The Churn: Katten Grabs Bingham Real Estate Group, Plus More Lateral Moves

, The Am Law Daily

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The Churn

Bingham McCutchen lost another practice group leader Friday, as real estate cochair KENNETH LORE took a nine-lawyer team to Katten Muchin Rosenman.

Lore, who joined Bingham in 2006 as part of the firm's merger with Washington, D.C.–based Swidler Berlin Shereff Friedman, told The Am Law Daily by phone Friday that he will become head of Katten’s East Coast real estate practice.

Joining Lore at Katten as of Monday are partners GLENN MILLER, JEFFREY SCHARFF and MARTIN SIROKA and a total of five counsel and associates. Lore and Siroka will be based in New York, while Miller and Scharff will work out of Washington, D.C. News of the group’s departure was first reported late Thursday by The Wall Street Journal.

A Bingham spokesman told The Am Law Daily in a statement that the firm wishes its former partners well.

The Bingham defectors specialize in residential real estate work, handling the tax and structured finance arrangements necessary to put together such deals. Projects in which the group has had a hand include the Gotham West residential complex in Manhattan, the residential portion of the $4.9 billion Atlantic Yards development in Brooklyn and a $1.4 billion residential site in Orange County, Calif.

One of the key factors luring Lore to his new firm were his longstanding relationships with Katten environmental practice cohead Chuck Knauss and structured finance partner Michael Murphy. “I didn’t want to leave, this was a very tough decision, so it’ll be hard to say goodbye,” Lore says. “But [Katten] was quite insistent.”

At Katten, Lore says he will become a member of the Chicago-based firm’s management committee. According to The American Lawyer's most recent Am Law 100 financial data, 600-lawyer Katten saw its gross revenue rise 6 percent in 2012 to $490.5 million, while profits per partner jumped nearly 8 percent to $1.3 million. Partner profits at Bingham, meanwhile, dipped slightly to about $1.7 million in 2012, as the 900-lawyer firm's gross revenue remained flat at $872 million.

Katten's smaller size notwithstanding, Lore praises the firm's “broader” real estate platform, which he believes will afford his team opportunities to do residential real estate deals across the country. Lore isn’t the only practice leader to depart Bingham within the past year.

Byde Clawson, the cohead of the firm’s technology transactions practice in Silicon Valley, retired recently. In November, Brown Rudnick picked up Bingham life sciences cochair Robert Funsten in Orange County. Funsten's move came a month after Washington,D.C.–based environmental, land use, and natural resources cochair Michael Wigmore jumped to Vinson & Elkins.

Last summer, Bingham’s health care industry cochair and pro bono practice head Peter Carson decamped for Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton in San Francisco. That followed an 11-partner financial regulatory group that left for Sidley Austin led by former broker-dealer head Neal Sullivan.

And in January 2013, Bingham energy and project finance cochair Tara Higgins took two partners with her to Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe. Orrick dipped into the Bingham pool again a few weeks ago to poach Los Angeles–based litigation partners Marshall Grossman and Stacy Harrison.

Of course, Bingham, which laid off 31 staffers this month, has also done some lateral hiring. The firm added Latin American practice coleader Juan Manuel Trujillo from Arnold & Porter in New York late last year, as well an eight-lawyer DLA Piper team in Los Angeles led by IP and life sciences cochair Richard de Bodo and a seven-lawyer investments funds team in Tokyo from White & Case.

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