At last! After a long gestation it appears that Morgan Lewis & Bockius are to “kind of” merge with Bingham McCutchen. Kind of? Morgan Lewis are to take on 227 partners from Binghams, leaving around 60 in the cold. The deal follows Bingham voting in favor of the deal.
Reuters report today that a Morgan Lewis spokeswoman declined to comment on the terms of the deal, and a Bingham spokeswoman did not immediately return a call for comment.
The Bingham partners are expected to join Morgan Lewis before the end of November. The combined firm is projected to have nearly 2,000 lawyers in 28 offices in the United States, Europe, Asia and the Middle East, according to the Morgan Lewis spokeswoman.
The deal has been widely viewed as a rescue for Bingham, which lost more than 60 partners over the past year, according to recruiting firm Lateral Link. The departures followed a drop revenue of 12 percent to $762 million in 2013 after major cases were settled and practices such as securities litigation and restructuring dried up.
Talks between the firms date back to July at least. A tentative agreement was reached in September and the details, including pay, were hammered out in subsequent weeks.
Bingham managing partner Steven Browne said in September that bankruptcy was a possibility in the event the deal fell apart.
Bingham, with about 750 lawyers, is known for representing clients such as Bank of America Corp, UBS AG and Morgan Stanley. It also advised on the Detroit bankruptcy, the investigation into a $1.7 billion accounting fraud at Olympus Co and on virtual reality technology company Oculus VR Inc’s $2 billion acquisition by Facebook Inc.
Morgan Lewis, with 1,400 lawyers, is known for its labor and employment practice, representing clients such as Amazon.com Inc and American Airlines Group Inc in union battles. It has also represented the U.S. Postal Service and its subcontractors such as Northrop Grumman Corp and Booz Allen Hamilton Inc in efforts to win government contracts.