Reed Smith launches ‘innovation seats’ for London trainees

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Follows appointment of new innovation chief

US outfit Reed Smith has created a new “innovation seat” as part of its training contract programme in London.

The option, which launched earlier this month, sees two trainees split their time between a “traditional legal practice seat” and one of the firm’s innovation projects. This, the firm says, will support the wider innovation strategy of the team they are working in.

Examples of innovation projects include “developing automated services for clients”, “working on a new knowledge analytics platform” and “helping to develop the firm’s service design methodology”.

Reed Smith says it prepared its trainees for their new seats by sending them on a summer skills course, run in collaboration with consultancy Janders Dean, covering everything from “problem identification and solving” to “design thinking” and “client listening”.

Holly Allen, graduate recruitment manager at Reed Smith, said:

“We are very pleased to be launching two innovation seats for trainees. Encouraging our future lawyers to think about innovation from the start of their careers is essential to equipping them with the skills needed for the legal practice of tomorrow.”

NEW: The Future of Legal Education and Training Conference North in Manchester on 30 January 2020

News of the seat follows Reed Smith’s appointment of City lawyer turned tech guru Adam Curphey as its new innovation engagement manager. Curphey was previously head of development and innovation technology at BPP University Law School.

Meanwhile, the University of Exeter announced it had joined forces with Reed Smith, earlier this year, to launch a new undergraduate, four-year ‘legal placement’ degree which sees students complete an innovation-focused year in the firm’s London office.

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Waste of seat… can’t imagine any trainee in their right mind would want it.



I do believe the seats are optional. Still, wouldn’t touch RS with a 10ft pole. Shet corporate practice.


Angus, Exeter University LL.B.

Shet firm. Known for shipping and media – i.e. less profitable and non top-tier areas of practice. Avoid.


Panicked LLB

What’s a non-shet practice area then ?!?


Angus, Exeter University LL.B.

PE, leveraged finance, fund formation, restructuring, high yield, international arbitration. Stay away from the rest.



Why? Is profitability the only metric of how ‘non-shet’ a practice area is?


Angus, Exeter University LL.B.

What do you know about it



Sounds boring.

For the record, RS works in those practice areas anyway.


Angus, Exeter University LL.B.

Yeh but its shet at them


More than you pinball



You’re uninformed. RS got PE team of the year recently, and recruited a Kirkland PE partner. He left recently, but still goes to show they’re not all about shipping.



Pipe down. Which partner is this? And he left.


Cambridge LLB

Google it. They’re still not ranked, so they probably suck at em.



Shet. They work on 30mil real estate deals. ‘Nuff said. Only decent in shipping, which is a bottom feeding practice.



How about paying the market rate salary for trainees and nqs..


Old timer

All trainee’s should be paid the pittance they are worth; NQs should be paid a marginally higher rate.



Thanks grandpa. Back to your retirement home you go.


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