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A Sharon Hill, Pa.-based sidewalk-sweeper company was the first connection between Reed Smith and London-based Warner Cranston. Reed Smith’s Peter Tucci, head of the firm’s international practice, represented Allied Sweepers in the United States, while Warner Cranston oversaw production of the sweepers in Scotland. Now the 600-attorney U.S. firm and the 60-solicitor U.K. firm have decided to expand that transatlantic cooperation with a merger effective Jan. 1. “As more and more of our clients were going international, we had to be on the ground to provide legal services,” Tucci explained. “To remain competitive, we needed an international office.” Gregory Jordan, Reed Smith’s managing partner-elect, said the move “makes sense” because Reed Smith was only one of the few 50 largest firms in the world to be based in one country. Under Tucci’s direction, plans for an international office began in April 1999 during an international practice strategic planning meeting. After a study of commercial centers worldwide, eight cities emerged as viable options; London was most beneficial to the firm’s existing clients, Tucci said. “This is about enabling us to better serve our clients,” said Tucci, who works out of Reed Smith’s Philadelphia office. Reed Smith’s clients include technology companies and entrepreneurs, financial-services firms, health-care providers and insurers, communications companies, manufacturers, universities, nonprofit organizations, real-estate developers, and municipalities throughout the United States and in 40 other countries. Jordan added that many of its clients in financial services and real estate would especially benefit from the European addition because those are the clients with sizable U.K. operations. For Michael Browne, the managing partner of the firm’s Philadelphia office, the move means an opportunity to enhance the firm’s insurance and reinsurance practice. “Warner Cranston has a very significant practice in international insurance and reinsurance. Together we will create a trans-Atlantic international insurance and reinsurance practice,” Browne said. Reed Smith didn’t want to start from scratch abroad. Warner Cranston solved that problem, offering an established practice and a firm culture that matched Reed Smith’s. “We are both entrepreneurial firms,” Browne said. Other U.S. firms had pursued Warner Cranston, which also has a strong presence in France and Germany, he said. Thomas Todd, the firmwide head of Reed Smith’s business and finance department, will relocate from Pittsburgh, Pa., to London and oversee the integration of the firms’ practices. Fourteen Warner Cranston attorneys will become partners in Reed Smith. The merged firm will be known as Reed Smith Warner Cranston. Ian B. Fagelson, senior partner of Warner Cranston, echoed Jordan’s sentiments that the merger will allow each firm to address its needs across the Atlantic. Fagelson said half of Warner Cranston’s revenue comes from its international work and the largest single group in that category is in the U.S. “We have gradually come around to the view that with the globalization of legal services, we needed to be in other countries,” Fagelson said. “And the country we needed to be in most urgently is the U.S.” Fagelson added that Warner Cranston’s solicitors have enjoyed reputations as “good English lawyers who represent U.S. clients.” Both Fagelson and Jordan stressed that the firms share strong core market areas such as financial services, manufacturing and e-commerce. Warner Cranston’s clients include many household names, both public and private companies. Outside the U.S. and U.K., its clients are based in France, Switzerland and the Middle East. Jordan said Warner Cranston’s expertise in complex transactions and mergers and acquisitions added to its appeal. Many members of the firm worked for London’s largest firms before forming Warner Cranston in 1979. Reed Smith, which has doubled in size in 10 years, now will have more than 675 lawyers located in 13 cities. The most recent merger falls in line with Reed Smith’s attempt to create an image as “one large firm” and downplay its individual locations, according to Jordan. “The strategy is driven by our desire to serve clients and approach the market as one firm that is where they need us to be,” Jordan said. “Increasingly the kinds of work we are doing and the clients we are working with need us to be in different places at the same time.” With London now secure, Jordan said, the firm will focus on expanding to the West Coast. Although it has no definite plans, Jordan said he has “high hopes” that Reed Smith will make significant progress toward a California location next year. He added that Reed Smith intends to expand its European operations but has no specific targets for growth at this point. The Warner Cranston deal is the third addition to Reed Smith this year. It acquired an intellectual property boutique firm in New York that has a strong practice with European and Asian clients and opened a Wilmington, Del., office to serve the growing needs of the firm’s financial institution and corporate clients. Reed Smith is the fourth Pennsylvania firm to open a London office in the last 13 months. Buchanan Ingersoll was first, joining up with 13 attorneys from Beachcroft Wansboroughs in November 1999. Then this past June, Dechert merged with Titmuss Sainer Dechert, and Duane Morris & Heckscher opened a London office with six solicitors from Geisler & Laws.

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