Reed Smith

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Reed Smith LLP
Reed Smith
No. of offices 27
No. of attorneys 1,800+
Major practice areas Finance, Life Sciences & Health, Energy & Natural Resources, Entertainment & Media, Shipping & Transportation
Revenue Increase $1.12 billion (2018) [1]
Profit per equity partner Increase $1.18 million (2018) [1]
Date founded 1877 (Pittsburgh)
Founder Philander Knox and James Hay Reed
Company type Limited liability partnership
Slogan Driving Progress Through Partnership.

Reed Smith LLP is a global law firm headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with more than 1,800 lawyers in 27 offices throughout the United States, Europe, the Middle East and Asia.[2] In 2017, Reed Smith was listed by Law360 as one of the top Global 20 Firms, which includes firms that have the biggest global presence and handle the largest, most groundbreaking international and cross-border matters.[3] Its lawyers advise on all corporate and finance matters, litigation and other dispute resolution services, deliver regulatory counsel, and execute strategic domestic and cross-border transactions.[4]

Reed Smith is an advisor to industries including financial services, life sciences, health care, advertising, technology and media, shipping, energy and natural resources, real estate, manufacturing, and education.[4]The firm counsels 13 of the world's 15 largest commercial and savings banks; 25 of the world's 35 largest oil and gas companies; and the world's three largest pharmaceutical distribution and wholesale companies. Reed Smith's shipping practice has been designated among the most preeminent in the world, and its advertising law practice is regarded as among the legal industry's finest.

In 2018, revenues at Reed Smith reached a record-breaking $1.12 billion. Profits per partner grew 6% to $1,180,000.00, while revenue per lawyer increased by 3% to $722,000.00.[5]


Reed Smith was founded in Pittsburgh in 1877 by Philander C. Knox and James H. Reed.[6] The two partners soon created a symbiotic relationship with the American industrial tycoon, Andrew Carnegie, the creator of U.S. Steel, the world's first billion-dollar corporation. Soon after, other large businesses such as, Heinz (company), Mellon and Frick joined the firm's client roster. In the 1880s, Edwin W. Smith and other partners joined the firm and in 1922 the firm adopted the name Reed Smith Shaw & McClay, a name that would stand until being shortened in 2000. During the New Deal era, Reed Smith established a securities practice and partner Ralph H. Demmler became chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission.[6]

Reed Smith's New York offices at 599 Lexington Avenue

Through 1970 to the present, the firm engaged in a series of strategic mergers & acquisitions, as well as new offices, to create one of the largest law firms in the world. In the 1970s, Reed Smith domestically grew with new offices beyond Pittsburgh. It set up an office in Washington, DC and in 1989, merged with Beltway firm Pierson, Ball & Dowd, thereby obtaining a well-regarded health care practice. Reed Smith opened new offices in New York and New Jersey in the 1990s and acquired a leading Northern Virginia firm, Hazel & Thomas.

During the 2000s Reed Smith experienced rapid international growth, both organically and through mergers. Acquiring the UK law firm Warner Cranston turned Reed Smith transatlantic in 2001 and opened offices in Paris and Munich four years later. Domestically, it opened an office in Delaware and combined with a California law firm, Crosby, Heafey, Roach & May, which moved the firm to a rank among the 20 largest law firms.[6] In 2007 Reed Smith merged with UK law firm, Richards Butler, which added offices in France, Greece, the Middle East and Hong Kong one year later.[7]

Since 2009 their office has been located in Reed Smith Centre, a LEED-certified workspace that helped jumpstart the modernization of the City's "Fifth Avenue ," on the perimeter of Pittsburgh's Cultural District. More than 275 lawyers comprise the Pittsburgh office, making it the largest law office in the city and the largest Reed Smith office in the United States. Pittsburgh also is home to the firm's Global Customer Center, which provides service to Reed Smith's lawyers and offices around the world.

