Melanie A. Friend

Richmond, Virginia

Principal
phone 
804-320-9100
800-948-7160
fax (804) 320-2950
email mfriend@cowangates.com

Melanie A. Friend

Melanie Friend practices family law at CowanGates focusing on divorce , child custody and visitation, spousal support, child support, adoption, and prenuptial agreements. She is qualified as a guardian ad litem for children. Melanie is also trained to represent parties in the collaborative divorce process. She joined CowanGates in 2007, after completing a clerkship for the Honorable Timothy E. Meredith of the Maryland Court of Special Appeals.

Melanie obtained her law degree from William & Mary School of Law, where she earned Honors for excellence in research, writing and client relations. In addition, she served as member of the Moot Court Team and National Trial Team. As a member of the National Trial Team, Melanie was one of three students to represent William & Mary at the 2005 National Trial Competition after finishing in second place at the regional level of the competition. She also served as Lead Development Counsel for the National Trial Team, training new team members in basic trial techniques.

In 2003, Melanie graduated summa cum laude from Thiel College with a bachelor of arts degree in English and was named class salutatorian. Melanie received the Thiel College Excellence Award, a full academic scholarship presented each year to one entering freshman. She also received the Vira I. Heinz Scholarship for Study Abroad, allowing her to spend a summer term studying at University College Cork in County Cork, Ireland.

Melanie serves as treasurer for the Metropolitan Richmond Women’s Bar Association. She serves as a member of the Richmond Bar Association’s Judicial Candidate Endorsement Committee. Melanie is also a member of the Lewis F. Powell, Jr. American Inn of Court, the Richmond Bar Association, the Chesterfield County Bar Association, the Metro Richmond Family Law Bar Association, and the Family Law Section of the Virginia State Bar. An active member of the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association, she serves on the Young Trial Lawyers leadership committee and authored an article about Fifth Amendment protection in adultery cases for publication in the VTLA Journal. In 2012, she served as co-chair of the Bench-Bar Conference planning committee.

 

Testimonials/Referrals

“Getting to Know: Melanie Friend” – Richmond Times-Dispatch 5/4/13

Articles: 
Sole Custody – Sociology of Divorce 
Invoking the Fifth Amendment in Adultery Cases – Do Cheating Spouses Get to Cheat the System
How To Make The Most Of Your Consultation Time
Areas of Practice: 
Family Law
Bar Admissions:
Virginia, 2006
Education:
College of William and Mary School of Law, Williamsburg, Virginia, 2006
J.D.
Honors: Moot Court, 2004 – 2006
Honors: National Trial Team, Served as Lead Development Counsel, 2005 – 2006
Honors: 2005 National Trial Competition, placed second in regional competition
Thiel College, Greenville, Pennsylvania, 2003
B.A., English
Honors: Summa Cum Laude
Honors: Salutatorian, Vira I. Heinz Scholarship for Study Abroad
Honors: Awarded full undergraduate scholarship – Thiel College Excellence Award

 

Honors and Awards:
Virginia Business Magazine Legal Elite (Family Law) 2013 
Virginia Super Lawyers Rising Star, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 (Family Law)
Richmond Bar Association’s 2013 Young Lawyer of the Year 
Professional Associations and Memberships:
             
             International Association of Collaborative Professionals
             Virginia Collaborative Professionals
          
             Richmond Collaborative Professionals
Metropolitan Richmond Women’s Bar Association, Treasurer
Lewis F. Powell, Jr. American Inn of Court
 
Metro Richmond Family Law Bar Association
Chesterfield County Bar Association
Richmond Bar Association
Virginia State Bar, Family Law Section
Virginia Trial Lawyers Association

 

Past Employment Positions:
Maryland Court of Special Appeals, Judicial Clerk, 2006 – 2007
United States Attorney’s Office for Southern District of West Virginia, Summer 2005

 

Community Activities:
Chesterfield Innovative Academy for Girls (a nonprofit private school), Member of the Board of Directors
MS Society BikeVirginia, Co-Captain for CowanGates team
Volunteer at Maymont
Richmond Road Runners
Chesterfield County Pro Bono Protective Order Program