Legal Business Blogs

Another exit for Herbert Smith Freehills as Stewarts Law takes advocacy head Gatt QC

Stewarts Law has recruited veteran litigator Ian Gatt QC from Herbert Smith Freehills‘ (HSF) prized advocacy unit. The exit is the third high-profile partner departure in the past two weeks. 

Managing partner John Cahill confirmed that Gatt QC will join the litigation specialist as a partner but would not comment further until his arrival at the firm. It is expected he will officially join in the spring.

Gatt QC (pictured) joined the firm in 2005 from Littleton Chambers, and was one of the founding partners of its advocacy unit alongside Murray Rosen QC. He was called to the Bar in 1985 and appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2002.

He has advised clients in cross border litigation and arbitration, including Leighton Offshore in a commercial court action taken by Unaoil over $46m of payments allegedly due under a subcontract to provide services relating to the Iraqi Crude Oil Expansion project, and for Société Générale at trial and in the subsequent appeals to the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court on a high profile multi-million pound City bonus dispute.

HSF’s London Advocacy Unit will now be led by Tom Leech QC and Adam Johnson.

In a statement, HSF said: ‘We can confirm that Ian Gatt QC is retiring from the partnership. We thank him for his contribution to the firm and wish him well for the future.’

The firm added that its advocacy capability forms an ‘integral part’ of its dispute practice and it ‘will continue to cultivate experienced advocates throughout our global network, who are able to provide round-the-clock, quality advice for clients.’

Last week it emerged that HSF had lost financial regulatory partner Nick Bradbury to Allen & Overy, who returns to the Magic Circle after moving to HSF from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer in 2015. The firm also saw finance partner Malcolm Hitching quit for Ropes & Gray earlier this month.

Other HSF news of late includes management changes. In early October Legal Business revealed co-chief executive Mark Rigotti was set to take the helm as sole leader of the Anglo-Australian law firm with the firm phasing out its dual-CEO model. Rigotti was voted in last week in a move which saw the step down of co-CEO Sonya Leydecker.