Herbert Smith Freehills launches Latin American hub in New York

Herbert Smith Freehills has created an additional Latin American hub in New York to complement its existing offering for the region which comprises lawyers in Madrid, London, Paris, Australia, Tokyo and Beijing.


The New York operation will be led by international arbitration specialist Christian Leathley, who also co-heads the firm’s Latin America practice group. Leathley is English and New York qualified and his practice focusses on commercial and investment (treaty) arbitration, with a particular focus on Latin America.

In New York, Christian will work closely with international arbitration partner Laurence Shore as well as Scott Balber and John O’Donnell, who are both partners in the firm’s corporate crime and investigations group.

A Herbert Smith Freehills statement said: “This is a significant move because it demonstrates Herbert Smith Freehills’ commitment to the region and bolsters its existing experience in the US to include both New York and English qualified lawyers, fluent in Spanish and Portuguese, with specialist international arbitration experience – the practice now boasts expertise in energy, infrastructure and a very strong Asian client base – which is one of the most active currently investing in Latin America.”

Leathley commented:  “There is a natural pull from Latin America towards New York as the vast majority of cross-border transactions in Latin America are governed by New York law. Many international arbitrations also select New York as their preferred seat. This is another example of Herbert Smith Freehills’ commitment to the region and an important focus towards our clients’ interests in both North and South America.”

Madrid-based Ignacio Paz, who co-heads the firm’s Latin America practice group said: “New York is key for the development of our practice – Christian’s relocation to New York will allow us to better serve our clients with interests in the region.”

Ben Cook