HSF snags Cooley financial litigation head to launch US corporate crime practice

Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) has hired Cooley’s financial litigation head Scott Balber to lead its New York dispute resolution practice and establish a US corporate crime and investigation practice.

Balber joined Cooley in 2012 after over 10 years at Chabourne & Parke, where he was co-head of the firm’s commercial litgiation practice.

HSF’s long-awaited disputes-focused base in New York arrived on the back of a hire of a group of litigators from Chadbourne & Parke in 2012 (2 August 2012), poaching six partners including Chadbourne’s litigation chief Thomas Riley. The launch that had long been on the wish-list of London litigators.

Balber will join his former colleagues as head of investigations and financial services litigation for the US, where he will help lead the firm’s US corporate crime and investigations practice.

The move follows on from the hire of London-based Slater & Gordon partner Rod Slater to help lead its white-collar crime team in the City earlier this year (12 February 2013), while the global head of the firm’s crime and investigations practice is Hong Kong-based Kyle Wombolt.

A statement from the firm read: “Given the implementation and increased enforcement in recent years of anti-corruption legislation, such as the Bribery Act and the Foreign Corrupt Practices, and a regulatory focus on financial crime compliance, the practice has grown rapidly across the world. The arrival of Scott Balber in the firm’s New York office signals a further expansion of this group in a rapidly changing and dynamic market.” 

Sonya Leydecker, head of Herbert Smith Freehills’ global disputes practice, commented: ”Establishing an on the ground corporate crime and investigations capability in New York has been a cornerstone of our disputes US strategy. In Scott, we have found a perfect combination – a market-leading expert, who is also a dynamic business developer with an impressive track record of developing long-standing client relationships. Scott is, overall, a perfect fit for our New York office and I am delighted to welcome him to the firm.”