By Lorie Hailey
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 20, 2012) — It is rare to see City Hall decked out in a sea of orange. After all, the residents of this city bleed blue.
More photos below story.
But there was orange everywhere Thursday as state and local officials welcomed Bingham McCutchen, the Boston-based, international law firm (with an orange logo) that is setting up its global administrative hub here in Lexington, bringing with it 250 high-paying jobs. Nearly every person in attendance had an orange Bingham bag filled with goodies on their arm.
The welcome ceremony began with a brass band playing a jazzy rendition of “My Old Kentucky Home” before an enthusiastic crowd.
Bingham Chairman Jay Zimmerman and COO Tracee Whitley, who spoke at the ceremony, had nothing but praise for Lexington, which they said was chosen as the new home for Bingham’s Global Services Center from among 350 candidate metropolitan areas.
“We were attracted to Lexington for many reasons, including its robust business and academic community, dynamic talent pool and vibrant quality of life,” Whitley said. “Bingham and Lexington share key values, including a strong community focus and a collaborative spirit. We are excited to be here and look forward to working together.”
When Bingham first was considering Lexington, Whitley, Zimmerman and others made anonymous visits to the city, said Lexington Mayor Jim Gray. The firm reps would not even give their first names, he said, but Gov. Steve Beshear, also an attorney, came close to learning their identity during a conversation with Zimmerman at Keeneland. Because Beshear worked in New York City early in his career, the two share several acquaintances, Gray said, “and it was all Jay could do not to say, ‘I know him. I know her. He’s my friend.’ ”
Lexington rose to the top of the list after company representatives visited, said Bob Quick, CCE, president and CEO of Commerce Lexington, which played a pivotal role in the recruitment process.
“They were impressed by our vibrant downtown and the international presence both of businesses and people. Bingham McCutchen will certainly add to that international presence with a global services center supporting 14 offices across the world,” Quick said. “We were also able to showcase our educated workforce and connect them to valuable resources at the University of Kentucky. We look forward to working with the staff of Bingham McCutchen as they develop their presence in the Bluegrass.”
Bingham employs more than 1,000 lawyers and 900 support staff in offices on three continents. It offers a broad range of practices focusing on global financial service firms and Fortune 100 companies. It specializes in financial services, litigation and corporate law.
Bingham will invest $22.5 million to establish its global services center. The investment includes building improvements, start-up costs and rent for 10 years at its offices at the University of Kentucky’s Coldstream Research Campus.
The center will bring together in one location a broad spectrum of administrative support staff positions, including finance and accounting, human resources, information technology, knowledge services, marketing, operations and risk management. It will open next spring.
The transition of Bingham’s administrative functions to its new center in Lexington is anticipated to begin in April 2013 and continue through the spring of 2014, according to the firm. Bingham is working with Deloitte Consulting in the planning, design and implementation of its new global services center and related operational initiatives
“We welcome Bingham to Kentucky, and we’re excited about its future here in the Bluegrass,” Beshear said. “Not only is this a growing, global company at the forefront of the legal industry, it is also an active community member and will play a significant role in so many important areas. A lot of work went into the company’s decision to locate its global services center here, but that work will pay off for Bingham, Lexington and the commonwealth for many years to come.”
The 250 jobs, which will pay an average of $37 an hour (including benefits), will have the largest impact on the Lexington economy since the recession began in 2008, Gray said.
Being chosen by Bingham means Lexington is on the right track, he said, but city leaders cannot be complacent.
“Our challenge is to build on today’s success, to improve every day,” Gray said. “And we’re doing that through quality of life investments … the reinvention of Rupp Arena, 21c coming to town, (and) continued to commitment to core city services like public safety.”