Womble Bond Dickinson absorbs two California boutiques

Transatlantic firm adds partners in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Irvine as it prioritises California growth
A photo of the Bay Bridge in San Francisco at sunset

Womble entered California last year Shutterstock

Womble Bond Dickinson has absorbed two California boutiques in a move that hands it five partners across its San Francisco, Los Angeles and Irvine offices.

Joining forces with the transatlantic firm are a six-strong team from San Francisco class action defence specialist Simmonds & Narita while in Southern California a trio of partners from Gordinier Kang & Kim are climbing on board.

Womble has been prioritising growth in California, where it currently has around 60 lawyers. In September last year it entered the San Francisco market when it absorbed Cooper White & Cooper. That team has now been boosted by the arrival of Simmonds & Narita partners Tomio Narita and Jeffrey Topor, who are joining the firm along with three counsel and a paralegal.

The team specialises in defending individual and class actions filed under a wide range of consumer protection statutes in federal and state courts in California and across the US against consumer financial services companies.

Womble head of business litigation Chris Jones said: “The addition of their depth of talent and sophisticated skill set, including decades of experience handling class action matters, greatly enhances the dispute resolution and litigation practice for our firm.”

Meanwhile, the absorbtion of Gordinier Kang & Kim adds three partners in Southern California: capital markets lawyer John Kang and business litigation duo Edward Kim and Patricia Cymerman.

Merrick Ben, Womble Bond’s vice chair and capital markets practice group leader, said the trio brought “high-quality and experienced lawyers who are committed and connected to the local market.”

“It expands on our existing litigation practice and adds a core transactional practice that expands and diversifies our bench strength in the region,” he added. 

Kang represents financial institutions, developers and high-net-worth investors in commercial transactions, particularly in secured lending, project development, real estate joint venture and equity fund formation. 

Cymerman handles complex business litigation related to real estate, private wealth and partnership disputes as well as unfair competition and false advertising, while Kim advises clients on complex business and securities litigation matters in federal and state courts, including securities class actions, shareholder derivative claims and partnership disputes. 

Kang told Reuters that his former firm had been seeing increased litigation demands from clients and either had to make a large hire or join a bigger firm with the platform to keep up. For its part Gordinier Kang & Kim, which also housed name partner Todd Gordinier and one more lawyer, will disband as part of the deal.  

“Womble’s full-service platform enables us to expand both the volume and depth of services we can provide to meet the growing needs of our clients,” Kang said. “We look forward to collaborating with our new colleagues and further contributing to the firm’s growth in Southern California.”

In April, Womble combined with Moyles IP, a move that saw it add five lawyers across New York, Raleigh and Washington DC. However, two months ealier, it called off merger talks with London-based law firm BDB Pitmans: a deal that would have seen it add around 200 lawyers in the UK and create a combined firm with revenue of more than £500m.

With revenue of $532.6m in 2022, Womble is ranked at 87 in the Am Law 100. Its UK business, acquired through the 2017 merger with Bond Dickinson, grew turnover by 8.7% to £114.9m in the year ending April 2022.

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