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Barnes made partner at Reed Smith in Pittsburgh

James Barnes joined Reed Smith, LLP, as managing partner of the Pittsburgh office. Barnes makes history both internally and externally as the first American-African to climb to the rank of managing partner within the city’s Top 10 law firms in size, as well as to head a Reed Smith office for the first time. Barnes, who partners the firm’s corporate and securities group, had earlier served Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC before joining the present firm in 2002.

Commenting on the changing scenario within the Pittsburgh legal community, Kenneth Gormley, Duquesne University’s School of Law’s professor and president-elect of the Allegheny County Bar Association, stated that the move augurs well for the altered attitude towards minority attorneys in Pittsburgh. Still others like Ken Horoho, president of the Pennsylvania Bar Association and a partner of Downtown-based Goldberg Gruener Gentile Horoho & Avalli PC, stated that the appointment “sends a message to firms across the commonwealth”. Reed Smith is Pittsburgh’s second-largest law firm amassing more than $563 million in revenue, has 223, out of the total 1300 lawyers, serving clients in Pittsburgh.

A skilled lawyer in strategic planning and management, Barnes commands vast experience in corporate and securities law matters including securities law, tax, and accounting considerations involved in analyzing such arrangements. He has helped numerous companies raise capital in public and private offerings of debt and equity securities, apart from M&A, joint ventures, and other complex corporate transactions. He concentrates his practice on structuring equity-based compensation arrangements, incentive compensation plans, and executive employment agreements. Barnes represented public companies like iGate Corporation, Equitable Resources, Inc., and others in various transactions, including the public offering of shares, etc.

Barnes, jubilant at the new but daunting task of partnering the firm, hopes it will thrive off their expanded expertise after its merger with London-based Richards Butler, which has benefited the firm’s corporate practice.

Survey reveals law firms lack progression plans
An independent survey conducted among 1,000 largest U.S. law firms and corporations revealed that most law firms in the U.S. do not bother to create a second line of defense once the vanguards vacate key positions. The heir apparent or successor to the key post is noticeably missing in these law firms.

Three hundred attorneys (53%) with a minimum three years of experience in the legal field revealed that law firms or legal departments are unaware as whom to appoint as successor once a veteran partner or a senior attorney departs or retires.

Creating a line-up of prospective suitable leaders for key positions usually takes time and may even require years to pinpoint and groom the right candidate for the coveted position. Most often owing to other pressing matters, law firms tend to procrastinate on the issue to the extent that the hunt begins only at the eleventh hour. They sit on the inevitable till the seat lays vacant and then plunge headlong into identifying a suitable candidate for the advanced leadership role.

The survey draws the conclusion that mentoring of high-potential employees early on by including them in policy-making and other strategy discussions will deliver the firm an advantageous edge for its future designs.

Reed Smith LLP

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