Legal Business Blogs

The comeback kid: Return to form as Reed Smith hikes London revenue 18% to $222m

Reed Smith has bolstered City revenue by 18% to $222m amid a reversal of fortune which has seen global revenue rise for the second year running after a disappointing spell.

Global turnover increased 5% to $1.17bn after the Pittsburgh-bred firm last year bounced back following two consecutive years of decline, increasing its top line by 4% to $1.12bn in 2017.

The figures for 2018/19 show a 7% uptick in profit per equity partner (PEP) to $1.26m from $1.17m last year. Revenue per lawyer saw a 5% increase to $761k while overall lawyer headcount inched forward by 0.4%.

‘There’s been a variety of factors at work in the last year, the key one is we have been carrying out sophisticated matters and our lawyers are working hard,’ Reed Smith global managing partner Sandy Thomas told Legal Business. ‘We’re growing now because we had a strategy and a plan in place, and some of the investments we made from three or four years ago have now come online.’

There was a balanced contribution towards growth from all practice areas, according to Thomas, though the firm’s transactional practice enjoyed a standout year while the disputes practice gained momentum throughout 2018. The investment in a 50-strong team from King & Wood Mallesons in 2017 for its London, Frankfurt, Paris and Munich offices has also started to make returns for the firm.

However the year was not without its drawbacks. A #MeToo episode emerged at Reed Smith late last year when a partner was dismissed following a complaint of sexual harassment.

Thomas was also keen to stress the success of the firm’s Leeds efficiency hub. Launched in April last year, the low cost legal services centre was modelled on its successful centre in Pittsburgh.

‘We have significant momentum going into 2019,’ Thomas concluded. ‘There’s a pipeline full of important matters.’