Reed Smith is continuing its expansionist streak in London with the hire of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld partner Richard Hierons, at the same time as the Texan firm embarks on its own hiring spree.

Hierons, a corporate specialist, joins Reed Smith today (18 April), bringing the number of lawyers in the firm’s UK operation to 36. Hierons was head of Akin Gump’s English corporate practice in London, and was previously a partner at Nabarro Nathanson.

The hire comes less than a month after Reed Smith secured a clutch of former EY Law partners to launch a Munich branch.

While the departure leaves Akin Gump’s London office with no English corporate partners, Akin Gump London managing partner Fred Heller insisted the firm was committed to UK corporate work. “We’re moving towards critical mass in our four key areas – Russia, investment funds, energy and financial restructuring – and all focus is on hiring English lawyers,” he added.

The Texan firm has raided the Securities and Exchange Commission to hire its only non-US based staff member, London enforcement officer Richard Rosenfeld, who joined in London last Monday (11 April) as a partner.

It is also understood the firm is in negotiations to almost double its space in London and is expected to sign a deal to secure 13,000sq ft of space at Citipoint.