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Make it one more for merger-happy Bingham McCutchen. The 1,000-lawyer, Boston-based firm announced last week it is combining with 22-lawyer New Tokyo International Law Office, its second Japanese merger in six months. In January, the firm added 22-lawyer Sakai & Mimura. “We thought we needed a critical mass to handle the substantial transactions that are starting to come to down the pike,” says Jay Zimmerman, Bingham’s chairman. Most recently, the firm represented Calpis in its acquisition by Ajinomoto, a $678 million deal between two major Japanese food and beverage companies. New Tokyo specializes in restructuring, corporate law and litigation. The newest addition — as well as the expected arrival of 10 more Japanese lawyers — will increase Bingham’s Tokyo office to more than 50 Japanese lawyers, or bengoshi, and six foreign lawyers, the firm said. Zimmerman says Japanese lawyers are experienced with local Japanese law and the increasingly global nature of companies there. New Tokyo co-founder Mitsue Aizawa says it’s a good move for her firm as well. “We want to be able to provide our clients the global backup they need,” she says. The merger will officially take effect in October when the new lawyers will move into Bingham’s new, expanded office in Tokyo. Under Japanese bar rules, lawyers from both firms must occupy the same space in order to merge.
Zusha Elinson is a reporter with The Recorder , and ALM publication.

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