CHICAGO – Peter M. Ellis, a partner in the Chicago office who chairs Reed Smith’s Global Litigation Department has been named a 2022 Midwest Trailblazer by the The American Lawyer. This list honors “agents of change” practicing law in the Midwest.

Related Professionals: Peter M. Ellis Alexander Y. Thomas

Ellis was recognized for his ground-breaking contributions to the development and roll-out of Reed Smith’s Racial Equity Action Plan (REAP) and the launch of its Racial Equity Task Force to implement the REAP in the summer of 2020. Since the launch of REAP in 2020, Ellis has helped spearhead the continued growth of the REAP foundational goals: (1) increasing the representation of Black lawyers and Black leaders in the Reed Smith business; (2) pro bono and community engagement around issues that impact the Black community; and (3) client engagement and collaborations.

“I am humbled by The American Lawyer's recognition of our work in this strategically significant area of our business,” noted Ellis. “We have made good initial progress toward our REAP goals but understand that this not a ‘sprint’ that will result in quick results; rather this is of the nature of a ‘marathon’ – hard work, dedication and focus over the long-haul will be necessary. I am so glad that Reed Smith is looking for long-term impact.”

Since launching REAP, Reed Smith has achieved many successes in connection with its articulated goals. For example, the number of Black lawyers at the firm grew by 21% last year and Black lawyers in leadership roles grew by 50%. Additionally, Reed Smith has partnered with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, the Brennan Center for Justice and other organizations on impact, pro bono engagements. The firm has also collaborated with clients to identify creative ways to create opportunities for Black lawyers at Reed Smith and in the industry more broadly.

“We are extraordinarily proud that Peter’s important contributions to our global business and his efforts to elevate and diversify our talent pool at Reed Smith, and particularly his work on the REAP, have been recognized by the The American Lawyer,” said Global Managing Partner Sandy Thomas. “Peter has been instrumental in helping our firm marshal its resources to effectively respond to client demands for increased diversity of thought and experience which only comes through a diversity of experience. Congratulations are definitely in order for the positive impact already seen and felt at Reed Smith and in the industry but much work remains still to be done.”

Ellis maintains a dynamic litigation practice across various jurisdictions and counseling clients in connection with risk mitigation and strategic growth opportunities. He is also a member of the firm’s Executive Committee and Senior Management Team. He leads a group of nearly 1,000 attorneys who handle complex commercial disputes and regulatory proceedings across the United States, Europe, the Middle East and Asia.