June 15, 2006, London, UK – LAWFUEL – Press Release Service – One of the year’s largest and most highly anticipated law firm combinations has reached a milestone – – and the merger’s expected international benefits and synergies have already begun to be realized by both parties.
Reed Smith, a U.S.-based, top-25 international law firm with nearly 1100 lawyers, and Richards Butler, a London-based, top-30 UK and international law firm with more than 250 lawyers, announced that both partnerships have approved the merger of the two firms which will create one of the 20 largest law firms in the world, with offices on three continents.
The votes conclude a rigorous due diligence process which confirms the combination is compatible on key levels, both business and cultural. The firms will now begin to integrate their operations over the next six months, culminating in the legal combination of the firms on January 1, 2007.
According to Gregory Jordan, Reed Smith’s Managing Partner, the changes expected from the merger are significant and reflect a continuation of the firm’s strategy to grow in key business markets.
“This move is transformative for us. It will make London Reed Smith’s largest office and result in more than twenty percent of the firm’s total business being conducted in Europe,” he said.
Since 2000, Reed Smith has experienced significant growth in the United States and abroad, expanding into an international powerhouse with offices on the west and east coasts of the United States and including a strong presence in Europe. The merger with Richards Butler continues the firm’s pattern of strategic expansion by creating a powerful litigation and transactional law firm on both sides of the Atlantic, including a significantly strengthened London platform that positions Reed Smith for further growth in Europe and the Middle and Far East.
“The response from the clients of both firms just to the news that we were thinking about joining forces has already resulted in additional work for both firms,” said Mr. Jordan. “This is work that neither of us would have secured if the impending merger were not underway. In addition, our two firms are already collaborating on joint projects, and have referred clients to one another. Our experiences to date are a clear reaffirmation of our international expansion strategy, which has us consistently moving to and expanding in the markets where our clients most need and want us to be.”
Michael Pollack, Reed Smith’s Director of Strategic Planning, noted that several of Reed Smith’s major U.S. clients in sectors including pharmaceuticals, banking, and others have recently asked the firm to represent them in European matters, where Reed Smith had not previously worked on their behalf. “Our clients know we will have increased capability, have already recognized it and are responding in just the way we hoped and thought they would,” he explained.
According to Roger Parker, Richards Butler’s Managing Partner, the merger will benefit from a rapidly growing business relationship between Europe and the United States. “London is the financial capital of Europe and the center of significant capital markets. The interests of the United States and London markets continue to draw closer,” Mr. Parker said. “There is no better example of this than in the capital markets, where U.S. companies are increasingly listing on the AIM in the UK.”
“Reed Smith has played a significant role in facilitating this access,” according to Mr. Jordan. “The firm has participated in more AIM offerings by U.S. companies than any other U.S. law firm.”
“Reed Smith is presently handling the U.S. securities aspects for a Richards Butler client listing on AIM,” said Mr. Parker. “This is a good example of why the merged firm, as a major international law firm with a significant London presence, will enjoy many opportunities to grow and thrive here and throughout Europe.”
The merged firm will be known as Reed Smith, although there will be variations in some European markets, including the UK, where the name Reed Smith Richards Butler will be used. The merger will more than double the number of lawyers in Reed Smith’s Paris office and the firm will gain its first offices in Greece and the Middle East, in Abu Dhabi.
In London, the merged firm will have more than 300 lawyers with more than 100 lawyers focusing on corporate and finance transactions and more than 100 lawyers working in the areas of commercial disputes, arbitration and shipping. The real estate group in London will include 50 lawyers and the combined employment and business immigration practice will be 15 strong.
The firm will be led by Mr. Jordan as Firmwide Managing Partner. Mr. Parker will join Reed Smith’s Senior Management Team and become European Managing Partner. Tim Foster, current managing partner of Reed Smith’s UK offices will continue in that role overseeing the greatly expanded office of Reed Smith Richards Butler. Paul Johnston, Chairman of Richards Butler, will also join Reed Smith’s Ian Fagelson as European representatives on the combined firm’s Executive Committee
Michael Pollack, a partner in the firm’s Philadelphia office and a member of the Reed Smith senior management team, will move with his family to London as a part of the integration process. With this move and the addition of Mr. Parker to the Senior Management Team, two members of the firm’s six-person senior management team will be London-based. As in other mergers accomplished by Reed Smith in the recent past, the trans-Atlantic relocation of other staff members is anticipated.
Discussions with Richards Butler Hong Kong, which is a separate entity, are ongoing. Reed Smith hopes to continue the cooperation agreement currently in effect with Richards Butler UK; however, nothing has been finalized at this time.
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About Reed Smith
Reed Smith LLP is a top-25 international law firm with nearly 1100 lawyers located in 18 cities worldwide (14 in the U.S. and four in Europe). The firm represents clients ranging from Fortune 100 companies to mid-market and emerging companies. Clients include financial services firms, life sciences companies, health care providers, technology companies and entrepreneurs, power generators and suppliers, manufacturers, real estate companies, universities, and non-profit organizations throughout the world. For more information, visit www.reedsmith.com.
About Richards Butler
Richards Butler is a top 30 City of London law firm advising clients in both developing and emerging markets across four continents. With over 400 partners and staff, and offices in Europe and the Middle East, the firm advises a range of blue chip organizations on complex, cross-border matters in industry sectors as diverse as financial services, insurance, media and film finance, real estate, shipping, and commodities. Its commercial and shipping practices are market leaders and its prominence in emerging sectors such as AIM are widely recognized by independent market commentators.