HSBC adds Cleary, Latham and Mayer Brown to global panel

HSBC has appointed US firms Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, Latham & Watkins and Mayer Brown to the bank’s global legal panel.

The trio join existing panel members Allen & Overy, Clifford Chance, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Linklaters and Norton Rose on the line-up.
The formal appointments cement long-standing relationships between the US firms and HSBC.

Last year HSBC added Cleary, along with White & Case, Wilmer Hale and New York State’s Phillips Lytle to the bank’s in-house SmartSearch database, in a bid to improve its understanding of the US legal market. Mayer Brown became the first US firm to sign up in 2009.

Other firms on SmartSearch, which gives HSBC’s legal team access to legal know-how and precedents, include City firms SNR Denton and CMS Cameron McKenna.

HSBC said in a statement: “After working with these three highly-respected global firms for many years, we are pleased to add them to our panel. They will supplement the excellent service we have been receiving from our existing global panel of approved law firms.”

Cleary’s previous work with HSBC includes a finance deal in 2010 which saw HSBC offer $2bn (£1.3bn) worth of senior notes with a five-year term, in which Cleary was instructed to provide UK and US law advice.

Latham meanwhile advised HSBC and several other banks in July 2011 on the purchase of £250m of bonds issued by department store House of Fraser to repay the department store’s existing debt.

Earlier this year, HSBC appointed Stuart Levey as its chief legal officer, ahead of the impending retirement of its managing director and general counsel, Richard Bennett. Levey, a former US Government lawyer and litigator, will work alongside Bennett until he retires at the end of 2012 after 33 years with the bank.