An international lawyer is bringing new meaning to the idea of a multi-disciplinary practice after launching a business in London that combines legal advice for DIY divorce clients with anti-ageing serums and sex therapy.
Cià Gabriella Manes is a Canadian lawyer who was originally a biologist and also has a therapy qualification. She calls herself ‘the beauty lawyer’ and offers other related legal services, such as acting on cosmetic surgery negligence claims.
She has a background in human rights work and said she has in the past worked on contract in London with the likes of Norton Rose Fulbright, Eversheds and Howard Kennedy.
Originally Ms Manes ran her legal and beauty products companies separately, but has decided to bring them together as hybrid legal businesses begin to emerge, particularly in the US.
Licensed in Quebec, the UK business is not a regulated law firm and her focus is on helping mainly women facing divorce proceedings who need help with the process – since legal aid was largely removed for divorce, many firms have begun offering ‘unbundled’ services that allow clients to pick and choose when they take advice while acting as litigants in person.
Ms Manes said: “I feel there is a lack of hybrid legal services catering solely for women in the UK. How can a ‘£5,000 retainer’ old male lawyer remotely understand what a soon-to-be-divorced woman has going on in her mind?
“She does not just want to hear how ‘we’ll bleed the guy dry and leave him broke’. She wants to know that despite her ex leaving her for another, she is still youthful and sexy. That with a bit of help, she will get through this. Combining therapy, beauty sessions and legal sessions make consultations far more beneficial to the woman’s mental state of mind.”
Ms Manes said it was wrong for family lawyers to say that they should not be their clients’ friend. “If we show they’re more than just a client to us, they will stay loyal.”
Though targeting Canada and Italy as well, Ms Manes said the UK – where she spends most of her time – is her primary target.
She began developing beauty products after an accident that left her with third-degree burns to her face, which were healed with natural ingredients sourced from the Canadian Boreal Forest.