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Herbert Smith Freehills is preparing a pilot scheme to use the firm’s Belfast document review centre for cases from the legacy Freehills side of its business in Australia.
The firm is planning to launch the pilot in the next two months. Management from legacy Freehills is now understood to be searching for a suitable case in the Asia Pacific region on which to collaborate with the Belfast office, which will handle the document review work. The pilot scheme will give the firm an idea of whether the time differences and any language barriers can be overcome in the long run.
In a statement, Belfast office director Libby Jackson said: “It’s early days. We’re continuing to explore the extent to which our offering in Belfast might be able to support our disputes practice in Australia.”
Pre-merger Herbert Smith launched its Belfast office in 2011 to focus on reviewing and analysing case documents (24 November 2011) and initially shared £3m of public money from Invest Northern Ireland with Allen & Overy – which opened a support function office in the city – to help fund the launch (4 February 2011).
Herbert Smith then got a further £500,000 from Invest Northern Ireland after announcing it would create another 61 jobs in Belfast, in addition to the initial 26 (30 June 2011).
Herbert Smith merged with Freehills on 1 October 2012 (28 June 2012). The combined litigation group is headed by legacy Herbert Smith partner Sonya Leydecker and legacy Freehills partner Damian Grave.