Herbies hires Maitland Chambers’ silk for advocacy unit

When litigation values rocket but the number of fresh instructions fall, how does a firm get in on the action?

For Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) the answer is to hire a new silk into its advocacy unit to help it compete with the bar. Silk Tom Leech QC is leaving Maitland Chambers to join the firm as partner.

Questions have been raised over whether the polish has come off Herbies’ litigation group following a raft of exits at home and abroad over the last 12 months. Singapore, it appears, has been particularly hard hit.

Yet the firm is hardly bereft of instructions or wealth. It’s defending the Royal Bank of Scotland in the mammoth shareholder action being pursued against the bank, racking up an expected £42m in fees.

All that will help push it up The Lawyer Global Litigation Top 50 rankings in 2014, where legacy Herbies currently sits in 30th place.

In London at least, HSF is banking on barristers to help it back to the top of the market.

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