Legal Business Blogs

HSF public international law head to boost Boies Schiller City practice following Miles exit

US litigation specialist Boies, Schiller & Flexner has hired Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) head of public international law Dominic Roughton.

Roughton (pictured) will complement the firm’s international arbitration group in London, following the exit of long-serving Wendy Miles QC who quit for rival US firm Debevoise & Plimpton last month.

The firm has also signed a lease to double its office space moving from its current location in Tower 42  to a 13,000 sq ft location on the top floor of 5 New Street Square.

Experienced in international state-to-state and investor-state disputes, Roughton has acted as counsel in commercial arbitrations under ICC, LCIA, UNCITRAL, SCC, SIAC, JCAA and CIETAC rules.

Boies Schiller managing partner Jonathan Schiller said: ‘International arbitration has been a key area of focus for our firm ever since it was founded 20 years ago, and we have built a record of which we are justifiably proud.

Managing partner for Boies Schiller’s London office, Natasha Harrison, told Legal Business: ‘He’s not a direct replacement [for Miles]. It’s about adding substantial depth to the international disputes practice, particularly in international arbitration. Dominic has an exceptional public international law background which complements our existing commercial arbitration offering.

‘Our strategy for growth is led entirely by client demand. That means finding the right people to meet that demand. Dominic and Matt Getz, recruited last year as part of the global investigations practice, are prime examples of exactly the right people.’

Harrison also indicated that the firm plans to make more partner promotions in London in the near future, after Fiona Huntriss’ promotion last year.

The arrival of Roughton follows the move Kenneth Beale made to Boies Schiller in June 2015, joining from WilmerHale’s arbitration group.

The firm generated £7.6m in the year to October 2015. The UK practice has handled major work for Barclays and M&G Asset Management, as well as acting for bondholders on a high-profile dispute impacting Canary Wharf.

In 2016, Boies Schiller brought a case against the Greek state on behalf of gambling company OPAP, after the state appropriated valuable license rights in the Greek lottery.

Exit terms at Australian firm HSF are notoriously stringent, with the firm recently battling a claim against eight former partners who quit to join White & Case. Court documents from the dispute revealed that former partners cannot join a ‘direct competitor’ within six months of resignation and are also prohibited from practising within ‘restricted areas’ surrounding HSF offices in the same time period.

HSF said New York partner Laurence Shore would lead the global public international law practice with assistance from partner Christian Leathley and partner Andrew Cannon.

Read more: ‘Focal points – Law boutiques and the art of focus’