Herbert Smith Freehills > New York, United States > Firm Profile

Herbert Smith Freehills
NEW YORK, NY 10017
United States

Dispute resolution > Product liability, mass tort and class action - defense: consumer products (including tobacco) Tier 2

Co-led from New York by Gregory Loss and Benjamin Rubenstein, Herbert Smith Freehills advises manufacturers of a wide range of consumer products on issues throughout the litigation continuum. The team has also gained acclaim for handling international product liability matters, working well with local counsel to achieve favorable outcomes for clients. This is best exemplified by the work that both Loss and Rubenstein continue to handle for British American Tobacco, with both practitioners providing strategic advice regarding healthcare recoupment lawsuits, as well as other smoking-related matters in a range of countries, including South Korea, Canada and Brazil. Joseph Falcone also excels at handling cross-border product liability litigation, as does senior associate Maxwell Herman, who also has niche expertise in ESG litigation.

Practice head(s):

Benjamin Rubinstein; Gregory Loss

Other key lawyers:

Key clients

British American Tobacco

Samsung SDI Co., Ltd.

Work highlights

  • Acting as counsel for British American Tobacco (BAT), advising several BAT companies in multiple health care recoupment lawsuits in Canada.
  • Advising BAT and Souza Cruz, the largest Brazilian tobacco manufacturer, in defense of a healthcare cost recoupment lawsuit filed in 2019 by the Federal Government of Brazil, as well as advising Souza Cruz on numerous individual product liability suits.
  • Advising BAT Korea in connection with an action brought by the Korean National Health Insurance Service (NHIS) seeking to recoup healthcare costs that NHIS alleges were expended to treat Korean citizens who developed certain smoking-related illnesses.

Dispute resolution > International arbitration Tier 4

Herbert Smith Freehills’ New York-based international arbitration offering is a key pillar in the firm’s global Latin America practice, and it draws on dual-qualified lawyers admitted in Argentina, Ecuador, and Chile, as well as New York. Alongside its Latin America activity, the team stands out for its oil and gas expertise, where it counts global energy majors such as Chevron among its clients. US arbitration head Christian Leathley additionally co-leads the Latin America practice; he successfully represented Andes Petroleum Ecuador in a dispute seeking to recover its 40% share of a $1bn arbitral award. Amal Bouchenaki is recommended for her diverse multi-jurisdictional experience, with an emphasis on Latin America and the MENA region. Florencia Villaggi has left the firm.

Practice head(s):

Christian Leathley; Amal Bouchenaki

Other key lawyers:

Benjamin Guthrie; Daniela Páez


Technically brilliant partners and associates.

Key clients

Saudi Arabian Chevron and Chevron Corporation

Andes Petroleum Ecuador

Republic of Italy

Sigma Constructores

Work highlights

  • Represented Chevron Corporation in its defense against an $18bn sham arbitral award issued against Chevron and Saudi Aramco by a corrupt arbitration center in Egypt.
  • Represented Andes Petroleum Ecuador in an arbitration in which Andes sought to recover its 40% share of a $1bn arbitral award from Occidental Exploration and Production Company.
  • Represented the Republic of Italy in relation to two enforcement actions in the US courts.

Latin America: International firms > International arbitration Tier 2

A genuinely global player in international arbitration, Herbert Smith Freehills' Latin America group is spread across multiple offices - including Frankfurt, Hong Kong and Tokyo - but is primarily led from New York, London, Madrid and Paris. Some 20-lawyers' strong, the practice houses an array of specialists with a sharp focus on the region, many of whom are bilingual and/or native Spanish/Portuguese speakers, and either dual-qualified or licensed to practice in Latin American jurisdictions. With impressive capabilities in both common and civil law, the practice also demonstrates a balance between investment and commercial arbitration, and represents big-name multinationals along with a group of sovereign states. Its headline cases include public international law matters and investment treaty arbitration, with energy and infrastructure being core areas of expertise for the team, along with telecoms and financial services. Heading up the Latin America Group, the deeply experienced Christian Leathley (‘brilliant advocacy and technical legal acumen’) is very much the motor of the arbitral practice and leads the team on the majority of its Latin America disputes' mandates; he relocated to the London office -from New York- in August 2023, but remains US head of international arbitration. Paris-based Thierry Tomasi (‘an excellent lawyer, certainly one of the best within the firm’) brings senior level Portuguese capabilities to the group; he has a fine record in Brazil-related cases. Further senior fire-power is provided by multilingual, Paris and California-qualified Amal Bouchenaki in the New York office, which also houses the bulk of the Latin America-focused associate team - namely seniors Benjamin Guthrie and (Ecuadorian-qualified) Daniela Páez-Salgado, along with Argentina-qualified Lucila Marchini and Chilean-qualified Carlos Hafemann who arrived as a visiting attorney in August 2022.

Practice head(s):

Christian Leathley; Edward Dougherty


I have experienced the team’s work in several cases in Brazil. The partners and associates which I worked with were from Paris, perfectly Portuguese speaking and very efficient. I think that there are very few firms with this ability.

Thierry Tomasi, head of the arbitration practice is an excellent lawyer, certainly one of the best within the firm.

Christian Leathley: brilliant advocacy and technical legal acumen.

