Another Top Five contender in the law firm stakes is set to arrive with the impending merger between Bingham McCutchen and Morgan Lewis & Bockhius.
It’s reported that the two firms are set to merge and would create a 2000 lawyer firm with revenues of $2 billion according to Reuters.
Bingham McCutchen is Boston-based while Morgan Lewis has its HQ in Philadelphia. Merger talk has been in the wind for some time, hastened by the departure of 22 partners in both London and Frankfurt who jumped ship for Akin Gump.
Bingham partners received a voicemail on Friday from the firm’s managing partner, Steven Browne, saying an agreement to merge had been signed and that they would be briefed on the details of the combination in the coming week, according to the three sources.
It was not immediately clear if partners at Morgan Lewis had been informed of the deal or when the partnerships of the firms would vote on the combination.
To be sure, many law firms engage in merger talks that are not consummated, but it is rare for a law firm merger to reach a vote and not go forward.
Bingham leaders did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Nor did leaders at Morgan Lewis.
For the past several months, Bingham, with approximately 750 lawyers, has been in search of a merger partner after revenue fell in 2013 and partners defected. Talks with Morgan Lewis have been ongoing at least since July.
Bingham’s financial woes are emblematic of the ills facing many major U.S. law firms, which have felt pressure to consolidate because of sluggish demand as major corporations slash their budgets and demand that lawyers discount fees.