Merger spurs Reed Smith’s change at top

Reed Smith’s change at top” />Reed Smith is in the process of overhauling its practice group management structure as part of its merger with Richards Butler.

Richards Butler partners will dominate UK management at the combined firm when the new structure goes live on 1 January 2007.

Reed Smith UK managing partner Tim Foster told The Lawyer: “The new expertise and complementary practices that Richards Butler brings to the table enable the firm to create several new firmwide practice groups to help drive cross-selling and the development of international services.”

The Richards Butler partners, who assume their management positions at Reed Smith Richards Butler in January, are being sent on Reed Smith’s leadership training programme at Wharton Business School in Philadelphia next week.

Reed Smith partner Peter Borrowdale will take charge of the corporate department, which at Richards Butler was led by Philip Taylor, but the other seven key practices will be led by Richards Butler partners.

Nola Beirne will manage the UK arm of the firmwide banking and financial services practice group and Richards Butler’s current head of litigation Belinda Paisley will continue to be responsible for the UK litigation practice.

While Reed Smith already has existing expertise in the advertising, media and technology areas in the US, the addition of the Richards Butler team has led to the creation of the firmwide advertising, media and technology group, which will be led by Stephen Edwards. The firms made their first joint hire in this practice area last week with the addition of Verizon Communications in-house counsel Susan Mann.

The merger has also led to the creation of two other new practice areas for Reed Smith: shipping, which will be led by Nick Shaw, and energy, trade and commodities, which is set to be led by Kyri Evagora.

“The new structure will reflect the key industry focus areas where the combined firm has leading expertise, namely advising major companies in the financial services, life sciences, shipping, media and energy, trade and commodities sectors,” said Foster.