Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) partners received more bad news this morning as it emerged that top litigator Ted Greeno has resigned to join US disputes leader Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan.
The departure represents arguably the most high profile contentious practitioner to join a US law firm in London directly from private practice and will be regarded as highly significant for Quinn Emanuel, which is moving to broaden the practice of its City arm.
Greeno’s resignation was announced this morning (27 March) to HSF’s partnership and comes after almost 30 years with the City firm.
His addition will push Quinn Emanuel’s City partnership to 11 and marks a period of sustained hiring for the US firm, which also took on Allen & Overy (A&O) arbitration duo Stephen Jagusch and Anthony Sinclair last spring.
The recent hires reflect a drive by the US-based disputes leader to broaden its international practice with a series of launches in Europe. The firm has also invested heavily in building an international arbitration practice and widening its commercial litigation coverage beyond its core banking disputes practice.
At HSF, Greeno made a name for himself by taking on a number of high-profile cases, particularly in the oil and gas sectors. The move comes after weeks of speculation that Greeno was set to join one of three US practices.
Greeno notably acted for Chevron in connection to its defence of a claim by rivals Total that its joint venture was liable for £1bn in costs related to the explosion at the Buncefield oil depot. He has also handled big ticket contentious work for BSkyB and Shell UK.
His departure will be felt at HSF and is part of a number of high profile exits from the firm in the last six months, particularly from its highly regarded disputes practice. Recent exits include corporate fraud partner Simon Bushell, who is set to join Latham & Watkins, Kevin Lloyd, who left for Debevoise & Plimpton at the end of last year, and Martyn Hopper, who moved to Linklaters in September 2012.
A statement from HSF said: ‘Ted has been with the firm for nearly 30 years and we are sorry to see him go. We would like to thank Ted for his significant contribution to the development of our leading litigation practice and wish him all the best for the future.’
Quinn Emanuel’s co-London managing partner Sue Prevezer QC said: ‘He is a star. He is a specialist in commercial litigation and arbitration with an expertise in the energy sector. He brings to us 30 years of experience. We are interested in the energy sector amongst others and are always looking for good hires.’
See the April edition of Legal Business for an in-depth assessment of Quinn Emanuel’s City office.