Legal Business

Senior management reshuffle approved at Reed Smith


Reed Smith’s recently elected managing partner, Sandy Thomas, has had his recommendations for a senior management reshuffle, which rotates nearly half the team, approved by the firm’s partnership.

In addition to Sandy Thomas, who began a three-year term as managing partner in August, the seven member team is comprised of three new members. Edward Estrada, current managing partner of the firm’s New York office, moves up to global head of strategy replacing Philadelphia-based Michael Pollack. Pollack, the senior management team’s longest serving member with 14 years under his belt, will shift across to chief legal officer following the retirement of Carl Krasik.

Pittsburgh-based Casey Ryan, the firm’s current vice chair of litigation, replaces Colleen Davies as global head of legal personnel after an eight year stint in the senior management team that first began as global head of litigation, a role San Francisco-based Ray Cardozo will now fill after replacing Jack Nelson.

Nelson, who introduced a new pricing system to offer clients lower litigation costs, has been demoted to vice chair of the litigation department, with Davies leaving management altogether to focus on developing her life sciences litigation practice. The changes have been staggered to take place between now and March 2015.

London-based corporate partner David Boutcher returns as chair of the business and finance department while London litigator Roger Parker continues as EMEA managing partner and Pittsburgh-based Gary Sokulski remains in post as chief operating officer, a role he assumed in 2004.

Sandy said: ‘In selecting new members, I have focused on choosing individuals with a firm-first approach to leadership, experience in management, knowledge of the firm and its people, openness to innovation and change in how we operate, and the respect each is afforded as a lawyer. Those affirmed by the partnership embody these characteristics and can be depended upon to guide our future growth.’

Estrada, who has been a member of the executive committee since 2010 and served as co-head of the firm’s US commercial litigation practice, focuses on hedge funds and commercial restructuring and bankruptcy. Before becoming vice chair of the firm’s litigation department, Ryan headed up the labour and employment group and remains a member of the firm’s professional responsibility committee in which she has been tasked with improving diversity at the firm. Litigation department chair-elect Ray Cardozo has been office managing partner of the San Francisco office since 2012.

Legal Business

Real estate: Ashurst and Reed Smith lead on prime £300m New Bond Street acquisition


Ashurst’s head of real estate investment David Jones has advised opposite Reed Smith on the £300m purchase of a 50,000 sq ft strip of prime real estate on New Bond Street, the first time in 40 years that the privately-owned Central London properties have been on the market.

Jones’ team advised purchasers Oxford Properties and luxury brand holding company Richemont, with a team that included real estate partner Sarah Sivyour, tax partner Simon Swann and senior associate Rabinda Sokhi. The team last year advised Oxford Properties on its £235m acquisition of King Edward Court, the 246,000 sq ft headquarters of the London Stock Exchange.

The deal saw Reed Smith instructed by a private Australian seller in a deal, set to be completed on 1 August, for the longest privately owned contiguous parade of shops in one of London’s most prestigious streets.

Real estate partner Lawrence Radley led a Reed Smith team that included corporate partner Doug Rofe and associates Danny Bloom and William Reay-Jones in corporate and tax, respectively.

The five properties currently house fashion brand Belstaff and watch maker Breitling some of the existing tenants. Richemont’s luxury brands include jeweller Cartier and watchmaker Piaget.

Reed Smith’s real estate team has recently advised PATRIZIA Immobilien and Oaktree Capital Management on a £245m joint venture of IQ Winnersh industrial park and advised Starwood Capital on its establishment of a £360 million joint venture with Vencom to acquire a portfolio of seven shopping centres in Sweden from Kooperativa Forbundet.

Radley said: ‘This is undoubtedly the highest profile Central London retail property deal so far this year and is a globally significant deal in luxury retail, confirming New Bond Street as one of the world’s premier luxury retail locations.’

