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Bingham’s Hong Kong office looks set to close as Akin Gump pounces again

Bingham McCutchen’s Hong Kong office has been put in a precarious position with Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld making a two partner hire to take the number of partners joining the firm from Bingham to 28, while remaining capital markets partner Vincent Sum’s future is unclear.

Transactions partner Mark Fucci and funds partner Anne-Marie Godfrey will join Akin Gump’s Hong Kong office, following in the footsteps of restructuring partner Naomi Moore and corporate duo Matthew Puhar and Charles Rogers.

Fucci focuses on cross-border matters and is plugged in to the transferring Bingham team’s restructuring group spearheaded by James Roome in London. Godfrey advises investment managers on the establishment and regulation of hedge funds and private equity funds.

Last partner standing Vincent Sum, who specialises in capital markets including derivatives and securitisations, is understood to not be joining Akin Gump due to its lack of activity in his practice area.

Sum’s exit would lead to the closure of what was a six-partner office, with lawyers qualified in five jurisdictions including Hong Kong, England and Wales, the US, Australia, and Ireland, in the province just two months ago. The loss would be a blow to Morgan Lewis & Bockius, which is in merger talks with Bingham, as it does not have a Hong Kong office of its own.

The London-led implosion of Bingham’s international office started with a 22-partner exit, with Akin Gump initially securing 18 partners in London, two partners in Frankfurt to open the firm’s first German office and a further two in Hong Kong.

This was swiftly followed by a further four partners making the same switch, a group that included Hong Kong-based Puhar. All 28 partners are expected to join Akin Gump within the coming weeks.

Akin Gump chairperson Kim Koopersmith said: ‘Mark and Anne-Marie are terrific practitioners who join a truly exceptional group of lawyers poised to make a tremendous impact on our firm and help strengthen our brand as a global institution.’