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23 February 2021

Herbert Smith Freehills steps up sustainability focus with new practice group

London-based energy partner Silke Goldberg appointed global leader of ESG practice

By Ben Edwards

Silke Goldberg

Herbert Smith Freehills is launching a dedicated environmental, social and governance (ESG) practice as demand for sustainability and climate-related advice continues to grow.

The new practice area will build on more than three decades of experience advising clients on ESG-related issues across the firm’s existing practice groups. The firm’s global ESG leadership team is being led by London-based energy partner Silke Goldberg, while responsible investment specialist Rebecca Perlman will oversee the UK, the US and EMEA, corporate governance expert Timothy Stutt will head up Australia and business and human rights specialist Antony Crockett will cover Asia.

Justin D’Agostino, HSF’s CEO, said: “ESG is no longer a buzzword, but is critical to everyone’s future. In business, a welcome seismic shift is underway in ESG awareness, regulation and enforcement that affects every company, investor and lender, and we need to support them.”

He added: “In forming the new ESG leadership team, we wanted our knowledgeable and ambitious young leaders to take charge, fully backed by the firm’s management team. Each of these leaders has deep experience in ESG and individual specialist expertise; they reflect our track record in this area, and will build the practice for the future with our clients.”

Goldberg has more than 20 years of experience working in the energy sector, 16 of which as a lawyer advising clients on gas, power and climate change issues. Perlman has been co-chair of the firm’s impact investment and social finance practice since 2018, while corporate lawyer Stutt has more than 10 years of experience advising companies on ESG issues. Hong Kong-based Crockett joined HSF from Clifford Chance in 2014, and leads the firm’s business and human rights practice globally.

Goldberg said: “The new structure delivers all of the firm’s expertise in this area to our clients through a dedicated team of cross disciplinary specialists. It breaks down traditional law firm structures to better mobilise our skills across disciplines, particularly for global clients.”

HSF is the latest firm to ramp up its ESG credentials. Earlier this month, Orrick hired ESG specialist Ashley Walter from Fenwick & West, where he headed its corporate social responsibility governance and compliance practice. Also this month, Ex-Jones Day partner Ben McQuhae launched a sustainability law boutique in Hong Kong – Ben McQuhae & Co – following Rajah & Tann Singapore’s move to open a regional sustainability practice in January.

Further reading

The Global Legal Post timeline: ESG and the law

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