Legal Business

Reed Smith bolsters City energy practice with further hire from McDermott


Reed Smith has made a further lateral hire to bolster its City offering, as Prajakt Samant becomes the second energy partner in just over a year to join from McDermott Will & Emery, joining as a partner in the top 30 Global 100 firm’s energy and natural resources group in London.

Samant’s practice focuses primarily on commodity and energy related transactions and regulatory matters, and his arrival ties in with the 1,555-lawyer firm’s stated aim of growing its client base in the energy sector. He joins Reed Smith tomorrow (15 July) after six years as a partner at McDermott, following in the footsteps of energy and natural resources partner Rashpaul Bahia, who joined Reed Smith from McDermott last April.

Other recent City hires in the past few months include Pinsent Masons real estate finance partner Matthew Heaton and Travers Smith leverage finance partner Ben Davis.

Samant will be joined by two McDermott associates – Thomas Morgan and Simone Goligorsky. Morgan has spent time of secondment with German electricity distributor RWE and previously spent a five-year stint as legal counsel at US investment bank Merrill Lynch, while Goligorsky was seconded to JP Morgan for a year in 2010.

Samant’s switch takes Reed Smith’s City energy and natural resources group up to 21 partners, a sharp rise on the four partners it housed in 2007, when it entered the capital via a merger with Richards Butler. Samant’s move follows the arrivals of Claude Brown and Peter Zaman from Clifford Chance and the triple hire of Chris Borg, Brett Hillis and Jonathan Solomon from Dentons over the last two years.

The US firm launched in energy hubs Singapore and Houston last year and the latter has experienced rapid growth, having built up to a team of 40 lawyers. As part of the firm’s plan to expand its capability in the upstream sector of the market, transactional partner Gary Johnson joined the firm from energy boutique Burleson in Houston last month.

Kyri Evagora, chair of Reed Smith’s global energy and natural resources group, told Legal Business: ‘Infrastructure investment supporting the industry, such as terminals, LNG facilities, power stations and wind farms, appear to be a growth area for us. Anticipating that market trend we have a number of partners – in EMEA and in the US – who are a part of our projects and infrastructure team and who are very busy at present.

We want to enhance our practice in the global exploration and production area. We already have strength in the US in this space, given the explosion in activity over the past ten years in shale oil and gas production. We have also recently hired Gary Johnson into our Houston office, who is a market leader in oil and gas. We will continue expanding in the direction our clients’ needs require us to and that means we will continue to expand with lateral hiring in London.’

Legal Business

Reed Smith builds City finance practice with Pinsents REF partner Matthew Heaton


Reed Smith continues to piece together its City finance offering with a series of lateral hires, as Pinsent Masons partner Matthew Heaton becomes the latest to make the switch, joining the firm’s international real estate finance practice.

Heaton leaves Pinsent Masons after seven years and his hire shortly follows the arrival of Travers Smith leverage finance partner Ben Davis, who joined the top 30 Global 100 firm in March.

Reed Smith has been steadily growing its finance group in London, having hired Tamara Box from Berwin Leighton Paisner in 2012 to head its structured finance practice and taken on rated Clifford Chance partner Claude Brown last year, who joined the structured products and derivatives sub-group.

Another big name hire came in the form of Perry Yam, who arrived to launch the firm’s private equity group in Europe and the Middle East in 2012, moving across from SJ Berwin.

Nola Beirne, vice-chair of Reed Smith’s financial industry group, told Legal Business: ‘The addition of Matthew to our international real estate finance practice augments a growing practice. Matthew has significant experience in complex real estate financing transactions and has deep relationships with a number of significant players in the market, including banks, debt funds and investment managers in the UK and internationally.

‘Increasingly our clients are looking for a one-stop-shop, so that their law firm can advise on loan origination, including property advice, as well as capital markets financing, through to commercial mortgage-backed securities and other secured financings such as bank/bond deals. Matthew’s addition to the team will enhance our ability to meet this need.’

Heaton’s departure from Pinsent Masons follows the move by head of financial institutions and human capital, Stephen Miles, for DWF in April.

