Herbert Smith Freehills Australia has won a victory against a group of partners who joined White & Case. The eight partners from HSF's Melbourne office, who departed from HSF in a mass exit last September, are not allowed to act for HSF clients or employ staff from their former firm before 1 September this year - as per the HSF partnership agreement. The New South Wales Supreme Court Justice Robert McDougall ordered the eight to abide by agreements with their former firm, describing them as 'commercially and legally sophisticated' and saying that they must have known the risk of being restricted when they entered the agreements.
The court refused to grant an order to restrain the partners from working for White & Case. A further hearing on 26 June will consider outstanding issues including whether the partners have been suspended from the partnership since their resignation from HSF on 1 September 2016.