Herbert Smith Freehills opens new Canary Wharf office

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Firm joins Clifford Chance in ‘Manhattan on the Thames’

Commuters take the escalator at Canary Wharf. Image credit: Ryan Tang for Unsplash

Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) is moving a substantial part of its operations to Canary Wharf, as it opens a new 500-person office in the east London business district.

Fans of HSF’s quirkily stylish Exchange House London headquarters — a ‘building-bridge hybrid’ that sits above the trains coming in and out of Liverpool Street station — will, however, be glad to know that this is to remain the firm’s principal base.

Exchange House. Image credit: Instagram (@totakimateusz)

The new Canary Wharf premises, located on Bank Street, close to rival Clifford Chance, will house a combination of business services staff and members of the firm’s alternative legal services team. The 495 members of staff are currently mostly based in office space in Finsbury Square, close to Moorgate Tube station, a few streets away from Exchange House. This office will close.

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In a statement, HSF chief executive officer Mark Rigotti said:

“This initiative supports our service delivery strategy, in how we innovate and adapt to a changing world and how we deliver services. We are committed to creating a workplace — and a workforce — for the future, empowering our staff to work how they want to work. The choice of Canary Wharf was also heavily influenced by our desire to be close to our clients, with many of our major clients based in Canary Wharf.”

HSF’s other major UK office is in Belfast, where it “near-shores” more routine legal work to a combination of lawyers, legal analysts and e-discovery specialists. In total the firm has 26 offices in 20 different countries, including a major presence in Australia borne out of the 2012 merger between legacy firms Herbert Smith (of London, with offices globally) and Freehills (of Melbourne, Sydney and Perth, and across Asia).

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“Manhattan on Thames”

Well said by someone who’s obviously never come near to Manhattan.




More like ‘slightly more cultured and sophisticated, though similarly awful, sanitised and gauche, but smaller Dubai on Thames’



This is an utter nonstory – HSF are not relocating their HQ to Canary Wharf, they’ve merely opened a boiler room for business support staff.

Nothing to see here folks.



Calm down, nerd



Exchange House isnt “quirkily stylish” inside, it’s in desperate need of modernisation.



Agreed. A Senior Associate at my firm spent almost three years working at the HSF sweatshop, sharing a windowless office with a flatulent partner sitting opposite him.

He has nightmares to this day.


HSF associate

HSF is hell. Stay away.



Little surprise that ‘HSF’ is commonly understood at the Firm to stand for either “Hell Seemed Fine” or “Hell’s Shop Floor”.

Not many last long in that pit.



Been at HSF 4 years and literally never heard those….



Obviously didn’t know the right people then. Mailroom job perchance?


Does not know Katie King

Why would you send your support staff to a place that is not only to a shithole, but also an expensive shithole? What’s in the water at HSF?


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