Before Herbert Smith Freehills became the firm it is known as today, it was a Big Six law firm in Australia named Freehills. A 2012 merger with UK-based silver circle firm Herbert Smith formed the international firm it is today. White & Case have seen this establishment in the Oceania region as an opportunity. Upon its launch in Australia, the US-headquartered firm nabbed 10 partners to launch its Melbourne and Sydney offices. The team, which will focus primarily on project finance, have come from HSF offices across Australia and Asia. HSF joint-CEOs Mark Rigotti and Sonya Leydecker released a statement saying they are “disappointed at the [partners’] decision” and further added, “We continue to have a strong 100-partner infrastructure and projects practice globally.”
White & Case chairman Hugh Verrier also released a statement detailing, “This move will cement our position as the leading law firm in project finance globally. It adds further strength to our client offering and underlines our commitment to providing the highest quality advice to our clients on a global basis.” The past year has been a busy year for international expansion for White & Case, having opened an office in Seoul in May 2015 as well as establishing a new alliance with Jakarta-based firm Witara Cakra Advocates. Despite this, the firm has also made some reductions, closing both its Kazakhstan and Turkey offices.