Reed Smith to ditch Midlands property, debt recovery teams

Reed Smith is dropping its Midlands-based debt recovery and local property practices as part of a shake-up designed to bring the local outpost in line with the firm’s international focus.

The US firm has announced to staff in its Coventry office that the nine-strong debt recovery team, led by litigation partner Larry Coltman, will split from the firm by the end of the year.

At the same time, property partners David Hayes and Mary Anderson will move to Clarke Willmott‘s Birmingham office in November to head its local commercial property development practice.

Reed Smith UK managing partner Tim Foster said the losses followed the firm’s strategy to bring the local outpost in line with its focus on international and high-end matters.

The US firm acquired its London and Coventry offices as part of its merger with UK firm Warner Cranston in January 2001. However, it has struggled to blend the strongly Midlands-focused practices with the firm’s international flavour.

The debt recovery team is expected to set up as a boutique, although it will retain close ties with Reed Smith. Coltman will take on a dual role, remaining a partner in the firm’s litigation team in addition to running the debt recovery firm.

Foster said that, while Hayes’ and Anderson’s departures were not planned, they were consistent with the firm’s strategy, as both had strong practices within the Midlands-based development market.

Reed Smith is understood to be in consultation with several associates in its remaining Coventry-based real estate team concerning their future with the firm.