Reed Smith poaches BPP Law School innovation chief

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City lawyer turned tech guru Adam Curphey will join firm’s London office next month

Adam Curphey speaking at Legal Cheek’s Future of Legal Education and Training Conference earlier this year

BPP University Law School’s head of development and innovation technology, Adam Curphey, will join the London office of Reed Smith next month.

Curphey, who practised as a capital markets solicitor at White & Case before making the switch to teaching, will become the international player’s new innovation engagement manager, it was confirmed yesterday.

His appointment follows the departure of Reed Smith’s former innovation manager, Alex Smith, who joined tech outfit iManage RAVN earlier this year as its new global product management lead.

Curphey’s new role will see him work closely with the firm’s lawyers, practice innovation and IT development teams to implement new ideas to “drive internal efficiencies”, as well as “identify collaboration opportunities” with its clients to deliver new products and services. He will also run the firm’s innovation hub in London, which opened in 2016.

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Commenting on his new role, Oxford University grad Curphey said:

“Reed Smith is a firm that stands out for its approach to innovation. It is not just a buzz word but very clearly something that the firm takes seriously. I am excited to be joining the firm and look forward to working with its clients, lawyers and business services teams to continue to innovate.”

Lucy Dillon, chief knowledge officer at Reed Smith, added: “We’re delighted to have Adam on board. He has a deep understanding of the legal technology environment and how to deploy innovative solutions for law firms.”

Following a three and half year spell at White & Case, Curphey joined BPP as a law lecturer in 2012. He was appointed head of development and innovation technology in late 2018.

Reed Smith introduced a new programme last year in which lawyers can assign up to 50 hours of their annual billable targets to time spent working on innovative projects or products.

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I like a nice poached academic, served with new potatoes and a green sauce.


It should be nice, but BPP-sourced ingredients leave a bitter taste in everyone’s mouth.


Reed Smith need to start poaching corporate and finance partners from DLA and CMS to shore up that practice area. Needless investment in ‘innovation’ is all hype and no substance.


What firm needs substance when your lobby has them VIEWS.


True. They’ve got the resources and international presence to become a behemoth, but won’t pull the trigger.


finance partners from dla and cms? id rather have the guy at the kiosk heading the department

Future RS Trainee

Casually waiting and praying for the legal cheek article saying Reed Smith have increased their NQ salary

Reed Smith NQ

They have. By £3k. So it’s now £78k. Might even break £80k by then time you qualify…


You’re not fooling anyone. RS has a shet corporate and finance practice. No one wants to go there and work on ships lol.


Reasonably phat. About time it caught up to Mayer Brown. Idk how I feel about its transactional offering. I hear it’s litigation-heavy.


Lmao MB already pays £90k+ you gimp


how do you know? im pretty sure RS, Dentons, and DLA are the only left that have not posted any increases yet

Future RS Trainee

A measly 3k?! RS wont be seeing me after qualification

RS Trainee

ah fuck off…you haven’t even started your TC!!!!

Future RS Trainee

Gotta chase those £££s
See u next year mate

Another RS trainee

Whatever mate, enjoy your shite pay / shite working conditions elsewhere


Sorry mate. No one cares about a firm with no capital markets practice on the LSE.


Not sure what your point is here….


Point is a firm with no skill in capital markets is no true firm.


I don’t understand your point either. Compared to most US firms Reed Smith has the strongest LSE presence only below Latham, Baker, and Dentons. Most of their corporate work is quite clearly related to the US. For the record I remember they were shortlisted for transatlantic PE team of the year and recently acquired a PE London equity partner from Kirkland. Following your logic no one cares about firms such as Milbank and Kirkland because of their 0 LSE presence.

All those firms which you probably blindly rate for their UK capital markets skills, which I would guess to be Kirkland, Davis Polk, Sullivan etc have very limited UK presence whatsoever and you will see or hear of very few UK or European recognitions, as their profits stem from the US and LA.


Ignore that meathead. He probably looks at Chambers’ Band 1 rankings for CM and trashes everyone who isn’t on them…


Two points (a) said Kirkland partner was not an equity partner and (b) said Kirkland partner has since left the firm on the basis that there was no support for his practice and they refused to offer him the support (and salaries) to help him build his practice out. He has gone to another US firm where he will get the support.

Disgruntled ECM trainee

LMAO. Have you ever even seen what an ECM lawyer does? Or are you just a second-year student that doesn’t even know the difference between DCM and ECM. Imagine thinking listing/IPO checklists is what makes a proper law firm.


Enlighten me, fool. Of course RS is leagues below HSF in ECM and DCM. Period.


I am honestly wondering what’s up with RS. Roll back 5 years and you would see them competing closely against most other big firms such as White & Case and Jones Day. Every other big firm has made strong salary increases, and all I’ve seen from RS is better benefits for parents and new ‘innovation’ deals. It feels that RS went from White & Case level to BCLP level.

The firm is seriously falling behind and I’m not sure if that is due to poor management, loss of business, partners taking money for themselves, or just partners in denial of charging more to clients. Nevertheless, poorer salaries means it will attract poorer talent and I can only imagine this will go from bad to worse unless they can match a 90k+ salary similar to its supposed competitors. And if they do attract any talent, they will sure lose it, when working the same hours as other US firms regardless of the quality of the deals, but making less. This is really odd considering London, alongside NY, is its strongest office.


I don’t see it as a bad point that they’ve focused on employee perks not salary related


The employee perks do not much the salary increases of other firms the slightest. An extra 6 months paid maternity or paternity leave if this happens, does not match the 20k-30k+ difference with every other firm.


Absolutely. It shows in the quality if their work though. When your Corporate team is ranked as ‘mid-market’ and finance is ‘band 5’, there really isn’t much incentive to match the magic circle and US firms salary-wise. They’re BCLP-level… strong in Shipping, and nothing else.


The one good thing I’ve heard is that the lawyers there are very bright and helpful with a true open door policy, so at least training at RS seems like a very strong point

Renell Harding

Please can you contribute towards my GDL fees by using my crowdfunding link below, much appreciated:

Can someone send Rennell this advice please

Hi Renell. Just some pointers that may help:

1.) Apply for a scholarship from UoL or BPP. With your background and tenacity, your fees should be reduced significantly or free. Contact them now for a chat with the Dean to explain your situation. THey give millions per year.

2.) You say funding isn’t available for the GDL – it is if you do the LLM GDL and you can get Government loans.

3.) You have done things with Aspiring Solicitors – see how they can help. Maybe a scholarship or a job – otherwise what good are they for?

4.) Do the GDL part-time and paralegal during the GDL. You don’t have to wait till the LPC to paralegal.

5.) Many firms pay for the GDL fees of trainees – look into this and apply for training contracts now. Most recruit 2 years in advance.

6.) You have never worked in a law firm – plenty of insight days but no work and no vac schemes. Take a year out, there is no hurry – get some work under your belt. You may find commercial law isn’t for you. You may find that you are able to save some money. You may find that being able to help with the bills is better than rushing into a course you cannot afford.

7.) You have won the Amos scholarship before – how about you see if you can get the Amos bursary for further study.

8.) You have an impressive story and you’re clearly destined for great things. You have resilience and a sharpness many in law don’t have. Wish you all the very best.


Reed Smith Classic example of a decent US firm weeping over a misjudged UK acquisition.


How so?


It’s their largest office, you nonce. The team acquired a KE partner. Let that sink in. It’s making money and expanding.


Idiot. The fact they’re hiring this guy for ‘innovation’ speaks volumes. They have no ability or ambition to grow their practice and will perennially be second to the silver circle.


Kirkland partner realised his mistake and quickly left…

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