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Reed was in private practice in Tampa, Florida from 1956 to 1957 and in Orlando from 1959 to 1967. Reed served as judge of the Florida Fourth District Court of Appeal from 1967 to 1973, and as chief judge of that court from 1971 to 1973.
President Richard Nixon nominated Reed to the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida on July 6, 1973, to the seat vacated by William McRae. Confirmed by the Senate on August 3, 1973, he receivedcommission three days later