A Pittsburgh native long intertwined with the
city's industrial kingpins, Reed Smith joined the crowd in
globalizing via international mergers in the 21st century. With
litigation at the forefront, the firm's practice strengths also
include cross-border transactional and regulatory work.
As is the case with a number of its BigLaw
brethren, Reed Smith LLP's rise to prominence can be at least
partly credited to a symbiotic relationship with an American
industrial tycoon. Attorney James Reed, who founded the firm in
Pittsburgh with fellow 24-year-old Philander Knox in 1877,
cultivated strong ties with the man most singularly responsible for
giving Steel City its blue-collar identity: Andrew Carnegie. In
addition to leading the firm's representation of Carnegie at the
peak of his empire-building, Reed served as a charter director of
Carnegie's U.S. Steel. Other industry titans followed Carnegie's
lead in enlisting the burgeoning outfit, and names such as Mellon,
Heinz and Frick soon graced the firm's client roster.
Edwin W. Smith and other partners joined the
firm in the 1880s, and in 1922, the firm adopted the name Reed
Smith Shaw & McClay. During the New Deal era, Reed Smith
established a securities practice; partner Ralph Demmler went on to
become chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Domestic growth came in the 1970s, as Reed
Smith began making strategic moves beyond Pittsburgh. It set up
shop in Washington, DC and in 1989, merged with Beltway firm
Pierson, Ball & Dowd, thereby gaining a well-regarded health
care practice. In the 1990s, Reed Smith turned its attention to New
York and New Jersey followed by its acquisition of leading northern
Virginia firm Hazel & Thomas.
Today Reed Smith is a global firm, thanks to
an international growth strategy that took off in the 2000s. A
tie-up with UK-based Warner Cranston turned Reed Smith
transatlantic, and a 2007 merger with Richards Butler added offices
in France, Greece and the Middle East, and-one year later-Richards
Butler's Hong Kong operations. Thanks to the UK mergers, the firm's
London office is by far its largest.
Although it's grown significantly since it
began, Reed Smith remains committed to its long-term clients. In
2001, the firm calculated that 10 percent of its revenues derived
from clients who had been on the roster since its beginning in
While known for its litigation prowess, Reed
Smith is a full-service shop, serving corporate and commercial
clients on litigation, transactional, regulatory and other matters.
It also fields multi-disciplinary industry groups dedicated to
clients in the life sciences, media and entertainment, energy and
natural resources, and financial services sectors. According
to the firm's internal stats, it represents more than half of
the world's 100 largest companies, including top oil and gas
companies, auto manufacturers, commercial and savings banks and
Reed Smith advanced to 14th on Acritas' U.S.
Law Firm Brand Index 2015. The Index is compiled from the
unprompted responses of 692 senior general counsel in U.S.
organizations with revenues over $50 million who were asked about
their awareness of and favorability towards law firms; their
consideration of firms for top-level litigation and major M&A;
as well as their use of firms for high value work.
For its FT Innovative Lawyers North America
Awards, the FT specifically honored Reed Smith for its four-year,
multifaceted effort to help high-risk women and children in Haiti
following the 2010 earthquake that devastated the country. Social
responsibility programs were evaluated for their originality,
rationale and impact.
Reed Smith earned its 11th consecutive ranking
among the elite BTI Client Service 30, securing 11th place on the
prestigious ranking of law firms included in The BTI Consulting
Group's BTI Client Service A-Team 2015 report. Reed Smith again won
recognition in all 17 of the client service areas BTI uses to
compile the ranking. According to the report, the firm ranked "Best
of the Best" in the area of "Innovative Approach."
Just as it had the year before, Reed Smith
earned another perfect score of 100 on the Human Rights Campaign
Foundation's Corporate Equality Index, the nation's premiere
barometer for workplace equality, which recognized the firm for
teamwork, respect and commitment to LGBT constituents.
Deal teams from Reed Smith provided counsel
for award-winning deals in three categories of the 13th Annual
M&A Advisor Awards. Reed Smith was recognized for the
firm's work in the acquisition of Crown Partners by Publicis Groupe
in the following categories: Corporate/Strategic Acquisition of the
Year (Over $50MM to $100 MM) and M&A Deal of the Year (Over
$50MM to $100MM). The firm also was recognized for Cross-Border
Deal of the Year (Over $1 Billion) for its work on the acquisition
of Kaydon Corp. by SKF USA Inc.
For the fourth time overall, Working Mother and Flex Time
Lawyers cited Reed Smith's Positive Accomplishments in the
recruitment, retention and promotion of female attorneys. The
announcement came on the heels of Reed Smith's fourth consecutive
award of Gold Standard Certification from the Women in Law
Empowerment Forum (WILEF) in June 2014. Reed Smith is one of only
two law firms in the U.S. to meet all six WILEF Gold Standard
Certification criteria every year since the award was initiated in