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Vanessa Friend

Team Leader Partner, London

Vanessa is a family lawyer who focuses on reaching an agreed outcome for her clients. She has been listed in the Legal 500 since 2018 and is recognised in the Legal 500 2023 as “an excellent negotiator with good judgement”.

Training and experience 

Vanessa has an undergraduate degree in politics and philosophy from Bristol University and a masters degree in broadcast journalism from Westminster University. She completed her law degree and Legal Practice Course at the University of Law in London, obtaining a distinction in the latter. Since qualifying in 2009, Vanessa has worked exclusively in family law at leading London firms, including as a senior associate at Hunters in Lincoln’s Inn. She was a partner at Hodge Jones & Allen before joining Stowe’s London office in November 2022.

Prior to becoming a lawyer, Vanessa worked as a broadcast journalist. She is a passionate about making family law understandable and accessible.

Specialism 

Vanessa’s practice encompasses all areas of family law with a particular focus on the financial aspects of separation, premarital agreements and cohabitation agreements. Her clients include those with modest assets to high net wealth clients, many of whom are based abroad. She frequently acts for other lawyers.

In 2017 she received an award from City Wealth for her expertise in financial work. She has acted for clients whose marital assets exceed £90 million and involved trusts.

She also advises on children matters and is experienced dealing with complex issues often involving safeguarding. She has extensive experience in applications to relocate abroad and internally, including clients moving to Australia, China and Germany.

Approach

Vanessa takes a holistic approach to her client’s needs. She carefully considers the best approach for their matter and is experienced in supporting clients through non-court dispute resolution. This includes arbitration, private FDRs and roundtable meetings. She also recognises that some cases require court applications and litigation is an important tool for intractable matters.

She was a Trustee for the West London Centre for Counselling for two years, which she undertook to better understand the emotional aspects of separation particularly for children.

She encourages clients think about the additional support they may require, such as an IFA, pensions expert or counsellor.

Accreditations, memberships & awards

Vanessa is a member of Resolution, the largest organisation for family lawyers committed to a non-adversarial approach. She is a founding member of their Litigants-in-Person committee.

She is a member of mediation and collaborative pods in London. She is a Resolution trained mediator.

Vanessa has written on family law matters for The Telegraph, Times Online, Law Society Gazette and spoken on Times Radio. She has also given presentations on family law to members of Resolution.

Legal 500

Vanessa Friend – an excellent negotiator with good judgement. Really solid and good to have on the “other side”. – Legal 500, 2023

“Vanessa Friend is the stand out partner in the team. She is exceptionally bright and knowledgeable. She secures fantastic results for her clients. She is a very good negotiator and very personable. Her mediation skills also assist her with seeing the greater picture and arriving at fair settlements.” – Legal 500, 2022

“Provides excellent client care and can handle the intricate preparation needed.” – Legal 500, 2021

Outside of work

Vanessa enjoys art galleries and theatre.

What our clients say

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