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Herbert Smith Freehills


Herbert Smith Freehills - London
  • Midtown Tower, 41st Floor
  • 9-7-1 Akasaka
  • Minato-ku
  • Tokyo
  • Tokyo-to
  • Japan
  • 107-6241
  • Joint Chief Executive Officers: David Willis, Gavin Bell
  • Number of partners: 458  
  • Number of lawyers: 2768

Firm Overview:
Herbert Smith Freehills is the largest fully integrated law firm in Asia Pacific. With more than 1,300 lawyers operating from over 12 offices in the Asia Pacific Region, the firm is at the heart of the region’s dynamic business landscape providing premium quality, full-service legal advice. As a fully integrated law firm, Herbert Smith Freehills offers clients a top-tier seamless service across a single global platform with a unique focus on industry sectors and an un-paralleled depth of expertise. The firm’s global footprint includes more than 20 offices across Asia Pacific, the UK, Europe, the Middle East and US, and a global network of more than 2,700 lawyers working together to help clients achieve the best outcomes for their business. The Herbert Smith Freehills team is recognised in numerous leading international awards and continues to excel across industry rankings and league tables.

Main Areas of Practice: 

The firm’s practice areas include capital markets; competition; compliance and regulatory; corporate; corporate governance and head office advisory; dispute resolution; employment pensions and incentives; environment and planning; finance; intellectual property; investigations; investment funds; mergers and acquisitions; projects and infrastructure; real estate; restructuring, turnaround and insolvency; and tax. It is active in many industries, including construction; consumer and retail; energy; financial buyers; financial services; government and public sector; infrastructure; leisure and sport; mining; pharmaceuticals and healthcare; real estate; technology, media and telecommunications; and transport. Clients include many of the largest and most ambitious organisations across all major regions of the globe and we have advised them on many of Asia Pacific’s most challenging and high profile matters, including:

•Commonwealth Bank of Australia on its issue of PERLS VI and concurrent PERLS IV Reinvestment Offer to raise $2.0 billion. The PERLS VI raising was the first fully Basel III compliant hybrid offering by an Australian bank and the largest hybrid offer in the Australian market in 2012. 
• China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), the parent company of publically listed PetroChina, on its acquisition of a 28.57% stake in Eni East Africa SpA, a wholly owned subsidiary of Eni SpA, for US$4.2 billion 
•CNOOC’s US$1.93 billion acquisition of interests in the Queensland Curtis LNG project in Australia 
• Standard Chartered Bank with litigation proceedings and the enforcement of an arbitration award in Indonesia 
• Woodside Energy on several upstream oil and gas investments in Myanmar and sanctions-related issues 
• A consortium comprising POSCO, STX and Marubeni on their participation in the A$12 billion Roy Hill iron ore mine and associated joint venture, financing, construction and offtake arrangements including the initial acquisition of a 30% interest from Hancock including rights to 16.5 million tons of iron ore offtake 
• Sumitomo Corporation and KEPCO as developers of Abu Dhabi’s Shuweihat 3 independent power plant (IPP) project 
•The financiers as Australian counsel on the project financing for the US$34 billion Ichthys LNG project 
• Lehman Brothers Finance AG (in liquidation) on various ongoing issues between the liquidators of LBF and the liquidators of the Hong Kong based Lehman entities 
• Petronas on the development of its Refinery and Petrochemical Integrated Development (RAPID) project in Pengerang, Johor, Malaysia, including preparing the Engineering, Procurement, Construction and Commissioning (EPCC) contracts, advising on the Invitations to Bid, and advice on options for managing interface and coordination risks between multiple contractors, facilities and feedstock sources 
• Singapore Power International Pte Ltd on its agreements with State Grid International Limited (SGID) for SGID to purchase 60% shareholding in SPI (Australia) Assets Pty Ltd and 19.9% security holding in SP AusNet, with total value up to $7.5 billion


