Legal Business

Reed Smith taps Macfarlanes for fund finance head in rare departure from City blueblood

Reed Smith taps Macfarlanes for fund finance head in rare departure from City blueblood

Macfarlanes has seen a rare partner exit as investment fund finance group leader Bronwen Jones quit the City stalwart after 14 years for Reed Smith.

The first lateral hire from the firm since head of competition Marc Israel left for White & Case in November 2016 , Jones left last Friday (23 February) and is expected to start at Reed Smith’s London fund finance group in early April.

Her clients include Partners Group and Ares Capital, and she has also acted for retail banks such as RBS and Lloyds – mutual clients with Reed Smith’s London head of funds financing Leon Stephenson.

Jones joined Macfarlanes in January 2004 from Kirkland & Ellis, where she had relocated the year before after three years in New York. She was involved in setting up Macfarlanes’ debt finance practice, but the firm will not look to replace her.

Speaking to Legal Business, Reed Smith financial industry group vice-chair Nola Beirne described Jones’s hire as ‘taking the group to the next stage’. ‘Bronwen is a highly-respected name in the industry and has an established reputation. Her hire is part of our strategy of continuing to build out our funds practice.’

Commenting on the rationale behind Jones’ move, a partner at Reed Smith also stressed that the US-bred firm’s international reach would give Jones a better platform to service American funds.

While defections are rare for Macfarlanes, the firm has lost a few high-profile names to US firms over the years. Along with White & Case’s hire of Marc Israel, Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan recruited its financial service head David Berman in September 2016.

Macfarlanes is known for its resistance towards overseas expansion, a strategy which has so far paid off for a firm which has increased its top line 64% to £167.6m over the last five years and remains one of the most profitable in the UK. Its only base outside London, Brussels, launched at the beginning of 2017 to serve as a base for the competition team it hired from King & Wood Mallesons’ ailing European arm.

The firm recently announced that long-time senior partner Charles Martin will step down in April 2020, when private client partner Sebastian Prichard Jones will step in to the role.

As for Reed Smith, the hire of Jones follows the departure of a three-partner Paris tax team to DLA Piper just over a year after they joined the firm from KWM.

Legal Business

Women deal stars: perspectives – Tamara Box, Reed Smith

Women deal stars: perspectives – Tamara Box, Reed Smith

‘My career has been a tale of reinvention and creativity.

I have been very lucky in that I have worked on three continents. I started in New York as a corporate finance lawyer in the traditional sense, then transferred to Singapore where younger lawyers did a bit of everything: investment funds, LBOs, JV finance, capital markets.

I came to London to establish Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe’s London office in 1997 – when securitisation was taking off. Post-financial crisis I had to reinvent myself even further. I handled some of the restructuring work coming out of that. I joined Reed Smith in 2012 to start their structured finance practice.

Men and women alike think of leaders as having certain characteristics, which are often male. We think of leaders as charismatic, a bit arrogant and slightly dogmatic: these are all characteristics that are regarded as attractive in men but extremely unattractive in women.

For women it’s much less obvious that the most talented will always succeed. We promote men on potential, women on performance.

As long as managers are male, there is the tendency to bring people on that are alike to them. It is only natural. The opportunity for women to be put into management has been narrower: that’s just the society we have been educated in.

For me it was a combination of passion and incredibly hard work – I am a workaholic, but it comes from a passion so that’s where I was lucky. I had great mentorship and people who believed in me and pushed me when I was not able to push myself.

Some of the bias we talk about also works against men: they feel it is expected from them to be proper leaders. There are a lot of identity issues. Women have the leeway to say: “You know what? I am opting out!” and they can go and do something else.

So many fantastic female lawyers have left law and launched incredibly successful businesses, or left to go in-house where they have also been very successful. They moved in-house to have a little more of a balanced life and got promoted. So law firms now have women as clients and are asked to provide diverse teams – it is changing because of this.

We now have so many more female managing partners, an exciting change going on in the industry. Having a female manager is now a much more normal occurrence.’