Legal Business

Double exit for Osborne Clarke as telecoms chief leaves for Reed Smith and technology head to Fieldfisher


Top 40 firm Osborne Clarke has suffered the double exit of telecoms head Angus Finnegan to Reed Smith and technology head Mark Webber to Fieldfisher.

Finnegan joins Reed Smith’s media and technology (MT) practice in London, becoming the group’s thirteenth partner in the capital.He joins earlier lateral partner hires Askandar Samad, who joined from DLA Piper at the tail-end of 2012, and Nick Swimer, who joined in 2011 after six years as head of legal for governance and regulatory at Channel 4.

Gregor Pryor, a partner in the MT team, said: ‘As the penetration of internet and mobile services continues to grow, it’s more important than ever for us to add greater strength to our telecommunications and technology capability. Our clients increasingly require a global service and Angus’ unique experience and expertise complements our established US team and capability in telecommunications. More importantly, his arrival enhances our overall capability in the London market, as we continue to grow our global media and technology group.’

Webber’s switch to Fieldfisher, meanwhile, comes after 16 years as a partner at Osborne Clarke. He joins the top 40 firm’s technology, outsourcing and privacy practice and will work closely with the privacy and information sub-group, which recently saw the departure of Stewart Room to PwC Legal and highly-rated head of privacy and information Eduardo Ustaran to Hogan Lovells earlier this year.

Fieldfisher’s managing partner Michael Chissick said: ‘Thanks to the excellent work of the head of our Palo Alto office Phil Lee, and the arrival of [Taylor Wessing corporate partner] David Kent, we have made significant progress in Silicon Valley. We are delighted a lawyer of Mark’s quality is joining the partnership, it strengthens our offering and will help us to build our reputation on both sides of the Atlantic.’

Legal Business

Sandy Thomas sees off early challenge to leadership in Reed Smith’s contested managing partner elections


Alexander ‘Sandy’ Thomas has been elected as global managing partner at Reed Smith after John Martini, vice-chair of the firm’s global business and finance department, challenged his position less than a year into the role.


Thomas, who began his stint as global managing partner of the 1,850-lawyer firm in October 2013, when former global managing partner Greg Jordan resigned to become executive vice-president and general counsel of US bank PNC Financial Services Group, will serve a three-year term beginning 1 August. Washington DC-based Thomas has been at Reed Smith since 1999 and was previously global chair of Reed Smith’s litigation group, leading 850 lawyers across 25 offices.

Reed Smith posted a 6% revenue growth in 2013, taking it from $1.013bn to $1.075bn, while its profit per equity partner figure rose by 5.5% to $1.14m.

While many at the firm were shocked when Philadelphia-based Martini, who is also chair of the firm’s global executive compensation and employee benefits practice, contested Thomas position so soon after his appointment, Thomas said in a statement: ‘This election fostered an exchange of ideas that was tremendously valuable to our firm, and also confirmed that we are focused on and united under a common goal to provide the highest level of service and value to our clients. We will now move forward together.’

Thomas is the 11th managing partner of the firm, which last year opened offices in Singapore and Houston, in its 137-year history. He was twice elected by the partnership to serve on the firm’s executive committee before assuming leadership of the litigation department.

Legal Business

Reed Smith ramps up City litigation practice with hire of King & Wood’s Nick Brocklesby


Reed Smith is continuing to ramp up its City practice, its largest office globally, with the hire of King & Wood Mallesons SJ Berwin litigator Nick Brocklesby.

Brocklesby became an SJ Berwin partner in 2008 and has experience of complex commercial litigation and regulatory work, with a financial services focus.

Some of his recent case highlights include advising Morgan Stanley in the Court of Appeal, in relation to proceedings against Tael One Partners, as well as acting for Apple in its high-profile litigation against The Beatles relating to the iTunes Music Store.

