Herbert Smith poaches Chadbourne team ahead of New York launch

Herbert Smith has hired a group of litigators from Chadbourne & Parke, including litigation chief Thomas Riley, ahead of its New York office launch.

Thomas Riley
Thomas Riley

Herbert Smith poached a team of six partners – five of whom are based in New York and the other in London – from Chadbourne & Parke to join its dispute resolution practice and help launch its New York office, which is scheduled for September.

The new partners are: litigation head Riley; Gregory Loss, Chadbourne & Parke’s products liability counseling and defense practice group head; David Wallce; Allison Alcasabas; Joseph Falcone and London-based Philip Pfeffer.

Herbert Smith Arbitration partner Chris Parker will also relocate to the US from London to help establish the New York base (3 July 2012), which will focus on advising international clients on US litigation issues.

The Chadbourne & Parke team are regularly instructed by British American Tobacco (BAT), which is also a client of Herbert Smith’s.

“They have been involved in some of the most complex litigation issues to do with tobacco,” said Herbert Smith dispute resolution partner Anthony Dempster, who has been overseeing the New York launch. “But the attraction [for Herbert Smith] is that they are a highly qualified team of commercial litigators with international experience. But BAT is also a long-standing client of Herbert Smith, so there are also synergies there.”

Dempster added that Herbert Smith had not begun any discussion to take associates from Chadbourne & Parke to complement the team. He also said that his firm is now looking for arbitration and investigations partners to join the New York office.

In a statement Herbert Smith senior partner Jonathan Scott said: “We’ve recruited a very high calibre team whose reputation will allow us to hit the ground running in New York. Their collegial, cohesive approach fits in well with our culture and provides a very strong platform on which to achieve our objective of building a leading cross-border disputes practice in New York.”

The firm’s decision to launch in New York was announced to partners in September and comes off the back of Project Blue Sky – Herbert Smith’s blueprint for internationalisation. In June Herbert Smith partners voted to merger with Australia’s Freehills (28 June 2012), creating an £800m firm. The firm also has plans to launch in Korea (21 May 2012) and Sub-Saharan Africa, as well as in Germany (10 February 2012).

A spokesman for Chadbourne & Parke, said: “The six partners who are leaving Chadbourne for Herbert Smith comprise a highly experienced tobacco litigation team that represents a large UK-based tobacco company. Herbert Smith, which is one of four other relationship firms with that client, has presented them with an opportunity to open that firm’s US Office. We regret their decision to leave but understand their business justifications for doing so.”