminal law, perhaps inspired by gripping television dramas like “The Bill” and “X-Files.” After her academic pursuits, she gained valuable experience in immigration and criminal law while training at a prominent practice in Wembley. However, it was the realm of family law that would soon become the core of her professional passion.

Joining Saracens Solicitors in February 2014 marked a turning point in Farzana’s career. Here, she found herself leading the family law department, a role that allowed her innate empathy and unwavering commitment to shine. Her approach to her work is characterised by an unyielding dedication to her clients, ensuring that their voices are heard and their needs met, even in the most challenging family law cases.

Outside of her legal practice, Farzana finds solace in the world of literature and art. Reading and drawing serve as outlets for her creative spirit. Yet, it’s in her time spent with loved ones that she discovers the most profound joy, reinforcing her belief in the importance of compassion, connection, and understanding in both her professional and personal lives.

Below are the highlights of the interview:

Saracens Solicitors: Trusted Legal Partner in London

Saracens Solicitors, a mid-sized law firm located in London, offers comprehensive legal services to clients both nationally and internationally. Established in 2005 by two senior partners who are close friends, the firm has experienced remarkable growth. With a range of specialised teams focusing on various areas of law, Saracens Solicitors caters to a diverse clientele, which includes celebrities, middle eastern royalty, families, start-up businesses, retailers, private and public companies, partnerships, asset managers, hospitality chains, telecommunications companies, educational institutes, off shore companies, diplomats, embassies, charities and not for profit organisations. The firm’s practice areas encompass commercial law, real estate and property, commercial and general litigation, personal injury, immigration, family law, wills, probate, and even Shariah-compliant services. By prioritising understanding and building trust, Saracens Solicitors ensures exceptional service for their clients.

A Stellar Legal Career Rooted in Dedication

In April 2004, Farzana achieved a significant milestone by becoming a qualified solicitor after completing her legal practice course in 2002. With a wealth of experience exceeding two decades in the realm of law, she embarked on a remarkable journey that led her to Saracens Solicitors in February 2014. Initially joining as a family consultant, she swiftly assumed the helm of the family law department, a testament to her leadership acumen.

In her capacity, Farzana deftly managed existing cases while actively pursuing new ones, diligently expanding the firm’s clientele. Her commitment extended to active engagement in networking activities, where she fostered connections with professionals from diverse backgrounds. Collaborating on events and actively participating in various networking meetings further fortified her ties within the legal community.

Demonstrating her exceptional leadership, she undertook the responsibility of spearheading a networking group within the city, reinforcing her commitment to professional relationships and community engagement.

Beyond her role at Saracens Solicitors, Farzana generously volunteers her time with “Rights of Women,” an organisation dedicated to providing free family law legal advice to women facing financial constraints. Devoting one to two sessions monthly, she made a profound impact on the lives of those in need, embodying a commitment to giving back to the community.

Her unwavering dedication and tireless efforts did not go unnoticed. In October 2018, she received a well-deserved promotion to partner at the firm. While shouldering management responsibilities, she remained resolute in her mission to lead and expand the family law department.

Vast Expertise in Family Law

Farzana has extensive experience handling a diverse range of family law cases, including divorce, financial matters, child custody disputes, judicial separation, care proceedings, drafting prenuptial agreements, obtaining non-molestation orders and occupation orders, annulments, adoption cases, TOLATA matters, and schedule 1 applications. Her expertise has grown significantly, particularly when dealing with complex family law cases. Collaborating with senior barristers on various cases has also contributed to her knowledge and understanding of the field. Engaging in discussions with barristers and other professionals specialising in family law has further enhanced her expertise. As a result, she is capable of effectively managing a wide array of cases. The knowledge and experience she has acquired over the years have also enabled her to author a book, write informative blogs, and develop marketing materials.

She firmly believes that her expertise will continue to expand over time. Each family law case presents unique challenges and issues, which in turn contribute to her continuous learning. She recognises the importance of staying updated with changes in legislation and regularly engaging in reading to further augment her knowledge in the field.

