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In a move that will no doubt have it shooting up the charts of the nation’s largest firms, the 500-lawyer Pennsylvania-based Reed Smith Shaw & McClay yesterday announced its intent to merge with 85-attorney Hazel & Thomas of Fairfax, Virginia. Though the union is still subject to due diligence and final approval from the two camps, Reed Smith officials say they issued a press release because talks have developed to the extent that rumors would almost certainly start spreading. A formal vote will occur sometime in the next six weeks. The new firm will retain Reed Smith’s name, save for in Virginia, where it will be known as Reed Smith Hazel & Thomas. “This will really affect our Philadelphia office, because when you look at the vanguard of our IP practice, it’s in Philadelphia,” says Reed Smith’s Philadelphia managing partner, Michael Browne, “We’ll get our IP lawyers involved with their clients.”

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