Meet The Legal Team

Legal expertise help and support with you in mind
About UsContact Us

Private Family Law Team

Helping you with all issues concerning relationship breakdown

Joanna Purnell

Joanna Purnell BA


Joanna Purnell joined Nicol Denvir Purnell as a trainee in 1988, qualified in 1992 and became a partner in 1997.

Since qualification Jo has specialised in family law and heads the private law family department.

Jo specialises in all issues surrounding separation and divorce with particular emphasis on the financial aspects of separation.

Throughout her career Jo has been committed to resolving family issues by agreement where possible and is one of only a few Resolution trained collaborative lawyers in Wales.

Having over 30 years experience in family law, Jo not only has a comprehensive knowledge of the law but also a strong understanding of how relationship breakdown can affect individuals in the long term.

Her strong and sensible approach means that clients can feel assured that they will receive a fair and conflict free outcome following their separation.

Jo is a Resolution accredited specialist, specialising in children law, finances and domestic violence and an advanced member of The Law Society’s Family Law Panel specialising in finances and children law.


Joni May Treharne

Joni May Treharne LL.B (HONS.)


Joni May Treharne joined Nicol Denvir Purnell as a trainee solicitor in 1997 and since then has practised exclusively in family law. She qualified as a solicitor in 1999 and became a partner in the firm in 2002.

Joni specialises in private family law. She is highly experienced in dealing with all aspects of separation and divorce, including children issues following separation.

She covers all aspects of this difficult area of law and in particular has an excellent understanding of the financial issues surrounding a couple’s separation.

Clients feel reassured by Joni’s efficient nature and in-depth knowledge of the law. Joni is a member of Resolution and is on The Law Society’s Family Law Panel.

Joni is committed to finding amicable resolutions to the issues arising out of relationship breakdown.


Public Family Law Team

Helping you when social services become involved with your family

Tony Donnelly

Tony Donnelly LL.B (HONS.) (Wales)


Tony Donnelly qualified as a solicitor in 1986. He has been a partner with Nicol Denvir Purnell since 1998.

Tony is a highly regarded family lawyer in South Wales, who specialises in children law and in particular public law work.

He frequently acts for children, children’s guardians and parents in complex and sensitive court proceedings. Due to his experience and extensive knowledge of the law, Local Authorities have also requested that Tony represent them in proceedings as their agent.

Tony is a member of The Law Society’s Children Panel enabling him to represent children in serious and difficult cases. Tony is also an accredited High Court advocate.


William Tucker

William Tucker LL.B (HONS.)


William joined Nicol Denvir Purnell in 2008 and after completing his training contract qualified as a solicitor in 2010 and became a partner in 2017.

William trained in the family law and child care departments giving him experience in all areas of family law.

William specialises in child care matters offering advice, assistance and representation to parents and families in all aspects of social services involvement with their children.

William is a member of The Law Society’s Children Panel and has experience representing children in care proceedings and private law matters via their guardians.


Emma Rose-Thomas

Emma Rose Thomas


Emma Rose Thomas graduated from Swansea University with a 2:1 degree in History. She went on to do the CPE at the University of South Wales before doing the Legal Practice Course at Cardiff University where she passed with Commendation.

Upon qualifying in 2006 Emma decided to specialise in family law and worked for a large South Wales firm undertaking both private and public law children matters representing parents, grandparents and extended family members at all levels of tribunal.

In 2008 Emma took an in-house position as an Assistant Solicitor in the Legal Department of a South Wales Local Authority providing advice and representation at Court to the Social Services and Education departments. This allowed her to focus on public law children matters, as well as provide advice to Schools and act as a Clerk to the School Admissions Appeal Panel.

During this time Emma regularly represented the Local Authority at Court and was involved in complex child care matters. Emma has experience of dealing with all aspects of public children law cases including serious neglect, sexual and physical abuse, forced marriage, honour based violence and factitious injury.

Since joining Nicol Denvir Purnell in 2017 Emma has been regularly instructed to act on behalf of children in public law cases and undertakes her own advocacy wherever possible. Emma also represents parents, extended family members and has recently acted for a parent in a matter involving complex issues of female genital mutilation, honour based violence and human trafficking.

Emma is a member of the Law Society Children Law Panel.


Associate Solicitor Advocate:

Danielle Shreeve

Danielle Shreeve LL.B (Hons.)

