Bingham McCutchen is expanding its presence to California by hiring Dan Passage in the firm's Los Angeles office.

This follows Bingham's expansion last month of its tax practice to California. Partners Bob Kirschenbaum, Beth Williams and John Ryan are now based in the law firm's Silicon Valley office.

Passage has more than 20 years of experience and was previously head of O’Melveny & Myers' securitization practice.

He has structured programs for the origination, financing, and securitization of novel asset classes, including life settlements, premium finance loans, annuities, patent and trademark license royalties and trade receivables. 

"His expertise in esoteric assets made Dan particularly attractive," said Reed Auerbach, chair of Bingham’s Structured Transactions Group. "These assets are counter cyclical and less dependent on consumer spending and finance." Auerbach explained that in recessionary times, consumers are less apt to buy and finance purchases of consumer assets.

"Dan's practice is focused on non-consumer assets. He is one of the leading experts in the securitization of life settlements, premium finance and solar panel leases and has specific expertise in intellectual property, future flow and film securitizations," Auerbach added.

Passage also advises issuers and underwriters in public offerings and private placements of equity, debt, and convertible securities. The new hire has handled offerings listed on European and Asian securities exchanges as well as offerings using offshore entities to achieve tax and other investment objectives.

He joins Bingham as a partner in the firm’s structured transactions group. Bingham merged with McKee Nelson, a New York- and Washington, D.C.-based firm, in May 2009.

“We have known Dan for many years, and he is a terrific fit. His arrival further reflects our strategy of continuing to diversify and extend our recognized practice by attracting the best talent,” Auerbach said.

In a separate interview with ASR, Auerbach added: "Our priority is looking for the best talent that extends our practice substantively or geographically. Dan helps us in both respects. We want to have the best practitioners on the globe — Dan certainly fits that mode. We have worked with Dan before and our clients have worked with him in the past and we are looking forward to getting out there and doing a lot of deals together."

Passage’s hiring happens close to a year after the firm launched its structured transaction practice in Hong Kong with partners Larry Isaacson and Vincent Sum. In late 2009, Bingham expanded its Washington, D.C. securitization presence by adding Martin Teckler and in London by hiring partner Sarah Smith.

 “The firm is making significant investments in adding strong talent on the West Coast to extend the reach of our key practices,” noted Rick Welch, managing partner of Bingham’s Los Angeles office. “We certainly welcome Dan and the opportunity to build our structured finance practice in California and on the West Coast.”

Meanwhile, Passage cited Bingham’s reputation and the size of its platform as key factors in his decision to join the firm.

“An opportunity to work with Reed and members of his team, whom I have known for many years, and to help Bingham extend its world-class structured transactions practice to the West Coast doesn’t come across often,” Passage said.  “I’m looking forward to joining a team known for its deep talent and diversified client offerings across continents.”


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