More than 18 months since combining in the City, the 21-partner team that left now defunct US law firm Bingham McCutchen for Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld has moved in with its colleagues as the firm puts all its London lawyers under one roof.
The partners are part of a 28 partner team which moved from Bingham to Akin Gump, and included five partners in Hong Kong and two in Frankfurt. The London team had continued to operate out of Bingham’s old offices near Bank but now Akin Gump has leased a further two floors at its base at 10 Bishops Square, London, so that the group can unite under one roof. The firm has added the ninth and third floor to its current operations on the seventh and the eighth, giving the firm space for around 110 lawyers throughout the building.
The former Bingham office, led by City restructuring heavyweight James Roome (pictured), moved en masse to Akin Gump in September 2014 in one of the City’s biggest ever lateral recruitment plays. The team, worth around $52m in revenues, doubled the size of Akin Gump’s London presence before US rival Morgan Lewis & Bockius swooped in to take over the rest of the firm.
In the first full year since the merger of the two London offices, Akin Gump’s revenue jumped from $35.8m to $91m in 2015. The ex-Bingham group will now give up its offices at 41 Lothbury, London, to make the 15-minute walk over to the enlarged offices near Liverpool Street.
Moving into Akin’s two floors at 41 Lothbury is another expansive US firm, Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson, which will double the size of its London square footage when it moves over from 99 City Road. Under the leadership of Graham White, who joined the firm from Kirkland & Ellis in October 2014, Fried Frank has reshaped its London offering with a string of lateral hires, including the arrival of a funds team led by Mark Mifsud and Kate Downey from his former shop in May 2015.
Roome told Legal Business: ‘It’s a huge relief after working together for 18 months and now Sebastian Rice, won’t have to spend his entire time walking between Liverpool Street and Bank! This gives us a lot more possibilities and more time to speak face to face. It’s not as much space as we would have liked, but when the opportunity arises [for more space], we will take advantage of it.’
Rice added: ‘We continue to integrate the practices in London and internationally and there is no doubt this move will further assist us in that. We see this as a very positive move for the firm in London and look forward to developing further our client offering.’