Katie O'Callaghan - Spear's Magazine

Katie O’Callaghan

Boodle Hatfield

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‘Bright and incisive… an undoubted partner and start of the future,’ says one barrister of Katie O’Callaghan, a senior associate who joined Boodle Hatfield as a trainee. Known for excelling on complex financial points, she is currently acting as lead associate on several highly contentious divorces. One involves £300 million of assets, while another stretches to multiple jurisdictions.

Earlier in her career, she worked alongside family head James Ferguson (see page 73) on the first reported divorce case to divide private equity funds. This case, which went to the High Court in 2013, became a leading authority on how private equity funds are treated in divorce proceedings.

O’Callaghan tells Spear’s that the value of the assets involved in a divorce is not always the main issue. ‘Often it’s the complexities of the structure of the award, rather than the amount, that causes the most difficulty,’ she says.

‘Some clients are very resolute that they don’t want to issue court proceedings at all and they have managed to reach an agreement which they’re happy with… And then we get the other end of the spectrum, where you have a spouse who would rather pay lawyers money than pay their ex-spouse money and it’s very acrimonious.’