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August 5, 2008 11:35 AM

Heller Bigwig Defects for Bingham

Posted by Brian Baxter

The managing partner of Heller Ehrman's Washington, D.C., office, Geoffrey Aronow, has become the latest lawyer to leave the embattled San Francisco firm, reports sibling publication Legal Times.

Aronow, a former enforcement director at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, becomes a partner in the securities practice at Bingham McCutchen beginning this week.

Legal Times says that Aronow will handle complex securities matters for Bingham clients like Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, and UBS.

"The focus . . . is putting in place a high-quality practice," Bingham D.C. office comanaging partner Neal Sullivan tells Legal Times. "My belief is, profitability follows that, so it's not a goal, but it's a result."

Legal Times quotes Heller's firmwide managing partner, Robert Hubbell, as saying that Aronow "is a great guy, and we wish him the best in the future."

The move is a blow to Heller, which has suffered a spate of partner departures in recent months. Heller reported gross revenues of $491 million and profits per equity partner of roughly $1 million this year, which resulted in the firm dropping ten places to fall outside the top 50 firms in the Am Law 100. (Heller had a $507 million gross and nearly $30,000 more in PEP a year earlier.)

Heller has denied rumors that it is in merger discussions with international firm Baker & McKenzie.

As if all that wasn't enough, another former Heller colleague of Aronow's--special counsel Anthony Mansfield--announced the same day that he was leaving the firm's D.C. office for a partnership at McDermott Will & Emery.

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