Allen & Overy hires David Herlihy from Skadden With the arrival of an investor-state disputes specialist, the UK Magic Circle firm continues to expand globally With the hiring of David Herlihy from Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom, Allen & Overy (A&O) teams up with a leading specialist in investor-state dispute settlement (ISDA) and public international arbitration,...
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Allen & Overy hires David Herlihy from Skadden
With the arrival of an investor-state disputes specialist, the UK Magic Circle firm continues to expand globally
With the hiring of David Herlihy from Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom, Allen & Overy (A&O) teams up with a leading specialist in investor-state dispute settlement (ISDA) and public international arbitration, bridging the gap between traditional and innovative arbitrations.
A&O has just hired Herlihy, who joins their Shoreditch headquarters as a partner after twenty years at Skadden – nine of those as a partner. Herlihy will initially split his time between London and Dublin, pending regulatory approvals.
Adding him to the A&O arbitration roster will significantly enhance its international arbitration capabilities. Along with his ISDS practice, he will bring considerable sectoral experience to A&O, including expertise in energy, telecoms and technology, which are all important areas for the boutique firm.
Along with his commercial arbitration and ISDS expertise, Herlihy also handles high-stakes arbitrations relating to international tax and competition law, which is also in line with A&O's wider scope of services.
As an example, he successfully represented Vodafone in its long-running dispute with India regarding a $5.5 billion tax liability and Next Era in its tax dispute with Spain over the Energy Charter Treaty, which resulted in a €300 million arbitration award. Also in recent years, he has been representing Cyprus in ISDS cases worth $1 billion stemming from the global financial crisis and regularly advising South Sudan on investor-state matters.
Although his work in ISDS has drawn less attention, Herlihy has acted in important ICC, UNCITRAL and LCIA cases, as well as associated enforcement actions and satellite litigation, including in offshore disputes. Herlihy's work was critical to Skadden's defense of Sibir Energy's £1bn claim against Skadden's former client Roman Abramovich, Sibneft and others in the 2005 BVI.
The lawyer is treble-qualified in London, Dublin and New York and has experience representing clients in the UK, EU, India and Africa, as well as representing clients in Spanish-language disputes in Europe and Latin America.
Herlihy has been a member of ICC task forces dealing with investor-state arbitration, which is in direct connection with ICC arbitration. During his time at Skadden, he served as the firm's graduate recruitment partner for London and a member of its diversity committee and European LGBTQ Affinity Network, among other roles.
Matthew Gearing QC, A&O's former co-head of international arbitration, quit the firm in 2021 to join Fountain Court Chambers as an arbitrator and advocate. Herlihy's appointment at the firm compensates for Gearing's departure. In joining Gearing's successor, Mark Levy QC, as well as Kate Davies McGill QC, the 2022 silk and young partners like James Freeman and Suzanne Spears, he will join a wealth of experience and resources.
As part of a series of lateral hires, the firm's arbitration department is looking to expand its global reach. A year later, it hired Gaela Gehring Flores from Arnold & Porter in Washington DC and Jenner & Block's Patrick Pearsall from Jenner & Block in 2020. Hong Kong and Slovakia were added to its arbitration partners in 2021.
Market sources point out, however, that Herlihy is the most significant arbitral arrival to appear in A&O's equity so far, which would boost not only the firm's growing Americas practice but also its London office.
"This hire by David shows our dedication to expanding our international arbitration practice so that we can continue to serve our clients as they resolve their most complex disputes," Levy said. " I am looking forward to working with him in the future."
Among other recent hires including that of Norton Rose Fulbright's Michael Godden and RPC's Andy McGregor, Karen Seward added, "David is a highly successful and well-respected international arbitrator, with an established practice", highlighting his particular sectoral and regional expertise in addition to that of his peers.
The values and priorities we share with David, including his focus on collaboration and interest in diversity and inclusion, correspond perfectly to ours.
Skadden's head of international arbitration, David Kavanagh QC, expressed his regret at seeing his colleague depart and understood his reason for relocating to Dublin with Allen & Overy for family reasons.