Former Boies Schiller Flexner chief and successor to law star David Boies, Natasha Harrison is to launch a law practice in London, likely rivalling her former New York-based firm.
Boies Schiller has seen a raft of departures in recent months, although it continues to announce growth and expansion plans, including a potential move into a new Milan office to establish a firmer foothold in the EU following Brexit.
Natasha Harrison has practiced largely on financial disputes and is currently leading a class action lawsuit against Credit Suisse on behalf of the investors in the bank’s supply chain finance funds linked to Greensill.
The new, as yet unnamed law practice, will reportedly operate in high-end commercial litigation according to a report in the Financial Times and will work on a flexible fee model, an increasingly popular move for firms moving away from the traditional, lockstep remuneration model.
The FT report indicates that a ‘significant number’ of partners will likely move to the new firm, which may further disrupt Boies Schiller’s situation, although the firm intends maintaining a London base. The firm has closed three offices and dropped from a peak of 350 lawyers to fewer than 200 presently.
Natasha Harrison joined Boies Schiller to open its London office in 2013 and successfully increased the office’s revenues despite a downturn with the departure of a number of partners in the US.
The FT say that the firm was built around the big personality of star litigator Boies, now 80, who founded it with Jonathan Schiller in the late 1990s.
It is undergoing a difficult generational and managerial transition, the website reports.
‘Boies is widely regarded as one of the most skilled trial lawyers of his generation. Among other seismic cases, he represented the US Department of Justice in its antitrust victory over Bill Gates and Microsoft; represented vice-president Al Gore in the legal case that grew out of the Florida recount in 2000; and helped overturn a ban on gay marriage in California.
‘But the firm is now trying to move towards a more balanced base. Speaking to the Financial Times last year, Harrison said Boies Schiller “doesn’t just rotate around David now”.
Despite its current woes which has seen Boies Schiller decline almost 40 per cent in gross revenues and with a trimmed profit share for partners, the firm is set for a cash infusion at next year.
A federal judge in Alabama is deciding whether to approve an award of $630 million for the firm and other lawyers who were involved in an antitrust class action lawsuit brought against Blue Cross Shields, with Boies Schiller’s share of the booty being $125 million, being half of the revenue the firm brought in last year.
Meanwhile, London’s newest law star firm will be a new and interesting addition to the legal firmament in London.