Friday, May 31, 2002
San Francisco’s McCutchen, Doyle Merges With Boston Law Firm
By NAZANIN AGANGE, Staff Writer
The San Francisco law firm of McCutchen, Doyle, Brown & Enersen and the Boston firm of Bingham Dana yesterday unveiled plans to merge, marking what McCutchen Chairman Donn P. Pickett called a continuing trend toward “bi-coastal” law firms.
The new firm, to be called Bingham McCutchen, will be among the nation’s top 20 to 25 largest law firms, McCutchen spokeswoman Vickie Spang said. The merger will take effect July 1.
Both firms have Los Angeles offices, which are to be consolidated.
McCutchen has a staff of 65 non-lawyers and over 50 lawyers at 355 Grand St. in downtown, Spang said. Bingham Dana has about three lawyers at its Flower Street office who will move to McCutchen’s office, she said.
Calling expansion in Los Angeles a “top priority,” Bingham Dana Managing Partner Jay S. Zimmerman said the combined firm’s continued growth would be attractive to notable clients to talented lawyers.
McCutchen has had a long series of what Spang called “merger flirtations.”
Five years ago, McCutchen began looking to grow and considered mergers with dozens of large firms, Pickett said.
Zimmerman said the two firms considered the merger after being introduced and were mutually interested.
Bingham Dana became an option about a year ago, Pickett said, and for the last seven months “we went through all the careful work you go through” to bring a merger about.
Pickett said McCutchen had realized “that consolidation was a major trend” for law firms.
“Clients want firms to grow geographically, to deepen their practice area so to be better able to serve them,” Pickett said. “The clients have been the greatest beneficiaries in this.”
Zimmerman said that while McCutchen was looking for a merger partner, his firm was simultaneously considering how to expand and was looking for an opportunity in the California market.
Bingham Dana, with offices in Boston, New York, and Washington D.C., doubled its size to 500 lawyers between 1995 and 2002. It established three non-legal businesses, creating Bingham Consulting, Bingham Legg Advisers—a joint venture with Legg Mason—and Bingham Strategic Advisors, which will be ancillary components of Bingham McCutchen.
In 1997, Bingham merged with a Japanese practice and expanded to offices in Los Angeles and New York. Bingham now has the U.S.’s leading Japanese practice, Zimmerman said.
MuCutchen has offices in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Silicon Valley and Walnut Creek and about 300 lawyers. The firm has a reputation as one of the nation’s leading firms, having been ranked highly by Vault’s “Guide to the Top 100 Law Firms,” Fortune Magazine, and several law publications.
“The combined firm brings together an extraordinary blend of synergistic and complementary practices in a number of key strategic areas...” Zimmerman said.
Pickett called Bingham Dana “our ideal merger partner.” He said the new firm would be “truly national.”
Copyright 2002, Metropolitan News Company