  • Central Plaza 1,
  • 345 Queen Street,
  • Brisbane,
  • Queensland
  • Australia
  • QLD 4000
  • Tel +61 7 3258 6666
  • Fax +61 7 3258 6444
  • Email : Michael.Back@hsf.com
  • 101 Collins Street,
  • Melbourne,
  • Victoria
  • Australia
  • VIC 3000
  • Tel +61 3 9288 1234
  • Fax +61 3 9288 1567
  • Email : John.Curtis@hsf.com
  • QV.1 Building,
  • 250 St Georges Terrace,
  • Perth,
  • Western Australia
  • Australia
  • WA 6000
  • Tel +61 8 9211 7777
  • Fax +61 8 9211 7878
  • Email : Tony.Joyner@hsf.com
  • 28th Floor Office Tower,
  • Beijing Yintai Centre,
  • 2 Jianguomenwai Avenue,
  • Chaoyang District,
  • Beijing,
  • China
  • 100022
  • Tel +86 10 6535 5000
  • Fax +86 10 6535 5055
  • Email : Tom.Chau@hsf.com
  • 38/F Bund Center,
  • 222 Yan An Road East,
  • Shanghai,
  • China
  • 200002
  • Tel +86 21 2322 2000
  • Fax +86 21 2322 2322
  • Email : Betty.Tam@hsf.com
  • 23rd Floor, Gloucester Tower,
  • 15 Queen's Road Central,
  • Hong Kong,
  • China
  • Tel +852 2845 6639
  • Fax +852 2845 9099
  • Email : Andrew.Tortoishell@hsf.com
  • In association with Hiswara Bunjamin and Tandjung,
  • 23rd Floor, Gedung BRI II,,
  • Jalan Jenderal, Sudirman Kav. 44-46,
  • Jakarta,
  • Java
  • Indonesia
  • 10210
  • Tel +62 21 574 4010
  • Fax +62 21 574 4670
  • Email : David.Dawborn@hsf.com
  • Midtown Tower, 41st Floor,
  • 9-7-1 Akasaka,
  • Minato-ku,
  • Tokyo,
  • Tokyo-to
  • Japan
  • 107-6241
  • Tel +81 3 5412 5412
  • Fax +81 3 5412 5413
  • Email : Peter.Godwin@hsf.com
  • 50 Raffles Place,
  • #24-01 Singapore Land Tower,
  • Singapore,
  • Singapore Island
  • Singapore
  • 048623
  • Tel +65 6868 8000
  • Fax +65 6868 8001
  • Email : Michael.Walter@hsf.com
  • 27F West Tower Center 1 Building,
  • 67 Suha-dong Jung-gu,
  • Seoul,
  • South Korea
  • 100-210
  • Tel +82 2 6321 5600
  • Fax +82 2 6321 5601
  • 1403 Abdulrahim Place,
  • 990 Rama IV Road,
  • Bangkok,
  • Thailand
  • 10500
  • Tel +66 2 657 3888
  • Fax +66 2 636 0657
  • Email : Surapol.Srangsomwong@hsf.com

Arbitration (International) - Asia-Pacific Region

What the team is known for Market leader for arbitration across the region, with an outstanding reputation for commercial and investment disputes in such jurisdictions as Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, Thailand and India. Acts on high-profile cases on behalf of both prominent Asian clients and leading global companies with significant Asian interests. Especially noted for strength in energy and natural resources-related issues.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Communication: "Very accessible, knowledgeable about our industry, willing to listen and extremely commercial."

Work highlights Recently advised a major Japanese trading company on a series of London ad hoc arbitrations and parallel Tokyo Marine Arbitration Commission arbitrations concerning a number of shipbuilding contract disputes.

Represented a leading Japanese trading house in an ICC arbitration of its dispute with subcontractors over alleged delays to a significant construction project. 

Notable practitioners  

Described by interviewees as an "absolute powerhouse" of arbitration, Hong Kong-based Justin D'Agostino is active across an impressive range of international disputes. He frequently works on major commercial, investor-state and state-state cases for clients throughout the region. Sources testify extensively to his high level of visibility in this space. 

Alastair Henderson is one of the leading names on the Asia-Pacific arbitration scene, offering clients extensive knowledge of South-East Asian matters from his Singapore base. Sources particularly appreciate his "in-depth experience and good judgement" when acting for major arbitration clients across such industries as oil and gas, banking and manufacturing.

Sources recommend Peter Godwin as a superstar of the Japanese dispute resolution space. They also admire his work on major regional arbitration cases, noting that "he is quick in grasping the points of a dispute and the needs of the client."

Significant clients Credit Suisse, IBM, ITOCHU, Mitsui, Toshiba.

Competition/Antitrust - Japan

Basic facts about the department
- 2 partners
- 4 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Handles domestic and international investigations, including European Commission cartel investigations. Has forged strong relationships with Japanese practitioners, enabling it to serve a range of corporates on both contentious and non-contentious matters.

Work highlights Advising Marubeni on merger control issues arising as a result of its acquisition of an Australian joint venture's share capital, and its withdrawal from a Brazilian joint venture with Nippon Paper.

Notable practitioners

Partner James Robinson leads the antitrust team in Tokyo.

Significant clients Marriott International, Mitsui & Co, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Virgin Atlantic.

Construction - Japan

Basic facts about the department
- 2 partners
- 6 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Advises high-profile Japanese clients on significant outbound construction matters. Well known for its work in the contentious sphere, and increasingly active in handling transactional matters.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Expertise: "They have a lot of experience in conflict resolution, and in handling contracts for the establishment of foreign plants."

Market standing: "A class act."  

Work highlights Advising Marubeni as engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor on drafting and negotiating a significant subcontract for supplying two 300 MW coal boilers for a Vietnamese thermal power project.

Representing the prime contractor, a major Japanese trading house, in an ICC arbitration concerning delays to a Middle Eastern construction project.

Notable practitioners  

Emma Kratochvilova is praised by clients as "an expert in construction," with one interviewee adding: "She's well versed on all the traps that can crop up, and always pinpoints critical issues." Kratochvilova recently advised Marubeni on a thermal power project.

David Gilmore is well known for assisting clients in the construction and engineering sectors on contentious matters. Sources say: "He's very experienced at overseas construction work. He understands the client's perspective and desires very well."

Significant clients Mitsui & Co, Sumitomo, Sojitz, Chiyoda.

