Roy W. Arnold of Blank Rome.

Blank Rome has hired the leader of Reed Smith’s national class action defense team, Roy Arnold, to join its four-year-old Pittsburgh office.

Arnold, a partner in Reed Smith’s complex litigation group, also served as hiring partner for the firm’s Pittsburgh office. Reed Smith was founded in Pittsburgh but now counts London as its largest office.

He has spent his entire 25-year career so far at Reed Smith, other than a clerkship in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania. He said he holds no negative feelings about his former firm, but saw Blank Rome’s expansion strategy as a better fit for his practice than Reed Smith’s.

“I lived through the growth of the firm, from what was essentially a mid-Atlantic law firm in the early 1990s, and became a national and international firm, to the global firm it is today,” Arnold said. “As Reed Smith really developed a global platform, I think I see my practice as more domestically focused in terms of the national litigation work I do.”

Arnold’s clients have included financial services companies, such as M&T Bank and PNC Bank, as well as retailers including Ulta Beauty Inc. and DSW Inc, he said. He also handles litigation arising out of mergers and acquisitions, and shareholder derivative suits.

“I expect to continue to get hired in the same kind of significant cases here in western Pennsylvania and across the country,” he said.

He also hopes to put his experience in recruiting laterals and young lawyers to use at Blank Rome, he said, working alongside Pittsburgh office chairman James Barnes.

Blank Rome partners Ronald FrankJoseph Culleiton and Jayme Butcher also joined Blank Rome from Reed Smith within the past few years, and Barnes previously led Reed Smith’s Pittsburgh office. Arnold noted that he looks forward to working with several former colleagues at his new firm.

“James and other leaders here have done a great job of beginning to raise awareness of the Blank Rome brand,” Arnold said. Pittsburgh on the whole, he noted “has become an interesting and dynamic legal market for talent,” and more national firms show an interest in growing within the city.

Arnold is the latest in a string of lateral hires at Blank Rome since the new year began. The firm has said it is focused on growing in U.S. cities including New York, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., and is also considering expansion into the Midwest. The firm currently has 13 offices and about 600 lawyers.

He is also not the first to leave Reed Smith for a firm more focused on growth in the U.S. A group of Philadelphia lawyers who left Reed Smith for Holland & Knight last year said they were drawn to the Florida-based firm in part because of its focus on growth in domestic markets, including Philadelphia.

In a statement Tuesday, Reed Smith global head of legal personnel Casey Ryan said, “We appreciate Roy’s contributions to our firm and wish him well on this new chapter in his career.”

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