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Less than a year after completing the cross-country merger that formed 800-lawyer Bingham McCutchen, the firm is looking to carry out another merger in order to beef up its Los Angeles presence. According to a source inside the firm, Bingham McCutchen is in discussions with Los Angeles’ Riordan & McKinzie. The Riordan firm, co-founded by former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan, boasts 75 attorneys in three Southern California offices and would roughly double Bingham McCutchen’s southland presence. “It sounds like it’s a done deal, but they haven’t voted on it and neither have we,” the source said. Neither Donn Pickett, the vice chairman of Bingham McCutchen, nor Richard Welch, the chairman of Riordan & McKinzie, returned calls for comment. Bingham McCutchen currently has 58 attorneys based in downtown L.A. They focus primarily on litigation and environmental law. A merger with Riordan & McKinzie would cap a long-running quest by the then-McCutchen, Doyle, Brown & Enersen firm to expand its Southern California corporate practice. “It’s been a priority for the McCutchen firm for as long as I can remember,” said legal recruiter Larry Watanabe of Watanabe Nason & Seltzer. In addition to its Los Angeles headquarters, Riordan & McKinzie has satellite offices in Westlake Village and Costa Mesa. The firm does almost exclusively transactional work. “They were unique in L.A. — doing venture capital fund work long before it became in vogue to do so,” Watanabe said. It’s not the first time that Riordan & McKinzie has considered pairing up with another firm. In 2001, Riordan was in merger discussions with Palo Alto’s Gray Cary Ware & Freidenrich. Those talks were ultimately aborted as the economy soured, said one former Riordan partner.

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