Reed Smith opened their second German office in 2015 in Frankfurt, Germany’s financial center, to meet growing client demand in the German market.[8]

In 2016, Reed Smith entered into a formal alliance with Singapore firm Resource Law.[9]

A year later in 2017 the firm opened a new office in Miami, strengthening their connections to clients in Central and South America.[10]

Reed Smith's Pittsburgh offices in the Three PNC Plaza building


  • Reed Smith has been ranked a Top-tier Firm in Legal 500 German 2018 Rankings in seven categories, and 12 of the German partners received recommendations in their areas of specialty, in the Legal 500 Germany 2018 handbook.[11]
  • Reed Smith received 18 practice rankings and 42 individual lawyer recommendations in the 2018 edition of The Legal 500 Asia Pacific.[12]
  • The firm has been named Best Law Firm for Global Weather Risk Management in Environmental Finance’s Annual Market Rankings in 2018. The firm has retained the title since 2014, and was also named runner-up for Best Law Firm in the EU Emissions Trading System category this year.
  • In 2017, Reed Smith was listed by Law360 as one of the top Global 20 Firms, which includes firms that have the biggest global presence and handle the largest, most groundbreaking international and cross-border matters.[3]
  • Reed Smith named Private Equity Team of the Year at British Legal Awards 2017.[13]
  • Ranked 17th on Law360’s Global 20 Ranking in 2016.[14]
  • Legal Week's 2013 annual Client Satisfaction Report ranks Reed Smith #5 in the U.S. International firms category. The firm was especially recognized for the quality of its legal and commercial advice as well as personal/partner relationships.[15]
  • Reed Smith ranked 8th on the 2013 inaugural "Social Index" of Am Law 50 Firms in survey ranking use of social media technologies.[16]
  • Reed Smith advances eight spots on Acritas’ Sharplegal US Law Firm Brand Index 2014, earning recognition as a lTop 20 U.S. brand.[17]
  • Ranked 19th among American law firms with the most gross revenue by AmLaw 100 in 2010.[18]
  • Ranked 1st out of 411 law firms by The BTI Client Relationship Scorecard for building and maintaining client relationships, June 2009.[19]

Notable cases and transactions[edit]

  • Reed Smith successfully defended artist Curtis Jackson better known as 50 Cent in a number of disputes including a suit accusing him of stealing content from a third party protected under copyright law.[20]
  • Represented French luxury perfumes and cosmetics house Lancôme, part of the L'Oréal Luxury Products division, against actress Uma Thurman.[21]
  • Advised Wells Fargo Bank and other mortgage lenders, servicers and trustees in "robo-signing" and other foreclosure-related matters.[22]
  • Reed Smith represented BNY Mellon to fend off a $539 million bondholder attack against the bank in the Argentina bond default litigation.[23]
  • Represented Toyota Motor Credit Corp. in securing $15 billion in financing through a syndicated credit facility.[24]
  • Advised the Civil Aviation Authority (United Kingdom) pension scheme on a buy-in worth over £1.6 billion with specialist insurer Rothesay Life.[25]
  • Represented BMW Financial Services in a number of suits and obtained dismissal on the basis of the voluntary payment rule of putative nationwide class action alleging a violation of the Uniform Commercial Code.[26]
  • Reed Smith successfully defended Nintendo against a number of patent disputes by Motion Games.[27]
  • Reed Smith successfully defended the South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club members, whose alleged lack of maintenance to the South Fork Dam caused the Johnstown Flood, resulting in the death of 2,209 people

Notable alumni[edit]

Individuals who have worked at Reed Smith include:

Popular culture[edit]

The firm is depicted in Laurence Leamer's book The Price of Justice.[28]


As of January 2018, Reed Smith has 27 offices across three continents. London is the largest office with over 350 attorneys, while Pittsburgh is the founding office.[29][30] [31]

As well as numerous offices, Reed Smith has the Global Customer Centre, also located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It houses Reed Smith's 24/7/365 firm-wide administrative operations, including the Network Operating Center, IT Help Desk and the Business Centre.[32]

Main practice areas[edit]

