Bingham McCutchen and McKee Nelson to merge

 In Bingham McCutchen, McKee Nelson, Merger
[private]Bingham McCutchen LLP and McKee Nelson LLP have signed a letter of intent to combine on or before Aug. 1, law firm leaders announced today. The combined firm, which will use the Bingham McCutchen name, further solidifies Bingham’s position as one of the world’s top-tier law firms, creating a uniquely broad range of market-leading practices focused on global financial services firms and Fortune 100 companies.

The combination will bring together Bingham’s 1,000 lawyers in 12 offices in the United States, United Kingdom and Asia with McKee Nelson’s 120 lawyers, located in New York and Washington, D.C. Bingham’s presence in New York and Washington will exceed 200 lawyers in each city. The transaction will be Bingham’s 10th combination during Jay S. Zimmerman’s 15 years as firm chairman.

“This is the right combination at the right time,” said Zimmerman, noting the enormous challenges confronting the financial services industry in today’s political and economic climate. “Legal and regulatory lines are being redrawn and are intersecting in ways they never have before. There is a need for a sophisticated integrated approach in helping financial services clients efficiently navigate this changing environment. The opportunity for us to add McKee Nelson’s market-leading practices in financial institutions litigation, capital markets and tax is extraordinary. These are quite simply some of the finest lawyers in the profession.”

The combined firm’s strengths will include market-leading practices in restructuring and insolvency, complex securities and financial litigation and regulation, finance, structured finance and capital markets, and tax planning and tax controversy.

Bingham’s global platform, strategic vision, integration know-how and award-winning work environment were significant draws for McKee Nelson, according to its leaders.

“Bingham is undisputedly a leading provider of services to a broad range of financial services firms, including banks, private equity firms and insurance companies,” said Reed D. Auerbach, co-CEO of McKee Nelson. “As the needs of these clients have begun to increasingly overlap, putting our strengths together — and building upon them — makes great strategic sense for our clients and our firm.” Auerbach added that both firms are consistently top ranked by Chambers USA.

William F. Nelson, co-founder and co-CEO of McKee Nelson, noted that Bingham’s platform is a major attraction. “As cooperation among the United States, Europe and Asia on the legal, financial and regulatory fronts increases, Bingham’s depth of knowledge and global reach will be critically important to our clients,” said Nelson.

Like Bingham, McKee Nelson is recognized for its positive workplace environment, an important feature that firm leaders sought in a combination partner, added Nelson. Bingham has been included on Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” list for five straight years, most recently ranked number 30 for large companies. Regionally, Bingham regularly garners awards for fostering positive work environments, specifically in New York, Washington, D.C., Boston, San Francisco and Los Angeles. McKee has also earned its share of accolades for its work environment, including “Best Firm to Work For” designation by the 2008 Vault Guide to the Top 100 Law Firms.

“We approached this opportunity not only from the client and firm strategy perspectives, but also from a cultural one,” Nelson said. “We are excited about the combination because it brings together great lawyers, synergistic practices and like-minded cultures.”

The transaction is subject to due diligence and approval by both partnerships.[/private]

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