Navigating Complex Divorce Cases for High-Net-Worth Clients

Farzana has a diverse client base consisting of wealthy individuals with valuable assets both in the UK and abroad. Many of these clients face complex issues such as jurisdiction, bankruptcy, trusts, police involvement, and the need to consult experts like pension specialists and accountants. Additionally, she handles cases for clients with multiple assets, such as extensive property portfolios, various pensions, businesses, significant savings, and substantial debts. Dealing with divorce cases involving high-net-worth individuals requires a unique approach that combines a deep understanding of family law with financial intricacies.

One notable case involved representing a wife whose husband was the primary earner with numerous assets. The wife, who primarily focused on personal care and raising their children, had limited knowledge of her husband’s business and financial affairs. The proceedings were lengthy, marked by numerous applications as the husband attempted to conceal his assets. To safeguard against potential asset disposal, a freezing order was obtained. Despite multiple court hearings, a favourable outcome was achieved for the wife.

In certain situations, it has been necessary to involve family members, such as parents or siblings, in court proceedings. This occurs when a spouse alleges that the client has an interest in specific assets. For example, Farzana managed a case where she represented children who became parties in financial proceedings between their parents. The case involved multiple assets in the UK and abroad, with the children seeking a share of a property they claimed was promised to them.

Furthermore, she has experience drafting prenuptial agreements for high-net-worth individuals with substantial assets. One client, for instance, had assets exceeding £10 million and was marrying a woman with minimal assets, aside from a bank account with limited income.

Prioritising Children’s Well-being in Divorce Cases

Divorce cases involving children can be intricate and require careful consideration. A family solicitor, like Farzana, understands the importance of prioritising the well-being of the children caught in the midst of the divorce battle. It is not uncommon for one parent to manipulate the situation by using the children as a means to retaliate against the other parent. She advises her clients to focus on the best interests of the children and set aside the emotions and issues that led to the breakdown of the marriage.

Assessing the potential impact of divorce decisions on the children is a crucial aspect of her work. She encourages her clients to do the same. Effective communication between parents is key to resolving issues concerning children. Farzana has witnessed instances where parents make serious allegations against each other, some of which are fabricated to restrict the other parent’s access to their child. She firmly believes that there should be significant consequences for making false allegations.

Recognising that every family is unique, she understands that a one-size-fits-all approach does not work when it comes to resolving children’s issues in divorce cases. It is essential to understand the dynamics of each family and tailor the approach accordingly. Her philosophy is to avoid court proceedings whenever possible and, instead, strive to reach an amicable agreement. While this is feasible in certain cases, it requires both parents to be willing to engage and make an effort to find common ground.

Compassionate Advocate in Family Law

Farzana is dedicated to supporting clients during emotionally challenging times such as divorce and other family law proceedings. She not only provides legal representation but also strives to create a supportive environment that minimises stress and facilitates smooth transitions. She runs a Facebook support group called “Separation and Divorce” in collaboration with a divorce coach. This group offers assistance to a wide range of members going through divorce or separation, including those who have already completed the process but still require support. Membership is open to anyone, not just her clients.

In 2021, she co-authored a book titled “Divorce Know the Score” with a divorce coach. The book serves as a guide for individuals contemplating divorce or separation. It covers not only the legal aspects but also provides practical advice on managing emotions. Clients receive the book at the beginning of their journey, helping to alleviate stress by explaining the process and addressing common questions.

Farzana collaborates with various professionals outside of her organisation, such as divorce coaches, accountants, financial advisors, stress specialists, mortgage advisors, and wealth management experts. If she believes a client requires additional services, she connects them with these professionals. This relieves clients of the burden of finding suitable experts on their own.

She prioritises active listening, offering clear legal advice in simple terms, and maintaining regular communication throughout the legal process. She approaches her clients with compassion and without judgment. She provides frequent updates on case developments, explains legal procedures (including any jargon), and addresses client inquiries.

Understanding her clients’ situations in detail is crucial for developing effective strategies and providing informed advice. She ensures her clients have a clear understanding of their options, enabling them to make confident decisions.

