The Lawyer’s newest product is the most comprehensive overview of the Asia-Pacific legal market yet produced. With rankings of the top 100 local law firms by lawyer headcount as well as analysis of the leading 50 international players in the region, it is essential reading for anyone interested in the strategic future of the world’s fastest growing legal market
Bingham McCutchen is to complete its sixth merger in nine years, taking over Washington DC-based firm Swidler Berlin.
As first revealed on www.thelawyer.com (8 December), the 850-lawyer US powerhouse signed a letter of intent last week to merge with Swidler by the end of March 2006. However, the link-up is subject to due diligence, conflict review, a definitive agreement and the approval of the firms' respective partners, who are expected to vote on the tie-up in March next year.
If approved, the combined firm will operate under the Bingham McCutchen name and will boast a total of nearly 1,000 lawyers and estimated annual billings of more than $700m (£404m). Bingham chairman Jay Zimmerman said the two firms had first discussed a merger three years ago, but a tie-up had not been viable until Swidler's practice areas were refocused through a string of changes, which were made over the last year.
These included the firm's demerger from Shereff Friedman Hoffman & Goodman (which it formed a union with in 1998) in January, when the bulk of the firm's New York practice left for Dechert, thwarting a merger attempt with Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe. The firm's 14-strong energy practice also split off to join Alston & Bird in August.
As part of the merger, Swidler's 10-lawyer insurance coverage practice will also be hived off to prevent conflicts. It is not yet known where the group will move to.
The tie-up will bolster Bingham's technology, media and telecoms, government, real estate and structured finance practices.
The merger would be Bingham's sixth since 1997, including the 2002 merger of 500-lawyer Bingham Dana with 300-lawyer McCutchen Doyle Brown & Enersen, which created Bingham McCutchen.
The firm also merged with Los Angeles-based Riordan & McKinzie in 2003; New York firm Richards & O'Neil in 2001; Hebb & Gitlin in 1999; and the Japanese practice of Marks & Murase in 1997.