Herbert Smith confirms post-merger practice leaders and merged teams

Herbert Smith is set to combine its finance, real estate and projects practices when it merges with Australia’s Freehills later this year, as details emerge of how the new firm will be structured.

The two firms – which do not expect to make any redundancies as a result of the tie-up – have decided to merge the three practices in light of the fact that Freehills currently operates a combined banking and projects practice, as well as the consistent overlap between real estate and projects.

It has not yet been decided who will head the combined practice; however, the firms have announced that Herbert Smith global real estate head Ian Cox will become London managing partner of the merged firm.

Meanwhile, Herbert Smith global corporate managing partner Patrick Mitchell (pictured) and Freehills’ Australia corporate head Mike Ferraro will co-head the global corporate practice at the new firm, with Herbert Smith’s current global corporate chief James Palmer set to return to full-time fee earning.

Herbert Smith global litigation head Sonya Leydecker will continue in the position at Herbert Smith Freehills, while CIS managing partner Allen Hanen will become EMEA managing partner.

The news comes after Herbert Smith global chief operating officer David Robinson sent out a note to staff last week detailing the new support function roles under the merged firm.

Herbert Smith’s HR and IT heads will both take on the global roles at the merged firm, with Freehills’ business development and knowledge management heads set to lead their respective functions.

The firms have opted to recruit externally for a new chief financial officer; however, both Herbert Smith and Freehills’ current finance heads will remain at the firm, with no support staff asked to leave from either outfit.

Herbert Smith and Freehills confirmed their merger at the close of last month, with the tie-up set to go live from 1 October this year.