United States: Bingham McCutchen and Swidler Berlin Sign Letter of Intent to Merge
Last Updated: December 14 2005

Originally published December 8, 2005

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 executive of a definitive agreement and the approval of the firm's 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-size New York firm with a sophisticated corporate transaction 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.

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