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‘A big deal’: Harrison sets out strategy for building a thoroughly modern law firm

Undaunted by a hectic few days in which details of Natasha Harrison’s new firm Pallas Partners hit the headlines, the former Boies Schiller leader and litigator has discussed her agenda with Legal Business.

The influential Harrison (pictured)  is taking well-regarded partners Tracey Dovaston, Fiona Huntriss, Will Hooker, Neil Pigott and Matt Getz with her to staff the new firm.

Pallas Partners will take the form of an alternative business structure that will have the potential to allow non-legal members of staff to enter the partnership in the future.

The firm’s King William Street office will open on 10 February under a two-year lease. Harrison, who is managing partner of the new enterprise but will predominantly do fee earning, has outlined a plan to ‘grow carefully but with momentum over the next three years’.

‘We have quite an aggressive growth strategy planned and we’ll be focusing on top quality litigators, arbitrators and investigators – those who can add value to the business in terms of the bottom line but also those whose values are aligned with ours,’ she said.

There are also ambitious targets around ESG. ‘We’ve really looked at who we want to be and we’ve devised three pledges we’re going to deliver on. One is to dedicate 5% of our time to pro bono; second is to have diversity parity by 2025; and the third is to be carbon neutral by 2025. Being a responsible and sustainable company is going to be very important to us. Our clients expect it from their advisers and we ourselves conduct ESG litigation, so we can’t be doing that and not doing it ourselves.’

Harrison also pointed to several longstanding clients from before her Boies Schiller days following her to her new outfit.  ‘There’s a big trial we’re doing in the English court at the moment concerning Mozambique bonds; there’s Greensill, a securities class action that we’ll be launching in the next couple of weeks; a very significant international arbitration that we’ve got big hearings for in May. It’s quite a diverse portfolio of work.’

She added: ‘It’s a big deal. It’s a bit like stepping off a cliff into the unknown in some respects. But when you have nearly everyone wanting to come with you, and your clients wanting to come with you, that really helps to drive your confidence.’

Harrison is sanguine about her new venture: ‘Starting from scratch means that you’re not shackled to hundreds of years of practice and bureaucracy and that’s very invigorating and exciting. There is a gap at the top of the market for a disputes firm such as ours.’