Bingham McCutchen

Bingham McCutchen LLP
Headquarters One Federal Street
Boston, Massachusetts
No. of offices 14
No. of attorneys approximately 700
No. of employees approximately 1,600
Major practice areas Financial restructuring, securities, litigation, antitrust, private equity, corporate finance, government affairs
Key people Jay S. Zimmerman (Chairman)[1]
Date founded 1891[2]
Company type Limited Liability Partnership
Slogan Legal insight. Business instinct.
Dissolved 2014

Bingham McCutchen LLP was a global law firm with approximately 850 attorneys in nine US offices and five international offices.[3] It ceased operations in late 2014, when several hundred of its partners and associate lawyers left the firm to join Philadelphia based Morgan Lewis.[4]


Bingham, Dana & Gould was founded in Boston in 1891.[5]

From 1997, the company experienced sharp growth in the number of attorneys, offices, and revenues by absorbing other law firms.[2][6] In 1997, Bingham Dana acquired the 30-lawyer Japanese practice group of Marks & Murase, giving the firm offices in New York and Los Angeles and a strong base of Japanese institutional clients.[7] The next outpost was established in Hartford through a merger with 55-lawyer Hebb & Gitlin, a firm that concentrated on international bankruptcy work. In 2001, Bingham Dana bulked up in New York City through a merger with Richards & O'Neill, a boutique law firm of 55 attorneys known for its litigation and corporate groups. The next year, in 2002, Bingham Dana merged with San Francisco-based law firm McCutchen, Doyle, Brown & Enersen to form 800-lawyer strong Bingham McCutchen. McCutchen Doyle brought five offices and a strong litigation and intellectual property focus. In 2003, the firm expanded in Southern California by merging with corporate boutique Riordan & McKinzie. More recently, 2006 saw a merger between Bingham McCutchen and Swidler Berlin Shereff Friedman, a Washington, D.C.-based firm which brought greater capabilities in the nation's capital as well as a strong regulatory group. Bingham also launched in Hong Kong that same year. In 2007, the firm acquired Los Angeles litigation shop Alschuler Grossman. In July 2009, Bingham McCutchen acquired McKee Nelson, a midsize law firm specializing in tax law and structured finance.[8]

A team of Bingham attorneys and staff, led by Susan Baker Manning and Sabin Willett, represented pro bono a dozen Uighur men held in extrajudicial detention in the United States Guantanamo Bay detention camps, in Cuba.[9][10][11][12][13] Bingham filed and extensively litigated numerous habeas corpus cases on behalf of their Uighur clients, as well as cases under the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005 that brought to light serious evidentiary and procedural flaws in the 2004-05 Combatant Status Review Tribunals that were used to justify the Uighurs' ongoing imprisonment. All Bingham clients were subsequently released.

The Tokyo office of Bingham McCutchen became one of the largest law firms in Japan by its 2007 merger with a domestic law firm headed by Hideyuki Sakai, a top insolvency specialist. Unlike most foreign firms in Japan which have minimal domestic practices, Bingham's Tokyo office was predominantly staffed by Japanese attorneys and handled domestic matters such as the restructuring of Olympus Corporation, although it hired a number of foreign attorneys since 2012 in an attempt to strengthen its outbound and cross-border practice and to expand in other legal fields such as intellectual property and investment funds.[14]

Despite a deep recession which hurt law firms nationwide, the Boston Globe reported that Bingham performed very well financially.[15] In 2009, Bingham's gross revenues increased 12% and profits per partner increased 2%. Chairman Jay Zimmerman was quoted as saying "We’ve had our best year ever." However, despite an increase in revenues, Bingham froze salaries, and in March 2009 laid off 16 attorneys and 29 support staff.[16]


Bingham experienced internal tensions following the 2002 McCutchen merger, and again following the 2009 McKee merger. Both transactions were viewed as "mergers of equals" among some insiders, and as unequal acquisitions among others. The McKee transaction involved large compensation guarantees to several key McKee partners which were not immediately disclosed to other Bingham partners. The legacy McKee partners continued to earn relatively high compensation following the acquisition due to the fact that they charged higher hourly rates than the legacy Bingham partners; the legacy Bingham partners nonetheless demanded salary matching, which strained the profits of the firm.[17]

Bingham experienced a massive downsizing from 2012 to 2014, during which time it cut 225 lawyers and saw more than fifty partners leave the firm. Two major casesthe Deepwater Horizon litigation and an IP dispute involving Oracle Corporationended abruptly, reducing the firm's revenue.[5] Bingham attempted to cut costs by moving back office functions to a new center in Kentucky, but the initial cost of the move ($100,000 per equity partner) hurt the firm's 2014 financial results even further.[18] After Bingham's collapse, it was revealed that Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance stopped working with Bingham due to the low level of racial diversity among its partners in Boston and Hartford.[19]

