Freshfields stands by O’Brien after conflict case

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer

consultant Barry O’Brien will retain his role as head of corporate finance despite admitting a conflict of interest at the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal last week.

Co-senior partner Guy Morton told The Lawyer: “When Barry returns from his summer holiday he’ll continue as head of corporate finance with the full support of the firm.”

O’Brien did not contest two charges of breach of conduct during a disciplinary hearing on 2 August. He must now pay a £9,000 fine for the breaches, plus the Law Society’s £50,000 costs. The conflict centres on his role during Sir Philip Green’s attempted £9bn takeover of Marks & Spencer in 2004.

O’Brien said: “I’m clearly relieved that it’s now all over. And I’m very grateful for all the support given to me by my firm and by my clients – they’ve been fantastic through all of this.”

O’Brien retired from the equity last year to become a consultant at Freshfields in order to receive the firm’s former pension.