Tamara Box is managing partner for Europe and Middle East Reed Smith and highlighted in ‘Alphas’ Legal Business’ current cover feature on the City’s outstanding women lawyers (£)

Interview by Marco Cillario.

Legal Business

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

‘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.

Legal Business

Revolving doors: Reed Smith, Haynes and Boone hire in London, K&L Gates in Washington

Revolving doors: Reed Smith, Haynes and Boone hire in London, K&L Gates in Washington

Law firms have continued to grow their London ranks, with Reed Smith and Haynes and Boone LLP hiring in the City, while K&L Gates boosted its Washington office.

Reed Smith appointed Petar Orlic as a partner in its real estate group in London. He joined from US firm Faegre Baker Daniels where he was head of real estate.

Orlic’s practice focuses on commercial real estate acquisitions and developments, real estate finance, and real estate management in the UK and across Europe.

Reed Smith’s chair of the global real estate group, Joe Sarcinella, said that Orlic fits ‘perfectly with the strategy’ of its real estate group’ to work cohesively with lawyers across its global network and broaden the scope of its practice’.

Radcliffe was a director in EY’s fraud investigation & dispute services practice in London. His practice focuses on advising clients in complex, cross-border litigation and arbitration, often involving CIS and Russian clients.

Haynes and Boone launched a corporate practice in London with a double partner hire, having formed its City base through a merger with London-headquartered Curtis Davis Garrard in June 2016.

Tom Ferns and Nick Foss-Pedersen joined Haynes and Boone from Rosenblatt Solicitors. Ferns was Rosenblatt’s head of corporate. The two focus on M&A, including public and private acquisitions, IPOs and equity fundraisings, among other matters.

Haynes and Boone’s managing partner Tim Powers said the double hire was ‘a promise kept in terms with our firm’s commitment to build significant corporate strength in the UK legal market to support their global needs’.

In Washington, energy partner Elias Hinckley joined K&L Gates from Sullivan & Worcester, where he led the energy group. He specialises in complex and innovative energy financing and transaction structures, including tax equity financing and project finance, with a focus on clean energy.

Legal Business

Q&A: Reed Smith’s new global arbitration head on the transition from a Miami litigation boutique to an international firm

Q&A: Reed Smith’s new global arbitration head on the transition from a Miami litigation boutique to an international firm

Reed Smith‘s new head of international arbitration following the firm’s recent Miami merger with Astigarraga Davis, José Astigarraga (pictured), discusses his plans at Reed Smith and the future of international arbitration with Georgiana Tudor.

Why Reed Smith, and how did you find the transition from your own boutique to a large international firm?

Before the boutique, I was with a bigger law firm, Steel Hector, so I’m no stranger to a large practice. But it really is a different world – I knew the personal story of each of our people and now I’m walking around wondering which floor I’m supposed to find my new colleagues on.

The resources here at Reed Smith are outstanding, they really are eye-opening. The other reason for joining Reed Smith was the ability to reach across markets. There is a limit to what you can do as a boutique, and we saw opportunities at Reed Smith to serve clients with our joint skill-set which we really could not otherwise pursue.

How many other firms did you speak to before deciding on Reed Smith?

We had discussions with multiple firms, and we had an abundance of opportunities. The main reaction I have encountered from clients, peers and friends when we decided to merge with Reed Smith was ‘holy cow, we did not see this coming’. Our boutique’s philosophy was ‘the power of focus’ – and that did reflect in what we did.

Tell me about your plans for international arbitration at Reed Smith, as global chair. Is growth on the horizon?

As I looked at Reed Smith, I saw it as a truly exciting opportunity to help the firm enhance its brand in international arbitration. In great measure, that excellent arbitration capability is within the firm’s five industry groups. What Reed Smith is looking for and we are in the process of doing, is aligning all that and putting it together in a way that permits us to have an expanded offering and consistency across geographies both within and without the five sectors. 