Richard Spafford, partner and head of Reed Smith’s Europe and Middle East commercial disputes group said: ‘We are very pleased that Nick is joining us. He is a high quality litigator with an excellent reputation and will be a superb addition to our substantial team.’

The hire comes as the firm looks to expand its financial services disputes practice in London and follows the recruitment of Travers Smith’s leverage finance partner Ben Davis, who joined the firm’s City office in March.

The firm also recently bolstered its European corporate and banking capability in Paris, with the hire of Hogan Lovells corporate partner Isabelle MacElhone in February, who was previously a partner with Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer.

This followed the launch of Reed Smith’s Paris competition practice in April last year after it hired Hogan Lovells antitrust partner Michel Debroux.

The global top 30 firm has seen its 2013 revenue grow by 6% to $1.075bn from $1.013bn, while its profit per equity partner figure rose by 5.5% to $1.14m from $1.08m in the previous financial year.

For further analysis of Reed Smith’s City practice see Reed Smith set for record year in London thanks to lateral push and sector focus

Legal Business

Global turnover nudges up at Reed Smith while London posts equally steady growth


Top-30 global firm Reed Smith has seen its 2013 revenue grow by 6% to $1.075bn from $1.013bn, while its profit per equity partner figure rise by 5.5% to $1.14m from $1.08m in the previous financial year. In London, Reed Smith’s largest office, revenue reached $190m, an increase of around 5%.

Revenue per lawyer at the firm is unchanged at $690,000.

Sandy Thomas, global managing partner of the firm, told Legal Business: ‘It was a solid and strong year’, singling out the office openings in Singapore and Houston as particularly significant.

‘Our geographic reach is highly attractive to clients; we are experienced at managing our costs, and we understand how to offer and manage alternative pricing models so they work for clients and the firm,’ said Thomas.

The overall results represent an improvement on 2012 financials, which saw a 2% rise in turnover. However, the London performance is nonetheless short of the predictions of London managing partner Roger Parker, who told Legal Business at the end of last year that London office revenues would be around the $200m mark.

Nonetheless, Thomas is optimistic about workflows for the firm globally in the year ahead. ‘The transactional market has shown all the signs of a healthy 2014’, he said.

Legal Business

City hire: Reed Smith takes on Travers Smith leverage finance partner Ben Davis


With Reed Smith’s London office results touted to break the $200m mark next week, the top 30 global law firm has hired Travers Smith leverage finance partner Ben Davis to join its City office in March.

Davis advises on corporate facilities, refinancings, debt restructurings and general banking matters. Last year he advised Pace on its US law $470m financing for the acquisition of Aurora Networks, and, backed by Exponent Private Equity, on its £190m unitranche and super senior refinancing facilities.

The firm’s London finance team now has 25 fee earners after a series of hires including Clifford Chance structured finance and derivatives partner Claude Brown last year.

Tamara Box joined from Berwin Leighton Paisner to head up Reed Smith’s structured finance practice in 2012, and in the same year private equity partner Perry Yam joined from legacy SJ Berwin to head the firm’s Europe and Middle East (EME) private equity practice.

Reed Smith’s finance team recently represented Siemens and Siemens Financial Services in the completion of the £1.6bn Thameslink transaction. The group also advised CBPE Capital on its £100m acquisition of award-winning restaurant group Côte Restaurants.

‘Ben’s arrival will ensure we continue to be closely aligned with the needs of our clients. He is very well regarded in the market and will complement our growing EMEA and US finance practice, as well as support the continued development of our UK and pan-European private equity practice,’ said Nola Beirne, vice chair of Reed Smith’s financial industry group for EME.

London is Reed Smith’s biggest office and last year London managing partner Roger Parker predicted the firm’s London office would break the $200m revenue mark. The firm’s financial results are expected next week.

