Freshfields reviews conflict procedures

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has undertaken a wholesale review of how it accepts mandates.

The most recent meeting of Freshfields’ 50-strong matrix group, which encompasses sector heads, practice area heads, the firmwide management committee and office managing partners, concluded that there needs to be widespread communication between teams and offices before accepting instructions.

Although there is no minimum value for accepted transactions, “the feeling was that partners should be more commercial, rather than just jumping on the first mandate that comes through the door”, said one attending partner.

The move has been triggered by fears that one office taking on a raft of smaller-sized instructions could conflict teams in other jurisdictions, preventing them from accepting more lucrative mandates.

“Conflicts themselves are not a problem, but how you manage them is an issue,” said the partner.

The firm does not have an explicit list of platinum clients, but the 12 sector heads have identified key clients that the firm should target and prioritise for mandates.