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Reed Smith adds 10% to European headcount with hire of 50 lawyers from KWM

Reed Smith has hired what is understood to be the largest group of lawyers from collapsed legacy SJ Berwin in a move which adds 10% to its European headcount.

The US firm has hired 50 fee-earners, including 17 partners, three counsel, 22 associates, one jurist and seven trainees, nine other support staff.

In London, the firm hired financial regulatory partners David Calligan, Tim Dolan, Tamasin Little and Adrian Brown, corporate partners Delphine Currie and Mark Sanders, private equity partner Laura Brunnen and tax partner Gareth Amdor.

The former KWM financial services regulatory team led by Calligan advises banks, funds, real estate, private equity and retail banking, as well as advising on structured finance matters.

In Paris, Reed Smith is joined by seven partners including competition and antitrust partners Marc Lévy and Natasha Tardif, tax partners Sylvie Vansteenkiste, Fanny Combourieu and Raphaël Béra and corporate and private equity partners Guilain Hippolyte and Pierre-Louis Périn.

In Germany, Reed Smith will be joined by competition and antitrust partner Tilman Siebert (in Munich) and litigation partner Francis Bellen (in Frankfurt). According to the firm, the two teams will work closely together on major cartel damages cases and other contentious competition matters, representing global corporates, financial institutions and private equity houses.

The partners and their teams are expected to join the firm on Monday 23 January and follow several lawyers and business services personnel who have already joined the firm on Monday 16 January. The 50-strong group represent many of the same clients as Reed Smith, and the teams are understood to bring with them clients ‘in the multiple double digits’.

‘It is a mutually rewarding opportunity,’ said Tamara Box, managing partner for Europe and the Middle East.

Box added: ‘These teams recognised that our global platform, strong collegiate culture, and high quality client base were a good fit for them.’

The US firm had been in discussions with the partners for a few weeks and has been through ‘robust internal processes’ since early December, before KWM filed a notice to appoint administrators on December 22.

‘We found these KWM partners really stood out in the process as being very collaborative and team oriented, having clearly built sustainable businesses within their teams by working really well together. That was ultimately what helped us hone in on them, alongside the fact that they stood head and shoulders above others in terms of advancing our strategic priorities,’ said Box.

She also explained that partners were independent in the process, all pursuing opportunities at various firms. Reed Smith’s conversations with KWM were more about smooth transition of work and clients.

‘It was a pretty opaque process, but we are aware that partners had independent conversations with other firms both within and outside of the process. We believe every single partner had other offers, and in most cases multiple offers,’ Box added.

Read more: ‘Outside the Box: Can Reed Smith’s new Euro heads take the firm’s London practice to the next level?’