Belfast police search Herbert Smith Freehills' legal services centre

Police conducting a drug investigation have raided the Belfast office of Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF).

This Saturday (10 June), The Irish News reported that detectives from the organised crime branch of the Police Service of Northern Ireland conducted a search of the firm’s office at Cromac Quay in Belfast last week.

A police spokesman said a “number of items were removed for further examination” as part of a search “in connection with the arrest of a 30-year-old man in the Ladybrook area of west Belfast on suspicion of possession of Class A drugs”.

The unidentified man was interviewed and subsequently released on bail, pending a further inquiry by local law enforcement.

“We can confirm the police are investigating an incident in our Belfast office,” a HSF spokeswoman told The American Lawyer. “We are not able to comment further at this point due to the ongoing investigation.”

HSF’s Belfast base was set up in 2011 to handle document review and disputes work. The firm – which now has alternative legal services centres in Shanghai, London and a number of cities across Australia – announced earlier this year that it would launch its eighth such base around the world this summer with a move into Johannesburg.

The centre – which will open in late summer with five lawyers and 20 legal analysts – will offer legal process and technology services to clients, providing a cheaper and more efficient option for high volume or document-intensive work.