Reed Smith Richards Butler completes merger

The transatlantic merger of Richards Butler and US firm Reed Smith went live yesterday to create Reed Smith Richards Butler.

The two firms started trading together yesterday despite a number of their staff remaining at home to enjoy New Year’s Day.

UK managing partner Tim Foster told The Lawyer: “Effectively, we’re trading under the new name from today – I certainly wasn’t at work yesterday.

“The letterheads have changed and the email systems have been combined. The accounts system and the computer systems have been merged. We are behaving as one from now.”

The two firms will continue operating out of two offices in London for the next two to three years until a suitable site can be found for everybody to move in to.

Foster said: “We want to find a building that will accommodate all of us. In terms of current availability, there is noting suitable. We’re looking at moving in two or three years when current lease obligations will allow.”

The firm has confirmed its management team. Former Richards Butler managing partner Roger Parker will serve as managing partner for Europe and the Middle East, and will join the firm’s senior management team.

Paul Johnston and Richard Swinburn, formerly of Richards Butler, will join Reed Smith’s Ian Fagelson in representing the firm’s European offices on the executive committee.

Scott Pearman becomes a deputy department head in the firm’s business & regulatory department, and Charles Hewetson becomes a deputy department head in the litigation department.

Kyri Evagora in energy, trade & commodities; Nick Shaw in shipping; Stephen Edwards in advertising, media & technology; and Belinda Paisley in European litigation become firmwide practice group leaders.

New office managing partners in markets outside the US include Vincent Gordon in Abu Dhabi, Sean Angle in Dubai, and John Reece in Piraeus.

Reed Smith personnel who continue as office and market managing partners include Chris Hill in Birmingham; Foster in London; Benoit Charot in Paris; and Stefan Kugler in Munich.

With the Richards Butler merger complete, the firm turns its attention to completing its combination with Chicago-based Sachnoff & Weaver, already approved by the partners of both firms and scheduled to go into effect March 1.