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More on Reed Smith-Richards Butler merger

Various reports on Reed Smith merger with Richards Butler have questioned the concurrence of the firm's Hong Kong affiliate in the matter. Reed Smith chairman dismisses these rumors saying that neither of the firm's press releases includes any reference to a Hong Kong office.

London-based Richards Butler has offices in the Middle East and Europe. Richards Butler Hong Kong split with the firm in the 1990s due to England's tax structure but continues to work in cooperation under the same name.

Considering Hong Kong a part of its international agenda, the chairman of Reed Smith and its director of strategic planning are scheduling a trip to Hong Kong in the last week of April to talk with Richards Butler Hong Kong about a potential merger.

Richards Butler's reported gross revenue for 2005 is $107 million, and its anticipated revenue per lawyer is nearly $529,000.

Unpublished opinions are now citable by lawyers
The Supreme Court recently made history by allowing lawyers to cite unpublished opinions in federal court.

The new rule will continue to prevail unless Congress revokes it before December 1. Citation is allowed only for those rulings issued on or after January 1, 2006. The new rule permits lawyers to cite rulings from other circuits or authorities, including law review articles. For many lawyers the new rule will facilitate better representation of clients and assist the courts in making informed decisions on future cases. It is also expected to bring national uniformity to the process.

Last year, a federal appellate decision from the Eighth Circuit declared that unpublished opinions were to be treated as binding precedents. This triggered protests from around the state. Critics argued that the publication of all opinions would overburden the appellate courts and the practitioners would have to toil through a significant volume of unpublished opinions that are useless for future litigation because they involve no new law or applicable factual situation.

The U.S. Courts of Appeals for the 2nd, 7th, 9th and federal circuits, however, ban the citation of unpublished opinions and the remaining six circuits discourage it. Under the new rule, circuits will be able to give subjective weightage to unpublished opinions, but they can no longer keep lawyers from citing them.

U.S. firms beat local firms in UK markets
U.S. firms continued to prosper in the UK market, with the top-30 international firms reporting a 10% increase in UK revenue from $1.7 billion in 2004 to $1.9 billion in 2005.

The majority of top-U.S. firms in UK have reported robust profits for 2005 with outstanding performances by Debevoise & Plimpton and LeBoeuf Lamb Greene & MacRae. Debevoise & Plimpton reported a stunning 67.5 % increase in its UK revenue which totaled $56 million, while LeBoeuf revealed another shocking increase of 43 % from $34 million in 2004 to $48.8 million in 2005.

Top U.S. firms in UK disclosed an average profit per partner of $1.31 million for 2005 as compared to $858,158 in 2004. LeBoeuf reported a staggering 67% rise in partner profits from $681,000 in 2004 to $1.1 million in 2005.
LeBoeuf, Lamb, Greene & MacRae, L.L.P.


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