Melbourne, Australia
Melbourne, Australia ()

Eight partners who quit Herbert Smith Freehills last year to launch White & Case’s new Australia practice will be unable to solicit clients or staff from their former firm until September, according to a decision handed down in the Australian courts earlier today.

New South Wales Supreme Court Justice Robert McDougall agreed with Herbert Smith that the eight former partners joining White & Case should be prohibited from poaching clients for a six-month restraint period, the Australian Financial Review reported Thursday.

But the judge stopped short of preventing the attorneys—Melbourne partners Andrew Clark, Brendan Quinn, Alan Rosengarten, Josh Sgro, Tim Power, Jared Muller and Joanne Draper, and Sydney partner Joel Rennie—from joining the U.S. firm until September.

They will formally join White & Case today, but they can’t work for clients with whom they had had dealings while they were at Herbert Smith Freehills until September 2, in accordance with the terms of their partnership deed.

The partners all resigned from Herbert Smith Freehills on September 1, 2016, with their six-month notice ending yesterday.

Herbert Smith Freehills said in a statement that it was “happy” with the decision.

“Today’s decision prevents the departing partners from joining White & Case as partners, and from soliciting our clients for a six-month period,” the statement said. “These proceedings had the objectives of protecting the firm’s interests, including protecting our valued relationships with clients.”

A White & Case spokesman said the firm was glad that the eight lawyers were able to join the firm. “The firm’s Melbourne office has been active since December 1, 2016 and will continue to operate as normal. The Sydney office will open very shortly and it, too, will be fully operational upon its opening,” he said.

The decision does not apply to the other Herbert Smith Freehills partners hired by White & Case at the same time—former Hong Kong partner Fergus Smith and former Singapore partner Matthew Osborne.

Seyfarth Shaw represented the partners in the case brought against them by their former firm, which could have seen them blocked from working until September.

Herbert Smith Freehills claimed that the departing partners breached seven clauses of the firm’s partnership record and seven clauses of the global LLP members’ agreement. The firm also sought a court order to restrict the new White & Case partners from dealings with former clients.

White & Case has been ambitious in its growth plans globally. Last year it hired the eight partners, as well as Smith and Osborne to launch the firm’s Australian offices in Melbourne and Sydney. Earlier this week, the firm’s new co-head of London M&A, former Clifford Chance partner Patrick Sarch, set out the firm’s plans to take on the magic circle for UK M&A.

Copyright The American Lawyer. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Eight partners who quit Herbert Smith Freehills last year to launch White & Case ’s new Australia practice will be unable to solicit clients or staff from their former firm until September, according to a decision handed down in the Australian courts earlier today.

New South Wales Supreme Court Justice Robert McDougall agreed with Herbert Smith that the eight former partners joining White & Case should be prohibited from poaching clients for a six-month restraint period, the Australian Financial Review reported Thursday.

But the judge stopped short of preventing the attorneys—Melbourne partners Andrew Clark, Brendan Quinn, Alan Rosengarten, Josh Sgro, Tim Power, Jared Muller and Joanne Draper, and Sydney partner Joel Rennie—from joining the U.S. firm until September.

They will formally join White & Case today, but they can’t work for clients with whom they had had dealings while they were at Herbert Smith Freehills until September 2, in accordance with the terms of their partnership deed.

The partners all resigned from Herbert Smith Freehills on September 1, 2016, with their six-month notice ending yesterday.

Herbert Smith Freehills said in a statement that it was “happy” with the decision.

“Today’s decision prevents the departing partners from joining White & Case as partners, and from soliciting our clients for a six-month period,” the statement said. “These proceedings had the objectives of protecting the firm’s interests, including protecting our valued relationships with clients.”

A White & Case spokesman said the firm was glad that the eight lawyers were able to join the firm. “The firm’s Melbourne office has been active since December 1, 2016 and will continue to operate as normal. The Sydney office will open very shortly and it, too, will be fully operational upon its opening,” he said.

The decision does not apply to the other Herbert Smith Freehills partners hired by White & Case at the same time—former Hong Kong partner Fergus Smith and former Singapore partner Matthew Osborne.

Seyfarth Shaw represented the partners in the case brought against them by their former firm, which could have seen them blocked from working until September.

Herbert Smith Freehills claimed that the departing partners breached seven clauses of the firm’s partnership record and seven clauses of the global LLP members’ agreement. The firm also sought a court order to restrict the new White & Case partners from dealings with former clients.

White & Case has been ambitious in its growth plans globally. Last year it hired the eight partners, as well as Smith and Osborne to launch the firm’s Australian offices in Melbourne and Sydney. Earlier this week, the firm’s new co-head of London M&A, former Clifford Chance partner Patrick Sarch, set out the firm’s plans to take on the magic circle for UK M&A.

Copyright The American Lawyer. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.