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Steady global growth for Reed Smith outpaces a subdued year in the City

Reed Smith produced a comparatively muted showing in the City last year, with global revenues seeing the more meaningful gains.

London saw revenue creep up 3.3% from $208.2m to $215m as global turnover almost doubled the City’s growth rate with an increase of 6% to $1.247bn, compared to 5% growth last year. Firmwide profit per equity partner was up almost 5%, reaching $1.32m compared to $1.26m last year.

Meanwhile, the firm’s total lawyer count in the City was up 4.4% to 314. The headcount increase partly explains the minor 1.3% dip in revenue per lawyer (RPL) in London to $684,000 while global RPL saw a slight 2.3% uptick to $778,000.

‘We had a terrific 2019, all the key metrics are the highest on record,’ Reed Smith global managing partner Sandy Thomas told Legal Business. ‘We’re a diverse and hedged business so it was a balanced contribution across the firm.’

Overall headcount at the firm was up just under 4%, with 1602 lawyers currently at the firm compared to 1544 in 2018. Reed Smith also started 2020 in an expansionist mood, opening its fifth European office in Brussels following the hire of five partners to its corporate group.

‘In 2019 in the spring we opened up for business in Dallas. We’re up to 32 lawyers there and it’s exceeded even our most optimistic expectations,’ Thomas added. ‘We’ve been in Brussels a month and it’s very deliberate when we have an expansion. Right now we are focused on integrating these capabilities in our new markets.’

Late last year the firm also made good on plans to secure an alternative business structure licence from the Solicitors Regulation Authority, though denied the move was part of a play to pursue an initial public offering.