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Herbert Smith Freehills has appointed Paul Butcher to the new role of Director of Public Policy, a UK-focused role with a global perspective.

This appointment reflects growing demand from clients seeking to anticipate, influence and navigate public policy developments; harnessing the firm's deep sector and regulatory expertise.

Commenting on the appointment, Alison Brown, Executive Partner, West, said: "I am delighted to congratulate Paul on his new role, which sees him leading the firm's drive to help clients anticipate, influence and navigate the public policy context in which they operate.  As clients navigate the post-Brexit domestic and cross-border regulatory environment, we are well positioned to help them seize the opportunities and mitigate the risks."

Commenting on his appointment Paul Butcher said: "Legal expertise has never been enough. Clients need lawyers who are commercial and understand the context in which they operate. Our longstanding commitment to sectoral expertise and focus on the business critical intersection of law and public policy and likely developments relating to it reflects this. 

"It is a really exciting time to take on this new role. Recent trends increase the value of Herbert Smith Freehills' client-focused approach to providing legal services. I am delighted to be able to help consolidate and build on what is already a market-leading position."

Paul has been a commercial lawyer with the firm since 2001, working with government, regulators and private sector clients on some of the most complex areas of public policy, including the design and implementation of new regulatory regimes and associated projects, public sector transformations and innovative service delivery models as well as major infrastructure projects.  

Paul joined the firm’s Brexit team shortly after the EU referendum, becoming Brexit Director in July 2017. More recently he played a key role in the firm's response to the pandemic. 


Notes to Editors

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, Pharmaceuticals & Healthcare, Real estate, TMT and Manufacturing & Industrials.

About our UK public policy practice

We have a significant and long-established practice, across industries, advising on issues at the intersection of law, policy, and politics. We advise private entities, governments, governmental and regulatory bodies seeking to shape the development of law and its application.

The core team which focuses on this area is a collaboration between our Tier 1 Administrative and Public Law team and the team who led our Tier 1 Brexit response and, also more recently, our pandemic response. We also draw on the full breadth of our market-leading sector specialists across our firm, including our Tier 1 International Trade and WTO law team, to provide expertise across all industries. This combination of expertise gives us an unrivalled ability to provide clients with full service, in depth advice on all aspects relating to public policy.  We have recently advised:

  • on litigation concerning parliamentary and public affairs, including in cases of constitutional significance (for example for Sir John Major in relation to the prorogation of parliament)
  • Governmental entities in relation to the terms of the EU/UK trade deal during negotiations and a business in litigation concerning the terms of the Northern Ireland Protocol and the EU/UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement
  • those involved with inquiries and investigations, including core participants in the IICSA and Leveson inquiries and numerous clients appearing before parliamentary committees
  • on all aspects of major UK infrastructure, including the political and legislative hurdles (for instance for EDF/NNB on the Sizewell C new nuclear project and HS2)
  • on products and services which raise novel policy and regulatory issues, including recently fracking, electric scooters, e-cigarettes and the regulation of cannabis products
  • clients seeking to influence the development of policy by contributing to consultations, including bus operators on proposals to end the deregulated privatised bus market and clients on proposed advertising restrictions for high fat, sugar and salt products. 

We have also advised on privatisations, complex public procurements and major government regulatory policy programmes, including Ofgem on the design of the £multi-billion offshore transmission regime and subsequent iterations; the Cabinet Office and Ministry of Defence on various reform programmes including the pathfinder mutual joint venture project, MyCSP; and numerous confidential clients seeking to influence the outcome of utilities price control processes. 

We bring together our external facing public policy comment and analysis under our Policy Matters blog.

We are highly active in professional and academic circles, publishing frequently and speaking widely in this area. We also contribute to the political process in our own right, including recently giving evidence to the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee on the National Security and Investment Bill (here and here) and contributing to numerous consultations.

Key contacts

Paul Butcher photo

Paul Butcher

Director of Public Policy, London

Paul Butcher

Media contact

For further information on this article please contact

Mike Petrook

Communications Manager


London Government and Public Sector Paul Butcher