Bingham McCutchen (London) LLP

The Scoop

Bingham McCutchen has become known for its appetite: The firm swallows smaller firms in cities across the United States, Europe and Asia while luring talent away from domestic firms, often targeting specialists in niche areas such as bankruptcy and regulatory work. The firm's London office is known for its work in finance, litigation and corporate, with special expertise representing bondholders in restructuring matters, institutional investors in finance and hedge funds in transactions.

Empire builders

With roots dating to 1890s Boston, Bingham trained its focus on New England clients for the bulk of the 20th century, resisting the urge to colonise elsewhere through the ebbs and flows of a dozen decades. Come 1995, however, things changed, and dramatically at that: Between that year and 2007, the firm completed nine mergers from Tokyo to London, quintupled its lawyer base and watched its revenue grow from $80 million to $860 million (as of 2010) .

In 2009, Bingham completed one of the largest law firm mergers of the year with the absorption of McKee Nelson, which added lawyers in Washington DC and New York. The following year, the firm opened an office in Frankfurt to focus on financial restructuring. Bingham has also branched off into other industries, establishing subsidiary businesses Bingham Consulting LLC (business/government relations strategies), and Bingham Strategic Advisors (advice on mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures and business restructurings) .

Focus on finance

By positioning itself in leading financial centres of New York, London, Hong Kong, Frankfurt and Tokyo, Bingham sailed fairly smoothly through the economic downturn in 2008-09, leaning on its strong financial restructuring, financial regulatory and litigation departments. The London office did well in the wake of the recession, posting solid increases in turnover and profit at a time when many peer firms' revenues dipped or remained stagnant. Since the downturn, the London office has landed mandates on some huge restructuring deals, advising bondholders on the £1.64 billion restructuring of Greek mobile phone operator Wind Hellas; acting for the mezzanine lenders on the restructuring of Gala Coral; and representing the holders of more than $22 billion in bonds in connection with the restructuring of the three nationalised Icelandic banks-Glitnir Banki, Kaupthing Bank and Landsbanki.

Setting a high bar

While the London office has been around since 1973, it wasn't until 2006 that the firm launched a training programme; the scheme remains small, as the firm brings in just two trainee solicitors each year. In 2010, while other firms were still reining in costs, Bingham increased newly qualified lawyer salaries to £100,000; the increase, which was the result of a change in the US/UK exchange rate, put NQ salaries above the highest-paying law firms in the City.

Recent News

Litigation star joins London team

In September 2011, Bingham snared a high-flying finance litigator when Mark Dawkins, the former managing partner of Simmons & Simmons, joined the London office. The hire of Dawkins reflects the high priority Bingham has placed on building the London arm of its global financial institutions litigation practice. Dawkins, who specialises in finance litigation and contentious regulatory work, stepped down as Simmons' managing partner in April 2011 after two terms at the helm.

Big win for bondholders

In October 2010, Bingham's London litigators won a victory for the bondholders of Elektrim SA, when the English Court of Appeal rejected Elektrim's appeal of a €185 million award. The bondholders had sued Elektrim for its failure to make good on contingent payments negotiated as part of the Polish telecom and power holding company's 2002 financial restructuring. In 2009, the High Court awarded the bondholders €185 million in damages and interest. Elektrim challenged both the validity of the contingent payment and the amount, but the appeals court upheld the judgment of the High Court.

Swift and sure

In the spring of 2010, the London office helped complete the financial restructuring of Corral Petroleum Holdings AB, the parent company of Sweden's largest oil company, Preem AB. Preem owns the country's two largest oil refineries and several hundred fuel stations, and provides half of Sweden's fuel supplies. Bingham advised the ad hoc committee of noteholders, while Latham & Watkins represented the company. The $936 million restructuring was met with the approval of 99 per cent of the company's bondholders in a distressed exchange offer, and the entire restructuring was completed within just three months.

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Bingham McCutchen (London) LLP


41 Lothbury
London EC2R 7HF
Phone: 44.20.7661.5300
Fax: 44.20.7661.5400
www.bingham.com

STATS


  • Employer Type: Private
  • Chairman: Jay Zimmerman
  • Total No. Attorneys 2011: 1,100

Major Office Locations

  • Los Angeles, CA
  • Santa Monica, CA
  • San Francisco, CA
  • Silicon Valley, CA
  • Orange County, CA
  • Hartford, CT
  • Washington, DC
  • Boston, MA
  • New York, NY
  • London, United Kingdom
  • Frankfurt, Germany
  • Hong Kong, Hong Kong
  • Tokyo, Japan
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