Merger partners Reed Smith and Richards Butler have made their first joint hire ahead of the January 2007 completion of its tie-up.

Reed Smith has hired outsourcing specialist Susan Mann from Verizon Communications to prepare for a TMT push once it becomes Reed Smith Richards Butler at the start of next year.

Richards Butler partner Stephen Edwards, who will be head of the Reed Smith Richards Butler tech and media team, commented: “At Verizon outsourcing has been an important part of her skillset and she will join a significant RB outsourcing practice.”

Mann will join the firm as of counsel in the London office, moving over from Verizon’s base in Texas.

Mann is US qualified and will soon be qualified in the UK. Her practice focuses on advising technology clients on licensing and IT outsourcing matters and has experience working with clients across EMEA as well as India and China.

In April this year, Richards Butler raided Salans, taking the firm’s entire London-based media team.