Reed Smith LLP at a Glance


  • “Challenging work”
  • “Entrepreneurial mindset”
  • “Ability to work remotely”


  • “Below market compensation”
  • “Culture is changing”
  • “No clear partnership track”

About Reed Smith LLP

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.

Steel City Origins

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.

Across the USA

Domestic growth started in the 1970s, as Reed Smith began making strategic moves beyond Pittsburgh. It set up shop in Philadelphia and also Washington, DC, and in 1989, merged with DC firm Pierson, Ball & Dowd, thereby gaining a well-regarded health care practice. In the 1990s and early 2000's, Reed Smith turned its attention to New York (combinations with Parker Duryee and Hall Dickler) and New Jersey and also secured a combination with leading northern Virginia firm Hazel & Thomas. In 2003, Reed Smith opened four offices in California through its combination with Crosby Heafey. Further growth in New York came in 2008 via a combination with Anderson Kill, and that same year saw the establishment of a Chicago office through a combination with Sachnoff & Weaver. The firm opened a Houston office in 2013, and an outpost in Miami in 2017.

Global Reach

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. Reed Smith opened offices in Paris and Munich in 2005. A 2007 merger with Richards Butler greatly expanded Reed Smith's London presence and added offices in Greece, the Middle East, and, one year later,in Hong Kong. Thanks to the UK mergers, the firm's London office is by far its largest. A Frankfurt office joined the ranks in 2016, and expansion in Asia has continued, with new offices opening in Beijing, Shanghai and Singapore in the last few years.

A Global Customer Center in Pittsburgh, separate from the Pittsburgh office, houses almost 200 "back office" staff personnel whose duties span the globe, as well as 100 Staff Attorneys and E-Discovery Attorneys.

Making Its Mark

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, shipping, 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 pharmaceutical distributors. 

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Reed Smith LLP

Reed Smith Centre
225 Fifth Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
Phone: (412) 288-3131


  • Employer Type: Private
  • Global Managing Partner: Alexander Thomas
  • Total No. Attorneys 2017: 1,900

  • Base Salary

    Philadelphia; Wilmington; Princeton: 1st year: $160,000; Summer associate: $6,667 semi-monthly

    Pittsburgh: 1st year: $145,000; Summer associate: 6,042 semi-monthly

    Richmond: 1st year: $130,000; Summer associate: $5,416 semi-monthly

    All Other U.S Offices: 1st year: $180,000; Summer associate: $7,500 semi-monthly

  • Summer Associate Offers
    42 out of 44 (2Ls) (2016)

  • Major Departments & Practices

    Advertising, Technology & Media • Antitrust & Competition • Appellate • Bankruptcy & Commercial Restructuring • Corporate & Securities • Data Privacy, Security & Management • Employment & Labor • Energy & Natural Resources • Environmental Law • Export, Customs & Trade • Finance • Global Regulatory Enforcement • Government Contracts & Grants • Government Investigations & White Collar Criminal Defense • Health Care • Hedge Funds • Higher Education • Insurance Recovery • Intellectual Property • International Arbitration • Life Sciences Transactions & Regulatory • Litigation & Dispute Resolution • Non-Profit Organizations • Pensions & Benefits • Private Equity • Pro Bono • Product Liability • Public Policy & Infrastructure • Real Estate • Records & E-Discovery • Region-Specific Business • Securities Litigation & Enforcement • Shipping • Sports • State Tax • Tax • Wealth Planning

Major Office Locations

  • Century City, CA • Chicago, IL • Houston, TX • Los Angeles, CA • Miami, FL • New York, NY • Philadelphia, PA • Pittsburgh, PA • Princeton, NJ • Richmond, VA • San Francisco, CA • Silicon Valley, CA • Tysons, VA • Washington, DC • Wilmington, DE Abu Dhabi • Astana • Athens • Beijing • Dubai • Frankfurt • Hong Kong • London • Munich • Paris • Shanghai • Singapore