Herbert Smith Freehills launch forms top 10 firm by headcount

Elizabeth Fournier
A MERGER to create the world’s eighth-largest law firm will go live this morning, as the tie-up between Herbert Smith and Freehills is officially launched.

Announced in June, the full equity merger between Herbies ­– which employs more than 700 lawyers in London – and Australia’s Freehills will result in a firm employing more than 2,800 lawyers, including 460 partners, worldwide.

As of this morning, the new firm will operate under a single profit pool, and under the joint leadership of Herbert Smith managing partner David Willis and Gavin Bell, Freehills’ chief executive and managing partner.

Over the next eighteen months Herbert Smith Freehills plans to establish a presence in Germany, South Korea and sub-saharan Africa, as part of an integration plan that will also see the firm elect a single chief executive once the transition is complete in around two years.