Sophie is a Director at Watkins and Gunn and Head of our Family Matters team, having joined us in 2003 to bring her enviable experience in all kinds of family and childcare law matters to South Wales.
She is highly regarded by clients and other lawyers for her expertise in ‘private’ family law matters, including divorce, financial arrangements on divorce and cohabitation disputes; with particular expertise in high value/complex and international cases.
As a Director (and alongside the rest of the Board ) she is responsible for the strategic direction and day-to-day management of the firm as well as managing the Family Matters team. She is also specifically responsible for personnel matters.
Sophie trained in London with a ‘magic circle’ firm (the name given to the most aspired to / leading law firms based in the UK) of divorce lawyers. After two years post-qualification experience she went to work with what was then a large South London practice. Sophie became a Partner by the age of 30, thanks to her passion for family law and business focus. She moved out of London in 1997 to live closer to family and, after a short career break, returned to work for a highly regarded Worcester based Midlands practice. Sophie joined Watkins & Gunn in 2003 as an Associate and Head of Family, becoming a Partner and part owner of the business soon after.
Her unwavering passion for clients, her solution-led approach and her empathic and professional stance on all her clients’ matters have given Sophie an enviable reputation within the legal sector and beyond. Year on year, she is singled out as a leader in her field in both the Chambers UK Guide and the Legal 500 Directory.
The Legal 500 2024 directory lists Sophie as a Leading Individual in the Family Law section for Wales and she is ranked in the 2024 Chambers & Partners directory for Family/Matrimonial
‘She is immaculately prepared and has really good judgement’ – Chambers UK, 2024
‘She cuts straight to the real issues and never lets her clients down’ – Chambers UK, 2024
‘Sophie Hughes has a very calm manner and always tries to ensure that settlement is considered before launching in to court. Sophie’s time practising in London means her style of practising oozes more class than your average.’ – Legal 500, 2023
‘She is very practical and understands the complexities and details of cases very well’ – Chambers UK, 2023
‘Sophie Hughes is a class act and her expertise second to none’ – Legal 500, 2022
‘Approachable team head Sophie Hughes provides practical and sensible advice and is noted for her collaborative approach to handling matters, which often involve highly complex financial arrangements’. – Legal 500, 2022
‘She is a very thorough practitioner’ – Chambers UK, 2022
Awards & Accolades
The Family Matters Team won Family Law Team of the Year at the Wales Legal Awards 2019.
Sophie was shortlisted for Welsh Woman of the Year and the team was shortlisted in the 2015 Family Law Awards for Family Law Firm of the Year. The team was shortlisted again the following year for the (now regionalised) category: Welsh Family Law Firm of the Year.
The family team was also awarded Public Private Sector Partnership award for its work with Torfaen Women’s Aid (now Cyfannol) and Gwent Pathfinder Project.
- Member of the Law Society’s Family Law Committee
- Accredited Specialist of Resolution. (the first lawyer in Wales to be accredited for both small and big money cases)
- Collaborative Lawyer
- Past Chair of South Wales region of Resolution & formerly a member of its International Committee
- Yeoman of the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries
- Board Member of Tennis Wales
Outside of Work
Sophie is a Cordon Bleu trained cook, has skied since the age of six and is a very a keen tennis player. She is currently the Chair of Monmouth Tennis Club.