Herbert Smith Freehills has hired veteran corporate crime partner Brian Spiro from London litigation boutique BCL Solicitors, as it bolsters its growing global corporate crime and investigations practice (CC&I).
The appointment expands on HSF’s previous hires last April of two former CC&I partners in Germany, Helmut Gorling and Dirk Seiler, alongside a team of seven lawyers. Those hires more than doubled the firm’s disputes practice in Germany and gave HSF its first formal corporate crime offering in the country.
HSF’s global head of disputes and joint managing partner for Asia and Australia, Justin D’Agostino told Legal Business: ‘We’ve identified the CC&I practice as a key area for growth within disputes.’
‘We’re seeing more and more clients exposed to investigations both internal and external, so there is more and more demand across the globe. For me this is a real global practice area priority to grow in the future,’ he added.
‘We’re also seeing growth in the UK, US, Asia Pacific and even across mainland Europe so this area has significant attention for me globally,’ D’Agostino said.
The disputes practice at HSF is currently immersed in RBS’s shareholder rights issue High Court claim, which is expected to settle ahead of a deadline tomorrow.
D’Agostino said this year has been ‘incredible’ for the practice all-around.
However, there are areas which he has identified for further expansion, ‘such as CC&I, arbitration, financial services, regulatory, contentious construction and infrastructure, and we are looking for ways to ‘further globalise those areas,’ he added.
Spiro was made up to partner in 1986 at Simons Muirhead & Burton, joining BCL as a partner in 2001. He specialises in ‘high loss’ business crime litigation, fraud and regulatory matters including Serious Fraud Office (SFO), Crown Prosecution Service and HM Revenue & Customs prosecutions and investigations.
Earlier this month, HSF also opened an office in Kuala Lumpur, as part of its South East Asia expansion strategy. The firm has obtained a Qualified Foreign Law Firm licence from the Malaysian Bar Council, allowing it to practice without an association.
In January, HSF hired Hogan Lovells’ head of litigation in Paris – Antoine Juaristi – in a boost for its Paris practice. In August 2016, the firm also appointed M&A partner and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer’s head of global power and utilities, Christoph Nawroth, in Dusseldorf.
Conversely, in March, US litigation specialist Boies, Schiller & Flexner hired HSF’s head of public international law, Dominic Roughton, while in September 2016 Jones Day hired HSF’s Middle East finance head, Nadim Khan.
HSF’s ten-partner project finance team left to join White & Case’s planned launch in Australia in November. A trial of the move concluded this month, but its full opening was delayed as the remaining 187 HSF partners took legal action against eight of the former partners in respect of their leaving provisions.