Post-merger Herbies shakes up gardening leave provisions

Herbert Smith Freehills’ notice period for partners leaving the firm has been fixed at six months in the wake of the merger between the UK and Australian firms, representing a drastic reduction on legacy Herbert Smith’s 12-month gardening leave provisions.

A spokesperson for Herbert Smith Freehills confirmed that partners at the firm agreed on a unified six-month notice period as part of the terms of the merger, which went live on 1 October. Before the merger, the notice period at Freehills was three months.

In a statement, a spokesperson said: “It was agreed as part of the merger that it made sense that partners at both firms move from their existing notice periods to six months’ notice. Partners in neither firm were on six months’ notice prior to the merger.”

News of the change of terms comes as Herbert Smith Freehills suffered two high-profile defections on the legacy Herbert Smith side in London, both to US firms. Earlier this month it was announced that senior litigation partner Kevin Lloyd was leaving the firm to join Debevoise & Plimpton in London (5 December 2012). Meanwhile, corporate partner Will Pearce is set to join Davis Polk & Wardwell in London (12 November 2012).