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Reed Smith Forms Alliance With Greek Firm
The Legal Intelligencer
Pittsburgh-based Reed Smith has formed a strategic alliance with Athens, Greece-based business law firm Papapolitis & Papapolitis, aiming to team up on the "large projects and transactions" anticipated to come out of the economic struggles and structural reforms in Greece, according to a joint press release sent out Monday.
Reed Smith has had an office in Piraeus, Greece, since 2007, when it merged with 250-lawyer, London-based firm Richards Butler.
The firm currently has eight lawyers, including three partners, based in the office, which focuses mainly on shipping, life sciences, commercial disputes and corporate work.
According to a scan of the Am Law 100, Reed Smith is the only U.S.-based firm with an office in Greece.
In fact, it appears to be one of only three firms on the Global 100, along with Allen & Overy and Norton Rose, that have Greek offices.
Papapolitis & Papapolitis is a 114-year-old firm with 17 lawyers that centers its practice on banking, finance and capital markets, corporate governance, corporate and mergers and acquisitions, dispute resolution, real estate and tax law.
According to the press release, the two firms have had "an informal working relationship" for the past two years.
Reed Smith global managing partner Gregory B. Jordan told The Legal Intelligencer Monday that the formation of the strategic alliance is an opportunity for Reed Smith to partner with a "strong and well-established" Greek firm.
"We've become increasingly close with the Papapolitis firm," Jordan said. "The purpose of the alliance is to get closer with them and to let the marketplace know."
Jordan said the two firms will now embark on joint marketing efforts.
Constantine Karides, a partner in Reed Smith's New York office whose practice heavily involves representing Greek corporate interests and financial institutions considering investments in Greece, told The Legal Intelligencer Monday that the country's recent economic woes are likely to lead to the ongoing privatization of a number of Greek industries.
Karides said Reed Smith anticipates this restructuring will create opportunities for the firm to represent both the Greek government as well as interested U.S. and U.K. investors in privatization transactions.
"We think we have a completely seamless solution to assist either side of those transactions," Karides said.
In addition, according to Karides, Greek companies dealing with the fallout from the struggling economy are going to need legal counsel to assist them both inside and outside of Athens.
Karides said forming an alliance with a long-running Greek firm like Papapolitis & Papapolitis "uniquely positions us in the market."
Jordan said the Piraeus office has performed well since Reed Smith acquired it in the Richards Butler deal, in spite of and perhaps even because of Greece's economic troubles.
"As we've seen through the recession, economic turmoil creates legal demand," Jordan said.
According to Jordan, prior to the Richards Butler-Reed Smith merger, the Piraeus office focused primarily on shipping.
But since the merger, Jordan said, Reed Smith has expanded the office's capabilities.
For example, according to Jordan, Reed Smith has been able to use its Greek presence to help some of its pharmaceutical clients, many of which view Greece as "a gateway to the Balkans."
Cementing a formal alliance with Papapolitis & Papapolitis furthers Reed Smith's goal of broadening its horizons in Greece and effectively triples the firm's workforce in the country, Jordan said.
And while the Papapolitis firm will be able to assist Reed Smith in making more inroads into the Greek market, Jordan said he anticipates his firm will be able to return the favor in markets outside of Greece.
John Papapolitis, managing partner of Papapolitis & Papapolitis, was quoted in the firms' joint press release as saying, "We have worked closely with Reed Smith on a number of global finance and corporate matters, as our clients increasingly look for legal advice regarding their outbound investments."