Louis Solomon, a former co-chair of the litigation group at Cadwalader, is leaving Greenberg Traurig with fellow partners Colin Underwood and Michael Lazaroff to join Reed Smith’s New York office as the latter looks to expand its litigation practice in the city.
Solomon, who served as global co-head of Greenberg Traurig’s international litigation group, will now head that practice at Reed Smith. Lazaroff and Underwood will continue to work with Solomon as partners in Reed Smith’s complex litigation group.
“[Solomon] is a trial lawyer and his team is a team of trial lawyers,” said Peter Ellis, chair of Reed Smith’s complex litigation group. “At Reed Smith, we have a strong stable of trial lawyers and bringing [Solomon] and the rest of the team helps build on that tradition.”
The three partners have practiced together for more than 20 years, handling various matters, including extensive and diverse trial work in the international litigation and arbitration arena, as well as class actions for clients around the globe.
Solomon, Underwood and Lazaroff first made headlines in 2010 when they, along with current Greenberg Traurig partner Hal Shaftel, joined Cadwalader from Proskauer Rose, where Solomon co-chaired Proskauer’s litigation department. That lateral move saw Solomon become co-head of the litigation group at Cadwalader and chair of its commercial and international litigation teams.
But in early 2016, all four partners, including Shaftel, left Cadwalader for Greenberg Traurig in an effort to build out that firm’s New York litigation group. (Greenberg Traurig is no stranger to hiring top partners from Cadwalader, having in 2011 recruited M&A rainmaker Dennis Block, the current senior chairman of the firm’s global M&A practice.)
“I would call it a step,” said Solomon of his group’s decision to Reed Smith. “I think it’s the next and, I think, last move for us in an evolution of both our practice and maybe even our personalities.”
And a part of that evolution has been an increased focus on international matters for clients, Solomon said.
“The world is getting smaller,” added Solomon, who also operates a legal practice blog titled “OneWorld International” that discusses topics and trends in international litigation.
One of the main reasons that Solomon, Underwood and Lazaroff decided to join Reed Smith was because of the firm’s strategic commitment to become a top 20 global firm, Solomon said.
“[Reed Smith] not only has the will to do that but they execute on it [through] the way they treat people and the culture they have,” said Solomon about his new firm, whose presence in the U.K. and elsewhere abroad was bolstered via its 2006 merger with British firm Richards Butler.
Reed Smith, with 1,536 lawyers, currently ranks No. 32 in The American Lawyer’s most recent Global 100 rankings when measured by gross revenue, a number that stood at $1.075 billion for Reed Smith in 2016. Reed Smith’s largest office is in London, an outpost that has reportedly been exploring the possibility of adopting an alternative business structure in the U.K. (Greenberg Traurig, for its part, comes in a No. 19 in the Global 100 rankings thanks to its roughly $1.4 billion in gross revenue for 2016.)
Reed Smith’s recruitment of Solomon, Underwood and Lazaroff was brokered by Samuel Roberts, the national executive director at New York-based legal search firm Mestel & Co., which also arranged the group’s exit from Cadwalader in 2016.
“For us, it’s really the high-end capability of the team—their ability to handle complex and important pieces of litigation and the international element, which is [part] of what we’re trying to do as a firm in all areas of practice, including litigation,” said Michael Pollack, managing partner for the Americas at Reed Smith. “We’ve worked hard this past year to enhance our international dispute resolution capabilities.”
Pollack noted that last year Reed Smith sought to increase its international dispute resolution capabilities with several key lateral hires.
In April, the firm opened an office in Miami after bolting on a seven-lawyer international arbitration practice from local boutique Astigarraga Davis. The firm also picked up Pinsent Masons partner Peter Rosher in Paris to serve as its head of international arbitration.
And Reed Smith isn’t ready to stop hiring. Pollack said his firm is looking to add to its talent roster, capture more opportunities from existing clients and expand its client base and market share in an increasingly competitive legal marketplace. Reed Smith started off 2018 by snagging four laterals to grow its office in Houston, one the firm opened in 2013.