Why Hire a Legal Interpreter?

Grow your firm, improve your revenue, go global

Almost everything we do these days has a touchpoint somewhere around the world. Cross-border business transactions and operations are the “norm”. Your clients will be looking for co-ordinated legal services that match the global customers they serve.

In the field of law, proper and precise communication is crucial. Dealing with overseas legal jurisdictions and contacts in multiple languages creates both opportunity and challenge in equal measure. Similarly a client or witness whose first language is not English needs specialist support from someone who can not only interpret accurately for them but also understand the cultural implications that can impact the legal proceedings.

Errors, mistakes or ambiguity in translation or interpretation may damage your case.

So to reduce the risk of miscommunication you should hire a professional Legal Interpreter. Legal translation and interpretation is not just about words. The law also involves a cultural paradigm, with the differences in legal systems, content, concepts and terms making legal translation very complex.
Interpreting legal experts’ evidence is an area where linguistic skills alone are simply not enough, as it often requires communicating common law concepts within the context of civil law logic or vice versa.

I am a lawyer, a linguist and a business man: The perfect combination

When you hire me, you do not just get my linguistic skills. You also get my legal training, business acumen and extensive experience as a Legal Interpreter. I have a law degree and a languages degree. I have worked both as a personal interpreter for Heads of State and Government and a UN staff interpreter. I have also been General Counsel in private business, and now I am an independent freelance Legal Interpreter and Translator.


Because I am not just a qualified lawyer who speaks multiple languages. I understand how both civil and common law systems work in different countries and have a theoretical in-depth knowledge of English law. I know how business works. I understand that legal translation is as much about nuance as it is about words. I have decades of experience working at the highest levels of diplomacy, industry and the legal profession.

My experience is unparalleled, I am the only active UK business interpreter who is also a lawyer by training. I will bring the wealth and breadth of my knowledge, understanding and learning to support you with your legal interpretation and translation requirements.

My Education and Qualifications

  • Graduated summa cum laude from the School of Law, Moscow Institute of International Relations (MGIMO University) with a joint honours degree in International Law and foreign languages (English, French, Spanish)
  • Completed an introductory course of English Law at the London School of Economics
  • Graduated from the UN Language Training Course: Certified UN Simultaneous Interpreter and Translator in Russian, English, French and Spanish

My Work Experience

  • UN Staff Interpreter based in Geneva, working with the UN International Law Commission, Human Rights Commission, UNCTAD and many other international organisations and bodies
  • UN Personnel Officer conducting employment litigation and labour disputes
  • Represented the UN Secretary General before the UN Joint Appeals Board and the ILO Administrative Tribunal
  • Provided interpretation services for numerous Heads of State and government, senior government officials, top business executives and influential leaders
  • Diplomatic interpreter and top Government translator for the Soviet and Russian Foreign Service
  • Lawyer and linguist for Russian private corporations
  • Independent freelance legal and business interpreter based in London since 2003

Interpreting at the UN and in Diplomatic Service 

My wide and varied roles and responsibilities with the UN have given me unique insights and valuable experience in international politics, business, law and economics. I worked at the highest and most prominent levels of international diplomacy, interpreting at numerous international summit meetings.

Among the world leaders and international influencers I have had the privilege to support and interpret for I can count:

Mikhail Gorbachev, Margaret Thatcher, Joe Biden, Rajiv Gandhi, Boris Yeltsin, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Brian Mulroney, Richard Nixon, John Major, Nursultan Nazarbayev, Lee Kuan Yew, Al Gore, Viktor Chernomyrdin, George P. Shultz, Sergei Lavrov and Eduard Shevardnadze.

I have translated at bilateral intergovernmental negotiations (international law, double tax treaties, arms control, SDI, START and INF, economic cooperation, finance and investment, energy etc). My clients’ counterparts at various times included Joseph R. Biden Jr, Dr Henry Kissinger, James A. Baker III, Dick Cheney, Frank Carlucci, Donald Rumsfeld, Bob Dole, Brent Scowcroft, Richard Perle, R. James Woolsey, Richard R. Burt, Bob Strauss, Tom Brokaw, Peter Jennings, Jack Welch, Lord Jacob Rothschild, Baron Brittan of Spennithorne, and others.

At these levels nuance is as important as words to avoid misinterpretation and conflicting messages. This is where an experienced and skilful interpreter like me is worth their weight in gold. I am happy to say that no international incidents occurred on my watch!

General Counsel in Private Business

I resigned from diplomatic service in 1994, to take up a position as a lawyer and linguist in Russian private business. That was a whole new experience, very different from working with policymakers and top diplomats. During the following years I broadened my knowledge base to include commercial and business law, finance, banking and business in general.

