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HSF’s corporate ambitions take hit after losing seasoned trio to Morgan Lewis

Herbert Smith Freehills’ (HSF) rhetoric of improving corporate capabilities has taken a blow after a trio of transactional partners left for the London office of US firm Morgan, Lewis & Bockius.

The departures include HSF’s head of London private equity, Mark Geday, who had been at the firm since 1996, alongside corporate partners Nicholas Moore and Tomasz Wozniak. They will come as a disappointment for HSF, particularly after the firm made concerted efforts to promote the success of its corporate practice over the last year.

All three partners have substantial experience working together in both HSF’s London office and its Moscow outpost. They have a strong client book spanning a range of sectors, including asset management, technology, natural resources, TMT and consumer products.

Morgan Lewis chair Jami McKeon said the trio’s client experience deepens ‘the ability of our leading corporate and business transactions practice to facilitate the kinds of deals that are critical to our clients’ global growth strategies.’ She added: ‘Their sophisticated insight into business environments will make them trusted advisers to our clients with multinational interests.’

HSF unveiled an uninspiring 1% growth in turnover to £926.8m in July, but chief executive Mark Rigotti was keen to highlight the performance of its corporate division. Its transactional team acted on some heavyweight mandates, most notably representing Sky during takeover bids by 21st Century Fox and Comcast, worth £18.5bn and £22bn respectively.

HSF said in a statement: ‘We can confirm that Mark Geday, Nicholas Moore and Tomasz Wozniak are retiring from the partnership. We thank them for their contribution to the firm, both during their time in Moscow and London, and we wish them well.’