In November 2014, 227 of around 300 partners and a similar number of associates joined the Philadelphia-based firm of Morgan Lewis & Bockius.[20] Morgan Lewis paid off Bingham's debt as part of the deal,[21] and shut down Bingham's Kentucky operations center, relocating some employees to Philadelphia.[18]

Bingham's London and Frankfurt offices joined Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld.[22] 50 of Bingham's 60 lawyers in Tokyo moved to the Japanese law firm of Anderson Mori & Tomotsune, with the remainder joining Morgan Lewis.[23]


As of 2014, Bingham McCutchen had offices in Beijing, Boston, Hartford, Hong Kong, Lexington, London, Los Angeles, New York, Orange County, San Francisco, Santa Monica, California, Silicon Valley, Tokyo, and Washington, D.C.[3] It also offered consulting services through subsidiaries Bingham Consulting and Bingham Strategic Advisors.[2]

Notable people


  1. "Bingham McCutchen - Company Overview - Hoover's". Hoover's, Inc.
  2. 1 2 3 "Bingham McCutchen - Company Description - Hoover's". Hoover's, Inc.
  3. 1 2 "Bingham McCutchen | Offices". Bingham web site. Retrieved 2008-01-16.
  4. "More Info About The Morgan Lewis / Bingham McCutchen Deal". Retrieved 6 December 2014.
  5. 1 2 Fernandes, Deirdre (22 October 2014). "Once-booming Boston law firm struggles to survive". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 9 September 2015.
  6. "Charting Our Growth". Bingham web site. Retrieved 2008-01-16.
  7. "Leading Japanese Practice Group Joins Bingham, Dana & Gould". Business Wire. 1 October 1997. Retrieved 9 September 2015.
  8. Beck, Susan (2009-06-09). "Bingham McCutchen acquires McKee Nelson". The American Lawyer. Incisive Media. Retrieved 2009-07-07.
  9. William Glaberson (September 12, 2007). "Officials Cite Danger in Revealing Detainee Data". New York Times. p. A18. Retrieved 2007-09-12.
  10. Josh White (December 24, 2005). "Detainees Face Limited Access to Courts: But Bill Awaiting Bush Signature Would Shield Terror Suspects from U.S. Abuse". Washington Post. p. A04. Retrieved 2008-01-05.
  11. Sabin Willett (September 27, 2006). "The Innocent Man at Guantanamo". International Herald Tribune. Retrieved 2008-01-19.
  12. P. Sabin Willett (November 14, 2005). "Detainees Deserve Court Trials". Washington Post. pp. A21. Retrieved 2008-01-19.
  13. Sabin Willett (December 3, 2007). "I will never leave Guantanamo". Boston Globe. Retrieved 2008-01-19.
  14. Brennan, Tom (9 September 2013). "Bingham Aims for Top of Tokyo Pack". The Asian Lawyer. Retrieved 10 September 2013.
  15. Chellel, Kit (2010-02-05). "Profits soar for law partners". The Boston Globe.
  16. Elie Mystal (5 March 2009). "Nationwide Layoff Watch: Bingham McCutchen Cuts 39 Overall". Retrieved 28 October 2010.
  17. "Why Law Firm Mergers Fail - Law360". Retrieved 2016-07-26.
  18. 1 2 "In Wake of Bingham, Lawyers Contemplate Services Centers". Bloomberg BNA. 18 June 2015. Retrieved 9 September 2015.
  19. Ryan, Greg (31 July 2015). "Morgan Lewis inherited diversity problem that cost Bingham a big client". Boston Business Journal. Retrieved 9 September 2015.
  20. David Lat (17 November 2014). "Bingham To Go Bust In Wake Of Morgan Lewis Raid". Retrieved 17 November 2014.
  21. Passarella, Gina (2 December 2014). "Morgan Lewis finalizes deal with Bingham McCutchen, adds 510 lawyers". The Legal Intelligencer. Retrieved 9 September 2015.
  22. "London and Frankfurt Offices of Bingham McCutchen to Join Akin Gump". Akin Gump. Retrieved 9 September 2015.
  23. Verghese, Kanishk (16 April 2015). "Anderson Mori swoops in for 50 Bingham lawyers in Tokyo". Asian Legal Business. Retrieved 9 September 2015.

External links

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