reed smith shame

A Reed Smith always pays its debts.

Reed Smith has said it will repay in full the furlough money it took from the UK government, after it was publicly shamed.

The US firm claimed between £50,000 and £125,000 for its London office operations during a five month period this year, despite being extremely profitable, and may have claimed even more last year when payments were not disclosable. 

Reed Smith’s revenue has swelled by 5% to $1.31 billion and its equity partners were paid an average of $1.5 million, up from $1.3 million the year before.

When its use of the scheme was first questioned, a Reed Smith spokesperson explained that until recently six staff from its facilities team were on the flexible version of the furlough scheme, working alternate weeks in teams of three. 

Having initially refused to say whether it would pay the money back, Reed Smith has now confirmed that it will reimburse HMRC in full. 

“Due to the economic uncertainty caused by the pandemic the firm took a number of prudent measures to limit its financial impact. One of these was limited use of the furlough scheme”, a spokesperson said.

“The firm’s use of the scheme was as the government intended – to protect jobs”, they said, in an alarming admission that even when making massive amounts of money, Reed Smith isn’t going to carry staff who are temporarily surplus to requirements unless someone else pays it to. 

As a result of being able to re-open its London office “we have been able to bring back the previously furloughed six facilities staff”, it said.

Reed Smith also disclosed that it had only ever committed to thinking about repaying the money, which is admirably honest. “Our intention has always been to consider repayment once the office could re-open and our use of the scheme had finished”, it said. 

But after a good flogging in the press, “we will be doing so in full and have already notified HMRC to this effect”, said the firm. 

Tip Off ROF


Anon 30 July 21 08:37

Their motto must be the same as Gordon Gekko, greed is good! Disgraceful that tax payers money is being used to line the pockets of such a rich firm. Is Richard Branson on their management committee?!

Anonymous 30 July 21 08:47

The Government is currently considering who will be on the new Crown Commercial Service framework. 

Any law firm that unnecessarily took furlough cash should be marked down in the scoring. 


Anonymous 30 July 21 09:02

@08.47 Yeah I’m sure Reed Smith would be gutted about not being able to do government work for £3.50 and half a Chomp.

anon 30 July 21 09:11

So they tried to keep the money which was original and actual intention then when this was leaked they were shamed into paying it back.  What a car crash. 

Anonymous 30 July 21 09:24

@@9.02, any of these lot who pulled the same trick…

Gallowgate Paul 30 July 21 09:27

Quotes from Roll on Friday article, 26 February 2021:

•  Womble Bond Dickinson (48%) a partner said: "We have taken over £2million in furlough money which has gone straight into the pockets of partners. However, we have also had significant redundancies. Wasn't this what the furlough money was meant to avoid? We have lost so many people and I don't feel very comfortable with the board's actions.


• Another lawyer agreed that the firm had "used the money" from furlough "to boost falling profits rather than retain staff."

Big Eyed Spaniel 30 July 21 09:54

I’m pretty eager to get my 7p refund off those Wombles partners* - do I just ask at their reception? 


*based on £2m from the scheme and there being around 29m taxpayers. 

Big Eyed Spaniel 30 July 21 10:13

The average taxpayer will only get 0.004p from Reed Smith.

Therefore, I’m looking to club together with around 250 taxpayers to collect 1p. Who’s in?

Question Man 30 July 21 10:41

Do you have any evidence that Wombles has been subject to any behaviour which might plausibly cause them shame?

Are there documents available which prove that they received precisely £2m of taxpayer money?

Anonymous 30 July 21 11:01

Is Question Man suggesting Wombles may have taken more than £2,000,000 from Britain’s hard working taxpayers? 

The Truthsayer 30 July 21 13:59

Fact Checking required! Wombles have already paid back all furlough moneys in full so not sure where the story is? 

Question Man 30 July 21 14:31

Can Wombles marketing team (@13.59) provide any plausible evidence that all the furlough money has actually been paid back?

Interested 30 July 21 15:23

Roughly how much interest would accrue from having £2m sitting in your account for over a year? Asking for a friend. 

🪰 30 July 21 15:39

Well done Wombles if they really have paid the money back.  


If Wombles haven’t paid the money back then that’s  💩. 

Which other firms used our money to boost their profits?

Truth Seeker 02 August 21 10:11

Wombles should be transparent about it then. 

(a) How much did Wombles take from the taxpayer and when?

(b) On what date did Wombles pay it all back?


(c) Did they pay the full sum back with sufficient interest?  

Obviously if it was paid back just after this article came out then it is clearly much worse than if they paid it off in January 2021.

Anon 04 August 21 08:33

How much furlough dough did WFW pocket and how much did they pay back after making the redundancies?

Anon 05 August 21 10:12

Why no mention of WFW here?  They were the first to claim from the furlough scheme and the first to make many redundancies. Have they paid anything back to the taxpayers of this country or have the partners trousered the money as usual? 

Anon Wave 05 August 21 17:16

@Anon 10.12.  Interesting question and one that is unlikely to be answered.  What are the chances of clear communication from that shower?  Pull the other one

Anon 06 August 21 08:06

BCLP took furlough money but paid it back at the end of last year.  And they repaid all the staff the money that was deducted from them at the start of the pandemic.  but the Americans are now pushing the so called project advance through on an accelerated basis and partners and associates with any sense have been leaving in droves and the recruiters are circling like vultures. The latest article in the Lawyet about project advance is nothing more than a warning of upcoming redundancies and subletting of office space. 

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