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Reed Smith's Sandy Thomas Will Join KIND as Chief Legal Officer; Catherine 'Casey' Ryan Chosen to Succeed Thomas as Firm's Global Managing Partner

WASHINGTON, Jan. 24, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- Global law firm Reed Smith announced today that Alexander Y. "Sandy" Thomas will step down as the firm's global managing partner, effective March 1, after 10 years in the firm's top leadership post. Thomas will become chief legal officer of KIND, Kids in Need of Defense, an international nonprofit devoted to the protection of unaccompanied and separated children who migrate alone in search of safety.

Thomas will be KIND's inaugural chief legal officer, based in Washington, D.C. The nonprofit was founded by Microsoft Corporation and Co-founder and Patron Angelina Jolie in 2008. KIND has assisted over 30,000 children in need of legal counsel and support. Reed Smith has provided pro bono support to KIND for the past decade.

Reed Smith's Executive Committee has designated Casey Ryan, currently the firm's global head of legal personnel, to succeed Thomas as the firm's global managing partner. She will serve the rest of Thomas's term, until the next scheduled election in 2025.

"Over the past decade, it has been a privilege to lead Reed Smith's global team, a group of exceptionally talented lawyers and professional staff," said Thomas, who has been with the firm for 24 years and has served as the firm's global managing partner since late 2013. "I am proud of what we have accomplished together, including our inclusive culture and reputation for outstanding client service. A highly collaborative spirit has been at the heart of Reed Smith's 146-year history and will continue to ensure its success."

"One of Reed Smith's guiding principles is giving back to our communities," Thomas added. "Through the firm's considerable pro bono work on behalf of KIND, I have gained a deep appreciation of KIND's global mission – to protect children's wellbeing and rights, while providing them access to justice – and how that manifests through its good works, be it social services, policy, advocacy or legal services. I am honored to serve KIND as it seeks to change the lives of children with the greatest of needs." 

Under Thomas's leadership, Reed Smith has grown its revenue from $1.152 billion in 2014 to $1.436 billion in 2021; in that period, profit per equity partner grew from $1.203 million to $1.735 million and revenue per lawyer increased from $703,000 to $913,000. Over the past decade, the firm has established offices in significant markets, including Dallas, Austin, Miami, Frankfurt, Brussels and, just recently, Orange County. Thomas led the firm's strategy to become the leading global law firm in five key industries: financial services, life sciences and health care, energy and natural resources, transportation, and entertainment and media. Today, the firm has 31 offices across the United States, Europe, the Middle East and Asia-Pacific.

Thomas has overseen transformative efforts that position Reed Smith as a progressive and innovative law firm that employs work processes and technology to solve its clients' most pressing problems with maximum efficiency. With Thomas's guidance, the firm is also a leader in areas that impact its personnel, including in DEI, wellness, mental health and talent development. In 2022, the firm achieved the highest annual revenue in its history while at the same time recording the greatest number of pro bono hours in a year, over 92,000.

Under Thomas's leadership, the firm has:

  • Launched a legal-tech and data solutions subsidiary (Gravity Stack) and a shared-services center (Reed Smith Global Solutions) to deliver an expanded array of cutting-edge client services;
  • Gained DEI recognition for promoting diverse and women leaders (Mansfield Certification and WILEF Gold Certification) and, among other things, achieving LGBTQ+ and disability equality in the workplace.
  • Launched the Racial Equity Action Plan in 2020, with a principal long-term objective of improving the hiring, retention and promotion of Black lawyers and professional staff.
  • Created market-recognized programs and benefits to support associate development at all stages, such as expanding the billable hours credit to cover DEI and ESG activities, and the firm's launch of Reed Smith Associate Advantage, a three-year development program for junior associates.

Thomas was recognized earlier this month in the 2022 Financial Times North America Innovative Lawyers report as among seven finalists for "Legal leaders for an era of change."

Reed Smith's Executive Committee has designated Ryan to step into the global managing partner role. Ryan joined the firm in 1996 and has held numerous leadership positions during her time at the firm. Her first leadership position in 2011 was as the global practice group leader of the firm's Labor & Employment Group. Since that time she also has been vice chair of the Litigation Department, and was the Pittsburgh office chair of the Women's Initiative Network of Reed Smith. She was named to the firm's Senior Management Team in 2015 when she became the global head of legal personnel, a role she has held for the past eight years and which leads compensation, promotions and recruiting.

"Sandy has provided the firm with exceptional leadership through an unprecedented time for businesses and the legal industry. He is respected for his steadfast commitment to our strategy, for consistently modeling our core values, and for his attention and regard for our entire global team," Ryan said.

"KIND is delighted to welcome Sandy as our first CLO, a critical role necessitated by the organization's tremendous growth and success during the past 15 years. Sandy's legal expertise and lifelong commitment to supporting pro-bono legal services, workplace innovation, DEI initiatives, and strategic growth will strengthen our team and provide solid footing for KIND's future. The need for KIND's services in the United States and beyond our borders has never been greater than it is today and having Sandy in this vital position will ensure KIND remains a premier provider of legal and social services for unaccompanied children on the move," said KIND President Wendy Young.

About Kids in Need of Defense (KIND)

KIND is an international organization headquartered in Washington, D.C., with 15 field offices in the United States; programming in Guatemala and Honduras since 2010, Europe since 2015, and Mexico since 2018. KIND's vision is a world in which children's rights and well-being are protected as they migrate alone in search of safety. To achieve this vision, KIND ensures that no child appears in immigration court without high-quality legal representation; advances laws, policies, and practices that ensure children's protection and uphold their right to due process and fundamental fairness; and promotes in countries of origin, transit, and destination durable solutions to child migration that are grounded in the best interests of the child and ensure that no child is forced to migrate involuntarily.  

About Reed Smith

Reed Smith is a dynamic international law firm dedicated to helping clients move their businesses forward. With an inclusive culture and innovative mindset, we deliver smarter, more creative legal services that drive better outcomes for our clients. Our deep industry knowledge, long-standing relationships and collaborative structure make us the go-to partner for complex disputes, transactions and regulatory matters.

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