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Twenty-one attorneys from the advertising law-focused Hall Dickler are joining Reed Smith in a move that bolsters Reed Smith’s New York presence and positions the firm to tap into Madison Avenue’s attractive client base. Partners at Reed Smith voted to annex the group of attorneys, located in New York and Beverly Hills, earlier this week. Nine of the Hall Dickler attorneys will join Reed Smith as partners, and Hall Dickler Executive Partner Douglas Wood will lead the newly created advertising and marketing law group at 975-lawyer Reed Smith. In an announcement unveiling the deal, managers at Reed Smith touted the value of the new attorneys to the firm’s practice mix and visibility. “They will significantly expand the services we can provide within the advertising law arena and contribute to a more visible profile for Reed Smith in New York,” Firmwide Managing Partner Gregory Jordan said in a statement. Reed Smith’s new advertising group will handle a variety of matters, including mergers and acquisitions, litigation, intellectual property and regulatory work for clients such as advertising agencies, promotion agencies and media companies. Michael Pollack, Reed Smith’s director of strategic planning, called the Hall Dickler group one of the “premier” advertising practices, and said he expected it to complement Reed Smith’s life sciences and financial services groups. The deal spells the end of 70-year-old Hall Dickler, which has gradually shrunk from its peak of nearly 70 attorneys. A group of 10 Hall Dickler attorneys joined Los Angeles-based Manatt, Phelps & Phillips in November, following failed merger discussions between the two firms. Among the defectors was Linda Goldstein, the chair of Hall Dickler’s advertising practice, who took with her clients including ESPN, Dreamworks and Microsoft. Goldstein said she was sad to see the end of the Hall Dickler firm but noted that most of the firm’s advertising law “specialists” had already moved with her to Manatt. “The Hall Dickler that is joining Reed Smith is not the Hall Dickler that the advertising industry knows, but I nonetheless wish them well,” Goldstein said. Reed Smith’s Pollack said the firm never held discussions with the Goldstein group, and that the advertising practice Reed Smith acquired was not weakened by the split. “The group that went over to Manatt certainly had significant clients of their own,” said Pollack, but “there’s nothing in the advertising-law area that the group we got can’t do.” At the heart of Reed Smith’s acquisition is Hall Dickler’s Wood. A 26-year veteran in the advertising and marketing law field, Wood has authored several books on the subject. In 2002 he was appointed general counsel of the Association of National Advertisers. Other key partners moving to Reed Smith include Michael Meyers and Peter Raymond, both members of Hall Dickler’s executive committee. Reed Smith is acquiring all but a handful of Hall Dickler’s attorneys, and is also hiring numerous staff members. In addition to advertising attorneys, Reed Smith will gain a few real estate, trusts and estates and tax lawyers. The attorneys will begin practicing at Reed Smith’s existing New York, Los Angeles and Century City offices on Feb. 1.

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