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Lisa McLaughlin

Partner, Alternative Legal Services
Belfast (ALT)

Lisa leads our Alternative Legal Services business in UK & EMEA, and is also responsible for its global Client Solutions offering.

Lisa was instrumental in the establishment of Herbert Smith Freehills' Belfast office in 2011 – the first UK-based, near-shore operation to be launched by an international law firm. As a key part of our global Alternative Legal Services offering, our Belfast office provides innovative and cost-competitive legal services in respect of high-volume, document-intensive work.

Under Lisa's leadership, the Belfast office has expanded rapidly from 19 fee earners in April 2011 to over 240 lawyers, technologists and legal analysts in 2017. Herbert Smith Freehills is now one of the largest legal employers in Northern Ireland.

Lisa works closely with her team in Belfast, the wider Alternative Legal Services team, clients and stakeholders across the firm to develop new product offerings and evolve existing services in response to client demand.

Lisa maintains overall responsibility for the strategic management of our dedicated Alternative Legal Services office in Belfast. She collaborates with key external stakeholders, particularly in Northern Ireland, and ensures the highest possible standards of legal service delivery to internal and external clients. 

Lisa is integrally involved in hosting client visits to our Belfast office and often represents Alternative Legal Services in formal pitches and client listening meetings. Lisa's legal background and management experience enable her to work with internal and external clients to identify opportunities for Alternative Legal Services to be a real differentiator.

In 2016, Lisa was Highly Commended in the 'Outstanding Management and Leadership' category of the Women in Business Northern Ireland Awards.

Lisa has been instrumental in establishing a ground-breaking five-year partnership between Queen's University Belfast and Herbert Smith Freehills, through which the firm sponsors the Student Hub in Queen's state-of-the-art School of Law and collaborates with the University to deliver a tailored engagement programme for Queen's law students.


Before taking up her role in Belfast, Lisa was based in our London office, where she was a senior associate in our international arbitration practice. During the first phase of her career with Herbert Smith Freehills, Lisa acted on many complex, high-value, international arbitration matters as well as a number of commercial litigation and expert determination disputes. In addition, Lisa spent a year on secondment to the disputes team of a leading global consulting firm and, during her training contract, undertook a prestigious placement as a Judicial Assistant to the Court of Appeal.