Lexington and state officials welcomed the city's newest business Thursday with a brass band celebration in the lobby of city hall.
Global law firm Bingham McCutchen plans to open an operations center at Coldstream Research Campus by next spring that will employ 250 highly paid workers.
"It's a day to be thankful because we are creating new jobs in Lexington," Mayor Jim Gray said to raucous applause.
Jay Zimmerman, chairman of Bingham McCutchen, complimented the city and state on its coordinated effort to recruit the company.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Lexington Herald-Leader
"This is a place that welcomes businesses that want to be here for the long haul," he said.
The company said it looked at more than 350 cities before settling on Lexington for the site of the center that will bring together administrative support staff positions from a range of departments, including finance, human resources, information technology, marketing and operations.
Zimmerman said before the event that among the reasons the firm chose the area was its international experience with firms like Toyota.
"We have a very substantial office in Tokyo, and we loved the Japanese connection," he said.
He said the company also liked that Lexington is a university town.
"It brings all that a university town can bring — a very high level of sophistication from a cultural point of view, an openness and a diversity that comparably sized communities without a university can't match," Zimmerman said.
L. Tracee Whitley, the firm's chief operating officer, said that while the company is offering existing employees the chance to relocate from other offices, she expects the majority of positions will be filled locally.
The move will be a change of pace for the company, which has its support employees spread out among its 14 major offices.
Zimmerman said that 75 percent of the firm's non-legal workforce will remain, though, in the various offices.
"We really had to look at whether the responsibilities could be done virtually," he said. "That's what we spent a lot of time on with what parts can and should move and what parts can and should stay."
In his remarks at Thursday's event, Zimmerman noted one of the company's mantras is, "Today is tomorrow at Bingham."
"Now that tomorrow is all about Lexington," Gray exclaimed.