D’Agostino wins second term as Herbert Smith Freehills CEO

Hong Kong-based D’Agostino to begin second four-year term next May

Justin D'Agostino Image courtesy of Herbert Smith Freehills

Justin D’Agostino has won a second term as the CEO of Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF). 

The appointment, effective 1 May 2024, follows a partnership vote and will see him leading the firm of 5,000-plus people for another four years.

Hong Kong-based D’Agostino succeeded Mark Rigotti as CEO in May 2020 having led the firm’s global disputes practice and its Asia region for the previous six years.

A Scottish native, he first worked at HSF in 1990 as a paralegal before rejoining the firm eight years later as a trainee and became a partner in 2007. 

As CEO he has overseen a period of sustained growth at the firm, with revenue, profit and profits per equity partner (PEP) increasing in every year of his leadership. Turnover has increased by a fifth from £989.9m in FY20 to £1.19bn in FY23, with profit and PEP growing 37% in the same period to £388.2m and £1.17m respectively.   

The firm said that since D’Agostino took over it has promoted 115 to partner and two years ago launched its Ambition 2025 strategy, which focuses on key areas including private capital clients, the energy transition and ESG. 

D’Agostino regularly sits as an arbitrator and has worked on matters including representing the Government of Korea on the first investment treaty arbitration under the US-Korea Free Trade Agreement. 

He has long been active in encouraging diversity and inclusion at HSF, having founded the firm’s first LGBT+ network back in 2007 and sponsored the launch of the firm’s Asia Multicultural Network. HSF also noted that under D’Agostino’s leadership as regional managing partner, its Asia region hit its target for women to make up 30% of its partnership. 

Outside of HSF, D’Agostino became a member of the executive board of the International Chamber of Commerce last year and also serves as co-chair of the global steering committee of the Arbitration Pledge, which seeks to grow the number of women appointed as arbitrators. 

“I am honoured and immensely proud to be taking on a second term as the CEO of the firm,” D’Agostino said. “Notwithstanding market challenges and uncertainty, our firm continues to act on some of the most exciting mandates in our markets.

“I look forward to continuing to work with all our colleagues and our leadership team to deliver our strategy and achieve our ambitions.”

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