Gold turns tables at Herbies as litigation and corporate team up

Herbert Smith’s litigation group has overhauled its strategy in a bid to align itself more closely with the firm’s growing corporate and banking departments.

The litigation department, historically Herbert Smith’s power base and the top dispute resolution group in the City, has faced internal criticism in the past for acting against financial institutions from which other parts of the firm are trying to win work. The litigation department has now embarked on a joint initiative with the corporate and banking departments by targeting the same financial institutions.

“This has been an internal issue for a long time, with litigators just taking cases against banks. Not banks that are really big clients, but people the corporate and banking departments would like to get close to,” said one non-contentious lawyer at Herbert Smith.

In a move that has made him highly popular with the rest of the firm, Herbert Smith’s new litigation head David Gold is now planning to pitch for work from financial institutions alongside teams from corporate and banking.

“I’m very keen to develop the relationships that the firm’s been building with financial institutions. I’ve been actively going out to see these institutions with whom we have a relationship,” Gold told The Lawyer, admitting that this is a difference in emphasis for the litigation group.

Gold has also completed a root and branch reorganisation of the litigation department. Formerly, the depart- ment was split into six general groups, but Gold has created a new arbitration and litigation group comprising all of the firm’s main arbitrators and energy and construction litigators.

There are now two general groups, one focusing more on banking and financial institutional work and the other on general contrac-tual disputes. Both will still have a general practice focusing on all areas. There is also a standalone insurance litigation group.