27 Sep 2012

Firms quash management shake-up rumours

Recently merged law firms Herbert Smith and Freehills have deflected gossip suggesting they are gearing up for a move towards a single chief executive model.

Merged firms duck management gossip

Early media reports had suggested that David Willis, the managing partner of London-based Herbert Smith, would step aside to allow Freehills’ chief executive Gavin Bell to assume the combined hot seat. But Mr Bell has moved to dispel those suggesting, telling Australasian Legal Business: ‘No decision has been made yet.’

Belfast deal

Meanwhile, Mr Bell confirmed that Freehills would be interested in the possibility of using its merger partner’s document review and legal process facility in Belfast for lower end work. Freehills does not have any alliances with legal process outsourcing businesses, investing instead in technology to handle commoditised work.
According to the report, the Australian firm registered 11 per cent growth last year, with employment law department and the firm’s Brisbane office singled out for boosting the numbers. However, Mr Bell was keen to point out that the entire firm had achieved, commenting: ‘The transactional work has held up too – the whole firm has been busy.’

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