It's been some time since a merger of two Am Law 100 firms. And it will be awhile longer still, but today we've come close.
Our sibling publication the Am Law Daily reports that Boston-based Bingham McCutchen, No. 32 on the Am Law 100, has acquired New York's McKee Nelson, which ranks No. 152 on the Am Law 200. Combining the two firms' 2008 revenues would yield $927 million, or the 22nd largest firm in the country -- though where they'll rank next year is anyone's guess given the disruption in the legal industry this year.
McKee Nelson, which did a sizable amount of structured finance work, has been hit especially hard. Revenue fell 16 percent last year to $160 million, and profits per equity partner dropped 15 percent to $1 million. In addition, layoffs and departures whittled the firm from 180 lawyers in 2007 down to 120.
"It's really rare to find a firm that is this size that has three market-leading practices," said Bingham chairman Jay Zimmerman, referring to McKee's expertise in tax, financial institution litigation, and capital markets-structured finance. Structured finance might be moribund now, but Zimmerman sees it as an area worth investing in. "It will be part of our longterm strategy for serving the financial institution industry."
— Scott Graham