Our expertise

We’re global leaders in our field, working with the world’s biggest organisations on their most important cases and deals. How have we built a reputation for excellence across legal disciplines, business sectors and continents? Through an organisation-wide commitment to innovation, a trailblazing expertise in dispute resolution and corporate, and a pioneering approach to our prestigious clients. The work we do and the way we do it means we’re able to make a difference and tackle the important issues. 

Our work covers a variety of different sectors and our trainees are involved in every part of it.

View our insight hub for more

Podcasts

Our work covers a variety of different sectors and our trainees are involved in every part of it. Listen to our podcasts on ground-breaking cases and deals

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Awards

The Times Best Law Firms 2020, 2021 - UK Business, Public and Private-client law
Training Innovation Winner - Legal Innovation Awards 2020
Band 1 Global-wide Litigation Services - Chambers and Partners 2020 - 2021
European Legal Adviser of the Year - IJ Global Awards 2020 - 2021

Digital Innovation

"Innovation has never been simply a buzzword to us – but in our world today it is an absolute necessity"
Justin D'Agostino, CEO

Next-generation lawyers 

Digital change is reshaping the global economy. 

At Herbert Smith Freehills, we focus on how digital innovation responds to and creates growth opportunities in our clients' businesses and in our own business.  

Digital innovation is relevant to all of our clients' businesses, and often brings our clients into fresh areas of collaboration or competition. We enjoy guiding our clients through the challenges of the rapidly-changing digital landscape, and as a result we regularly advise on cutting-edge issues at the intersection of technology and law. 

As a firm, we believe innovation means creating an environment that cultivates new ideas, encourages collaboration across legal and non-legal disciplines and helps us to keep improving how we work with our clients. We partner with our clients to understand and respond to the evolving opportunities and challenges they face in the digital landscape. We embrace digital innovation to transform our own ways of working.

The work we do

Technology and data give our clients myriad opportunities to become more efficient, faster, cheaper and resilient. They also introduce new outcomes and risks which need to be understood and addressed from a legal as well as a commercial perspective.

Realising those benefits requires skilful navigation of often far-reaching, complex legal issues. It demands an analysis of laws that were simply not made for the digital age. We work as one global team to deliver the market-leading expertise that our clients need to succeed. 

Whether in our technology, finance, real estate, employment or tax team, you’ll work across a variety of legal disciplines that break new ground. We invest heavily in you before and after qualification. We provide the resources and environment you need to achieve your full potential, including training and professional development opportunities.

Our cutting-edge digital work includes advising existing large companies and exciting start-ups on: 

  • Blockchain and digital assets, including the establishment and operation of crypto exchanges and the world's first syndicated loan using blockchain technology.
  • Artificial intelligence, including AI-driven drug research, investments into market-leading AI businesses and the ethical use of AI.
  • Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CAV), including the automatic vehicle location system for the London bus network, river service and trams and the digitisation of vehicle data by leading automotive manufacturers. 

See more latest thinking here

The way we work

Digital disruption is changing the shape of the legal industry. 

We take a proactive and adaptive approach to digital change and innovation. We think and work differently to keep pace with technological advances and evolving client needs. Our legal, technical and operational experts work as a single, global multidisciplinary team to develop innovative solutions and enhance the way we work.

Our digital innovations include:

  • 'Smart legal contracts' that automate the performance of contractual obligations by incorporating computer code into contracts, including establishing a collaborative venture with IBM and CSIRO's Data61 to develop blockchain-based infrastructure to run those contracts. 
  • A technology tool to help business owners prove the presence of Covid-19 within a certain distance from their business to support insurance claims made under the "disease clause" of policies, which we teamed up with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to develop.
  • A market-leading decision analysis service based around building sophisticated decision trees derived from legal analysis. We assess the financial implications and probability of case outcomes to quantify legal risks more clearly, helping clients make data-informed strategic decisions.See more latest thinking here

Pro bono & responsible business

Pro bono and responsible business initiatives represent some of our most interesting and impactful projects, covering individuals, charities and national governments. Whether it’s a multi-jurisdictional pro bono legal matter, fundraising for a worthy cause, improving our supply chain, or improving our environmental performance - you’ll have a range of opportunities to get involved in projects that mean something to you.

We treat pro bono as equal to billable client work: to find out more about our work in this area, case studies on our impact and our latest thinking, visit our Pro Bono and Responsible Business pages and watch the video below.

Find out more

Pro Bono and Responsible Business Case

Rebecca, Fair Deal Sierra Leone

Fair Deal Sierra Leone is our flagship international development programme. Our Senior Associate, Rebecca, explains how she partnered with two clients to produce an investor’s guide to the country and become a trusted advisor to the country’s government. Hear how she found the experience of pro bono secondment and why she’d recommend other trainees to get involved in this sort of opportunity. 

Any Questions?

You can view a selection of frequently asked questions about life at the firm and our range of opportunities via the button below.