16 November 2020

Travers Smith appoints leading private equity specialist as next managing partner

Portrait of Edmund Reed

Edmund Reed

Edmund Reed stresses importance of culture after being elected to succeed David Patient

Leading private equity lawyer Edmund Reed has been elected unopposed to succeed David Patient as managing partner of Travers Smith. 

He will take up the post at the top London independent law firm in July 2021 at the expiry of Patient’s second term in the role, Patient having first been elected in 2015. 

Reed, a member of the partnership board since 2013, has a strong track record in the firm’s flagship private equity practice. 

His sectoral experience includes healthcare and real estate while his clients include Bridgepoint, Patron Capital and Phoenix Equity Partners, for whom he briefly worked as an investment executive between 2000-2004, having trained and qualified with the firm. 

He joined Travers Smith’s partnership on his return to the firm in 2005. Recent work includes advising private equity sponsor Inflexion and corporates Ascential Group and Foster + Partners.

Reed's appointment comes after ten years of growth at Travers Smith were halted by the Covid-19 pandemic, which had a dramatic impact on H1 deal activity. The firm’s financial results for its June year-end recorded a 20% fall in PEP from £1.25m to £1m, with net profit reduced by 11% against a 1% dip in turnover.  

He told The Global Legal Post seven years on the firm’s board had given him a rounded view of the firm’s work, the key issues affecting it, and connections upon which to build as managing partner. 

Stressing the importance of people and culture, he said: “Our people are absolutely fundamental – they are the bedrock of everything we want to achieve as a firm. As the legal sector continues to develop at rapid pace, continuing to have such consistently outstanding people in our business to help us adapt to those changes will remain key.”

He was, he added, proud of the way Travers Smith had looked after its people “not just through the current pandemic, but in the wider sense, including the significant progress we are making on diversity and inclusion”. He said he aimed to ensure that his clients would continue to be well looked after, adding: “It is important to me that I keep close to clients, not least as that will be a key element in shaping my priorities as managing partner”.

Senior partner Kathleen Russ described Reed as “an outstanding strategist, who combines a deep understanding of the benefits of the firm's independence, culture and ethos with innovative thinking and a highly commercial perspective”.

Russ also paid warm tribute to Patient, who, she said, had done “an outstanding job”, particularly in providing “thoughtful leadership” during the pandemic. 

A Travers Smith partner, who asked not to be named, said Reed was a popular choice, with business acumen and a perceived ability to represent all the firms' interests, including its growing disputes practice, thanks partly due to his experience both inside and outside the firm as a private equity dealmaker.

In September, the firm hired Baroness Nicky Morgan, the former UK government cabinet minister, as a consultant.

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