Herbert Smith announces today that it has appointed Michael Walter and Sonya Leydecker to become head of corporate and head of litigation respectively from 01 April 2005.
Michael will replace current corporate head Caroline Goodall, following the completion of her five-year tenure, and Sonya will take over from David Gold when he becomes senior partner of the firm.
Michael, 48, joined Herbert Smith as a partner in 1997 and has built his reputation on a range of high-profile transactions including advising the Bank of Scotland on its £28 billion merger with Halifax and De Beers in relation to its $19 billion takeover.
Sonya, 50, qualified with the firm in 1984, becoming a partner in 1991. A leading commercial litigator, case highlights in her career include the $11 billion claim against client Price Waterhouse by the BCCI liquidators and advising Coopers & Lybrand in defending proceedings brought against them arising out of the collapse of Barings.
Both will bring to their new roles strong management experience. Both will continue fee earning.
The corporate and litigation practices have been key to the success of the firm in recent years. Working closely together, they have been the principal drivers behind the significant development of the firm’s international capability. The two practices together look after a large number of the major clients both of the firm and of its alliance partners.
David Gold, senior partner elect, commented:
“The next few years will be a critical period in the firm’s development so it is fortunate that we will have two natural leaders, highly respected inside and outside the firm, heading our most important practices.
Further integrating corporate and litigation, and deepening our relationships with our major clients, will be among the firm’s main objectives over the next few years. I look forward to working side by side with Michael and Sonya, and the rest of the team, in achieving those objectives.”
Notes to Editors:
1. Over the past year, deals on which the corporate practice has advised include:
· ABF plc, the international food, ingredients and retail group, on its acquisition of the yeast, spices and herbs business of the Australian group Burns Philp and Co for $1.35 billion
· Hollinger International on the £729.5 million sale of The Telegraph at auction to Press Acquisitions Limited
· Securicor on its £1.7 billion merger with Group 4 Falck to create Group 4 Securicor
2. Over the past year, disputes on which the litigation practice has advised include:
· Cambridge Antibody Technology in relation to its dispute with Abbott, the healthcare and pharmaceutical company
· Infomedia Limited, jointly with Gleiss Lutz, regarding breach of an exclusive agency agreement
· Roche Diagnostics GmbH in their successful defence of a challenge by Sandoz GmbH to one of Roche’s UK patents
3. Herbert Smith is an international broad-based law firm with over 1100 lawyers (including some 200 partners) and a network of offices in Europe and Asia. It has an alliance with the leading German firm, Gleiss Lutz, and the leading Dutch and Belgian firm Stibbe
4. Our website address is www.herbertsmith.com
5. For further information, please contact Tom Rose in the communications team on +44 20 7466 3119
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Herbert Smith, Gleiss Lutz and Stibbe are three independent firms which have a formal alliance. Further information, and a list of the partners and their professional qualifications, is available from Exchange House, Primrose Street, London EC2A 2HS, any of our offices and at www.herbertsmith.com. Herbert Smith solicitors admitted to practise in England & Wales are regulated by the Law Society of England and Wales