Herbert Smith

Herbert Smith LLP was a multinational law firm headquartered in London, United Kingdom. The firm was founded in the City of London in 1882 by Norman Herbert Smith and merged with the Australian law firm Freehills on 1 October 2012, forming Herbert Smith Freehills.[2] At the time of the merger it had 13 offices across Europe, the Middle East and Asia,[3] around 240 partners and 1,300 fee-earners. It was regarded as forming part of the "Silver Circle" of leading British law firms.[4]

Herbert Smith LLP
Herbert Smith LLP (logo).gif
HeadquartersLondon, United Kingdom
No. of offices13
No. of lawyers1,300
Major practice areasGeneral practice
RevenueUS$1.26 billion/£800 million (2013/14)[1]
Profit per equity partner£840,000 (2011/12)[1]
Date founded1882 (London)
Company typeLimited liability partnership
Dissolved1 October 2012


Herbert Smith was founded by Norman Herbert Smith in 1882. Edward Walker-Arnott took over as senior partner in 1992.

In 2000 Herbert Smith formed an alliance with German law firm Gleiss Lutz.[5] Herbert Smith, Gleiss Lutz and the Dutch law firm Stibbe formed a tripartite alliance in 2002.[6]

In April 2009 Herbert Smith opened an office in Madrid, Spain after recruiting three partners from Linklaters.[7]

In 2009, Herbert Smith had total revenues of £444 million and profits per equity partner (PEP) of £845,000. In 2010, the firm's revenues were £450 million and PEP was £862,000.[8]

In November 2010 Herbert Smith announced that it would be opening an office in Belfast, Northern Ireland, to perform litigation due diligence tasks.[9]

In November 2011 partners at Gleiss Lutz and Stibbe voted against a merger with Herbert Smith.[10] The alliance between Herbert Smith, Gleiss Lutz and Stibbe subsequently ended on 31 December 2011.[11]

In February 2012, Herbert Smith entered merger discussion with the Australian law firm Freehills.[12] Partners at both firms voted in favour of the merger in June 2012.[13]


After specialising in company flotations and advising mining companies in the early part of the 20th century, by the time of its merger with Freehills, Herbert Smith's practice was dominated by litigation and corporate work (M&A and equity capital markets in particular), with other practices including finance, real estate, energy, and competition.[14]

Between 2004 and 2009, Herbert Smith gained more new FTSE 100/250 clients than did any other law firm in the UK, and, as of 2010, Herbert Smith had the fifth largest number of FTSE 100 clients and third largest number of combined FTSE 100/FTSE 250 clients of any UK-based law firm.[15]

Herbert Smith was known for a strict recruitment policy and in August 2012 terminated the training contracts of students who failed any modules of the Accelerated LPC undertaken at BPP Holborn.[16]


  1. ^ a b "Herbert Smith Freehills announces strong full year results for 2013/2014". Herbert Smith Freehills. 2 July 2014. Retrieved 21 November 2014.
  2. ^ Bloomberg (2012). Herbert Smith To Merge With Freehills, Open In New York. Retrieved 28 June 2012.
  3. ^ Herbert Smith LLP - a leading and full-service international legal practice - Locations
  4. ^ "Ashurst, Herbies ride out tough year; BLP, Macfarlanes, SJ Berwin succumb". The Lawyer. 14 July 2008. Retrieved 13 October 2013.
  5. ^ "20 years of The Lawyer: 2000". The Lawyer. 5 December 2007. Retrieved 13 October 2013.
  6. ^ "Merging is a step too far for Herbies, Gleiss Lutz and Stibbe". The Lawyer. 10 December 2007. Retrieved 13 October 2013.
  7. ^ "Herbies launches in Spain with three-partner Linklaters raid". The Lawyer. 28 April 2009. Retrieved 13 October 2013.
  8. ^ "UK 200 Revenue Table 2010 - The Lawyer". Archived from the original on 2011-09-25. Retrieved 2010-11-24.
  9. ^ "Herbert Smith to open Belfast office to handle litigation due diligence". The Lawyer. 24 November 2010. Retrieved 13 October 2013.
  10. ^ "Herbert Smith reviews future of European alliance after failed merger bid". The Lawyer. 22 November 2011. Retrieved 13 October 2013.
  11. ^ "Herbert Smith's European alliance to officially end at close of year". The Lawyer. 22 December 2011. Retrieved 13 October 2013.
  12. ^ "Freehills in merger talks with Herbert Smith". The Australian. 6 February 2012. Retrieved 13 October 2013.
  13. ^ "Herbert Smith green lights October merger with Australia's Freehills". The Lawyer. 28 June 2012. Retrieved 13 October 2013.
  14. ^ Herbert Smith LLP - a leading and full-service international legal practice - Services
  15. ^ Chambers Student Guide - True Picture
  16. ^ "Exclusive: Herbert Smith boots out future trainees who fail fast track LPC | RollOnFriday".

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