Ben Rigby reports, that Natasha Harrison has showed her efficiency as she gets into a new venture.
Among the characters in the Marvel blockbuster Eternals is Thena, played by Angelina Jolie, who possesses unstoppable martial skills and is indefatigable in her quest for victory over her CGI-generated enemies. Her skills combine to defeat a foe of countless power as part of a team from which victory is assured.
It is no coincidence that Thena is based on the Greek goddess Pallas Athena, legendary for her wisdom and war. Pallas Partners is the name of a new law firm in London that has been receiving lots of press attention lately.
Natasha Harrison, who led the launch and expansion of Boies Schiller Flexner's London office, of late could succeed David Boies as chair of the New York office, Harrison launched the breakaway practice.
Pallas has 27 employees, including five partners, who were employees of Boies Schiller. The former firm is left with a team consisting of two newly-merged partners and an associate on the ground in London.
On Tuesday, the firm finally launched its website and video in moody greys and aquamarines, to complement a bronze statue of Pallas Athena in the firm's stylish offices in the City, following a series of trailers in the national press.
There was no shortage of confidence during the launch. In her speech, Harrison talked about "challenging the status quo", "leveraging winning strategies" and "shifting the focus towards delivering value to our clients and mitigating risk for our firm".
According to her, Pallas presents an opportunity to rewrite the rule book with an innovative, custom-built solution that is imaginative by existing protocols and historic processes to craft a truly unique offering.
In addition, she promised that the company would promote diversity and inclusion while promoting the ESG agenda within "an empowering culture".
According to the firm, around 100 clients have migrated to the firm, and the firm is currently representing note holders in Proindicus Mozambique litigation against Credit Suisse and representing Greensill investors in a class action.
According to Harrison, there is a need for conflict-free dispute resolution in the market. In addition to litigation, arbitration and investigations, the firm will concentrate on commercial disputes.
Pallas is, according to GLP, working closely with litigation funders and offering clients a range of flexible fee mandates, rather than requiring hourly billing.
Regardless of a client's needs, the firm will work with them to devise a pricing structure that best suits their needs, whether it be a traditional mandate or a damages-based agreement. Pricing analysts will be hired to assist with devising these, while portfolio-based approaches will be used when working with litigation funders.
Nonetheless, the firm will not accept employment and family law cases, nor will it accept certain types of real estate law cases, choosing instead to concentrate on practices in which the existing partnership is well versed.
In light of Harrison's latest venture, it's hard to imagine how it could have achieved more success. Likewise, it is apparent that there is no rancour surrounding her departure on either side.
New York firm issued a detailed and measured statement upon learning of the mass defections, wishing the team well and promising to rebuild the office. Moreover, Pallas will co-counsel a few ongoing cases with Boies Schiller, according to Harrison.
It appears that there has been an enduring bond between Harrison and her mentor Boies since the year she left Bingham McCutcheon in 2013 to establish the office, despite the firm's strong focus on pragmatism.
Having subsequently grown the firm to post revenue of £18.6m in 2020, an increase of 5percent, Harrison's move to Boies Schiller became a watershed moment in her career.
Covid-19 had an immediate effect on dampening disputes over money and the mothership was experiencing turmoil due to a wave of partner defections in a process it described as a repositioning, so this performance was very commendable.
A number of big names were hired by Harrison during her tenure, including Wendy Miles QC and Kenneth Beale of Wilmer Hale, Dominic Roughton of Herbert Smith Freehills, as well as Matt Getz of Debevoise & Plimpton.
There were only two partners left on that roster at the time of Getz's departure, but the commitment of Tracey Dovaston, Fiona Huntriss, Will Hooker and Neil Pigott, who moved with her brings in no surprise.
In 2017, she sponsored Huntriss to become a partner - a former in-house counsel at Barclays who is experienced in litigation, restructuring and insolvency matters - and she helped Dovaston move from in-house to a partner position at the firm.
After joining the firm in 2016, Hooker was appointed as a partner in 2017, building on the opportunities Miles, Roughton, and Harrison provided to him. Upon joining the office in 2016, Getz developed the investigations practice. During Piggott's time as a Senior In-House Compliance Manager, he gained insolvency and special situations expertise while working with US and UK law firms.
Harrison is now regarded as the face of Boies Schiller's dispute resolution practice; not only someone who embodied the firm's values, but someone who set a setting for others to follow as a woman who raised her team to a level she achieved.
In a LinkedIn post, veteran legal marketer Liz Whitaker referred to this as "A living and breathing example of how people buy from people (and how they work for people), and they always will."
In the meantime, Harrison's former firm must undertake a considerable refurbishment process in London. A source with knowledge of the matter tells GLP that Boies will seek to make up for those lost to London with targeted hires. In that firmament, London's place makes further recruitment crucial, for example, international arbitration remains a focus of the firm.
Pallas Partners, however, has every attention for now. Despite the high expectations Harrison has set for herself, she has played her hand well so far. It seems likely that the film will be a blockbuster.