Is much of the US practice transferrable to London/Europe, and how do you plan to work with those outside of the US?

One of the great things about international arbitration is not being limited by a certain geography – we practice all over the world. Having said that, the ‘localisation of international arbitration’ and the segmentation of the market have started. In Latin America, there is phenomenal arbitration on the ground and you need the local knowledge and expertise to serve the client well, alongside the international knowledge.

Are you worried about Trump’s approach to arbitration, and how do you see his policy playing out in the market?

There are two worlds, one is international commercial arbitration another is investor state arbitration. The big debate in Europe and the world, related to public investor-state arbitration disputes, is that people ask ‘why should these private citizens be deciding things that could have millions of dollars of impact on the public purse if the investor wins?’ While the Trump administation has expressed views regarding trade agreements, I have not seen a clear explanation of its views on investor-state arbitration. Trump’s policy has not yet reached the granular level in terms of how arbitration will work. It is too early to tell what will be the fate of arbitration as we know it as a method of solving disputes between the investor and the state.

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

Legal Business

News in brief – May 2017

News in brief – May 2017


Pinsent Masons has launched in Madrid, the firm’s third international office in less than a year. The new office comprises six partners, four from local Madrid firm Ramón y Cajal Abogados. The firm has also hired from contractor OHL and promoted a Pinsents associate to partner.

Legal Business

‘A natural fit’: Reed Smith takes Chadbourne Moscow managing partner Baev ahead of NRF merger

‘A natural fit’: Reed Smith takes Chadbourne Moscow managing partner Baev ahead of NRF merger

Following its recent agreement to combine with Norton Rose Fulbright to create a $2bn firm, Chadbourne & Parke has lost the head of its Moscow office, Andrei Baev, to Reed Smith.

Leaving after only two years at Chadbourne, energy and infrastructure finance partner Baev will join Reed Smith’s London office but will split his time between London, Astana and Moscow. He leaves behind a three-partner team at Chadbourne in Moscow, with only one partner, Konstantin Konstantinov, focusing solely on Russia. Norton Rose currently has seven partners in Moscow.

Despite many firms with a focus on capital markets scaling back in Russia in recent years as US-led economic sanctions have heavily affected the market, Chadbourne hired Baev as Moscow managing partner from Goltsblat Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) in 2015 to boost its presence in Russia.

Formerly equity partner in BLP’s Moscow office since 2011, Baev was previously a partner at Allen & Overy for 10 years. Most recently, he resided in both of Chadbourne’s London and Moscow offices.

Baev (pictured) said: ‘This presents an opportunity for me to deepen my existing client relationships with major Russian oil & gas companies and further diversify my practice.

A specialist in project finance, Baev has more than 25 years’ experience advising across oil and gas, power, mining, telecoms and infrastructure, with a focus on Russia, Eastern and central Europe, central Asia and the Middle East.

Baev added: ‘While at Chadbourne, I worked with Reed Smith on the same client side of the negotiation table on one of the major power projects in Kazakhstan. Reed Smith has a brilliant practice in Astana and I am excited to become part of this prominent group of lawyers.’

Last year, Clifford Chance also tapped Chadbourne in New York for restructuring lawyer Douglas Deutsch, while a three-partner arbitration team from Chadbourne joined Cooley last December.

Reed Smith’s latest global revenues fell for the second consecutive year in 2016, by 4% to $1.08bn from $1.12bn, which the firm said was the result of managing down headcount by 81 lawyers over the year.

Legal Business

Moving into Miami: Reed Smith enters the market with seven lawyer disputes team

Moving into Miami: Reed Smith enters the market with seven lawyer disputes team

Reed Smith is opening a new office in Miami after hiring a seven lawyer arbitration and litigation team from local firm Astigarraga Davis.

The acquisition brings Reed Smith’s number of worldwide offices to 27, with the new outpost providing legal services in Spanish and Portuguese to clients across Mexico, Central America and South America.

Partner José Astigarraga will serve as leader of the firm’s international arbitration practice. He also currently acts on the International Chamber of Commerce’s commission on arbitration.

