Herbies breaks with the past to launch global push

Herbert Smith senior partner David Gold unveiled the results of his overarching strategy review at the firm’s partnership conference in Cannes last weekend (28-29 April), with international expansion the main focus.

Gold is determined to make his mark on the traditionally conservative firm and with the help of management consultants has earmarked China, India, the Middle East and Russia for massive investment.

The firm debated three options for entry into India when the regulatory environment allows. One option for Herbert Smith to enter the market would be to form an alliance with an Indian firm, as it has already done with firms in Germany and the Netherlands, while another would be to merge with an existing domestic partnership. While discussions are currently ongoing with a number of suitable firms, another alternative would be to set up its own Indian office.

Expansion in China, Dubai and Russia is more imminent, with the Middle East also a main focus. An office in Abu Dhabi will be scheduled for later in the year and the firm plans to launch in Saudi Arabia in due course.

The Dubai office, which opened under former Norton Rose partners Nadim Khan and Zubair Mir in March, is being strengthened by the transfer of a number of key partners, who will establish projects and litigation practices in the region.

Gold said that in Russia the team Herbert Smith recently scooped from Salans will provide a good platform to attack the Russian corporate market. It shares an office there with Dutch ally Stibbe and Germany’s Gleiss Lutz. These relationships remain unchanged by the review.