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Herbert Smith Freehills LLP

This firm is featured in the Who's Who Legal 100 Elite Firms

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Herbert Smith Freehills LLP
Exchange House
Primrose Street
+44 20 7374 8000
+44 20 7374 0888

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Herbert Smith Freehills LLP - The Who's Who Legal 100 2014

What is the Who's Who Legal 100?

An Interview with Mark Rigotti and Sonya Leydecker, joint CEOs, Herbert Smith Freehills

On 1 May 2014, Sonya Leydecker and Mark Rigotti will take over leadership of Herbert Smith Freehills as joint chief executive officers for a term of three years. The appointment marks a further step of integration following the merger in 2012 of UK firm Herbert Smith and Australia-based Freehills.



Arbitration 14 Investigations 4
Asset Recovery 6 Labour & Employment 7
Aviation 5 Life Sciences 5
Banking 3 M&A 11
Business Crime Defence 1 Mediation 1
Capital Markets 11 Mining 4
Commercial Litigation 9 Patents 5
Competition 9 Private Client 1
Construction 3 Private Funds 4
Corporate Governance 7 Product Liability Defence 1
Corporate Tax 3 Project Finance 5
Energy 18 Public Procurement 5
Environment 5 Real Estate 9
Information Technology 5 Telecomns & Media 5
Insolvency & Restructuring 4 Trade & Customs 1
Insurance & Reinsurance 2 Trademarks 3

Herbert Smith Freehills has set out to be one of the global elite and the past year has seen it open offices in New York and Seoul and establish itself in Germany with two offices: Frankfurt and Berlin. Through a formal association with Hiswara Bunjamin & Tandjung in Jakarta the firm is able to provide further expertise in Asia.

Total Listings in WWL 176 Established 2012 merger
Home jurisdiction UK/Australia Total size of firm 4, 771
Number of partners 460 Number of offices 23



Herbert Smith Freehills is “internationally renowned” for its energy practice which spans the oil and gas, power, nuclear and renewables sectors. Led by Mark Newbery, the team works on transactions across Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Australia. Recent highlights include advising China National Petroleum Corporation, the largest energy company in China on its acquisition of a 28.57 per cent stake in Eni East Africa Company for $4.2 billion. The lead partners were David Clinch and Anna Howell. Bertrand Montembault and Stuart Barrymore are noted for their combined energy and mining experience while Stéphane Brabant in Paris is “top notch” and has a broad practice covering energy, mining and project finance. Lode Van Den Hende in Brussels is “much admired” by peers for his litigation practice in the energy and trade and customs areas.

Arbitration is a further area in which the firm excels. Head of the global arbitration practice Paula Hodges is “phenomenal” in disputes in the energy, telecommunications and technology sectors in particular. In Melbourne, Bronwyn Lincoln is “held in high esteem” for her experience in international arbitration within Australia, Asia, Europe and the Middle East. Justin D’Agostino heads the Greater China international arbitration practice and is China managing partner at the firm; his work is “unrivalled” according to peers. Laurence Shore is a “standout individual” at the firm. Based in New York, he is “exceptional by all accounts” and garners further praise for his commercial litigation practice. The “fantastic” Dominic Roughton also features in both chapters.

The firm has a strong M&A practice and attracts high-profile clients due to its ability to offer cross-border capability across Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia, the Middle East and Latin America. Stephen Wilkinson is the global head of M&A at the firm and he advises major listed and international companies on their transactions. He is known for providing “commercially oriented” advice. James Palmer is a “go-to” for complex deals and he frequently assists in deals where clients face significant and unusual challenges. Sydney-based Tony Damian is an “absolute star” who advises on listed company takeovers and mergers and private M&A transactions. Gavin Davies in London has 20 years’ experience of advising on cross-border deals and is particularly recommended for his work in the TMT, real estate, energy, consumer products and retail sectors. 

The capital markets practice includes equity, equity-linked, hybrid and debt securities transactions. Philippa Stone in Sydney is singled out for her expertise in equity raising. She is also “highly knowledgeable” on M&A transactions and advises on corporate governance issues. Tim McEwen in Melbourne is also a “well-known name” in the market. His experience includes advising Healthscope on its $305 million offer of ASX-listed retail notes. Nadim Khan leads the firm’s finance practice in the Middle East and is the global head of the Islamic finance group. His experience includes advising Qatar Islamic Bank on its first US dollar-denominated sukuk issuance which raised US$750 million for Qatar’s largest shariah-compliant lender. In London, Dina Albagli and Clive Barnard are recognised for their expertise in the areas of debt and equity and structured finance.

Further praise goes to the “superb” Robert Hunter, who is recommended for his asset recovery and private client practices, and Rod Fletcher, in the areas of investigations and business crime defence.



The firm’s global pro bono programme is driven by its goal to impact the community and achieve firm-wide engagement. In 2013, the firm’s contributed over 50,000 hours or pro bono legal advice contributing a total of US$15.6 million including value of time, financial and in-kind support.

In September 2011 the firm launched a partnership with the government of Sierra Leone for the provision of legal assistance on a pro bono basis. Lawyers provide policy and transactional advice as well as training.



Herbert Smith Freehills’ diversity and inclusion strategy focuses on leadership, the partnership pipeline, innovative work practices and partnering with its clients. The firm has won numerous recognitions for its commitment to equal opportunities including being recognised in the Stonewall Top 100 employers for LGBT consecutively since 2008 and as the “Employer of Choice” for women from the Australian government’s Workplace Gender Equality Agency. 



With new leadership in 2014, work towards achieving the firm’s vision of becoming firmly established as a global elite law firm will continue, a key component of this goal is to become the leading firm in the Asia-Pacific region.

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