Freshfields launches corporate crime panel

Freshfields links up with white collar practices to advise investment banks

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has selected four white collar criminal practices to work with on its new joint corporate crime advisory service for investment banks.

The four firms are Corker Binning, Peters & Peters, Tarlo Lyons, and Simons Muirhead & Burton.

The magic circle firm set up a referral to combat the growing exposure of UK PLCs to regulatory risk, in particular from the criminal anti-cartel provisions in the Enterprise Act. Freshfields is the first City firm to offer a fully integrated criminal and corporate law service to corporate clients.

David Kirk of Simons Muirhead & Burton said: “Companies will want to know how to deal with the criminal implications [of the Enterprise Bill] and individual directors will need independent specialist criminal advice to deal with the extremely difficult problems that will arise.”

Crucially, both Freshfields and the criminal firms will be involved at the earliest possible stage – either at the joint training sessions or when a company is initially raided. As Freshfields is collaborating with several firms, it can also provide separate criminal law advice to the company and individual directors from the outset, should there be a conflict of interest.

Freshfields sent out around 600 invitations to its competition and corporate client base offering training sessions. It has had around 160 responses, with what dispute resolution partner Jon Lawrence describes as “a surprisingly high level of interest from investment banks”.