Laterals Look: Reed Smith

You don’t need to be made of steel at this Steel City native which insiders felt successfully side-stepped many of BigLaws more toxic traits.

Expertise in all things healthcare and life sciences ensures a steady flow of cutting-edge and high-profile work to Reed Smith’s prestigious doors. For example, the firm recently represented Jay-Z on the sale of a couple of cannabis companies to a Canadian SPAC (special purpose acquisition company), giving the rapper one less thing to worry about. In fact, Reed Smith, with its many practices, might be able to make a good dent in Jay-Z’s long list of problems.

 There’s commercial disputes, life sciences and health, finance, energy and natural resources, insurance, corporate, real estate, entertainment, IP, and restructuring – and that’s not an exhaustive list. Reed Smith is also known for its reach around the world, with 33 offices globally (18 are in the US). Its largest US office is in Pittsburgh, where the firm was founded in 1877. Its good name in the Steel City is underpinned by tip-top Chambers USA rankings in Pennsylvania in litigation, corporate and bankruptcy. It pulls in dozens more rankings across the country in eight more regions, plus in the nationwide category (notably in insurance and healthcare), while on the global stage, the firm is known for its shipping capabilities.

View the firm's Chambers USA rankings here>>

Why did you choose Reed Smith?

“The firm has a strong commitment to work, but also you as a person. They are invested in your growth and staying ahead in the industry."

"World class energy team."

"It has a strong shipping group.

"The practice group I am in gives junior associates more responsibility than what is typical, and certainly more than I would have been entrusted with at other firms."

“Global firm and because of relatively young and energetic partners in my field of practice.”


International and secondment opportunities

Common secondment destinations: Century City, London, New York, Paris, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Princeton, San Francisco, Washington, D.C. 

The view from the firm: Reed Smith’s interoffice secondment program provides an exciting way for an associate to expand knowledge of our firm while furthering one’s career and business development experiences. By spending a week or more in an office other than one’s own, an associate can broaden relationships with lawyers in other offices; have local contact and networking opportunities with clients one might otherwise interact with only on a long- distance basis; become familiar with the practices, clients and resources across the firm, outside of one’s home office; and gain a deeper understanding of the legal and business issues facing clients in various jurisdictions. 


Career development & the path to partnership



1 : 1.1


partners made in 2021

associate : partner gearing

of junior associates intend to make partner




felt partnership was achievable for attorneys with children agreed the firm’s name adds value to their resume agreed partners
are nurturing
future leaders


The view from the firm: Whether you join Reed Smith as a new or lateral associate, we support your professional journey. Our competencies-based career development program provides not only law practice instruction but also citizenship, business development, and client skills training, for growth throughout our associate levels (junior/mid-level/senior) – and beyond. Each office has at least one Associate Committee member helping represent your interests. Formal mentoring relationships and informal mentoring arrangements, real-time feedback and annual performance reviews, and client engagement opportunities are pillars of our culture; through our DE&I Leadership Development Program, we provide additional staffing, programming, and funding to further invest in our diverse talent.   


Hours & compensation


1,900 - 1,950



billable hours

average number of vacation days associates took in one year

average number of hours associates worked in one week




  • 1st year: $175,000–$190,000
  • 2nd year: $185,000–$200,285
  • 3rd year: $185,000–$201,666
  • 4th year: $194,000–$215,185
  • 5th year: $210,227–$226,250
  • 6th year: $217,000–$243,923
  • 7th year: $222,631–$255,757


The view from the firm: Reed Smith offers associates a modified lockstep compensation scale that includes salary and bonus (non-discretionary and discretionary) components, complemented by Ramp-up/Ramp-down and True-up hours policies aligned to our caregiving leave policy, as well as 140 billable-hours credit for quality non-billable DE&I, pro bono, firm legal, innovation, and/or training activities. Associate billing targets are 2000 hours in the US. Given the nature and importance of teamwork, mentoring, and collaboration, Reed Smith’s Flexible Work policy specifies our lawyers maintain routine physical presence in the office, including for client, practice, and team meetings, office events, and training sessions. 


Is Reed Smith the right firm for you?





said they’d chosen the right firm

were happy in their current role

felt comfortable being themselves

The view from the firm: Reed Smith is a values-driven firm. Our five Core Values set the expectations we have for working with each other, our clients, and our communities. We welcome lawyers with high integrity and a demonstrated commitment to excellence, impact, innovation, and teamwork and respect. Associates joining our high-performing team can anticipate contributing their talents and practice expertise to the enhancement of our reputation as a leading international law firm that drives progress for, and builds lasting relationships with, clients in key industry sectors including finance, life sciences and health care, entertainment and media, energy and natural resources, and transportation. 

What stands out about the firm's culture?

“A close-knit team willing to challenge everyone and invest in training and integrating new members.”

The firm encourages associate development, and it's emphasized by the partners in my practice group as well.

"Willingness to change and grow as a firm."

"The camaraderie of the associates and the lack of emphasis of hierarchy (junior level associates frequently work with partners directly)."


Diversity, inclusion and wellbeing






reported strong performance in inclusivity training

agreed that the firm strives to retain and promote diverse associates

of partners are women

of associates identify as ethnically diverse


The view from the firm: Reed Smith has a workforce representative of the populations we serve and the communities in which we live and work. For more than 20 years, we have had a Diversity, Equity & Inclusion program led by a global chair and supported by a firm-wide DE&I Committee. We are intentional about DE&I in recruitment, hiring, and promotion; policy and initiative development; work and credit allocation; client team composition, and leadership and business development opportunities. Through our Racial Equity Action Plan, we have created benchmarks for hiring, retaining, and promoting Black lawyers and for advancing pro bono initiatives benefiting the Black community.


Pro bono




agreed that the firm is committed to pro bono    

    found the pro bono
work interesting


The view from the firm: Reed Smith’s pro bono focus includes refugee and immigration assistance, prisoners’ rights, natural disaster relief, access to justice, civil rights, protection for women and children in danger, and military veterans support. Our lawyers volunteered more than 85,000 hours in 2020. The firm provides up to 140 hours of billable-hour credit per year for pro bono work, ensuring associates have meaningful opportunities to play active roles in our communities, to develop their legal and business skills, and to reap the intangible rewards of helping those in need. We coordinate the work through a firm-wide Pro Bono Committee with local office representatives. 


Sustainability and CSR

The view from the firm: Being a responsible business is vitally important to Reed Smith, and we seek to deliver positive outcomes for all stakeholders, including clients, communities, employees, and suppliers. Alongside our DE&I and Pro Bono activities, we place great importance on reducing the physical impact of our operations on the natural environment. Our Green Environment Committee is focused on improving our day-to-day working practices in relation to energy management, waste reduction and recycling, paper usage, and travel. We are a signatory to the UN Global Compact, and members of the Net Zero Lawyers Alliance, the Legal Sustainability Alliance, and the Environmental Working Group. 



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