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‘Careful and diligent’: Reed Smith re-appoints global managing partner Thomas in uncontested election

Reed Smith has re-elected its global managing partner Alexander ‘Sandy’ Thomas for another three-year term following an uncontested election.

The partnership vote drew to a close on 9 June and the firm confirmed his election this month, as he formally started his four-year tenure. Thomas has been managing partner of the firm for four years.

Washington DC-based Thomas joined Reed Smith in 1999 and was previously global chair of Reed Smith’s litigation group for two years, leading 850 lawyers across 25 offices. He took over as head of the US firm in late 2013, initially for one year, after longstanding Greg Jordan quit halfway through his term to become general counsel of PNC Financial Services.

Thomas is Reed Smith’s 11th managing partner in the firm’s 140-year history. The firm now has over 1,700 lawyers and 27 offices worldwide. During Thomas’ last term, Reed Smith opened offices in Frankfurt in 2015, Singapore in 2016 and Miami this year.

In Europe, the firm also took on more than 50 lawyers from King & Wood Mallesons (KWM) to its London, Frankfurt, Munich and Paris offices this year, adding 10% to its European headcount.

Thomas told Legal Business that last year the firm developed ‘very carefully and diligently’ a four-year plan ‘specific to client and profit growth’.

He said the plan continued to focus on the firm’s key industry groups – financial industry, life sciences and healthcare, media and entertainment, energy and natural resources and shipping – and a particular set of clients from the five sectors: ‘we have a rigorous targeting exercise designed to draw us closer to them, and our profit growth objectives’.

‘We also continue to focus on increasing New York arbitration work in Latin America, Asia -particularly Singapore – and increasing transactional work in the US,’ Thomas added.

In Europe, the firm moved to a new location in Paris’ Trocadero area in June this year to accommodate the increase in headcount with additions from Winston and Strawn and KWM, and according to Thomas will be looking to strengthen in Germany.

Reed Smith’s latest financial results this February revealed a revenue fall for the second consecutive year in 2016 by 4% to $1.08bn from $1.12bn. At the time the firm said this was the result of managing down headcount by 81 lawyers over the year. Last year’s PEP was marginally up by $5m to $1.11m, as revenue per lawyer (RPL) rose by nearly 1% from $694,000 to $700,000.