Associate Solicitor Advocate

Danielle graduated from the University of Wales, Swansea with a 2:1 Bachelor of Law degree in 2008. She then went on to study her Legal Practice Course there completing the same with a Commendation in 2009. Upon leaving university Danielle worked as a paralegal and thereafter a trainee Solicitor with a Swansea law firm, qualifying in February 2014.

Upon qualification Danielle moved to West Yorkshire to work for a large family law firm with a strong emphasis on legal aid work. During her time with this firm Danielle worked across Yorkshire and Lancashire gaining a wealth of experience in both private and public children matters and domestic abuse matters.

Whilst working in Yorkshire Danielle undertook the role of Head of Office and gained her Family Law Advanced accreditation in August 2015 and Children Panel accreditation in June 2016, being just over two years qualified at the time. Danielle was also a trustee of a local women’s domestic abuse charity and secretary of the Wakefield Law Society.

Danielle returned to Wales in August 2016 and joined a Cardiff law firm where she furthered her practice of private and public law children matters with an emphasis on legal aid work. Danielle was appointed head of Public and Childcare after being with the firm for 18 months.

Danielle regularly acts for parents, family members, interveners and children in Children Act proceedings. Danielle has experience in cases involving domestic abuse including in a case where it has resulted in the death of one parent, neglect, physical, emotional and sexual abuse of children, non-accidental injury, parental substance misuse, mental health issues relating to parents and children including cases where the Official Solicitor has been involved, relocation of children outside of the jurisdiction of England and Wales and cases of honour based violence, forced marriage and Female Genital Mutilation. Danielle has also been involved in cases where issues of Public Interest Immunity have been raised and before the High Court where issues related to radicalisation and reporting restriction orders were made.

Danielle will conduct her own advocacy wherever possible including contested interim and final hearings before all levels of tribunal including the High Court. Danielle shows commitment to her clients by ensuring that they fully understand the legal process and she takes the time to fully explain and thoroughly prepare cases to ensure that the difficult family issues that she deals with are handled in a sensitive and empathetic manner. Danielle obtained her Higher Rights in 2021 which means she is an Associate Solicitor Advocate.



Emily Jane Thomas

Emily-Jane Thomas
BMus (HONS.) MMus


Emily-Jane is a compassionate family law solicitor with a number of years’ experience in helping parties navigate the complexities of family law.

Emily-Jane spent 20 years working as a professional opera singer and teacher before converting to her long-term goal of becoming a family law specialist. She holds a Batchelor of Music (Honours) degree and Master of Music (Distinction). She previously worked as a paralegal for another South Wales leading family law firm, Legal Services for Children. Her expertise extends to all aspects of public family law.

Emily-Jane qualified as a solicitor in April 2022 and was delighted to be taken on by Nicol Denvir Purnell.

Emily-Jane is committed to providing tailored legal advice and representation to her clients, ensuring that they have a clear understanding of their legal options and the potential outcomes in their case. She understands that court proceedings can be incredibly stressful and emotional, and she approaches every case with empathy and sensitivity.

Emily-Jane is passionate about her work and strives to provide the highest level of service to her clients.


Cerys Blaney

Cerys Blaney


Cerys graduated from Cardiff University with an LLB Law and French degree in 2019. She then worked as a paralegal whilst studying the Legal Practice Course, which she passed with a Distinction in 2021. Upon completing the LPC, Cerys began her training contract whilst writing her Masters dissertation on the topic of implacable hostility in private family law cases, completing her LLM with Distinction in 2022.

Having been involved in various family law pro bono schemes at university and achieving first class grades in family law modules at both undergraduate and postgraduate level, Cerys was awarded the Trish Whiting Legal Services for Children Scholarship.

Cerys intended to specialise in family law and was therefore delighted to be offered the opportunity to undertake a secondment at Nicol Denvir & Purnell, in the Private Family Law department, as part of her training contract.

Upon qualification, Cerys returned to Nicol Denvir & Purnell, joining the Public Family Law team. Cerys acts for parents and families involved in care proceedings and offers advice and assistance in all aspects of social services involvement, representing clients from PLO and throughout the court process.




Lewis James

Lewis James LL.B (HONS.)


Lewis graduated from the Swansea University with a degree in Law in 2020 and completed the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) at the University of the West of England in 2021.

Upon completion of the BPTC Lewis joined Nicol Denvir & Purnell as a paralegal, assisting in the Private Law department, before subsequently joining the Public Law department whereby he acts for parents and families involved in care proceedings and offers advice and assistance in all aspects of social services involvement, representing clients from PLO and throughout the court process.


Nicol Denvir Purnell Accreditations