The group is led by Rick Robinson, the former global head of life sciences and health care at Norton Rose. He has joined Reed Smith as a partner in Washington, D.C., along with partner Lesley Reynolds.
The large group of lawyers decamping from Norton Rose comes on the heels of another high-profile Norton Rose loss. On Wednesday, Winston & Strawn announced that Abbe David Lowell had joined the firm as a partner in Washington, D.C. Lowell was co-head of Norton Rose Fulbright’s U.S. regulations, investigations, securities and compliance practice, and represents President Donald Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner in connection with the ongoing probes into Russian interference in the 2016 elections,
In addition to Robinson and Reynolds, other former Norton Rose partners joining Reed Smith from the life sciences and health care group are partners Jeff Layne and Ben Koplin in Austin and Cori Goldberg in New York. In addition, Norton Rose senior associates Selina Coleman in Washington, D.C., and Sara Brinkmann in Houston have joined Reed Smith as partners.
The team also includes associates Sara Cummings in Austin and Caitlin Chambers in Houston, and counsel Lara Parkin and associates Megan Engel, Daniel Fundakowski, Andrew Lu and Jessica Christensen, all in Washington, D.C.
Robinson said he and his group could not pass up the opportunity to join Reed Smith’s large and strong life sciences health industry group “to make what ought to be the number one health care/life sciences practice in the world.”
Robinson, who started work at Norton Rose Fulbright legacy firm Fulbright & Jaworski in 1982, said the move to Reed Smith is significant for him personally as well as the right thing to do for the team. A few other Norton Rose attorneys are also considering a move to Reed Smith, he said.
Robinson will serve as head of international life sciences development, a newly created position, and will work on expanding the firm’s life sciences practice internationally.
With the move, the group brings a number of clients, including Duke University, Boston Scientific and Walgreens, according to Robinson
Scot Hasselman, a co-chair of Reed Smith’s life sciences health industry group, said the addition of the large group links two of the nation’s oldest and strongest teams in the health care/life sciences area.
“We knew these lawyers. They were our colleagues—co-counsel on cases, sometimes across the table from us on deals and other things—so it was a very attractive combination,” Hasselman said.
The lateral team’s work includes criminal and civil investigations, regulatory counseling and compliance, False Claims Act defense, administrative litigation, consumer class actions and internal investigations. In addition, Goldberg does FDA counseling with a focus on food safety.
Hasselman said adding “boots-on-the-ground capability” in health care and life sciences, and opening an office in Austin, have been part of Reed Smith’s strategic plan. “This was a fortuitous opportunity,” he said.
Responding to the departures, Norton Rose U.S. managing partner Daryl Lansdale said in a statement that “Norton Rose Fulbright’s litigation group consistently ranks among the elite, with approximately 350 disputes lawyers in the United States and more than 1,000 globally. Our healthcare regulatory and litigation teams are strong as a result of our considerable depth, and we stand committed to these important practice areas.”
Reed Smith moved into the Texas market in 2013 with an office in Houston. That office has grown significantly, and now houses 70 lawyers. The Austin office is the firm’s 28th. In addition to new partner hires Layne and Koplin, counsel Craig Tanner will move to the Austin office from Houston and help with office integration. Also, manager Grant Hewitt has moved from Norton Rose Fulbright to the new Austin office.