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20 April 2020

Herbert Smith Freehills unveils largest partner promotions round for eight years

First pro bono partner among 26 lawyers promoted to partnership across Europe, Asia and Australia

By Ben Rigby

Portrait of Brooke Massender

Brooke Massender is to become the firm's first pro bono partner.

May Day will see 26 new partners at Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF), the largest promotions round since the merger in October 2012 that created the firm.  

Ten of the promoted lawyers are corporate specialists, with seven from disputes and five promotions from finance.

There was a 50/50 gender split with Australia and the UK each accounting for eight promotions.

Among the appointments was the firm's first pro bono partner — Sydney’s Brooke Massender — while the firm’s alternative legal services arm (ALT) saw a second promotion, that of Belfast-based UK and EMEA head Lisa McLaughlin.

She follows in the footsteps of Libby Jackson, who heads the ALT practice and was promoted in 2017. Jackson was awarded an MBE for her work in 2019.

There were two solitary promotions in real estate and employment, and none in intellectual property, although the firm did announce the hire of Ina vom Feld, a life sciences expert, last week – the firm’s first German IP partner will join in May with an associate.

The UK partner tally jumped to eight from four in 2019; equalling the Australia count (up from six in 2019). Six partners were appointed in continental Europe across its offices in Moscow (two), Madrid (two), Paris and Frankfurt, up from five in 2019. 

The number of Asia partners in this years' round was down from six to four: they are based across the firm's Singapore (two), Beijing and Hong Kong offices.

There were, however, no promotions in the US, the Middle East, or Africa. Last July, the firm bolstered its Johannesburg office with the hire of two partners and a senior consultant.

Justin D’Agostino, CEO-elect and current head of global disputes, said: “While COVID-19 continues to create uncertainties and challenges, we remain focused on taking steps to navigate its impact while looking to the future – and promoting partners is an important part of this.

“Our new partners are all hugely talented lawyers who demonstrate our ongoing investment in our business, including our pro bono practice. I am particularly delighted that half of our new partners are women, a clear demonstration of the firm's ongoing commitment to gender diversity within the legal profession.”

The 13 female partners promoted this year compares to eight women made up from 22 partners in 2019, but is still a lower figure than the fourteen women promoted in 2018, from a 17-partner round. 

The promotions round underlined the firm’s transactional aspirations, with 15 promotions across coporate (10) and finance (5) compared to nine in 2019. Capital markets, M&A, and corporate were all favoured with just one infrastructure-related promotion.

TMT saw two promotions, with UK head of media and digital, Hayley Brady, a consultant, being one; Brady is part of HSF’s digital team, which was launched in November 2019

The number of disputes lawyers (seven) was equivalent to 2019, and reflected the firm’s strengths in key disputes centres: class actions in Sydney; litigation in Hong Kong; and arbitration in Melbourne and Singapore, the latter having had a bumper year for arbitration filings. The firm also promoted a financial disputes lawyer in Paris (Martin Le Touzé).   

Among the London promotions was white collar crime expert Kate Meakin; the veteran corporate crime partner Rod Fletcher having passed away last year. 

Asia

Corporate: Isaac Chen, Beijing – Capital Markets and M&A

Disputes: Jojo Fan, Hong Kong – Commercial Litigation

Corporate: Jamie McLaren, Singapore – Corporate M&A

Disputes: Gitta Satryani, Singapore – International Arbitration

Australia

Finance: Steven Catanzariti, Sydney

Disputes: Chad Catterwell, Melbourne – International Arbitration

Real estate: Melanie Debenham, Perth

Corporate: Kam Jamshidi, Melbourne – Corporate M&A

Employment, Pensions and Incentives: Shivchand Jhinku, Sydney – Employment

Pro bono: Brooke Massender, Sydney

Corporate: Nicole Pedler, Sydney – Corporate M&A

Disputes: Christine Tran, Sydney – Class Actions

Europe

Corporate: Iria Calvino, Madrid – Public Law, Regulatory, Environmental

Finance: Armando Garcia-Mendoza, Madrid

Finance: Stefanie Herkert, Frankfurt

Disputes: Martin Le Touzé, Paris – FSR, Banking, Insurance

Finance: Vadim Panin, Moscow

Corporate: Evgeny Yuriev, Moscow – Corporate M&A

UK

Finance: Helen Beatty, London

Corporate: Hayley Brady, London – TMT

Corporate: Casey Dalton, London – Tax

Disputes: Michael Hunt, London – Tax

Corporate: Tom Marshall, London – Infrastructure

Alternative Legal Services: Lisa McLaughlin, Belfast

Disputes: Kate Meakin, London – Corporate Crime & Investigations

Corporate: Aaron White, London – TMT

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