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Bingham McCutchen has snagged two veteran finance partners from Cooley Godward and a seventh-year associate who will join the firm as a partner. Pamela Martinson, who has spent her 14-year legal career at Cooley, and Peter Carson, who has been with the firm 16 years, said they were drawn to Bingham’s national and international financing practice. While Cooley has 11 lawyers in its credit finance group, Bingham has about 250 attorneys in its entire finance area, representing about one-third of the firm’s 850 attorneys. “I was looking for a firm with finance at its core, as a primary focus,” Martinson said. “Bingham has one of the best practices around in that area of any firm.” Carson compared his move to Bingham to that of someone who would join Cooley to do venture capital work. “Just as venture capital and life science and representation of emerging companies is at the heart of what Cooley does on the business side, finance is at the heart of Bingham,” he said. Martinson and Carson said a date had not been set for their departure from Cooley but that they would be leaving soon. Seventh-year associate Bradley Crawford will also be joining Bingham. When they leave, Cooley will have one partner in its credit finance practice. Edwin Smith, the chair of Bingham’s finance area, said the three Cooley lawyers would help the firm build a strong finance practice on the West Coast. He said Bingham took the first step when it hired former Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison partner George Hisert in February. Smith said he and Hisert then sought out Carson, Martinson and Crawford independently of each other. Hisert had been friends with Carson for many years and had been one of Crawford’s lawyers when Crawford was a banker at Chase Manhattan. And Smith had Martinson as a student when he taught a class at Harvard Law School. “It’s like having some old friends join,” Smith said. “We think they are quality people and highly regarded in their field.” Carson represents foreign and domestic banks, commercial finance lenders, debt funds and other institutional lenders, as well as company and private equity clients. He obtained his law degree from Boalt Hall School of Law in 1985, and after a two-year stint with a bankruptcy boutique, joined Cooley. Martinson represents institutional and other lenders and borrowers in financial transactions ranging from bank lines of credit to private placements of debt securities. Prior to law school, Martinson spent 10 years as a commercial banker and lender. She joined Cooley in 1989 after graduating from Harvard Law School. Martinson and Carson said their decision to leave Cooley had nothing to do with the collapse of Cooley’s recent merger discussions with Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe and that Cooley had tried to retain them. Mark Pitchford, Cooley’s chief operating officer, declined to comment on the departures. But he said Cooley is “firmly and fully committed to that practice” and client needs would continue to be met.

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