17. Herbert Smith Freehills
|Global heads:||James Quinney, Paul Hughes|
|Home jurisdiction:||United Kingdom, Australia|
|Total size of firm:||3,630|
|No. of competition specialists:||72|
|Percentage of competition specialists:||2|
|Who’s Who Legal nominees:||8|
|Percentage of partners in Who’s Who Legal:||44|
|Counsel and consultants:||9|
|No. of lateral partner hires:||1|
|No. of partner departures:||0|
|No. of internal promotions:||2|
The merger gives the firm competition law capabilities in the Asia-Pacific region that few of its rivals can match. The group now boasts offices in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Singapore, Sydney and Tokyo, as well as associated offices in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and elsewhere. The antitrust team remained relatively stable post-merger. Senior lawyers Bob Baxt and Michael Gray stepped away from the full-time partnership, but remain at the firm as internal consultants. Impressively, eight of the merged firm’s 18 competition partners are nominated to Who’s Who Legal.
Under the leadership of James Quinney, the firm has become firmly entrenched as one of the top competition law groups in the UK. Its client list and case docket are impressive and span the full spectrum of competition work, including OFT investigations, litigation before the Competition Appeals Tribunal and significant merger work. Over the past year, the firm has been guiding BAA in its appeal before the CAT against a Competition Commission order to sell Stansted Airport. BSkyB is another major client – the firm successfully guided the company through a CAT appeal of an Ofcom pay-TV market investigation and helped the company navigate a tricky political situation during a proposed deal with News Corp.
Other major clients over the past year include Virgin Atlantic in a number of jurisdictions related to the passenger fuel surcharge cartel investigations, Reckitt Benckiser in follow-on damage claims related to the OFT’s Gaviscon case, and financial clients in relation to the cross-border Libor/Tibor investigations in the UK and Japan.