Reed Smith’s Birmingham office goes it alone

<a class=Reed Smith‘s Birmingham office goes it alone” />The Birmingham office of Reed Smith is to split with the firm and branch out on its own in a bid to focus on the regional market.

The nine-partner office will operate as a separate firm under the name Hill Hofstetter as of January 2009, headed up by Birmingham managing partner Chris Hill.

Hill said the move had been brought about by “Reed Smith’s focus on bigger things. They have got London, New York, Paris and Hong Kong. Where do we fit in?”

The new 25-lawyer firm firm will maintain links with Reed Smith and will continue to refer work and share clients.

The announcement comes after three months of negotiations with Reed Smith global strategy head Michael Pollack.

Hill, a corporate partner, insisted the split was amicable but added that he felt that Birmingham had been low of the firm’s list of priorities.

“They have got to spend their dollars somewhere. We are not at the top of the list,” he said.

Reed Smith had merged with Coventry firm Warner Cranston in 2001 before deciding to move the office to Birmingham in 2006.

One Birmingham partner, head of product liability Paul Llewellyn, will remain with Reed Smith and move to the firm’s London office.

Reed Smith Europe and Middle East managing partner Roger Parker said: “Consolidating our UK presence is a sound move for the firm. We look forward to maintaining a good working relationship with the Birmingham business and continue to work on some projects and some clients together.”