Bingham’s no-thrills HK launch

Bingham’s announcement that it is opening in Hong Kong (see story) is hardly a firecracker moment – more a damp squib.

Chairman Jay Zimmerman is one of those burnished, on-message managing partners the Yanks seem to be able to produce in abundance; think Orrick’s Ralph Baxter. Zimmerman, like Baxter, has a mission to create a national business in the US and has been able to railroad other firms into merger. Except there’s a crucial difference: Baxter and Orrick have been considerably more successful overseas than Zimmerman and Bingham.

Outside the US Bingham has floundered. It simply can’t seem to recruit overseas. The firm has just three lawyers in Tokyo. The only other foreign office is the UK, where it can still only manage £13.4m in turnover – according to The Lawyer UK 100, it’s only the 28th-largest US firm in London.

It’s a pretty unconvincing performance. Hong Kong launch or not, don’t expect Bingham to make much of a mark.