Herbert Smith Freehills to eliminate Singapore duplication

Legacy Herbert Smith and Freehills lawyers are set to combine under one roof in Singapore – the only jurisdiction where the merged firm has duplicate offices.

Lawyers from the Freehills side of the business will relocate less than 1,000 metres, from 39 Robinson Road to 50 Raffles Place, and move into Herbert Smith’s offices in Singapore, following the merger between the two firms (28 June 2012), which went live on 1 October.

A source close to legacy Herbert Smith told The Lawyer that lawyers within the office were anticipating cutbacks following the combination of the two offices, but a source at Herbert Smith said that there were no redundancies planned. It is not yet known when the two offices will combine, or what the enlarged firm plans to do with Freehills’ vacated office.

The decision to move to Herbert Smith’s offices was down to the firm having a Qualifying Foreign Law Practice (QFLP) licence, which Freehills did not have. Herbert Smith was one of the first UK firms to be awarded a QFLP licence, along with Allen & Overy, Clifford Chance and Norton Rose, in 2008 (5 December 2008).

Earlier this year Herbert Smith named its former global corporate head Michael Walter as its South East Asia managing partner, replacing Austin Sweeney, who is relocating to Hong Kong (1 June 2012).