Herbert Smith Freehills names first managing partner for digital legal services

Alternative legal services chief Libby Jackson assumes new role intended to expand HSF’s digital advisory services

Libby Jackson Image courtesy of Herbert Smith Freehills

Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) has named the longstanding head of its alternative legal services arm, Libby Jackson, as the first managing partner of its digital legal services practice. 

The firm said it had created the role to expand its digital advisory services by bringing together existing teams and digital talent across the business.

The role will see Jackson, who has spent more than 20 years at HSF add leadership of the firm’s digital strategy, legal transformation initiatives and the global legal operations team to her remit.

"Libby has an enviable track record of bringing ideas from inception to implementation,” said CEO Justin D'Agostino. “Her blend of digital savvy and legal expertise will combine to ensure our clients can quickly realise the opportunities afforded to them as digital transformation becomes a byword for business as usual.” 

Jackson has headed HSF’s alternative legal services arm since 2020, a role that has seen her lead a team of almost 400 technologists, legal assistants and lawyers. HSF said her new leadership position was a “key element” of the Ambition 2025 strategy it announced last spring, which saw the firm zone in on digital and legal transformation alongside boosting its transactional firepower and leveraging its historic strength across the Asia-Pacific region. 

“[The new role] represents a commitment to help clients better meet and manage the changing regulatory environment brought about by digital transformation,” the firm said. Jackson will also be expected to spearhead efforts to help clients understand the commercial opportunities available to them through digital transformation.

"There is a disconnect between the creative chaos of digital transformation and how, in practice and with prudent investment in mind, the business community gets ready for the changes we all face,” Jackson commented. Our clients need teams who are not just capable of understanding the ramifications of technological advances; they want lawyers who are commercial and able to apply their digital knowledge and understanding of the law to an environment that is changing with breakneck speed.” 

Jackson joined HSF as a trainee solicitor in 1994, and focused primarily on large-scale commercial litigation before moving into legal practice management in 2003. She was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in 2019 for innovation in law. 

She was a finalist in the Law Firm Leader of the Year – Large Law Firm category of the 2023 Women and Diversity in Law Awards, which are hosted by The Global Legal Post and took place in March.


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