US firm swallows Japanese group

US FIRM Bingham Dana has taken over Japanese specialist practice Marks & Murase in a move which is thought to give the Boston-based firm the largest Japanese practice group in the US.

The 30-lawyer Japanese group will work primarily out of New York and Los Angeles under the new name of Bingham Dana Murase. One third of the lawyers are Japanese-Americans.

Toshijiro Nakajima, a former Justice of the Supreme Court of Japan, who is currently counsel to Marks & Murase, will become counsel to Bingham Dana in Tokyo.

The Murase group provides legal services to Japanese financial institutions and multinational corporations in the US while doing the same for US institutions and companies in Japan.

Murase & Marks was previously a full-service firm operating out of New York, Los Angeles and Washington but over the past few years it has scaled down its operation with only the core Japanese business remaining. The firm has shed 13 partners since 1996.

Jay Zimmerman, managing partner of Bingham Dana, said: “The Murase practice has a stable base of blue-chip Japanese clients.”

He added: “This constitutes a logical geographical expansion of our European and Latin American international practices.”

Jiro Murase, head of the Japanese practice group, said: “Bingham Dana's size and ability to handle larger, more sophisticated transactions will be of immense value to our existing clients.”

The takeover also gives 280-lawyer Bingham Dana a foothold in New York and Los Angeles with several partners moving from Boston to the two cities.