corporations and governments, Natasha focuses on high-stakes international litigation and arbitration. Natasha is recognised as a leading banking litigator by The Legal 500 and Chambers UK; and as a leading commercial litigator by Super Lawyers, WWL and Lawdragon. She has been described as “exceptionally talented” and “incredibly commercial for a litigator”, with an “unparalleled ability” to turn a client’s thoughts into a “cogent argument.”
What inspired you to pursue a legal career?
The blend of technical expertise and problem-solving that is required in a legal career. I also wanted a career that would continue to challenge me, and help me to develop and evolve. I can confirm that I have never been bored, and that I continue to be pushed out of my comfort zone!
What do you enjoy most about working in restructuring and insolvency?
The opportunity to work on complex cross-border matters; to protect clients’ interests; and to solve legal and commercial problems to lead to the right outcome. The work is cutting-edge, every case is different, and each one provides an opportunity to learn and build.
As restructurings become increasingly global in nature, what qualities must lawyers practising in the area possess?
An ability to listen: to actively understand stakeholders’ positions and the issues in hand. Flexibility: every case requires a different angle or solution, and strategies and outcomes can’t simply be copied from a previous restructuring. Innovation: there are lots of tools of restructurings and insolvency, some of which haven’t been used regularly in the past 10 years, but which may take centre stage again.
What impact is technology having on the way insolvency mandates are being handled?
Progress in IT should assist the ability of office-holders to investigate the actions of the directors and officers of the company, by allowing both the easier recording and collection of the necessary data, and the efficient and intelligent review and refinement of it to allow liability to be assessed. Data analytic tools and AI will drive progression in this space.
How does Boies Schiller Flexner distinguish itself from the competition?
As litigators with deep experience in the restructuring and insolvency space, we know how to use litigation to create value for our clients, and risks for the other parties, to drive success. That requires both a litigator’s instinct and a knowledge of restructuring and insolvency law.
We have acted for creditors in all of the bank wind-downs and sovereign or quasi-sovereign defaults over the past decade, which puts us in an ideal position to assist creditors with the new wave of state interventions, nationalisations and major contentious restructurings we expect to see in the next six to 12 months.
What impact do you think covid-19 will have on your restructuring and insolvency practice?
Sadly and inevitably, the covid-19 pandemic will result in many insolvencies. I hope there will also be a raft of companies that, although they may experience short-term financial difficulties, are able to work with creditors and other stakeholders to be rescued and go forward to achieve success. We have already seen the legal profession come together to give thought to how to use existing laws and procedures to protect borrowers and lenders alike, and that will no doubt continue. In the medium term, we anticipate novel restructuring and related litigations as short-term fixes and protections during the lockdown period are lifted and companies and their creditors have to assess next steps. We will be there to advise our clients on the new landscape, and to represent them in the contentious situations we expect to see.
Where, in your opinion, does the future of the practice area lie?
The short-term future will require practitioners to reset their expectations so that they see the restructuring tools available as rescue tools, rather than simply wind-down tools, and adapt to the new restructuring and insolvency measures that have been implemented in the government response to the covid-19 pandemic. The medium-term future will require practitioners to engage with broader restructuring tools than have commonly been used, looking at receiverships issues around valuations, and other procedures and issues to drive outcomes. And, of course, there is Brexit – which will no doubt have major impacts on the practice area, however it is resolved. The practice has a lot to deal with!
What advice would you give to younger practitioners hoping to one day be in your position?
First: work hard and remember there is no substitute for technical legal expertise. Use your early years of practice to build that bank of knowledge and remember to stay up to date. Second: learn to listen and, most importantly, to listen to your client. Your job is to use the law to solve your clients’ problems.
Natasha Harrison is highly sought-after for her strong expertise in cross-border insolvency and investor disputes.
Natasha is a managing partner of Boies Schiller Flexner, and the head of the firm's London office.
Acting on behalf of funds, investment banks, corporations, and governments, Natasha’s practice focuses on high-stakes international litigation and arbitration. She has extensive experience in all types of finance and business disputes, including distressed debt investments, investments in special situations and emerging markets, sovereign debt investments, securitisations and complex finance arrangements, and has litigated many of the most important investor disputes of the last decade. She is regularly retained on behalf of clients to provide strategic litigation advice and to lead and coordinate large international commercial disputes.
Natasha is recognised as a leading banking litigator by The Legal 500 and Chambers UK, as well as by Super Lawyers, Who’s Who Legal and Lawdragon as a leading commercial litigator. She won Best in Litigation at the Euromoney Women in Business Law Awards (2015), was named one of Financial News’s Rising Stars of Legal Services in 2013 and The Lawyer’s Hot 100 2011 for banking litigation.
Natasha has also been named a HERoes Woman Role Model for the second year running. The HERoes Women Role Model Executives list celebrates 100 women who are leading by example and driving change to increase gender diversity in the workplace. Natasha was honoured for fostering, advancing, and accelerating diversity as part of her business strategy, and for building a team in London with more than 40 percent female partners.
Natasha opened the London office of Boies Schiller Flexner in 2014, which has "very quickly established itself as a leading litigation practice".