Herbies exits continue as global arbitration co-head quits for Orrick

Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) global arbitration co-head Charles Kaplan has resigned from the firm to join US outfit Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe.

Kaplan is a specialist in international arbitration and held the dual role of co-head of global arbitration and head of the practice in Paris. It is understood that he will be moving to Orrick’s Paris office in the coming weeks and will not be bringing anyone from HSF with him.

The move has been the subject of speculation for several weeks and follows the resignation of various HSF partners who moved to US firms over the last year, notably that of senior litigation partner Ted Greeno (28 March 2013). The London office of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan beat off competition from several US rivals for Greeno, whose clients include motor-racing magnate Bernie Ecclestone.

Other exits include that of London corporate fraud and asset tracing head Simon Bushell, who quit for US firm Latham & Watkins earlier this year (7 February 2013), Moscow partner Dmitry Kurochkin, the firm’s head of disputes for Continental Europe, the Middle East and Africa, who joined Dechert in November (21 June 2012), and Kevin Lloyd, who quit for Debevoise & Plimpton (5 December 2012).

Other exits have included Tokyo head Steve Lewis, who went to Bingham (29 June 2012), City corporate partner Will Pearce, who resigned for Davis Polk & Wardwell (12 November 2012), and finance partner Jason Fox, who left for Bracewell & Giuliani (5 March 2013). China M&A head Simon Meng quit last summer and resurfaced at King & Wood Mallesons’ Shanghai base (12 July 2012).

Since then the firm has added white-collar partner Rod Fletcher from Slater & Gordon (12 February 2013) and launched in Germany with the hire of corporate partner Ralf Thaeter from former alliance firm Gleiss Lutz (13 February 2013).

A spokesperson for HSF said: “Charles has made an important contribution to our global arbitration practice and our Paris office. We thank Charles for his contribution and wish him all the best for the future.”

Speaking to The Lawyer the day after Greeno resigned, global head of disputes Sonya Leydecker said: “A merger, or any big event, makes people step back and think about what they’re doing. Partners reflect at moments like this and we always knew people would leave as a result.”

However, according to numerous sources interviewed by The Lawyer, frustrations with Herbert Smith’s £800m merger with Australia’s Freehills exacerbated a growing issue among litigators who felt their share of the firm’s profit was being dragged down by underperforming departments, most notably corporate.

For more on partner exits at HSF, see feature