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Baker McKenzie - A Brief Overview of the Firm

published July 26, 2004

Adam Silver
( 26 votes, average: 4.2 out of 5)
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A magnifying glass companion à la the Oxford English Dictionary would be required to read the names of the attorneys at Baker & McKenzie if they were to be listed here. With well over 3,000 attorneys and 5,000-plus more in support staff, Chicago-based Baker & McKenzie is far and away the largest law firm in the world. Crossing the 1,000 attorney mark 17 years ago, Baker has continued to lead the market, at least in terms of sheer numbers. Comparing Baker to other firms is akin to measuring a whale against a man. For example, Baker has more M&A lawyers than most mid-sized firms have total attorneys.

Considering the volume of the firm, Baker is relatively young. It traces its roots back only as far as 1949. However, it wasn't long before it started expanding on an international scale. Though many firms have overseas offices, there isn't one that can compete with Baker in terms of global scope. There are more offices around the world than there are teams in the NFL and the NBA combined. Though already a legal empire in the 1980s, the firm witnessed a startling growth at the end of the decade all the way through the 90s. In that time, the already sizable amount of attorneys tripled. Revenues of the firm now exceed $1 billion.

As with any large firm (even though in this respect there is no true peer), there is the question of quantity vs. quality. In the case of Baker, the firm surely does not rest its reputation on numbers alone. Baker has been recognized by a variety of publications and institutions for its fine work. Corporate Board Member counts Baker among the top 10 corporate firms. PLC Global Counsel recently named Baker the International law Firm of the Year and the Asia Pacific Law Firm of the Year. Baker's international achievements, particularly in Asia, set it apart from the pack. COO Craig Courter was recently singled out by Law Technology News as "IT Director of 2003." Baker's pro bono efforts have also been commended and garnered the firm numerous distinctions.

Baker has a practice encompassing a wide array of areas: banking, corporate, tax, real estate, litigation, intellectual property, project finance, antitrust, insurance, commercial, employment and communications. Not only does Baker excel in corporate work, but it does so on an international level that is unique to a firm of its size.

As might be expected of such a large firm, Baker requires its associates to be self-motivated and independent. Though some attorneys may view this as a drawback, the benefit is a good deal more individuality than other firms afford. However, Baker attorneys are not islands to themselves; they benefit from a massive network via that universal, inter-personal glue: the internet.

Be it Australia or China, Egypt or Brazil; chances are, if you're in a major city, there's a Baker & McKenzie office not too far from you. For attorneys looking to do sophisticated corporate work and benefit from the largest network of lawyers in the universe, then this several-member-Chicago-firm-turned-global-giant is the way to go.