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Boies Loses Most of London Office as Leader, Lawyers Flee (2)

Jan. 28, 2022, 4:39 PMUpdated: Jan. 28, 2022, 6:14 PM

More than a dozen lawyers are leaving Boies Schiller Flexner’s London office as its outgoing leader prepares to start a rival firm.

The departures include former managing partner Natasha Harrison and several U.K. litigators who have represented Barclays Plc, ING Bank NV, and Siemens AG, among others. Partners Tracey Dovaston, Will Hooker, Fiona Huntriss, Neil Pigott and Matt Getz, and eight other lawyers are among those exiting.

The moves leave two partners—both recently promoted from counsel positions—based full-time in what has been among the firm’s most profitable offices.

“We wish our former colleagues well as they embark on the next phase of their careers,” a Boies Schiller spokeswoman said via email. “We are committed to our London office, which means identifying and bringing in new talent to supplement our existing strengths, but also cultivating a London presence that is better integrated with the firm’s core work and clients.”

It is not clear how many of the departing lawyers will join Harrison’s new firm. She and the other outgoing partners did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Harrison was until last year seen as a likely successor to famed litigator David Boies to run the firm that he founded more than two decades ago with Jonathan Schiller and Don Flexner.

She announced in September that she would step away from her role as a managing partner at the firm, a move that surprised some of her colleagues. In November said she would leave the firm altogether to start her own law practice.

The new firm will focus on litigation work in the financial services sector, Harrison told the Financial Times in September. She said it will also experiment with flexible fee arrangements for clients and performance-based pay models for lawyers.

Harrison joined Boies Schiller to open the firm’s London office in 2013 and is widely credited with increasing revenue there amid an overall downturn as several notable U.S. partners fled the firm in recent years.

Among those departures was Nicholas Gravante, a Manhattan litigator who in late 2019 was tapped along with Harrison as Boies Schiller’s co-managing partners.

David Boies was reelected as Boies Schiller’s chair at the firm’s annual winter meeting. He said in a November interview that the firm’s recently launched Milan, Italy office was part of a pivot away from London operations and investment in international arbitration work.

The firm spokeswoman said Boies Schiller will also focus on arbitration in London, along with antitrust and white collar defense “as we grow our U.K office in the coming months and years.”

(Updated with additional information on remaining London partners.)

To contact the reporter on this story: Chris Opfer in New York at copfer@bloomberglaw.com; Meghan Tribe in New York at mtribe@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: John Hughes at jhughes@bloombergindustry.com