Reed Smith eyes Chicago with Sachnoff tie-up

Reed Smith eyes Chicago with Sachnoff tie-up” />US firm Reed Smith has secured its long-sought-after Chicago presence, agreeing to merge with mid-sized US firm Sachnoff & Weaver.

As first revealed on www. (17 October), Pittsburgh-based Reed Smith, which is in the process of finalising its merger with Richards Butler in London, has reached agreement in principle with 140-lawyer Sachnoff.

The tie-up is, however, subject to a partnership vote at both firms in November. If approved, the merger will be effective from 1 March 2007, two months after Reed Smith’s merger with Richards Butler is to go live, on 1 January 2007.

The overall combined firm would have nearly 1,500 lawyers and revenue of more than $850m (£454.64m). The firms will operate in Chicago under the name Reed Smith Sachnoff Weaver.

Reed Smith managing partner Gregory Jordan explained that Sachnoff offered a strong litigation and corporate capability. “We have a strong East and West-Coast presence but nothing in the middle, and Chicago is also home for many of our clients,” he said.

Reed Smith has been targeting a Chicago presence for several years. In November 2005, Jordan told The Lawyer that the firm was looking to expand into Chicago, China and Texas through separate mergers.

Last week, he confirmed that the firm had been in on-off discussions with Sachnoff for more than two years, although talks were reignited after Reed Smith’s merger negotiations with Chicago-firm Wildman Harrold Allen & Dixon collapsed in October 2005.

“We are still interested in both China and Texas and are in discussions with Richards Butler in Hong Kong,” Jordan said. “But we are focused at the moment on the Richards Butler merger in London and now Chicago.”

If the partnership votes are successful, Reed Smith head of litigation Thomas McGough, who will stand down from the role at the end of the year, will move to Chicago to assist with the integration.

The move would mirror that of director of strategic planning Michael Pollack’s move to London to assist with the Richards Butler merger.