Bingham McCutchen’s London office, which turned over $52.3m last year, will merge with Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld in a move that will more than double the size of the firm in the City.
Akin Gump’s 19 partner office in the City will be combined with a 22-strong team from Bingham that includes partners in Hong Kong and Germany. The move sees 10 join as partners from Bingham’s much lauded financial restructuring team and will become effective over the coming weeks and is expected to push Akin Gump’s London office into the top 20 international firms in London by turnover.
The move will bring together Akin Gump’s financial restructuring practice in the United States, led by partners Daniel Golden, Ira Dizengoff, Fred Hodara and Mike Stamer, with the London-based leaders of Bingham’s financial restructuring group, partners James Roome, Barry Russell and James Terry. Bingham’s financial restructuring team played a leading role in representing creditors in high-profile European restructurings following the fallout from the financial crisis, including the bondholders of the Icelandic banks Kaupthing, Glitnir and Landsbanki.
Sebastian Rice, who head Akin Gump’s London office, will be managing partner of the combined team, with Bingham’s London head James Roome becoming senior partner.
In total, 17 partners are set to make the switch across the City, including competition lawyer Davina Garrod, tax specialist Stuart Sinclair and former Simmons & Simmons managing partner Mark Dawkins, a litigator who only joined Bingham two years ago. The combination has resulted in a promotion for finance lawyer Mark Mansell, who moves from counsel to partner.
The switch by Frankfurt-based financial restructuring partners Christian Halász and Axel Vogelmann will also launch Akin Gump’s first office in Germany.
‘This will be transformative in enhancing our brand as a leading global firm,’ said Kim Koopersmith, Akin Gump’s chairperson. ‘The attorneys joining us are hugely respected for their strength in areas that are key to our firm and clients, including financial restructuring, finance, disputes, tax, regulatory and corporate, and will build upon our own very strong teams in these and other areas. This move also helps us diversify into key areas across Europe and Asia.’
Rice described the union as ‘strategically compelling’ in a move that will enable the combined entity to better ‘present ourselves to potential clients here in London, in Hong Kong and in established and emerging markets across the globe’.
Roome added: ‘Our financial restructuring team has, for many years, admired their stellar practice in the United States, which represents many of the same clients that we do. The combination of our practices in London, Hong Kong and Frankfurt with Akin Gump’s financial restructuring team in the United States and excellent energy, telecoms and investment funds practices in Europe and Asia will be a major step forward for our team. We are all thrilled to be part of this once-in-a-career opportunity.’
Five Bingham partners in London didn’t make the move across to Akin Gump, with private investment funds partner Thiha Tun, competition lawyer Frances Murphy, M&A specialist Vance Chapman, Elisabeth Baltay in structured financing and Thomas ‘John’ Holton, who split his time between Bingham’s City and Boston offices, left in limbo as the US firm’s management mulls a merger with rival Morgan Lewis. The exodus leaves Bingham with just one remaining partner in Germany, with transactions lawyer John Schmitz splitting his time between Frankfurt and Washington DC. In Hong Kong, four partners remain across Bingham’s corporate, capital markets, financial restructuring and private equity practices.
The move was revealed by Legal Business at the start of September, after a tough year which saw revenues fall at Bingham’s office.
Full list of partners joining Akin Gump from Bingham:
Competition, Davina Garrod
Corporate, Angeli Arora
Finance, John Clark
Finance, Mark Mansell
Finance, Stephen Peppiatt
Finance, Sarah Smith
Financial Restructuring, Tom Bannister
Financial Restructuring, Neil Devaney
Financial Restructuring, Liz Osborne
Financial Restructuring, James Roome
Financial Restructuring, Barry Russell
Financial Restructuring, Emma Simmonds
Financial Restructuring, James Terry
Financial Regulatory, Christopher Leonard
Financial Regulatory, Helen Marshall
Litigation, Mark Dawkins
Litigation, Richard Hornshaw
Tax, Stuart Sinclair
Financial Restructuring, Christian Halász
Financial Restructuring, Axel Vogelmann
Corporate, Charles Rogers
Financial Restructuring, Naomi Moore