Complex Landscape of Family Law

Family law cases are not merely legal proceedings but deeply personal and emotional matters that require a compassionate and dedicated approach. Complex cases with multiple issues attached to them are carefully reviewed by Farzana to ensure that each one receives the attention it deserves. This allows for progress assessment, necessary adjustments, consideration of additional documents or information, and refinement of the approach to achieve the best outcome for clients. She always keeps the clients’ best interests in mind and remains focused on their goals and desired outcomes.

Regardless of the size or complexity of a case, every client receives the same level of attention and care. Prior to meetings, client files are thoroughly reviewed to ensure accurate recollection of facts and to note any pertinent issues for discussion. Detailed notes are taken during client meetings, even if they are brief, to aid in remembering the discussions.

Listening to clients is a top priority. Farzana attentively focuses on each client, allowing them to express their concerns and provide necessary details about their case. Clients are treated with the respect and consideration that they would expect for themselves. They are not just another case; they are individuals seeking help to resolve their problems.

Sufficient time is dedicated to each case to ensure it receives the attention it deserves. She is highly organized and plans meetings and document drafting in advance, avoiding last-minute rushes. Cases are only taken on if there is enough capacity to handle them effectively. Providing a high-quality service is of utmost importance.

Farzana makes herself available to clients and responds to correspondence promptly, ensuring clients feel supported and valued throughout their case. Regular updates are provided, and efforts are made to ensure clients understand the advice given. Various options are presented and discussed with clients.

Recognising that legal fees can be burdensome for some clients, she offers different payment options and encourages clients to undertake certain tasks themselves to reduce costs.

Complex Terrain of Family Law: A Case Study

Family law cases can present challenges, as demonstrated in one of Farzana’s cases. Her client faced jurisdictional issues, initially starting divorce proceedings in the UK despite living abroad. The client also initiated divorce proceedings abroad, including financial and children’s proceedings. Although the client obtained an order abroad, her husband issued financial and children’s proceedings in the UK, which she was tasked with defending. The client desired to end the proceedings in the UK without any orders being made.

Collaborating closely with a family barrister, they successfully achieved the desired outcome. Numerous conference meetings were held, and careful consideration of legal documents from another country was necessary. In some instances, the opposing parties involved in these cases have been difficult and overly aggressive in their correspondence, even during court proceedings.

While maintaining a calm approach is usually preferred, there are times when assertiveness becomes necessary. In a professional manner, there have been instances where firm pushback was required to address certain issues raised by the other side. It is important to choose words carefully when drafting correspondence, as aggressive behaviour can contribute to client anxiety. However, it remains crucial to effectively present the client’s case.

Remaining Informed and Connected

Staying updated with the latest developments and changes in family law is a necessity for every dedicated family solicitor. Farzana keeps herself updated through various means. She is a member of Family Resolution and receives regular updates containing changes in family law, which she reads.

She also attends seminars, workshops, and webinars hosted by legal associations and institutions that provide insightful information about recent court decisions, legislative changes, and emerging trends. These events are highly useful and provide opportunities to learn from experts, engage in discussions, and gain practical insights that can be applied to her cases, contributing to her effectiveness as a solicitor. She also stays informed about recent developments in family law by reading blogs and various articles online. Additionally, she watches the news and reads newspapers.

She is also an active networker. Farzana is a member of the Women in Business Network and Fabulous Networking, which she regularly attends. She also participates in other networking events, such as those organised by counsel chambers, as it is a great way to connect with other solicitors and barristers in the same profession. These networking opportunities also allow her to engage in conversations with peers about recent cases, challenges, and innovative approaches, providing fresh insights and perspectives.

Memorable Cases and Career Milestones

While explaining a memorable case, Farzana highlights it by saying, “There is one particular case that comes to mind, which was very challenging as there were a lot of complex issues and I had to issue a number of proceedings. I dealt with this case a few years ago. I acted for the wife in this case. Throughout the years of her marriage, she had solely relied on the financial support of her husband, who was the breadwinner, while she stayed at home looking after her child. However, she discovered some horrific things that her husband had done, which led her to issue divorce proceedings as these related to her own child. The police were involved, and an investigation was undertaken. The husband was very intimidating, and he called me, threatening to sue me if I issued divorce proceedings, but this did not stop me. The husband was found to have firearms in his possession and was also stalking social services, as the address of one of the social workers was found in his apartment.

