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Herbert Smith Freehills has appointed Paul Butcher to the new role of Brexit Director. Paul will have responsibility for co-ordinating the firm's coverage of Brexit for clients. He will also take a prominent role representing the firm externally in relation to Brexit. This appointment comes as the formal Brexit negotiations between the UK and the EU get underway.

Paul has been with the firm since 2001 and joined the firm’s Brexit team after the EU referendum. In that capacity he has worked closely with client, sector and practice teams across the firm's worldwide network and has driven forward many of the firm's most high-profile Brexit-related initiatives.

As Brexit Director, Paul will continue to work with each of these groups to deliver the firm's coverage of the challenges and opportunities of Brexit for clients. He will take a prominent role in representing the firm with Government, the firm's Brexit partners – such as consulting and advisory firms The Boston Consulting Group, Global Counsel and Hanbury Strategy - and with other key City and industry stakeholders. 

Commenting on the appointment, partner responsible for Brexit coverage, Gavin Williams said:

"I am delighted to congratulate Paul on his new role as Brexit Director. With negotiations now underway, Brexit is becoming a higher priority for a growing cross-section of our clients around the world. Paul's appointment will help us leverage the enormous amount of work we have already done and sustain momentum as we enter this new phase in assisting clients with their detailed plans to meet challenges and seize opportunities of Brexit."

Commenting on his appointment Paul Butcher said:

"A common thread of my career has been working with government, regulators and private sector clients at the leading edge of public policy, from the design and implementation of new regulatory regimes and associated projects, to public sector transformations and helping design innovative service delivery models.

Herbert Smith Freehills is well placed to advise clients on Brexit. The scope of our sectoral expertise, reach of our global platform combined with the strength of our market leading and 20 year-old international trade law practice, arguably makes us the best placed global law firm. It is a real differentiator because neither niche trade law firms nor our full service peers can offer the same breadth and service on Brexit."

Paul recently co-authored, in collaboration with The Boston Consulting Group and Global Counsel, a report on navigating the post- Brexit energy market with London Corporate partner Silke Goldberg. 

Paul's appointment follows the recent hire of Eric White who joined Herbert Smith Freehills' International Trade and European Union law practice as a consultant, further strengthening the firm's ability to help clients understand the implications of Brexit for their businesses and to plan. Prior to joining Herbert Smith Freehills, Eric was a member of the European Commission's Legal Service between 1985 and 2016, where he led the Trade Policy and WTO team.

Lode Van Den Hende, who is head of the firm's international trade and WTO law practice, has recently been appointed to TheCityUK’s ‘International Trade and Investment Group’, for its work on Brexit.

Notes to Editors

Herbert Smith Freehills' submission to the UK Government on the Great Repeal Bill White Paper

With the draft Great Repeal Bill, now referred to as the Repeal Bill, due to be published on 13 July 2017, Herbert Smith Freehills prepared a submission to the UK Government in June in response to its White Paper which is available on our Brexit Notes blog together with a briefing note from April. The purpose of this submission is to offer the UK Government some thoughts on issues discussed in the White Paper and on some matters not raised in the White Paper which we believe it will be necessary to address by legislation.  We hope that this submission will be helpful to Government in formulating the Bill and other legislation being passed in order to prepare the UK for leaving the EU.

About our Brexit coverage for clients

Our global Brexit teams were mobilised 18 months prior to the date of the UK's in-out EU referendum, spearheaded by Gavin Williams and Dorothy Livingston. Prior to the referendum the firm published the 1st edition of its cross practice Brexit Legal Guide (now in its 5th edition). A key differentiator for the firm's Brexit capability is being able to combine our long standing market-leading practices in EU law and International Trade & WTO with deep sectoral knowledge gained from our teams practicing across a wide range of sectors including in financial services, energy & infrastructure, consumer and FMCG, pharmaceutical, industrial & manufacturing. We are advising a variety of private and public sector clients across a wide range of sectors to meet the challenges and opportunities of Brexit.

Brexit is not simply a legal issue. Analysing, assessing and addressing the impact of Brexit requires legal, regulatory and supply chain analysis, political and policy insight and strategic advice and implementation. We have therefore spent a significant amount of time working alongside our clients, trade associations and other professional services organisations and consultancies to provide a holistic assessment of the impacts and the possible responses.

The first such collaboration to result in a publication was a joint paper with The Boston Consulting Group and Global Counsel on Trade Post-Brexit: Charting a New Course. This has been followed with a further collaboration between the firms on Navigating the Post-Brexit Energy Market.

Our key public Brexit materials are available on our Brexit Hub, while more regular Brexit updates and materials are available at our Brexit blog Brexit Notes.

About our International Trade & WTO practice 

Herbert Smith Freehills has developed and maintained an international trade practice over the last two decades. Consequently, we have built up significant expertise in WTO law but also in relation to free trade agreements such as the recently-signed (but jeopardised) Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement covering the Asia-Pacific region and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership currently being negotiated between the EU and the US. This makes the firm perfectly positioned to counsel clients who are trying to assess the impact of Brexit on their businesses and devise plans. The Firm offers advice across the full spectrum of WTO and trade regulation work, including acting on disputes under the WTO dispute settlement mechanism, but also in devising strategies to use trade law in order to achieve practical results for clients outside the context of formal dispute settlement.   

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About Herbert Smith Freehills

Operating from 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. The firm provides 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 Banks, Consumer products, Energy, Financial buyers, Infrastructure & Transport, Mining, Pharma & Healthcare, Real estate and TMT.

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Key contacts

Paul Butcher photo

Paul Butcher

Director of Public Policy, London

Paul Butcher
Paul Butcher