He said: ‘Over the years, we’ve been approached by many outstanding firms about joining, including firms where we have very good friends, and we always resisted the temptation. But in the case of Reed Smith, the platform was a perfect fit.

‘We see tremendous possibilities and are looking forward to joining Reed Smith’s outstanding group of arbitration lawyers.’

Astigarraga is joined by partners Cristina Cárdenas and Ed Mullins, with Mullins acting as managing partner of the new office. Counsel Eduardo De la Peña and associates Ana Barton, Sujey Herrera and Marianne Maldonado make up the Miami team.

Reed Smith now has 15 offices throughout the US, with other hubs in Century City, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Princeton, Richmond, San Francisco, Silicon Valley, Tysons, Washington DC, and Wilmington. The firm recently expanded its Manhattan office with the hire of international funds partner Parik Dasgupta from King & Wood Mallesons. Legacy SJ Berwin partner Dasgupta had joined the entity dubbed ‘KWM 2.0’, which is funded by KWM’s Chinese verein. However he announced his departure for Reed Smith last month.

In May 2016, Clyde & Co opened its sixth US office in Miami, hiring an entire litigation team from local firm Thornton Davis Fein. As part of the move, 35 lawyers and staff joined Clyde & Co, bringing the firm’s total number of legal professionals in the US to 160.

Legal Business

KWM New York co-founder Dasgupta quits for Reed Smith leaving one partner in legacy SJ Berwin outpost

KWM New York co-founder Dasgupta quits for Reed Smith leaving one partner in legacy SJ Berwin outpost

Reed Smith confirmed today (21 March) King & Wood Mallesons (KWM) New York-based international funds partner Parik Dasgupta has joined the firm’s corporate practice.

Dasgupta (pictured) launched KWM’s US funds practice and was one of two co-founding partners based in the firm’s New York office. The office was until recently part of the collapsed European arm and has now been taken on by the new European entity dubbed KWM 2.0, which is funded by KWM’s Chinese verein.

Dasgupta’s exit leaves George Pinkham the only partner in the New York base.

Before KWM, Dasgupta was an associate at Mayer Brown, Kirkland & Ellis and Baker & McKenzie. He focuses on the commercial, legal and regulatory issues associated with private equity and venture capital fund formation. His key clients include PAI Partners, Triton, Macquarie, Astorg, Antin, First State, Capital Dynamics and UBS. Dasgupta was also a member of the firm’s India practice.

Matt Petersen, co-chair of Reed Smith’s global corporate group said: ‘Parik’s practice is a great fit for our corporate group and, in particular, our strong and growing funds practice. His high-end fund formation experience in connection with private equity and venture capital funds is a perfect addition to our existing practice.’

He added: ‘Parik also worked closely with many of the KWM attorneys who joined us earlier this year in Europe. All of these connections will be invaluable to us as we further grow our fund capabilities locally, nationally and globally,’ he added.

The addition of Dasgupta follows Reed Smith’s recent hire of 50 former KWM lawyers, including 17 partners who joined its London, Munich, Frankfurt and Paris offices in January.

Earlier this month, Reed Smith also took on three partners from Winston & Strawn, part of an eight-lawyer team in Paris.

However the firm’s global revenues fell for the second consecutive year in 2016, by 4% to $1.08bn from $1.12bn, which the firm said was the result of strategically managing down headcount by 81 lawyers over the year.

Read more on King & Wood Mallesons in: ‘Shattered – The final days of ‘SJ Berwin’

Legal Business

Deal watch: Corporate activity in March 2017

Deal watch: Corporate activity in March 2017


Slaughter and May has acted opposite Cravath, Swaine & Moore as Johnson & Johnson made a $30bn offer to buy Swiss-based biopharma company Actelion Pharmaceuticals earlier this year. Slaughters advised along with Zürich-based Niederer Kraft & Frey and Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz for the takeover target, as Cravath advised Johnson.