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Herbert Smith is to open a Belfast office to service its dispute resolution practice.
The office, which will open before the end of April, will focus primarily on reviewing and analysing documentation relating to cases the firm is acting on.
Initially the office will be home to 20, but Herbert Smith anticipates the employee headcount to rise significantly. There will be no job cuts as a result of the opening, the firm said.
Herbert Smith global litigation chief Sonya Leydecker said: “Clients are increasingly looking to their lawyers for more imaginative approaches to the management of disputes.
“In particular, complex projects such as disclosure are important but can increasingly be systematised and managed in new ways. The Belfast office will make a new range of resourcing options available to clients.”
Leydecker will have overall responsibility for the office working with dispute resolution partner Jenny Stainsby. The firm will also relocate solicitor Libby Jackson to Belfast early next year to oversee its development.
Clients will be given the option of using the operation in Belfast when they instruct the firm, it said.
The aim is to better manage costs associated with disclosure and bring in a more structured approach to reviewing documentation.
In June, Herbert Smith successfully acted for British Sky Broadcasting in its legal battle with Electronic Data Systems. The firm reviewed 500,000 documents in preparation for the case, a costly process (10 June 2010).
The move comes a day after CMS Cameron McKenna announced that partners had voted in favour of a major outsourcing project (23 November 2010).