November 1, 2004, Oakland, CA LAWFUEL – Law, legal, attorney, law firm news – Reed Smith LLP, a top-25 international law firm, today announced that all members of the 11-lawyer East Bay class-action litigation boutique, Fleming & Phillips LLP, will become a part of Reed Smith’s Oakland office, effective January 1, 2005. James H. Fleming, Robert D. Phillips, Thomas A. Evans, and Linda B. Oliver will be partners in the firm’s Financial Services Litigation Group.
Other Fleming & Phillips attorneys joining Reed Smith include Kurtis J. Kearl, William H. Higgins, and Kevin W. Wheelwright, all three as Of Counsel, and Associates Jason G. Gong, Heather L. Hoesterey, Mary C. Tsai, and Eugenia S. Chern. The entire staff of Fleming & Phillips is expected to transition as well.
“Fleming & Phillips is an excellent match for us given the types of cases we both handle and the types of clients we both represent,” said Greg Jordan, Reed Smith’s firmwide Managing Partner. “This move furthers our plans to continue our growth on the West Coast. Fleming & Phillips’ core strengths — life insurance and financial services consumer class actions, unfair competition and product liability litigation — fit perfectly with our existing financial services and pharmaceutical products liability litigation practices. We expect to see increasing benefits of this transaction as the life insurance industry develops more sophisticated financial products for consumers and converges with the consumer financial services industry which Reed Smith already represents.”
Fleming & Phillips LLP has specialized in consumer class action defense, primarily for life and health insurance companies in matters arising out of sales practices and the performance of alternative and traditional life and annuity products. Its attorneys represent many of the major life insurers and related financial institutions and act as regional or national counsel for a significant number of them. In addition, the firm has represented manufacturers and retailers in a wide range of consumer class actions.
“Jim and Bo both have high profiles in the life insurance and financial services industry nationwide,” said Jack Nelson, Reed Smith’s California Market Managing Partner. “We are familiar with their style and expertise given our joint efforts on several recent cases, and we see Reed Smith as highly compatible with the needs and expectations of their clients. We currently share several life insurance and product liability clients, and are confident that their relationships in the nutritional supplement industry will provide Reed Smith expanded opportunities in a number of practice areas, including advertising and marketing law.”
“Our practice has increasingly focused on larger consumer class-action matters, mostly in the financial services sector,” said Mr. Phillips. “Having a statewide practice with many large cases necessitated a broader set of capabilities to meet our clients’ needs. I’ve worked shoulder to shoulder with many of the attorneys at Reed Smith, and am excited about joining forces with them.”
Mr. Fleming added that joining Reed Smith offers the Fleming & Phillips lawyers expanded opportunities to serve the needs of clients in the converging world of insurance, securities, banking and consumer finance.
Mr. Fleming is a graduate of the Air Force Academy and the University of Southern California Law School. His practice focuses on trial and appellate litigation involving life insurance and financial services matters, including class actions and unfair competition. He is a member of the Association of California Life and Health Insurance Companies and the Association of Life Insurance Counsel. He has lectured and published many articles about class arbitration and managed care organization liability. On a national basis, Mr. Fleming is one of the most highly experienced trial and appellate attorney for class and individual litigation involving reverse mortgages and related annuities, handling cases in California, Florida, Connecticut and New Jersey. In addition to all California state and federal courts, he is admitted to practice in the U.S. Supreme Court as well as several Circuit Courts of Appeal and has been responsible for numerous appellate precedents in financial services and life insurance matters.
Mr. Phillips is a Pennsylvania native and a 1978 graduate of Duke Law School. A general litigator with substantial litigation experience spanning unfair competition and unfair business practice, life insurance and financial services, disability and health insurance, employment, product liability, and class actions, he is active in the ABA and local bar associations and has lectured and published widely on insurance litigation. He is on the editorial board of the Insurance Litigation Reporter and recently served as Chair of the ABA’s Life Insurance Law Committee. He is admitted to practice in all California federal courts and the U.S. Supreme Court.
Mr. Evans earned a J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School in 1993, and an undergraduate degree from the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in 1990. His practice focuses on commercial litigation, unfair competition, pharmaceutical and nutritional supplement products issues, and life insurance sales practices.
Ms. Oliver earned a B.A. from Cornell in 1986, and a J.D. in 1993 from the University of California at Los Angeles School of Law. Her practice focuses on life insurance sales issues, ERISA litigation, employment and agency matters, and other consumer protection matters.
Reed Smith LLP, a leading global law firm with some 1,000 lawyers located in 14 U.S. and two U.K. cities, represents Fortune 100 as well as mid-market and emerging companies. Clients include technology companies and entrepreneurs, financial services firms, life sciences companies and health care providers and insurers, communications companies, manufacturers, universities, non-profit organizations, real estate developers, and municipalities throughout the United States and in 40 countries. For more information, visit www.reedsmith.com.