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HSF shrugs off Covid concerns to reward staff with bonus as new senior partner is unveiled

After posting resilient financial results  in the wake of the pandemic, Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) has recognised the efforts of staff worldwide by gifting everyone a 5% bonus at the same time as announcing its new senior partner, Rebecca Maslen-Stannage.

In a statement, HSF chief executive Justin D’Agostino said: ‘The firm is performing well so far this year. In recognition of that, we will be paying all staff globally a one-off financial payment of 5 per cent of salary, payable in March. I am delighted that all our people will be sharing in our good performance. This is an acknowledgement of their dedication and hard work, in the face of the tremendous disruption and challenges experienced in the last year. This special payment is made in addition to our usual 2021 bonus round.’

The firm has also lifted salary freezes in ‘some jurisdictions’ to ‘recognise promotions for both lawyers and business services and progression for lawyers’. These revised salaries were effective from 1 January, 2021. HSF’s standard salary review cycle will also recommence this year.

The bonus is another indicator that the international legal profession has coped well with the Covid-19 pandemic. For HSF, the signs were already positive when in July last year the firm closed in on £1bn in turnover after a 2.5% rise in revenues.

And other Global 100 firms have shown resilience in the new year, with Reed Smith unveiling in February a healthy 5% growth in turnover and robust 16% uptick in profit per equity partner (PEP).

Among the key mandates that have driven growth for HSF in the last year, the firm represented the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the high-profile Covid-19 business interruption insurance case  and also won a lucrative place on Sainsbury’s new panel of legal advisers .

Also this week, HSF announced the results of its senior partner elections, elevating Australia-based partner Rebecca Maslen-Stannage as successor to London’s James Palmer. After winning the partnership vote, M&A partner Maslen-Stannage, who has acted as the firm’s deputy senior partner since 2015, will begin her four-year term on 1 May 2021. Palmer, who enjoyed six years in the role, will return to full-time client practice.

D’Agostino added: ‘Rebecca is uniquely qualified for this role. She has always excelled as a dynamic and inspirational leader. I look forward to working closely with her to realise the firm’s ambitions.’

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