The new business, launched today (3 October), will be headed up by the firm’s director of learning and development, Chris O’Callaghan, and will initially focus on Middle Eastern, Asian and Australian clients.
O’Callaghan is currently the only permanent member of staff overseeing the new arm, but relevant partners or business services professionals will be pulled in to advise on certain client matters.
It will offer advice to clients on a broad range of issues, including training programme design, talent management, cyber security, executive coaching, team building, risk, benchmarking, public relations and reputation management.
The firm said it had been providing ad hoc consulting services to ‘several clients for more than a year’ and therefore the new business was simply formalising what it was already doing.
O’Callaghan told Legal Business: ‘It’s true that a lot of firms are looking at doing something like this at the moment, but for us this is the right opportunity to add value to the client relationships we have, particularly outside of Europe where the markets are more mature.’
HFW senior partner, Richard Crump, added: ‘Clients know that we understand their business and their sector, and trust us to provide commercial as well as legal advice. Broadening those relationships to include consulting services is a natural next step, and means that we are even better able to provide clients with the best and most commercially effective advice possible.’
With the launch, HFW has become the latest firm to move into non-legal business, with City outfit Mishcon de Reya announcing last month it had created a brand management arm.
The new business, which Mishcon claimed was the first of its kind to be launched by a ‘leading’ UK law firm, offers advice on brand licensing, IP strategy and reputation management.
To lead the new arm, Mishcon hired Daniel Avener, formerly the chief executive of brand management group CAA/GBG.