Livingbridge, the mid-market private equity firm, has bought Stowe Family Law LLP, the largest family law firm in the UK with 10 offices nationally.
The investment will be used to fuel the growth of the firm by building a larger national footprint, opening up to 30 additional offices over the next five years, as well as building on SFL’s strong IT platform and management team. Livingbridge believes that the law firm has enormous potential to serve more of the UK.
Daniel Smith, of Livingbridge, said: Stowe Family Law is a great success story. Under Marilyn’s ownership it has become the largest specialist family law firm in the UK, consistently delivering outstanding service and outcomes for its clients.
Livingbridge is delighted to have the opportunity to invest in SFL and work with the team. The business is in fantastic shape with a talented team of leaders, solicitors and staff who are at the top of their game. We look forward to working with SFL to continue delivering great client service and to grow the business further.”
Livingbridge has invested in over 100 entrepreneurial companies, particularly in consumer markets and professional services, supporting recruitment firms such as Frank Recruitment Group, Staffline and The Up Group as well as Kingsbridge, the specialist insurance broker, and Broadstone, the pensions and employee benefits provider. This investment is the second investment from the Livingbridge 6 fund, which completed fundraising in September 2016.
Stowe Family Law was founded by Marilyn Stowe and is best known for her matrimonial disputes. It was founded over 30 years ago and acted for over 20,000 clients, builing a network of 10 offices across the UK.
Mrs Stowe will no longer have any financial interest in the business.
Marilyn Stowe said: I will always be involved with the firm, and I am particularly thrilled it will continue to bear my name. It has been my most important ambition for this firm and its clients to thrive following my departure and I have achieved this with Livingbridge. Today also marks an incredible personal milestone for me, having built Stowe Family Law up over decades from a converted cobbler’s shop in East Leeds.
The families and individuals that my fantastic team and I have helped have always been at the heart of my career. I went into the legal profession to give back to society and to fight injustice and that’s a legacy I know will be continued by all my colleagues at Stowe Family Law. I’m now very much looking forward to exploring new opportunities to use my experience to help address some of the issues that matter most to me.
Charles Hartwell, CEO of Stowe Family Law, said: Thanks to Marilyn, and with the investment from Livingbridge, the future looks very strong for our firm and our clients. We have a great team, offering exceptional service in difficult cases and the investment will allow us to take our personal service to a much wider audience across the country. We will always pride ourselves on our expertise, authority and commitment to delivering straightforward advice in a professional and caring way.
The deal was led by Daniel Smith, Mo Aneese and Simon Peet at Livingbridge with Deloitte and Pinsent Masons providing corporate finance and legal advice respectively. The advisers to Marilyn Stowe were KPMG legal and financial.