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Herbert Smith Freehills has further strengthened its focus on Latin America with the launch of a New York hub to support its global offering.

The firm has created an additional Latin American offering, to be run out of its New York office and led by International Arbitration Partner Christian Leathley. Christian is both English and New York qualified and his practice centres on commercial and investment (treaty) arbitration, with a particular focus on Latin America. He is also an adjunct professor of law at NYU School of Law (international arbitration).

This is a significant move because it demonstrates the Herbert Smith Freehills' commitment to the region and bolsters its existing experience in the U.S. 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.

This new opening will further enhance the firm's highly regarded Latin America Group, which comprises an experienced international team from offices across Herbert Smith Freehills' international network including Madrid, London, Paris, Australia, Tokyo and Beijing. In New York, Christian will be working 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. The New York office consists of US and UK-qualified disputes lawyers who represent clients in commercial litigation in US courts, and in investigations, cross-border matters, class actions, and international arbitrations.

Christian, who has been with the firm since 2010 and is Co-Head of Herbert Smith Freehills' Latin America Group, 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 Latin America and an important focus towards our clients' interests in both North and South America."

Ignacio Paz, also Co-Head of the Latin America Group said: "New York is key for the development of our LatAm practice. Christian's relocation to New York will allow us to better serve our clients with interests in the region and will at the same time strengthen the LatAm practice's offering and capabilities, the development of which is key to the firm."