LAWFUEL – The Legal Newswire – January 7, 2008, New York & Los Angeles – In response to its recent significant expansion, Reed Smith LLP, one of the 15 largest law firms in the world, today announced the creation of two new senior-level, firmwide management positions, and named two experienced individuals to fill those positions.
Nicola “Nicky” Dingemans will be its Global Chief People Officer (GCPO) based in New York and Tom Baldwin will be the firm’s Chief Knowledge Officer (CKO) based in Los Angeles. Both take up their new posts Jan. 7.
Ms. Dingemans was most recently the Global People Services Director for the Global Commercial/Integrated Business of Booz Allen Hamilton, Inc. and Mr. Baldwin was formerly Chief Knowledge Officer at Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP in Los Angeles.
From their base offices in North America, they will provide leadership for Reed Smith’s personnel and knowledge management operations in the firm’s 23 offices on three continents.
“Our expansion in the past eight years provided the impetus for establishing new top-level positions responsible for meeting the firm’s internal personnel-relationship needs, and for directing, planning, developing, and implementing knowledge management initiatives across our entire platform,” said Gregory B. Jordan, Reed Smith’s firmwide Managing Partner. “We believe Nicky and Tom are the very best individuals to fill these roles and help us focus on, improve and sustain the key knowledge and people aspects of our international growth strategy. Both have senior level, practical experience that will help us maintain the competitive edge we currently enjoy in our people resources and knowledge management worldwide.”
Since 2001, Reed Smith has completed combinations with firms from around the world, including in New York, California, Chicago, London, Abu Dhabi, Greece, Dubai, Paris, Hong Kong and Beijing.
During that period, Reed Smith’s workforce increased from 600 U.S.-based attorneys to more than 1,500 attorneys worldwide, conducting business in diverse economic, social and cultural contexts. “Not long ago, all of our attorneys were in one time zone. Now Reed Smith operates 24 hours a day,” said Gary A. Sokulski, Reed Smith’s Chief Operating Officer. “The implications of these changes require us to establish and maintain closer, more personal contacts with our people resources and to better manage our knowledge operations. We must constantly ask ourselves if we are meeting our personnel’s knowledge and technology requirements, and if we are staying attuned to their cultures and needs. As a knowledge-based, relationship-focused firm, we want to ensure these aspects of our operation remain dynamic resources that promote and sustain our strategic growth.”
Ms. Dingemans will have responsibility for managing Reed Smith’s 3,500-person global workforce of attorneys, paralegals, administrators, technology experts and legal support staff. Mr. Baldwin will develop a multi-year strategy to identify and develop resources to facilitate knowledge creation, and capture and share that knowledge consistent with Reed Smith’s business strategy, culture and values. He will lead the effort to define needs and set objectives for each practice group and the firm overall.
Ms. Dingemans’ Background
In her 20 years at Booz Allen, Ms. Dingemans enjoyed an international career of management consulting and human resources leadership. In 1995, she was selected as one of three consultants worldwide to be sponsored by the firm at Stanford University’s full-time Sloan program for experienced executives. After relocating to the United States to complete the program, she subsequently re-entered Booz in its Energy, Chemical and Pharmaceutical Practice in New York.
In 1999, Ms. Dingemans began her human resources career. In the eight years since, she has designed, developed and implemented a range of people-focused programming, including top talent recruitment, competency training and mentoring, performance management, mobility and advancement, and leadership development.
“I am delighted to be joining Reed Smith at this point in its amazing international growth trajectory,” Ms. Dingemans said. “I am confident my expertise and skills will contribute to this firm’s ability to attract, develop and motivate talent at each stage of their careers, and I expect to further the firm’s achievements in addressing diversity, work-life balance, training and mentoring.”
Born in the UK and educated at The Queen’s College, Oxford, Ms. Dingemans has spent almost equal time working in Booz Allen’s London and New York offices. Her initial assignment was directing people operations for the U.S. Commercial Consulting Group. In 2002, she assumed responsibility for leading a team of consultants/HR professionals to identify, frame and drive changes in the firm’s major people processes across both the Commercial and the Government businesses. In 2005, Ms. Dingemans joined Booz Allen’s Commercial Group’s leadership team, which has global HR responsibility for its approximately 2,500 consultants. She led a staff of more than 100 in the delivery of people services through its HR Managers serving the European, U.S. and international markets.
Mr. Baldwin’s Background
Mr. Baldwin is a well-known and widely respected knowledge management professional, with years of experience in the legal sector. In his role as CKO at Sheppard Mullin, Mr. Baldwin was responsible for the first law firm implementation of Microsoft SharePoint 2007 as an intranet platform, and he was the first to implement Windows Workflow Foundation and Enterprise Search using SharePoint 2007. He also was responsible for the institution of blogs to replace newsletters, generating more than 10,000 hits per day.
“Reed Smith’s senior management has already demonstrated its interest in taking a wide range of cutting-edge knowledge technologies to scale firmwide,” Mr. Baldwin said. “As one of the legal industry’s most progressive firms, it will benefit immensely from the consolidation and organization of its knowledge management operations and activities. I’m pleased to be joining such a forward-thinking team.”
Before joining Sheppard Mullin, Mr. Baldwin held a senior level position in Foley and Lardner. Prior to that, the 1996 graduate of the University of Southern California consulted for nearly a decade with law firms and corporate legal departments. In 2005, he was named Legal IT Innovator of the Year by the Legal IT Forum. Mr. Baldwin serves as Regional Vice President of the International Technology Association; and he is a member of the Law Technology News Advisory Board, the CS Fullerton Knowledge Management Advisory Board, and the Lexis Nexis Advisory Council. He is the author of the popular Knowledgeline blog and a regular contributor to other online legal blogs.
About Reed Smith
Reed Smith is one of the 15 largest law firms in the world, with more than 1,500 lawyers in 23 offices throughout the United States, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Founded in 1877, the firm represents leading international businesses from Fortune 100 corporations to mid-market and emerging enterprises. Its attorneys provide litigation services in multi-jurisdictional matters and other high stake disputes, deliver regulatory counsel, and execute the full range of strategic domestic and cross-border transactions. Reed Smith is a preeminent advisor to industries including financial services, life sciences, health care, advertising and media, shipping, international trade and commodities, real estate, manufacturing, and education. For more information, visit reedsmith.com
U.S.: New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Washington, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Oakland, Princeton, Northern Virginia, Wilmington, Century City, Richmond
Europe: London, Paris, Munich, Birmingham, Greece
Middle East: Abu Dhabi, Dubai
Asia: Hong Kong, Beijing