Corporate/M&A - Japan

Basic facts about the department
- 4 partners
- 18 associates

What the team is known for Maintains a sterling reputation for acting for natural resources companies in M&A transactions in Japan and the rest of Asia. Impressive expertise in handling energy projects and related corporate matters.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Pragmatic advice: "They are pragmatic. Their comments and suggestions are very reasonable: not overly academic, but practical."

Commercial awareness: "They are very aware of what is going on in the market. Whenever I talk to them about the latest trends, it is clear they have done their research, so I do not have to waste time explaining things to them."

Work highlights International counsel to Mitsubishi Heavy Industries on the merger of its thermal power plant units with those of Hitachi.

Acted for UCC Holdings on its EUR500 million acquisition of United Coffee from CapVest.

Notable practitioners

James Robinson wins market endorsement for his "versatile expertise and broad knowledge in legal matters." Clients speak very highly of his problem-solving abilities, saying: "He can react to challenging requests; he has plenty of ideas to solve tough issues during negotiations." 

Graeme Preston is widely acknowledged by peers and clients for his skills in handling M&A transactions. An interviewee states: "He is very helpful and is very keen to learn about our business."

Significant clients Ericsson Japan, Marubeni, Mitsubishi, Nintendo, Sanyo Steel.

Dispute Resolution - Japan

Basic facts about the department
- 5 partners
- 1 of counsel
- 4 senior associates
- 9 associates

What the team is known for Highly respected by peers for its long-standing experience in handling outbound disputes, including a strong track record on overseas arbitrations. Its stellar client base includes a wide array of Japanese trading houses and corporates.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Bench strength: "They provide us with legal services in a very well-organised way, with a coordinated team."

Client service: "They put out a very high level of work product, and are very client-focused."

Market standing: "They've made a long-term investment and started doing this before anyone. I have no qualms saying they're top tier."

Notable practitioners  

Team head Peter Godwin is greatly appreciated by clients for his responsiveness and his expertise in the field: "He is a real expert in dispute resolution. He is quick in grasping the points of the dispute and the needs of the client."

David Gilmore is also well regarded for his experience. "I'd single him out," said one peer, adding: "He's very affable and approachable; he's been here a long time and has deservedly built a reputation."

Dominic Roughton is involved in cross-border litigation, and wins particular praise for his work on cases in the energy sector, especially with regard to shareholder and joint venture disputes.

Peers note that Gavin Margetson excels at arbitration work, and clients are happy with his rapid response time. He has litigation experience covering a number of sectors.

Elaine Wong is a senior associate at the firm, and is especially active on construction and energy arbitration cases. She is also qualified to practise in Singapore and England & Wales.

Significant clients Mitsui, IBM, Credit Suisse, Toshiba, ITOCHU.

Employment - Japan

Basic facts about the department
- 3 partners
- 8 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Works on contentious and non-contentious outbound employment issues, including advising on employment policies and handbooks, workforce restructurings, disciplinary proceedings and drafting employment contracts.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: "I never feel any of my questions are silly, I always get proactive advice that covers all scenarios and they give positive advice that I can follow to the letter."

Notable practitioners  

Head of the employment team's contentious arm, Peter Godwin works with businesses across a number of sectors, including recruitment, IT and insurance. Clients value his "practical and strategic" advice.

Dominic Roughton also advises on contentious issues, and has recently handled a number of arbitrations across the region.

Intellectual Property - Japan

Basic facts about the department
- 2 partners
- 4 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Cross-border contentious and non-contentious matters for significant clients. Focuses on issues from the electronic, pharmaceutical and technology industries.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Expertise: "The legal advice and risk analysis they provided were very thorough."

Notable practitioners  

Graeme Preston is a key contact for non-contentious matters. For contentious matters, Peter Godwin is a key contact.

Significant clients IBM Japan, Konami, Sumitomo, Takeda Pharmaceutical.

Projects - Japan

Basic facts about the department
- 2 partners
- 11 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Particularly noted for proficiency in oil and gas transactions. Works on complex cross-border matters for significant Japanese clients. Increased its capacity to serve clients on Australia-focused matters, following the merger with Freehills.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Commercial awareness: "They're straightforward, reasonable and have a good business sense in risk-taking."

Expertise: "They are very knowledgeable when it comes to energy transactions. They understand the commercial structure, and deliver their products in a timely fashion."

Bench strength: "Herbert Smith Freehills has a number of very talented and experienced lawyers who have been working in this area for a long time."

What's new? Partner Andrew Blacoe relocated from Sydney to Tokyo.

Work highlights Advised JAPEX on its acquisition of a 10% share in an integrated LNG and shale gas project in Canada, including an LNG offtake commitment.

Represented Inpex on a proposed acquisition of a 25% stake in upstream blocks, located in Mozambique, from Statoil.

Advising Mitsubishi Heavy Industries on the merger of its thermal power plant projects with Hitachi's, handling due diligence across the Middle East, Europe and Africa on this USD13 billion matter.

Notable practitioners 

Andrew Blacoe is a key contact.

Significant clients Itochu, Mitsui & Co, Osaka Gas Company, Sojitz.