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In a move aimed at boosting service to clients in the financial services and life sciences industries, Reed Smith has opened a Paris office with four partners from the Paris firm Rambaud Martel. Managing partner Gregory B. Jordan said in a statement Monday that “[e]xpansion in Paris is largely driven by the needs of clients in two of Reed Smith’s core practices: life sciences and financial services. Reed Smith’s significant life sciences clients are increasingly active in France and the capital of Paris also provides excellent opportunities for expanding the firm’s financial services practice.” The new office will operate under the name Reed Smith Rambaud Charot, the latter names reflecting two of the four new partners: Mathieu Rambaud and Benoit Charot. The four new partners and six associates, all from Rambaud Martel, will handle transactional and litigation work surrounding Rambaud’s mergers and acquisitions practice and Charot’s industrial risk, products liability and white-collar defense work. Jordan said that the Paris office would allow Reed Smith to expand services to banking and pharmaceutical industry clients. The new addition brings Reed Smith’s European offices to a total of four, with two in Britain, and a 7-month-old Munich office. Michael Pollack, Reed Smith’s partner in charge of strategic growth, said the firm’s pan-European transactional work grew substantially since it opened a London office in 2001. “It became obvious that we needed more of a European presence,” he said. “It’s a client-driven exercise for us.” Germany and France were the targeted European countries, and with Monday’s announcement, the firm has met those goals. Reed Smith has been doing work for French businesses and international clients with interests there out of its England offices, which have more than 100 lawyers. Instructions from French corporations currently make up 10 percent of the corporate and commercial work done in those offices. The firm also services U.S.-based companies with operations in France. Reed Smith’s offices in Britain, New York and Germany have bilingual lawyers who have been advising French-based companies for years. Pollack said it was too early to put a number on the worth of this additional office, but said the firm already had internal referrals coming in from attorneys who have clients with interests in France.Jordan said in a telephone interview that one of those companies was a pharmaceutical client who already asked for immediate help from the new office. Coleman Legal Search founder Michael Coleman said that over the last five years, Pittsburgh-based Reed Smith has transformed itself beyond the regional firm it once was.”Of Pennsylvania firms, Reed Smith has the third biggest imprint in the global marketplace” behind only Morgan Lewis & Bockius and Dechert, Coleman said. “This is a firm that has had substantial growth in its sheer numbers of lawyers as well as its profitability.” Reed Smith is looking to possibly increase that growth internationally. As are many other firms, Reed Smith is currently eying opportunities in China. Both Pollack and Jordan said the firm is actively seeking how best to enter that market and whether it is a location the firm’s clients could benefit from. Pollack said it is hard to ignore China. According to Jordan, the firm has a study group that is looking into client needs and how to form an office in China. Pollack said that nearly three years after Reed Smith combined with California-based firm Crosby Heafey Roach & May in January 2003, the California offices will generate $50 million in work for clients they would not have had if they did not enter that market.”We really look to replicate that kind of performance,” Pollack said, adding that he does not expect that type of number from the Paris office. The firm’s California offices have nearly 200 attorneys. Pollack said the Paris office has room for 23 attorneys, a number he said he hopes to hit quickly. The new office, as evidenced by its name, plans to integrate the culture of a traditional French business law firm with the international capabilities of Reed Smith. The firm plans to expand the Paris office in 2006 with additional French lawyers committed to that international approach. Jordan said this name follows a firm strategy to keep the new firm’s name in the local market. He said Reed Smith followed that strategy in both its Oakland and Munich offices. Marie Albertini and Philippe Lecler, two other former Rambaud Martel partners, have also been named partners in the Paris office. The four partners will bring with them a series of ongoing work, according to Jordan.Rambaud’s father is the latest managing partner of his former Paris firm and his grandfather was the firm’s founder. According to Jordan, some of Rambaud Martel’s partners are moving to another firm in New York, and the remaining attorneys may be looking to merge with San Francisco-based Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe. The opening of the Paris office comes a little more than one month after Reed Smith ended talks to acquire Chicago-based law firm Wildman Harrold Allen & Dixon due to client conflicts. When that happened, Reed Smith told The Legal Intelligencer that it was still looking into expanding into Chicago as well as possibly Texas, Boston and the Southeast. Pollack said the firm is still interested in expanding into those areas because of expressed interest from its clients.

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