Herbert Smith drives push on financial institutions with FSA enforcement head

Herbert Smith has stepped up its drive to align litigation with corporate and banking by hiring a Financial Services Authority (FSA) head of enforcement as a litigation partner.

Litigation head David Gold has recruited Martyn Hopper, head of market integrity in the enforcement division of the FSA, as part of Herbert Smith’s strategy to win firmwide investment banking and other financial services clients.

Last May, Gold outlined a plan to target financial institutions, reversing the trend for Herbert Smith litigators to act against the same financial institutions from which the non-contentious teams were trying to win work (The Lawyer, 19 May 2003).

Hopper, who ran the FSA’s probe into Marconi, will be able to offer cutting-edge advice to financial services clients under FSA investigation.

Hopper, a barrister who will become a partner at Herbert Smith on qualification as a solicitor, can advise financial institutions under FSA regulation as soon as he joins Herbert Smith, as long as he does not work on files that were open when he was an FSA employee. “I’m only bound by the same rules as any other lawyer,” he said.

In hiring Hopper, Herbert Smith is following the lead of DLA, which has taken on two FSA heads of enforcement as partners in the past.

DLA regulatory head Neil Gerrard welcomed Herbert Smith’s move into this field. “Regulatory defence is a specialist area and there should be no enthusiastic amateurs. There are very few firms who specialise in this area, so it’s good to see that Herbert Smith is following our lead,” he said.