Legal Business Blogs

HSF’s Palmer handed TheCityUK role as it seeks to protect London’s legal hub status

Elected as senior partner of Herbert Smith Freehills earlier this year, corporate heavyweight James Palmer has been appointed chair of legal services at professional services lobby group TheCityUK.

A go-to lawyer for FTSE 100 corporates including BP and Rio Tinto, Palmer will lead a group of senior lawyers from across the City as the lobby seeks to promote London and its position as a global economic hub. Replacing Serle Court’s Khawar Qureshi QC, in his role as chair Palmer will be tasked with maintaining and improving the competitiveness of English law and the City’s status as a legal hub.

Recent priorities of the group have included responding to consultations on courts fees, and contributing to the creation of a specialist court for financial services disputes in London – the Rolls Building Financial List.

Palmer promised to ‘capitalise on the opportunities and tackle the threats to the competitiveness of UK legal services’ in his new role.

He added: ‘I am also keen that the group draws on its depth of insight and brings its experience to bear on the key strategic issues facing the financial and related professional services industry.’

TheCityUK chief executive Chris Cummings said: ‘We are very pleased to appoint a chair of James’ calibre to lead the work of our legal services group. UK legal services is a leading sector in its own right – employing more than 310,000 people right across the UK – and is also an enabler of growth across the wider economy. The UK is the leading international centre for legal services, but it is a highly competitive sector and with other jurisdictions vying to take our position, it is vital that the UK remains the most attractive jurisdiction for international business.’

Palmer also led for 12 years the specialist M&A lawyers’ group in the UK, the Takeovers Working Party of the Law Society of England and Wales and The City of London Law Society. He is also chair of the Listing Authority Advisory Panel of the Financial Conduct Authority and is a trustee of the public policy research think-tank, Reform.