I was General Counsel at GML Management Services, a private investment company with $30+billion in assets, including a controlling stake in Russia’s largest oil company at the time. GML also had other oil and gas, telecoms, mining and fertiliser assets, a retail bank, investment bank and an insurance company. I dealt with the legal aspects of negotiation and completion of several major M&A and private equity deals by GML and its shareholders through Carlyle, Credit Suisse, UBS et al.

Plus I managed external legal and financial advisers and outside counsel, handling investor relations, PR and liaison with international counterparts, such as private equity firms, buyout and hedge fund managers, bankers, public affairs firms and other investor groups. I was also called upon to act as legal adviser to the CEO of MENATEP Bank and ROSPROM.

Relocating to London

In 2003, I moved to London and attended the London School of Economics to complete an introductory course of English Law. Since then my work as an independent freelance legal and business interpreter has steadily increased. I travel extensively throughout the world, assisting my clients in all the jurisdictions where my services may be required.

Being freelance means I can combine my considerable legal and linguistic experience to support the luminaries of the legal world including Lord Hoffmann, Dame Elizabeth Gloster, Lord Goldsmith QC, Gary Born and Jonathan Sumption QC, later Lord Sumption, the lead lawyer for Abramovich at the ground-breaking Berezovsky v Abramovich trial in 2011-2012. Just watching such intellects in action in court, at arbitration hearings, or in client meetings is an honour. Reading thousands of pages of documents to prepare for each case has served to educate me and extend my knowledge and understanding of both civil and common law. Knowledge and experience that I can bring to your next case.  

How I can help you

I specialise in the following areas: law (public and private international, corporate, commercial, M&A, tax, property/real estate, insolvency/bankruptcy, construction, maritime, shipping, energy, insurance, IP, telecoms, medicine and pharmaceuticals, media, entertainment, competition, litigation and dispute resolution, including international arbitration, investment disputes, criminal, forensic, asset tracing, white-collar crime, corporate fraud, tort including personal injury, negligence, health and safety, libel, immigration, human rights, family, probate), banking and finance, insurance, investment, accounting, audit, capital markets, power and energy including oil and gas, mining, metals, public and government relations.

My Client Roster

My past and current clients have included the Royal Courts of Justice (High Court), most recently in PrivatBank v Kolomoisky & Bogolyubov; Tatneft v Bogolyubov, Kolomoisky & Ors; Petr Aven, Mikhail Fridman and German Khan v Orbis Business Intelligence; National Bank of Kazakhstan and the Republic of Kazakhstan v The Bank of New York Mellon & Stati Parties; Rusal v Crispian & Whiteleave; Berezovsky v Abramovich; Magdeev v Tsvetkov; Savchenko v Davletyarov; Maximov v NLMK; Avonwick Holdings v Shlosberg; Avonwick v Dargamo, Taruta and Mkrtchan; Danilina v Chernukhin and Deripaska; Otkritie v Urumov; BTA Bank v Ablyazov; DIA and IIB v Pugachev; Bank of Moscow v Kekhman; Bank St Petersburg v Arkhangelsky; Slutsker v Haron; Tajik Aluminium; Berezovsky v VGTRK; Cherney v Deripaska; Berezovsky v Gudavadze; Baturina v Chistyakov.

The Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (Skobelev v Sophiatown, retained for Renova & Vekselberg v Abyzov), the Courts of Switzerland (most recently in EBRD v Abramovich and GazpromNeft – in French); the Supreme Court of Gibraltar, the High Court of Justice of the Isle of Man, the Supreme Court of California, the Law Society and the Bar Council of England and Wales.

Law firms such as Allen & Overy, Clifford Chance, Akin Gump, Skadden Arps, Linklaters, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Quinn Emanuel, Latham & Watkins, Cleary Gottlieb, Davis Polk & Wardwell, White & Case, Hogan Lovells, Herbert Smith Freehills, Mishcon de Reya, Norton Rose Fulbright, Debevoise & Plimpton, Covington & Burling, Withers, Baker & McKenzie, Hughes Fowler Carruthers, Farrer & Co, Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner, Bär & Karrer, Lévy Kaufmann-Kohler, Charles Russell Speechlys, Taylor Wessing, and many others.

International organisations and arbitral institutions including the United Nations, European Union, Council of Europe and the European Court of Human Rights, European Parliament; OECD, NATO, IMF, OSCE, IMO, ICAO, FAO, WFP, IFAD, ITU, ILO, EBRD, WANO; Energy Exchange; World Bank / ICSID, UNCITRAL, ICC, SCC, Swiss Chamber of Commerce; London Court of International Arbitration, Netherlands Arbitration Institute, Singapore International Arbitration Centre, Abu Dhabi Arbitration Centre; GAFTA; the Court of Arbitration for Sport; UEFA; investment banks such as Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Barclays, UBS, Citi, JPMorgan and various private clients.

For my most recent international commercial arbitration cases, please see …

Contact Me

To find out how I can support your next case with interpreting and translation services, please contact me on (+44) 7766 251 512, or email me at victor@prokofievinterlegal.com.

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