Reed Smith has five industry-focused groups: Energy & Natural Resources, Entertainment & Media, Financial Industry, Life Sciences Health Industry Group, and Shipping & Transportation. The main practice areas include:[33]

  • Advertising, Technology & Media
  • Antitrust & Competition
  • Bankruptcy & Commercial Restructuring
  • Construction and Engineering
  • Corporate & Securities
  • Education
  • Energy & Natural Resources
  • Environmental Law
  • Executive Compensation & Employee Benefits
  • Financial Services
  • Government Contracts & Grants
  • Government Investigations & White Collar Criminal Defense
  • Health Care
  • Hedge Funds
  • Information Technology, Privacy & Data Security
  • Insurance
  • Intellectual Property
  • International Arbitration
  • International Trade & National Security
  • Labor & Employment
  • Litigation & Dispute Resolution
  • Pensions
  • Public Policy & Infrastructure
  • State and Local Taxation
  • Product Liability
  • Real estate
  • Securities Litigation & Enforcement
  • Sovereign Wealth Funds
  • Sports Law
  • Shipping
  • Wealth Planning

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Reed Smith boosts revenue and profits as London base closes in on $200m mark". Legal Week. 28 February 2018. Retrieved 1 March 2018. 
  2. ^ "Organizational Profile of Reed Smith at the National Law Review". The National Law Review. May 16, 2012. 
  3. ^ a b
  4. ^ a b Reed Smith Profile
  5. ^ "Reed Smith boosts revenue and profits as London base closes in on $200m mark". Legal Week. 28 February 2018. Retrieved 2 March 2018. 
  6. ^ a b c "History". Reed Smith. 4 March 2015. Retrieved 6 March 2015. 
  7. ^ "Reed Smith Richards Butler completes merger". The Lawyer. 2 January 2007. Retrieved 6 March 2015. 
  8. ^ "Reed Smith opens second Germany office". 
  9. ^ "Reed Smith seals alliance with Singapore firm Resource Law - The Lawyer | Legal News and Jobs | Advancing the business of law". 2016-07-18. Retrieved 2016-07-21. 
  10. ^ "Reed Smith opens new office in Miami". 
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^ "Law360 Reveals The Global 20 Firms Of 2016". 
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^ "The Am Law 100 2010". ALM Legal Intelligence. 2010. Retrieved 10 April 2012. 
  19. ^ "The BTI Client Relationship Scorecard: Ranking Law Firm-Client Relationships 2009, Executive summary" (PDF). BTI Consulting Group. 2009. Retrieved 10 April 2012. 
  20. ^ "3rd Circ. Clears 50 Cent Of Copying Gangster Book". 
  21. ^ "No making up? Lancome takes Uma Thurman to court". 
  22. ^ "Wells Fargo Beats NJ Fraud Suit Over Foreclosure Action". 
  23. ^ "BNY Doesn't Have To Turn Over $539M To Argentina Creditors". 
  24. ^ "Reed Smith Advises Toyota Motor Credit Corporation in $15 Billion Financing". 
  25. ^ "Rothesay Life completes £1.6bn buy-in with CAAPS". 
  26. ^ "The Voluntary Payment Rule: A Powerful Defense Tool In An Appropriate Case". 
  27. ^ "Fed. Circ. Backs Nintendo's PTAB Win On Game Patent". 
  28. ^
  29. ^ "London". Reed Smith. 4 March 2014. Retrieved 10 March 2015. 
  30. ^ "Pittsburgh". Reed Smith. 4 March 2014. Retrieved 10 March 2015. 
  31. ^ "Top 10: Largest Pittsburgh-area law firms". Pittsburgh Business Times. 18 January 2013. Retrieved 10 March 2015. 
  32. ^ "Global Customer Centre". Reed Smith. 4 March 2014. Retrieved 10 March 2015. 
  33. ^ "Learn About Our Practices & Industries". Reed Smith. 4 March 2014. Retrieved 10 March 2015. 

External links[edit]