22 April 2021

HSF promotes 23 to partner in latest round

Image of central Milan

Milan

First partners announced in Italy and South Africa in promotions round dominated by disputes lawyers

Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) has announced a 23-strong list of partner promotions, three short of its partnership round last year that was the firm’s largest ever.

Promotions between the firm’s regions were broadly equal. London and Australian promotions decreased to six apiece from 2020’s eight, while Asia saw an increase to five partners. Europe, also with five partners elevated, saw the firm’s first promotion in the Milan office, that of IP and commercial disputes litigator Pietro Pouché. Patrick Leydin, a corporate lawyer in South Africa, marked the Johannesburg office’s first promotion.

The news was less good with regards to gender diversity, with 16 men promoted and just seven women, compared to 13 women making the grade in 2020, eight in 2019 and 14 in 2018. This poses a challenge to the firm’s new leadership team, as well as its incoming senior partner Rebecca Maslen-Stannage.

Disputes lawyers took the lion’s share of promotions this year, with eight partners elevated. Dana Kim was promoted in Seoul for her arbitration practice, combined with corporate crime and investigations, while Sydney’s Mark Smyth and Christine Wong were promoted for commercial litigation, the latter also offering corporate crime expertise. 

Jaime de San Román was promoted in Madrid for his combined banking disputes, restructuring and insolvency practice, while in Russia Ivan Teselkin was promoted for his combined arbitration and litigation practice.

London saw commercial litigator Andrew Cooke, banking litigator Emma Deas and insurance litigator Fiona Treanor elevated; all are seen as key growth areas, post-pandemic, and reflect the London disputes practice’s core business.

Five corporate lawyers (Joseph Fisher in Tokyo, Jeremy Shen in Hong Kong, Irina Akentjeva in Singapore, Julius Brandt in Frankfurt and South Africa’s Leydin) made the grade, while two lawyers specialising in ESG (environmental, social, and governance), a growth area for law firms, were also promoted.

ESG-specialist Antony Crockett was made up in Hong Kong, where he specialises in business and human rights, an area of importance in the Special Administrative Region. Timothy Stutt, the second ESG specialist, was promoted for his corporate governance practice in Sydney.

Two IP lawyers were elevated, Emma Iles and Pouché, while three energy lawyers with a variety of construction and projects experience were also made up, two in Australia (Neena Aynsley and Daniel Ficyk) and Mathias Dantin in Paris.     

Finance, which saw five promotions last year, had just one promotion this time round in the shape of Chris Mann, as did real estate (Simon Elliott) and pensions (Michael Aherne), all based in London.

CEO Justin D’Agostino commented: “The skills of these talented lawyers reflect both our traditional strengths as a firm and the legal innovation now entrenched across our international network, in areas such as ESG, energy transition, private capital and business and human rights.”

The promotions come following selective lateral hires over the past few months at HSF. In February, the firm recruited antitrust partner Linda Evans in Sydney and also added corporate lawyer Huneiza Goolam in Johannesburg earlier this month, building on earlier extensive recruitment.

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