As senior partner vote closes at noon, Herbert Smith Freehills awaits a new leader

Herbert Smith Freehills’ (HSF) partners will choose between London-based corporate partner James Palmer and Sydney-based deputy senior partner Mark Crean for the role of senior partner by noon today.

Although four men were initially in the race to replace senior partner Jonathan Scott after he announced his early resignation (3 November 2014), sources have told The Lawyer that the vote, which closes at 12 noon, will only hold two men on its ballot: Palmer and Crean.

The vote started on Wednesday. London head of litigation Tim Parkes and Moscow-based EMEA managing partner Allen Hanen are said to have dropped out before voting began.

This is the second time that Parkes and Hanen have been involved unsuccessfully in a senior partner race. In 2009, Hanen ran for the top spot against Scott and lost, whereas Parkes pulled out of the race (16 December 2009).

Palmer has been at HSF and legacy Herbert Smith since 1986 and was made up to partner in 1994. He led the firm’s global equity capital markets practice from 2005 until 2010 and was the firm’s global head of corporate from 2010 until 2012.

Crean was chair of legacy Freehills prior to the 2012 merger which brought the firms together (28 June 2012), and has been deputy senior partner of HSF since then. He sat on Freehills’ board from 2007, having previously led the firm’s corporate team.

Parkes and Hanen were not available to comment at the time of writing.

Last year HSF appointed global head of disputes Sonya Leydecker and former legacy Freehills managing partner Mark Rigotti as joint chief executives (19 December 2013).