WASHINGTON, D.C., December 8, 2005 – LAWFUEL – The Law News Network – Bingham McCutchen LLP, an 850- attorney law firm with 11 offices, and Swidler Berlin LLP, a 140-attorney, Washington-based firm, have signed a letter of intent to merge by the end of the first quarter of 2006. The merger is subject to due diligence, conflict review, the execution of a definitive agreement and the approval of the firms’ respective partners.
The combined firm, which will use the Bingham McCutchen name, will total
nearly 1,000 lawyers and have annual billings of more than $700 million. The
merger will give Bingham McCutchen enhanced reach and strength in
Washington, D.C., where Swidler Berlin is based, as well as in New York City.
According to Jay S. Zimmerman, Chairman of Bingham McCutchen, Swidler has
several premier practice areas, including telecommunications, media and
technology; government affairs; and real estate and structured finance. “These
practices will be significant additions to our corporate, finance and litigation
practice areas,” said Zimmerman. “In addition, this merger will give us a stronger
presence in Washington, D.C. — an area of particular strategic importance to the
firm — and further enhance our national platform. Based upon our discussions to
date, we are optimistic about bringing this transaction to completion.”
“We are excited about the prospect of combining two great firms and two great
cultures,” said Barry Direnfeld, Managing Partner of Swidler Berlin. “By joining
the roster of top flight lawyers at Bingham McCutchen, we hope to enhance their
standing as a truly national firm, known for legal skills that combine intelligence
and imagination with integrity.”
The majority of Swidler’s lawyers are located in Washington, D.C., where
Bingham currently has 55 lawyers. The merger would make Washington
Bingham’s second-largest office.
A merger between Bingham McCutchen and Swidler Berlin would be Bingham’s
sixth merger since 1997.
• In 2003, Bingham McCutchen merged with Los Angeles-based Riordan &
McKinzie, a corporate and private equity boutique co-founded by former
Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan.
• In 2002, 500-lawyer Bingham Dana merged with 300-lawyer McCutchen,
Doyle, Brown & Enersen, a leading California firm known for its extensive
litigation capabilities, creating Bingham McCutchen, a truly national firm
with unprecedented depth in both transactional and litigation areas.
• In 2001, Richards & O’Neil, a leading mid-sized New York firm with a
sophisticated corporate transactional practice, as well as real estate and
litigation practices, joined Bingham Dana.
• In 1999, Hebb & Gitlin, a firm known for its premier position in financial
restructuring and insolvency, joined Bingham Dana. The firms combined
their existing offices in Hartford, CT and London.
• In 1997, the Japanese practice of Marks & Murase, one of the country’s
leading Japanese law practices, joined Bingham Dana, providing the firm
with offices in New York and Los Angeles.