USA: No country for HSF middlemen

 Corporate team goes straight to clients in the US

If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em – that seems to be the Herbert Smith Freehills’ (HSF) corporate team strategy when it comes to tackling the US market.

The firm is making a concerted effort to integrate its litigation and corporate teams, but the two sides are unlikely to walk the same sidewalk when it comes to New York.

The dispute resolution practice  made its long-awaited New York launch in 2012, but HSF’s corporate team is taking a different approach. Instead of going to white-shoe firms to cut domestic deals – the firm has close relationships with US heavyweights Davis Polk & Wardwell, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett and Cravath Swaine & Moore – corporate partners are simply courting the Fortune 500. 

“The US strategy [for corporate] is to go out and build on relationships with large US-based clients rather than try to do domestic deals,” says the firm’s corporate head of UK – and recently, also the US – Scott Cochrane. “A lot of what these companies do will have an international reach and will need English law advice.”