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Unlike most of us, Reed Smith chairman Gregory Jordan was wide awake when the bombs detonated in the subways and on a double-decker bus in London Thursday. “I was riding in a taxi to the [London] office when the explosions went off, and I didn’t know anything had happened,” Jordan said. “We started a meeting about our European strategic plan when someone interrupted to tell us the news.” Jordan said the first reaction was to conduct a headcount to make sure all 161 lawyers and staff in London were located and safe. The firm then circulated an e-mail letting Reed Smith’s lawyers and staff in the United States know that everyone was safe. Once that was established, Jordan said the next problem was transportation home. While it was the instinct of many to close the office and send everyone home, British authorities asked everyone to remain in their offices for a few hours. Public transportation was shut down, so Jordan said many lawyers and staff who drove to work carpooled with colleagues. Aside from Reed Smith, other Pennsylvania law firms with London offices had to react to the horrific bombings during morning rush hour that killed dozens and wounded more than 1,000 Londoners. No Philadelphia firm with London offices reported any deaths or injuries to lawyers and staff. Even so, firms had to react fast to ensure that their colleagues were safe. This at a time when most of their American counterparts were sleeping. DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary has roughly 800 lawyers and staff in London and 2,800 in eight U.K offices. Firm spokesperson Patrick Bustamante said there were no reported injuries, and like Reed Smith, lawyers and staff spent the remainder of the day ensuring everyone had transportation home. Paul Webb, communications director for Morgan Lewis & Bockius, which has 47 lawyers and staff in London, said firm officials were in contact with its London office early Thursday morning to find out that everyone was accounted for and safe. The firm authorized the office to let personnel leave early and followed the instructions of the local authorities to assist people in securing transportation home. Dechert chief marketing officer Nancy Lasersohn said early Thursday morning the immediate priority was to account for all 280 London-based personnel and those who were traveling to and in London. Once it was determined everyone was safe, the challenge then became making sure everyone could get transportation home, finding a place for them to spend the night if they could not, checking in with clients to see what, if any assistance other lawyers and staff could provide, and making sure all IT systems that enable remote access were in good order. Duane Morris London-based partner Ray Smyth summed up the day with an e-mail to his stateside colleagues. “We have been overwhelmed by your kind wishes, prayers and solidarity; thank you all,” Smyth wrote. “The best that we can all do in these times is to ensure that the cowardly perpetrators of these deeds do not succeed in their endeavor and maintain service as usual. We are greatly relieved that none of our staff have been directly caught up in these atrocities and, as far as we are aware, believe that none of our families, friends, or clients have been affected.”

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