Key clients

Andes Petroleum

Work highlights

  • Represented Andes Petroleum Ecuador in recovering its 40% share of a $1.06bn arbitral award from Occidental Exploration and Production Company.

Latin America: International firms > Banking and finance Tier 3

At Herbert Smith Freehills, London-based partner William Breeze’s Latin America banking and finance practice is principally centred on energy, infrastructure and mining financings. Indeed, the firm has a track record in oil-and-gas-sector financings (particularly in Brazil), and has gradually developed a significant presence in Chile’s mining sector. Moreover, it is increasingly recognised for energy-transition transactions, with Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Colombia all among its primary markets. The practice represents a range of lenders and borrowers, has developed particular expertise in advising various Asian lenders on Latin America loans, and has also has cemented a strong connection with the IFC. Edward Dougherty is co-head of the Latin America group and leads the project finance group in New York; he to is particularly well known for his expertise in oil and gas financings.

Practice head(s):

Edward Dougherty

Latin America: International firms > Projects and energy Tier 3

Herbert Smith Freehills has a healthy Latin America projects and energy practice, driven primarily by its New York and London offices. The team is noted for its expertise in energy and mining, particularly in Brazil, Colombia, Argentina and Chile. The firm is also building its presence in energy transition and desalination projects, and generally enjoys a growing reputation in the region through its burgeoning relationship with IFC. Edward Dougherty is co-head of the Latin America group and leads the project finance group in New York. Along with team members in New York and London, Melbourne partner Juan-José Zentner has a major focus on Latin America’s mining sector, particularly in Chile, and is a leading figure in project development and engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) agreements. London partner William Breeze is active in Brazil oil and gas, and offshore financings.

Practice head(s):

Edward Dougherty; Juan-José Zentner

Key clients

Mercuria Energy Trading


China Development Bank

BTG Pactual (Centro de Imagens e Diagnósticos)


IFC and Nubank

Toesca Infraestructura II Fondo de Inversión

STOA Infra & Energy

Work highlights

  • Advised the Puerto Antioquia Project sponsors in connection with all aspects of the mezzanine financing provided by GIP Caps Antioquia Luxco for the development of the project.
  • Advised IFC on the New York law governed $150m A/B loan facility for Nubank Colombia, guaranteed by its Cayman Islands-based parent holding company Nu Holdings.
  • Advised IFC on the English law governed $225m A/B loan facility and ING Bank on the English law governed $50m loan facility to the Louis Dreyfus Company for on-lending to farmers in Brazil, structured as green loans aimed at reducing deforestation in the Amazon and Cerrado biomes in Brazil.    

Latin America: International firms > Corporate and M&A Tier 5

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP has a considerable track record of energy, oil and gas, and mining transactions in Latin America. London partner Laura Hulett has advised on a multitude of cross-border hydrocarbons and renewables investments into Brazil, including Mercuria Energy Group’s debt and minority equity investments in international oil investment business Seacrest Petróleo to facilitate the company's acquisitions of the Cricare and Norte Capixaba onshore oil assets in Brazil. Hulett previously advised on a series of deals connected to Petrobras’s divestment programme. In New York, Edward Dougherty is best known for project finance, although he to has worked on a number of oil-and-gas M&A transactions in the region.

Herbert Smith Freehills is one of the world’s leading law firms, bringing together the best people across 27 offices. The firm’s New York office comprises seasoned litigators, international arbitration specialists, project finance, and projects and infrastructure practitioners. The team’s experience is broad-based and encompasses a variety of sectors, with notable expertise in financial services, energy and consumer products.

The corporate crime, investigations and compliance team is experienced in all areas of law connected with bribery and corruption, fraud, money laundering, insider trading, cartels, and other types of white-collar crime. The firm’s lawyers act for corporate clients, financial institutions and senior management in respect of actions by law enforcement agencies across multiple jurisdictions. The team also has extensive experience in advising clients regarding compliance with US economic sanctions.

The firm’s international arbitration team consists of specialists qualified to practice in New York, England, France and Singapore, and has experience with all of the major international arbitration rules and seats. The team has extensive experience with investor-state arbitration representations, having advised both investors and governments in a number of high-profile, complex and sensitive investment treaty arbitrations. Additionally, the team provides high-quality legal advice on the most complex of commercial arbitrations under a broad spectrum of laws from both civil and common law systems and under the rules of all major institutions, as well as numerous ad hoc arbitrations.

The firm’s complex litigation team counsels clients on a wide variety of US and cross-border matters, including commercial disputes, class actions, consumer fraud, and product liability matters. Its lawyers have been at the forefront of product liability and consumer fraud litigation for decades. They have represented product manufacturers and sellers on a global basis, across a number of high-profile cases during all stages of litigation, from initial pleadings and discovery through trials and appeals. The team also defends multinational corporations in federal and state class actions, including consumer class actions grounded in statutory and common law theories of liability.

The New York office serves as the firm’s center of excellence for its Latin America practice, with a focus on disputes and major infrastructure projects in the energy, transport and mining sectors. The firm’s Latin America group comprises an experienced international team and includes native Spanish and Portuguese speakers and lawyers from Latin America who have worked in private practice, in-house and governmental institutions.

Number of Partners : 11
Number of Other Fee-Earners : 28
Managing Partner : Scott S Balber