The child was taken away by the local authority because it stated that the child had suffered emotional abuse. There were lengthy court proceedings, and experts had to be involved to undertake assessments of the parents. The husband wanted the child to be placed in his care, whereas my client wanted the child to be returned to her. I helped the client obtain a divorce and also helped her receive the majority share of the family home. The court ruled in my client’s favour and allowed the child to be returned to my client. I believe that this was a significant achievement.”

Reviews and Accolades

Farzana has garnered numerous testimonials from her clients over the course of her career.

Here are a few examples:

  • One client expressed, “Farzana restored my faith in the legal profession, and I wholeheartedly recommend her to anyone in need of legal representation for Family Law matters.”
  • Another satisfied client shared, “I was incredibly impressed with the service I received. Farzana took the time to guide me through every step of my case, and thanks to her excellent work, the outcome was in my favour! I would highly recommend her services without hesitation.”
  • A client commended Farzana’s expertise in family law, stating, “Farzana is an incredibly experienced solicitor in family law. She pays close attention to even the smallest details, is easily approachable, well organised, and takes excellent care of her clients. I deeply appreciated her calling me on the morning of our first hearing. Not only that, but her fees are highly competitive. She never charges more than necessary, unlike other solicitors. She has her own code of practice and maintains a strong ethical consciousness. I highly recommend her.”
  • Another client praised Farzana’s assistance with their divorce and child custody case, saying, “Farzana helped me obtain a divorce and provided valuable support in my children’s case. She is an excellent solicitor who listened to my concerns and handled my case efficiently. She always returned my calls promptly and made me feel comfortable discussing my case with her.”
  • One client expressed their satisfaction with the outcome of their case, simply stating, “She helped me achieve an excellent result. I am very happy with her services.”
  • A client who had concerns for their safety shared, “I was fearful of my husband due to domestic violence, but Farzana helped protect me and made me feel safe for myself and my children. She is an exceptional lawyer, and I highly recommend her to everyone.”
  • Another client appreciated Farzana’s attentive listening and valuable advice, saying, “She listened to my problems and provided me with excellent advice.”
  • A client noted her efficiency and genuine interest in their concerns, stating, “She handled my problems efficiently and displayed a keen interest in listening to my issues.”

In addition to these testimonials, she has also gained recognition in her field. She has been nominated for various awards throughout her career, including:

  • In September 2012, she was recognised by the Good Lawyer Guide for her outstanding legal practice.
  • Farzana was featured in the Telegraph in June 2016 for giving her opinion on grandparents’ rights.
  • In September 2017, she was shortlisted as a regional finalist in the Rising Star category by Forward Ladies.
  • In July 2018, she was nominated for an award by Forward Ladies once again.
  • In 2018, she became a finalist in the Outstanding Team Member category at the Venus Awards.
  • A notable mention of Farzana was featured in Business Matters UK’s Leading Business Magazine, where she was recognised as an outstanding team member at the Ritz. [Link: https://bmmagazine.co.uk/news/londons-top-business-women-announced-at-the-ritz/?fbclid=IwAR3yWUNQh2yFbO5huT0lbvL5BRTbQFCpo3-yHmBgrNSKi4iugwyBbb8d6Ww&amp]
  • In 2021, she was nominated for the Forward Ladies National Awards and Virtual Summit for the Corporate Leader category.
  • In 2022, she was shortlisted as a finalist for the FL Leadership Summit & Awards 2022 by Forward Ladies for the Transformational Leader category.
  • This year, she was nominated for the Justitia Awards 2023 by The Women in Law Initiative. Currently, she has been listed as a finalist for the Women of the Year 2023 award, which will be announced in October 2023.
  • She is a member of the Law Society’s Family Law Panel and also of Family Resolution.

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