Legal Business

Revolving Doors: Key transactional and antitrust hires for Bakers, Bird & Bird, K&L Gates, Trowers, Reed Smith and Mayer Brown


With transactional activity on the rise international firms including Bird & Bird, K&L Gates, Trowers & Hamlins and Reed Smith have bolstered their European corporate and banking capability, while Baker & McKenzie and Mayer Brown have made appointments in the buoyant pharmaceutical and antitrust sectors respectively.

In London, Bakers on Monday (3 February) announced the hire of highly rated pharmaceutical lawyer Julian Thurston, a former partner and consultant at Morrison & Foerster, who joins the firm’s 450-lawyer global pharmaceutical and healthcare industry group as a consultant.Recognised internationally as one of the leading life sciences transactional lawyers, the Legal 500 describes Thurston, who focuses on strategic joint ventures, licensing and collaborations with an emphasis emerging markets such as China Latin America and Russia, as a ‘leading individual’ in the industry.

Also in London, top 50 law firm Trowers & Hamlins announced this week that it has bolstered its banking and finance capability with the appointment of former Squire Sanders partner Simon Owen, who headed the banking team at legacy Hammonds prior to its January 2011 merger with the US firm.

Adrian Carter, head of banking and finance at Trowers, said: ‘With his enviable track record and skill set, Simon will help further strengthen our existing real estate and finance capabilities.’

In the corporate sector, Bird & Bird announced on Monday that it has hired former Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton corporate partner and cable market specialist Hans Peter Leube in Germany. Luebe, who joined the Frankfurt office on 1 February from Schalast & Partner in Frankfurt, has had an extensive career working across Cleary’s Frankfurt and New York offices, having previously worked for Baker & Mackenzie in Düsseldorf and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom in Frankfurt.

‘We are very pleased to welcome Hans Peter to our corporate team. Drawing on his practical experience in the communications industry, especially in the cable market, he can offer our clients an exceptional level of industry insight and advice,’ said Alexander Schröder-Frerkes, managing partner of Bird & Bird’s German practice and head of the international corporate group.

Also bolstering its corporate capability, this time in Paris, Reed Smith last week turned to Hogan Lovells for the hire of corporate partner Isabelle MacElhone, who was previously a partner with Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer.

MacElhone’s hire, which brings the Paris corporate team up to five partners, follows the launch of the Paris competition practice in April 2013 with the hire of Hogan Lovell’s antitrust partner Michel Debroux.

‘We have a full-service corporate team in Paris, and with Isabelle’s added experience and knowledge we are able to provide both French and international organisations with expert support. Isabelle’s appointment brings new expertise and strengthens the capabilities of an already strong corporate team in Paris. I am very pleased to welcome her to Reed Smith,’ said James Wilkinson, head of the firm’s Europe & Middle East corporate group.

Also in Paris, which has seen a number of team moves and individual hires in recent months, global law firm K&L Gates has hired Allen & Overy (A&O) partner Jean-Patrice Labautière as a partner in the corporate/M&A practice.

An experienced corporate and transactional lawyer, Labautière practised with A&O for 15 years and advises financial institutions, corporations, and private equity clients on a wide variety of transactions, including complex acquisitions, reorganizations, and joint ventures. He is particularly active in the healthcare, financial services, and technology sectors.

The hire follows the January arrival in K&L Gates Hong Kong office of Deacons investment management partner Greg Heaton.

Meanhwhile, bolstering its competition capability in the Brussels heartland is global top 30 firm Mayer Brown, which has hired antitrust partner Julian Ellison from Ashurst. Ellison specialises in EU and UK competition law and has been involved in merger cases including ferry company P&O’s mergers with Stena Line and Brittany Ferries. The Legal 500 describe him as ‘easy to contact’ and adds that he ‘maintains the right balance between technicalities and practicalities’.

Kiran Desai, partner-in-charge of the firm’s Brussels office, said: ‘Julian is a highly regarded EU and UK competition lawyer whose experience complements our focus in Europe on network industries, local markets, government investigations and litigation before the EU Court of Justice. In addition, his skills will enhance our state aid practice and our representation of clients in sectors such as transport and chemicals.’