Herbert Smith, Gleiss & Stibbe to formally terminate alliance at year end

Herbert Smith and its alliance partners Gleiss Lutz and Stibbe have formally confirmed the termination of their partnership today (22 December), to take effect from the close of this year. The three firms will end their alliance agreement on 31 December 2011, with a view to winding down their joint marketing and branding as soon as possible, the firms said in a statement today.

It is understood that the one-year non-compete clause included in the alliance agreement still stands.

It is also understood that Herbert Smith will not open an office in Germany until 2013 at the earliest.

The firms' statement said: "Herbert Smith, Gleiss Lutz and Stibbe confirmed today that their alliance will be formally terminated with effect from 31 December 2011.

"The three firms intend to maintain the strong relationships formed over the ten years that the alliance has been operating. The termination will not affect those clients whose matters are jointly handled by the firms, who will continue to work together on a non-exclusive basis."

Herbert Smith first announced its withdrawal from the alliance with its European partners last month in the wake of its failed merger bid with the two firms. The move came less than a week after partners at Germany's Gleiss and Benelux firm Stibbe decided against pursuing a merger with Herbert Smith at meetings held over the weekend of 19-20 November.

The news follows plans outlined by Herbert Smith earlier this month to launch a base in New York next year to focus on international arbitration, investigations and cross-border disputes.

In an internal note to staff, senior partner Jonathan Scott also said that the firm will look to to open in Francophone Africa, Korea and Germany.

Authored by Suzi Ring, Legal Week and as published on December 22, 2011.