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Herbert Smith Freehills is establishing a centre of excellence for international arbitration in Australia to meet growing client demand.

The centre will be boosted by the relocation of dedicated arbitration partner Brenda Horrigan from the firm’s Shanghai office to Sydney this month.

Announcing the centre, Herbert Smith Freehills Global Head of Disputes, Justin D'Agostino, said its creation would better connect the firm’s international arbitration experts with clients to provide advice on complex, cross-border disputes.

“With increasing numbers of Australian companies involved in complex cross-border transactions and international investments, we have seen interest in international arbitration in Australia rise as a way to resolve disputes,” said Justin.

Herbert Smith Freehills Head of Global Arbitration Practice, Paula Hodges QC, said: “Cross-border arbitration requires specialist input, often on international law, treaties and guidelines. By creating an Australian centre of excellence we will ensure our clients in Australia can quickly access the advice needed from our experts in Australia and beyond in the event of a dispute. The team will work seamlessly with our market leading practitioners in Asia and globally.”

Regional Head of Practice for Disputes in Australia, Luke Hastings, said the practice was increasing its focus on international arbitration and a key part of this would be Brenda’s move to Sydney.

“Fluent in four languages and with strong connections and contacts in Russia, Asia, Europe and New York, Brenda's advice is highly sought after by our top clients around the globe," said Luke. "In particular, she will be able to use her knowledge of the firm’s global network and her experience across jurisdictions to provide an enhanced international arbitration service to Australian clients,” said Luke.

"She will be a valuable addition to our already strong international arbitration team and will work closely with partners Don Robertson and Leon Chung in Sydney, Liz Macknay in Perth and other partners across Australia and Asia to develop further our international arbitration practice in Asia Pacific.” 


Notes for editors

  1. Herbert Smith Freehills' international arbitration experts provide clients with a full suite of international arbitration services including providing expert advice on choice of law, choice of court (jurisdiction) and the dispute resolution options available in international commercial contracts and transactions.
  2. Across Asia Pacific, Herbert Smith Freehills' international arbitration practice numbers 80 lawyers, the largest practice of its kind in this region and part of the firm's nearly 1,000 lawyers in the leading dispute resolution practice in Asia Pacific. Global Arbitration Review recently ranked Herbert Smith Freehills as having the third-busiest arbitration practice in the world.
  3. Brenda specialises in both international commercial arbitration and investment treaty cases. Since she arrived at the firm in 2012, Brenda has built a thriving arbitration practice in Shanghai with current high-profile matters involving a wide range of arbitral seats. She has acted as counsel in arbitrations under various arbitration rules including SIAC, HKIAC, ICC, SCC, CIETAC, ICSID and UNCITRAL, and also sits as arbitrator.
  4. Brenda obtained a JD from Columbia University School of Law (Stone Scholar Honours). She joined Herbert Smith Freehills in April 2012. Prior to that, she was the co-head of the international arbitration department of an international firm, working in its Paris, Moscow and Shanghai offices. She is the immediate past Co-Chair of the American Bar Association (ABA) SIL China Committee, and served as Global Adjunct Professor at NYU School of Law (Shanghai Campus) for the last three years.

About Herbert Smith Freehills

Operating from over 26 offices across Asia Pacific, EMEA and North America, Herbert Smith Freehills is at the heart of the new global business landscape providing premium quality, full-service legal advice. We provide many of the world’s most important organisations with access to market-leading dispute resolution, projects and transactional legal advice, combined with expertise in a number of global industry sectors, including energy, natural resources, infrastructure and financial services.

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