Lateral Look: Reed Smith

If you’re looking for a Steel City firm with sophisticated transactional and litigation practices, then keep reeding.

Reed Smith Lateral Profile 2023

Our sister guide, Chambers USA, has awarded the firm top-tier rankings for its bankruptcy/restructuring and corporate/M&A and private equity work. It’s also considered the crème de la crème for insurance, energy and natural resources, general commercial litigation and privacy and data security. In fact, the firm is so highly regarded for the latter that it's even earned a ranking in Chambers Global for international privacy prowess. Further global accolades go to the firm's labor and employment, oil and gas, and niche ediscovery and information governance work. That won't come as a surprise to those who are familiar with Reed Smith's network of 15 international offices.

Suffice to say, whether you have a background in pharmacy, gravitate toward insurance, or you are just fascinated by the music industry, there are a myriad of industry focuses to choose from.

View the firm’s Chambers USA rankings

Read the firm’s Inside View feature on junior associate life

Why did you join your firm? Associates say…

“I felt like there were attorneys in the firm who really cared about associate development. I felt like I would have good opportunities to develop my skills as an attorney.”

“Big law firm with a small office feel and great mentorship possibilities.”

“The work culture, entrepreneurial spirit of the firm, the collaborative nature of the attorneys, and the opportunity to practice in areas that are of interest to me.”


International & Secondment Opportunities

Overseas career development opportunities (view from the firm): With pre-approval, inter-office and external client secondment program is available to associates.  The firm provides temporary on-site or virtual assistance for clients to bolster short-handed, in-house legal staff or to make specialist experience available.  The firm also offers an inter-office secondment program designed primarily as a career and business development opportunity for associates.


 Career Development & the Path to Partnership



1 : 1


partners made in 2022

associate : partner gearing

of associates intend to make partner




felt partnership was achievable for attorneys with children felt partnership was achievable at the firm agreed partners
are nurturing
future leaders


The view from the firm: Reed Smith’s Careers competency model outlines the skills, knowledge and behaviors the firm believes its people need to provide exceptional client service at each career stage. The firm's associates use Reed Smith's real-time feedback tool to request and receive competency-based feedback throughout the year from senior lawyers. Each associate also receives a holistic annual evaluation. All associates are paired with a senior lawyer “Careers Advisor” (mentor) throughout their time at the firm through the Careers Advisor program.

Associates also build skills, knowledge and relationships through the firm's formal learning and development programs. Highlights of these programs include Associate Advantage (a global, three-year training program for first- through third-year lawyers), the firm's transactional, litigation and practice/industry group essentials series, a multi-day Trial Training and Deal Clinic, and Senior Associate Leadership and Client Development programs.


 Hours & Compensation





billable hours

average number of vacation days associates took in one year

average number of hours associates worked in one week




agreed they had a good work-life balance

said the benefits package makes the workload worthwhile

found the bonus allocation fair and transparent



1st year: $215,000

*The firm does not disclose salaries beyond this point.


The view from the firm: 2,000 hour billable requirement, including up to 140 hours of non-billable work credited as billable for work on pro bono, DEI, Racial Equity Action Plan and Women's Initiative activities and sustainability hours, competitive compensation which includes hours based and discretionary bonus opportunities.


 Is Reed Smith the right firm for you?




were happy in their current role

     agreed the work is interesting


We asked survey respondents what stands out about the firm’s culture?

“The firm has a strong culture of respect and inclusion. Even as a junior associate, I feel like my ideas and thoughts are highly valued.”

“Focus on work/life balance; emphasis on not being overworked and taking breaks.”

“Commitment to diversity was genuine; laid-back culture; generally, people are pleasant humans here.”


Diversity, Inclusion & Wellbeing





reported strong performance in inclusivity training

of partners are women

of associates identify as ethnically diverse


The view from the firm: The firm recently launched a number of programs focusing on DEI, including:

  • DEI Inclusive Leadership Program - A program that provides additional training and opportunities to our partners, counsel and senior professional staff to cultivate
    a workplace environment rooted in teamwork, inclusion and collaboration.
  • Family Network – Our global program designed to provide support and resources to help our people balance work and personal responsibilities. In 2022, we launched
    a new inclusive global family-forming benefit in partnership with Carrot Fertility, which covers numerous paths to parenthood, including adoption and fertility treatments.


 Pro Bono




average pro bono
per US attorney    

    agreed the firm is committed to pro bono


Pro bono highlights: State of Oklahoma v. Richard Glossip (independent investigation of death penalty case); Government of Canada (immigration); Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (immigration); Texas/NAACP Legal Defense Fund/The Arc (voter rights); Brennan Center for Justice/Supreme Court of Ohio (voter redistricting)



Learn more about opportunities at the firm

Find recruitment contacts at the firm