Frances Hughes says that successful family lawyers require an eclectic mix of personal attributes in addition to being highly able experts in the law. This applies whether your clients are billionaires or are living on benefits in social housing.
“You need sensitivity and toughness,” says Hughes, who acted for the former model Christina Estrada when she won a £53 million settlement from her Saudi billionaire ex-husband in the High Court. “Usually you develop a very close relationship with your clients, but only for a period.”
“You need to be able to listen actively and show empathy, but you also have to be professional and on occasions cut through the emotional to focus on the practical. You have to be able to offer your client what is sometimes difficult advice. You have to be strong emotionally.”
That is why, in no frivolous spirit, Hughes recommends that prospective family lawyers widen their horizons not least through reading the “great literary classics about adultery” such as Flaubert’s Madame Bovary and Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina. “Anything that can extend your range of emotional sympathy can be useful,” she says.
Read the full article in The Times here.