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Make it one more for merger-happy Bingham McCutchen. The 1,000-lawyer firm announced Thursday that 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,” said 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 Japanese lawyers � will bring Bingham’s outpost to more than 50 Japanese lawyers, or bengoshi, and six foreign lawyers, the firm said. Zimmerman said Japanese lawyers are experienced not only with local law but with the increasingly global nature of companies there. He added that with the high cost of moving foreign lawyers into Tokyo, it makes sense to bring on local lawyers. New Tokyo co-founder Mitsue Aizawa said 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 said. The combination will officially take effect around Oct. 1 when the new lawyers will move into Bingham’s new, expanded space, the firm said. Under Japanese bar rules, lawyers from both firms must occupy the same space in order to merge.

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