Forget about rainmakers, think hurricanemakers: Russian business tycoons fighting against each other in U.K. are paying fees that would put the best rainmakers in U.S. in doubt over their abilities to apply cosmetics to the billable hour. According to a recent news by Guardian UK, the legal fees associated with the recent win of Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich against his arch-rival Boris Berezovsky may top 160 million dollars – the case lasted four months. That’s about a bill of 0.25 million dollars per hour considering a 40-hour week and working every day for four months, leaving out weekends. And that’s just one war of the Russians ending in U.K. courts.
While the benchmark may have already been set, there’s a slew of legal battles between Russian billionaires in the pipeline in London. The U.K. courts are set to hear the next round of a legal battle between Oleg Deripaska, a Russian billionaire and Michael Cherney, an Uzbek businessman.
Also this year, Kazakh billionaire Mukhtar Ablyazov fled the UK after he was found lying about his vast fortune in a fraud case – he is now a fugitive from UK, and his property in UK de facto forfeit.
According to Mark McAteer, the national editor of Legal Business magazine, the legal battles between Russian businessmen have, for the first time ever, pushed the profits of the top 100 law firms in London above 5 billion GBP. McAfee said, “litigation for Russian clients has been a massive source of revenue for a number of firms – both big firms and boutique firms … they (Russians) approve of the (UK) system of usually having a fair playing field and we have very good judges and lawyers.”
Whatever be the case, for now, the Russians are fighting to make U.K. lawyers rich. The Legal Business survey shows combined profits of the top 100 law firms in London increase by 8% and revenue rise by 17% last year.