Top Flight Family Lawyer
A case involving the Russian billionaire Farkhad Akhmedov has kept Frances Hughes busy in recent months. The founding partner at Hughes Fowler Carruthers has been representing the oil and gas tycoon and his son Temur in their High Court battle with Temur’s mother Tatiana Akhmedova, who was awarded £453 million in 2016.
Other than the press scrutiny and vast sums of money involved, the case is notable for the involvement of Burford Capital, a litigation funding business that is footing the bill for Ms Akhmedova’s legal fees. ‘Straightforward litigation funding meets a public need,’ Hughes tells Spear’s. ‘But when the funding amounts to a conditional fee arrangement, there are a lot of sharks out there. I think It is a can of worms.’
Hughes, a former governor at large of the International Academy of Family Lawyers, says that part of the reason she and other female lawyers reached the top of the field in the Eighties and Nineties is the fact that the family division does not necessarily demand the obscenely long hours of other disciplines, such as corporate law. However, there are ways in which the work takes a toll.
‘What you can’t do is work 15 hours a day, because you can’t take the emotional load,’ she says. Still, Hughes and her peers from that golden generation have no plans to call it a day. ‘As long as we’re enjoying it,’ she says, ‘we’ll carry on.’