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Nine Partners Leaving Bingham McCutchen LLP

Three teams of lawyers are headed out the door of Bingham McCutchen LLP as the Boston firm works through a transition in leadership, according to The Wall Street Journal. The leadership chance stems from a drop in revenue. Each team has three lawyers who are leaving the firm.

Michael Levy, Michael Spafford and Amy Carpenter-Holmes will join Paul Hastings LLP. They have a white-collar defense practice. This team represents former Fannie Mae executive Thomas Lund in the civil lawsuit filed by the SEC. The team also worked on the downfall of Enron Corp. and MF Global.

“We have tended to focus our practice very much on complex high-stakes matters,” Levy said. “Paul Hastings focuses on that as well. There was a very strong alignment with our practice’s strategic objectives and Paul Hastings’s objectives as a firm.”

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Levy said that his team begins work in the Washington, D.C. office of the firm today. They have also been together for 10 years. The group came to Bingham from McKee Nelson LLP when the firm merged with Bingham in 2009. They also worked at Swidler Berlin Shereff Friedman LLP.

Richard Fries, who heads a four-partner real estate group, is also leaving the firm. Fries will join Sidley Austin LLP. Two other partners from the group will leave to join Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom LLP.

A statement was issued by Bingham on Friday that said:

“We have always been a firm that embraces change. Heading into 2014, we expected an uptick in partner attrition — both because of forward-looking business decisions we made and because of a challenging 2013. We are a leaner, stronger firm now, and our 2014 thus far has been robust.”

The revenue at Bingham dropped by 12.6 percent in 2013 and the firm said the drop was due to a tough legal market and the closing of litigation related to the financial crisis. They also closed litigation in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion.

It was announced earlier in May that Jay Zimmerman would reduce his leadership role at the firm, handing over his daily duties to managing partner Steven Browne. The change in leadership is part of a long-term succession plan and not due to the revenue drop in 2013, according to the firm.

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