Reed Smith’s global revenues inch up 2 per cent to top $1bn

Reed Smith has posted a 2 per cent increase in total revenue, enough to secure it a total revenue figure above $1bn for the 2012 financial year.

Greg Jordan
Greg Jordan

Turnover at Reed Smith hit $1.013bn, up from $993m in 2011. The rate of top-line growth was, however, half of that in 2011.

Revenue per lawyer (RPL) also grew in 2012, by 3 per cent to $690,000 while average profits per partner (PPP) grew by 6 per cent from $1.02m to $1.08m.

Global managing partner Greg Jordan said in a statement: “We accomplished these record financial results in a very challenging climate where the overall demand for legal services remains considerably lower than before the recession. Our performance reflects our strategy of focusing on strong client relationships in key industries, and delivering quality and value across a strong global platform.”

Last year saw a number of strategic moves by Reed Smith aimed at broadening its international reach. In September 2012 it boosted its capabilities in Greece by formalising its strategic alliance with local Greek firm Papapolitis & Papapolitis.

The following month it opened an office in Singapore as part of its strategic push into key sectors including energy and natural resources, commodities and international trade, shipping and logistics.

In January this year Reed Smith opened a new office in the global oil and gas industry centre of Houston.

The firm also launched two new groups in London, private equity and structured finance, which saw a number of lateral hires.

Former SJ Berwin partner and one-time SJ Berwin managing partner candidate Perry Yam now leads Reed Smith’s private equity group while former Berwin Leighton Paisner partner Tamara Box leads the structured finance team, which also includes Helena Nathanson and new partner Nick Stainthorpe. The latter team now includes more than 15 lawyers dedicated to structured finance.

Key mandates for Reed Smith’s London office include acting as legal adviser and secretariat to the two high-profile independent reviews commissioned by the BBC in the wake of the Jimmy Savile sex-abuse scandal. The first review was led by former Sky News head Nick Pollard and considered issues relating to a Newsnight investigation into Savile in October 2011. The second, led by retired Court of Appeal judge Dame Janet Smith, is examining the culture at the BBC during the years Savile worked there.

Litigation group head and partner Richard Spafford led the team that also featured litigation partners Carolyn Pepper and Ben Summerfield.

The firm also advised long-standing client Fortune Oil, a London Stock Exchange listed company, on the $400m disposal of its natural gas business to Hong Kong Stock Exchange-listed China Gas Holdings. Reed Smith’s Hong Kong office led on the M&A aspects of the deal with the UK capital markets advice handled by a London team including corporate partners Philip Taylor and James Wilson.

Revenue in Reed Smith’s firmwide financial services sector increased by 4.5 per cent last year, life sciences revenue increased by 12.6 per cent, and the energy sector grew by 22 per cent.

“All of our top 10 clients are served by at least half of the offices around the world, and roughly 30 per cent of our revenue comes from outside the US,” added Jordan, who also said the firm saw a particular uptick in work into and out of Asia, a trend acknowledged by its new presence in Singapore.