Barbara Roth, a partner at Herbert Smith Freehills/courtesy photo

Barbara Roth has joined the Anglo-Australian firm Herbert Smith Freehills in New York as a partner after leading the global employment practice at Hogan Lovells for nearly a decade.

While Roth will not have an official leadership title at her new firm, the veteran partner plans to build the international firm’s employment practice in the United States. The firm’s New York office, with more than 40 lawyers and the lone outpost in the U.S., lists no employment lawyers. The firm, which is co-headquartered in the U.K. and in Australia, has nearly 70 employment lawyers globally, ranging from Europe to Africa to Australia, according to its website.

In an interview, Roth said building the employment practice in the U.S. would entail recruiting partners and also drawing on existing internal resources for her U.S. clients. Those clients are primarily in the financial services industry, she said.

“It is a very interesting opportunity because the firm is building on strength,” Roth said. “And building is fun, but in this case, there is such a strong platform and such a strong reputation and such a strong client base, such excellent professionals of the highest quality that it’s exciting and also challenging to expand in the United States.”

A Chicagoan who earned her law degree from DePaul University College of Law, Roth was formerly a journalist who worked at the Chicago Sun-Times, The New York Times and the National Law Journal. She also briefly taught journalism at Northwestern University, she said in an interview.

Before joining Hogan & Hartson in 2006, Roth was a partner at Haythe & Curley, which merged with Canadian firm Torys in 1999. She became the employment practice leader at Hogan Lovells in 2010, when the firm was created through the merger of Hogan & Hartson and U.K.-based Lovells.

In hopping from Hogan Lovells to Herbert Smith Freehills, Roth will be joining another large international firm that grew as a result of a merger nearly a decade ago. Herbert Smith and Australia’s Freehills tied the knot in 2012.

Roth, who was connected to Herbert Smith Freehills through a recruiter, said she wanted to join a firm with a strong international presence, since most of her clients are headquartered or have offices outside of the U.S.

“There are similarities there,” Roth said of Hogan Lovells and Herbert Smith Freehills. “One of the things that was very appealing to me about HSF is the firm has a really strong commitment to the employment practice. That is a very important thing.”

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