Quick facts
  • What we do:
    Global law firm
  • Year established:
  • Website:
  • UK locations:
  • Contact
    • Reed Smith LLP, The Broadgate Tower, 20 Primrose Street, London, EC2A 2RS

About Reed Smith LLP

MEALS AT GLOBAL law firm Reed Smith must taste like manna from heaven. The view from the company restaurant on the 31st floor of Broadgate Tower, in London’s financial district, is breathtaking.

Morale is generally high and staff are proud to work for the company (a 78% positive score), which represents leading international businesses, from FTSE 100 corporations to mid-market and emerging enterprises across a broad range of industries, including financial services, health care, advertising, technology and media, shipping, energy and natural resources, and manufacturing. They also feel that they can make a valuable contribution to its success (79%).

Reed Smith has grown significantly over the past decade with three mergers, and now has 12 offices opening across the world. It has 3,491 staff globally, up from 2,209 in 2003.

People see their job as good for their personal growth (76%) and feel that the experience they gain will help them in the future (79%). Time off is given for study and financial support offered for work-related qualifications, plus coaching, mentoring and job-shadowing.

The company wants its staff to acquire a deep understanding of its clients’ businesses, so it has launched a combined masters in business and legal practice course to give trainees a more rounded sense of business strategy and commercial know-how.

Employees say the company likes to give something back and has a strong social conscience (78%). It uses its specialist skills to help the community, too, with each lawyer providing on average 32 pro bono hours a year to work in schools, care centres and homeless and women’s shelters.

Managing partner Richard Swinburn is said to be running the business based on sound moral principles (72%) and there is confidence in the leadership skills of the management team (76%).
Swinburn likes to be visible, hosting breakfast and lunch strategy sessions and informal Q&A chats. He also sits on the company’s employee engagement committee. He likes to reward staff, too. The winner of the “employee of the quarter” award gets £750 and a duvet day.

What is it like to work for Reed Smith LLP

Personal Growth
Personal Growth
In 2012/13 Reed Smith launched an integrated masters in business and legal practice course (LPC) unique in the sector which ensured the trainees who completed this and join us from August 2013 onwards have a deep commercial skill set and a more rounded understanding of business strategy and finance in addition to the law. Their teamwork capability – and application of the commercial knowledge - is also enhanced with a 4 week-long “client project” on a business topic of the client’s choosing towards the end of their course. One trainee commented “The client project was the best learning experience I can remember having taken part in”. Their careers competency framework and annual evaluation process for lawyers, staff and secretaries has been further linked to the learning opportunities made available throughout the year. The data from the evaluations was analysed to inform what learning programmes they offered, and this resulted in a number of new programmes being developed. For example, a senior associate business development programme, delivered by an external consultant has had strong feedback throughout and is now in its second year. Building on that they are now creating a senior associate management development programme run along similar lines, plus buddy meetings and a learning log to keep track and share success and progress as a result of the learning. For staff and secretaries they have created a range of courses including confidence and assertiveness, listening and questioning skills and stakeholder management, all of which have had positive feedback. Furthermore, they are rolling out a development programme aimed specifically at managers in their support groups.

Giving Something Back
Giving Something Back
Reed Smith financially (and with volunteers and pro bono legal services) support a number of key charities. Their primary charity partners which they have supported for a number of years include,Street League, The Prince’s Trust, Providence Row and Create.

Fair Deal
Fair Deal
Reed Smith operate a ‘core values in action’, employee of the quarter award. The employee of the quarter award is awarded to employees who demonstrate the firms core values on a consistent basis and who have shown examples of ‘above and beyond the call of duty’. Fee earners and managers may nominate employees once a quarter, and the winner receives £750 and a duvet day. There are also honourable mention awards for employees who were nominated for the employee of the quarter award but the committee decided to award them an honourable mention instead. Those winners receive £150 and a duvet day. Awards are presented at the monthly partner meetings, and winners are also highlighted on their intranet, OurSpace. They also ensure that they pay the London living wage, not only to their staff, but to all contractors in their supply chain. At partner level they also have the Shaw’s Lion Award, the firm’s highest individual distinction. The Shaw’s Lion Award is given in recognition of a Reed Smith lawyer’s significant impact on the firm. Symbolised by a 100-year-old bronze lion owned by one of the firm’s founding partners, the award is given annually to the partner who, in the discretion of the global managing partner, best exemplifies the dedication, qualities and commitment to excellence at the heart of their firm. They also have the Sean Halpin Award, their highest pro bono honour. This Award, which carries with it $10,000 to be donated to one or more nonprofits selected by the winners, celebrates the spirit of service to the less fortunate that animated the life of their late Philadelphia partner, Sean Halpin. This year the award went to a diverse team who helped in the aftermath of the Haiti Earthquake.

Learn more about the 8 factors of workplace engagement here


  • Holidays

    Companies offering a minimum of 25 days annual leave

  • Gym

    On-site gym or subsidised gym memberships

  • Charity Activities
    Charity Activities

    10% of staff undertake charitable activities during business hours

  • Childcare

    On-site nursery or vouchers

  • Pensions

    Companies offering a final salary or non-contributory pension scheme

  • Long Service
    Long Service

    40% of employees with more than 5 years' service

  • Maternity

    At least 10 weeks' leave on full pay

  • Dental Insurance
    Dental Insurance

    Dental insurance offer to all employees

Company Statistics

  • UK sites:


  • Average Age:


  • Male : Female:

    42% / 58%

  • Staff:


  • Staff Turnover:


  • Earning £35,000+:



Want to get on the list or be accredited?

Start your engagement journey today and find out what you need to do to earn a Best Companies accreditation or a place on the Best Companies lists.