2020 Vault Rankings
At a Glance
“Everyone gets along very well.”
“Diversity and inclusion efforts.”
“Compensation should be more competitive.”
“At times, due to lean staffing, you can get stretched thin.”
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
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 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. In more recent years, a series of strategic mergers has resulted in the firm as it is today, with nearly 1,800 attorneys worldwide and the simpler moniker: Reed Smith.
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.
The firm has a stand-out labor and employment practice that handles everything from discrimination issues, executive compensation, labor law, pensions, wage and hour, and unfair competition. The firm also works together with clients to develop global HR strategies and to execute global investigations.
Reed Smith’s health care practice is another highly regarded area for the firm, which handles litigation, regulatory, and transactional matters. The firm is experienced in a range of health care sectors—from health insurance to life science, and more.
School’s (Not) Out
Reed Smith is committed to educating its attorneys and staff. In 2004, the firm established Reed Smith University (RSU) through the University of Pennsylvania. The curriculum covers legal skills, leadership, business development, technology, and professional support. RSU is one part of the firm’s CareeRS program, a method of formal training unique to Reed Smith and aimed at covering 12 “competencies” that the firm believes makes for exceptional lawyering and providing developmental opportunities to attorneys.
News & Awards
Reed Smith has launched a new, redesigned Associate Life Initiative—a program to prepare the firm’s early career lawyers for advancement, leadership roles, and long-term professional success. Some of the new aspects include a mobile app for continuous detailed feedback from every lawyer with whom an associate works, a ramp-up hours policy following return from leaves of absence, first-year assignments from a general pool to work with various practice/industry groups, and reverse mentoring between junior and senior attorneys, among many others.
After a successful 2017 pilot, Reed Smith has installed its 2018 Innovation Hours Program, which recognizes up to 50 innovation hours toward billable-hour targets. Six projects were selected out of 30 submissions from attorneys across the firm; among the pilot projects was Reed Smith’s Breach RespondeRS app. This first-of-its-kind app simplifies the application of the patchwork of U.S. state laws to let companies focus on protecting data and preventing further harm. The app was developed in-house, with lawyers in the IP, Tech & Data Group collaborating with members of the firm’s Knowledge Management, IT, Practice Innovation, and Business Development teams.
The firm has selected five summer associates to be a part of its inaugural Legal Technology Summer Associate Program. These associates work on developing projects that use tech to improve legal services. Three associates have been selected from American law schools and two from British law schools. The firm looked to law schools with strong legal technology curricula to recruit its tech-focused summers. "We want to start developing lawyers that are not only great lawyers, but also understand how technology can deliver services efficiently and collaboratively and can offer new solutions for clients,” said Chief Knowledge Officer Lucy Dillion.
Reed Smith’s Women’s Initiative Network (WINRS) brought together more than 100 practicing attorneys—including RS women lawyers and high-profile thought leaders in the industry—for a solutions-based forum entitled Women in the Courtroom Symposium. Featuring Judge Shira Scheindlin as keynote, participants examined the reasons for why women remain significantly under-represented as counsel in the courtroom and how the judiciary, in-house counsel, and law firms can work together to advance women to lead counsel roles.
- Reed Smith jumped 38 places from 120 to 82 in The American Lawyer’s 2018 Diversity Scorecard.
- 2018 Mansfield Certified Plus status
- Winner of The American Lawyer’s 2018 Global Legal Award for Pro Bono
- For the ninth consecutive year, Reed Smith earned a spot on Working Mother’s annual list of the “Best Law Firms for Women.” (2019)
- Reed Smith has earned a top score of 100 percent and the distinction as one of the “Best Places to Work for LGBTQ Equality” by the Human Rights Campaign, for the past six years.
Reed Smith Centre
225 Fifth Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
Phone: (412) 288-3131
Global Managing Partner: Alexander Thomas
Total No. Attorneys 2019:
1.5K - 2K
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
No. of Summer Associates:
68 total (54 2Ls; 14 1Ls) (2019)
Director of U.S. Legal Recruiting
See firm website for more information.
Century City, CA
Los Angeles, CA
New York, NY
San Francisco, CA
Silicon Valley, CA
Energy & Natural Resources
Entertainment & Media
Financial Industry Group
Global Corporate Group
Global Commercial Disputes
Global Regulatory Enforcement
IP Tech & Data
Labor & Employment
Life Sciences Health Advisory
Records & E-Discovery
*See firm website for complete list of practice areas and industries.