Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe, the top bond counsel firm, is in merger talks with Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman. The move could stretch Orrick's lead in the public finance practice even further.

Based in San Francisco, Pillsbury's 12-person public finance team has advised clients as underwriter and disclosure counsel on utilities, energy services and affordable housing transactions. The team also advises in bond litigation and workout services. Orrick boasts 75 lawyers in the public finance area, according to its website, and ranked first in bond counsel in 2012, advising on $30.8 billion in par of deals.

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