Steven Friel is a leader in the law and business of ESG (environmental, social and corporate governance), and one of the most well-established litigation finance professionals in the international market. He is particularly expert in helping large groups of shareholders, bondholders and other stakeholders to collaborate in the face of catastrophic breakdowns in ESG at publicly listed companies.
Steven has repeatedly been ranked by independent directories as a leader in the field:
“Steven Friel is … an experienced litigator and funder, he is particularly interested in assisting various stakeholders, including shareholders and bondholders, in ESG matters involving listed companies.”
“He is not afraid to make a decision. Steven backs his judgement and if you go to him with a case he will tell you quickly one way or another how it will go.”
Chambers and Partners, 2023
“Steven Friel is an experienced litigator and funder… He has also published a book on the business of litigation funding. A source explains: “Steven deploys strong problem-solving abilities with the finesse only available to people of unusually high intelligence.”
Chambers and Partners, 2022
“Steven Friel is … praised for his hands-on approach and ability to work constructively on even the biggest and most complicated matters.”
Chambers and Partners, 2021
“Steven Friel is very easy to deal with, makes decisions quickly on an informed basis and won’t leave you hanging around. He grasps the facts and the law extremely quickly. He is an extremely good resource for Woodsford – a great strategic thinker.”
Chambers and Partners, 2020
“Commentators praise his flexible working style, with one reporting: “He is smart, and responds well and quickly to clients. He is willing to take a decision quickly and take some risk.” Clients highlight his enthusiastic demeanour, one saying he has “got enormous energy. I’ve spoken to him as sounding board on a few other cases as well. He seems to have limitless energy to explore things, and he’s extremely sharp.”
Chambers and Partners, 2019
“Steven Friel is an experienced disputes practitioner who is held in high esteem as an adviser to Woodsford’s clients. Clients appreciate his ability to combine his litigation expertise with a commercial approach. One seasoned barrister reports that ‘he is very impressive. He has a razor-sharp legal mind, is intellectually curious, and has strong business sense.”
Chambers and Partners, 2018
Steven was recognised as one of the top 100 professionals at the forefront of the litigation funding industry in the Lawdragon Global 100 – Leaders in Legal Finance Guide, 2021, 2022 and 2023.
Before joining Woodsford, Steven was a partner in the London office of international law firm Brown Rudnick. Prior to joining Brown Rudnick, Steven was a partner in the London office of DAC Beachcroft, and practiced from the London and New York offices of Debevoise & Plimpton.
Steven’s expertise was recognised by every annual edition of the Legal 500 published in the eight years up to when he left private practice. For commercial litigation work, he was praised as having “the sort of knowledge that one only gets with years of accumulated experience in heavy or complex litigation” and a “strong commercial grip on the relevant legal provisions and financial aspects of cases.” For his work in international arbitration, the Legal 500 ranked Steven as “outstanding,” and he was noted as an “experienced practitioner” of banking litigation.
Steven is a graduate of Cambridge University, and graduated top of his class with a Master of Laws degree in International Dispute Resolution from the University of London.