Baker & McKenzie
International Top 30 position: 1
Asia-Pacific International 50 rank: 2
To read about this firm’s Asia Pacific practice, please click here
The Asia Pacific profile is an edited version of a full write-up that appears in The Lawyer Asia Pacific 150, a comprehensive analysis of the legal market in the region that ranks the top 100 local firms and leading 50 international players by headcount. For more information and to purchase your copy please click here
Baker & McKenzie, which has 72 offices in 45 countries, posted a 2.1 per cent rise in global revenue for the 2011–12 financial year, taking the firm's total worldwide income to a record $2.3bn and firmly confirming its position as the world's largest law firm by turnover.
According to the firm, Bakers’ revenue gains were primarily driven by double-digit growth in Latin America, particularly in the firm’s Brazil practice, where it benefited from a fast-growing economy and a significant rise in investments. The firm has offices in seven countries across the region and most recently opened an office in Peru via a tie-up with local firm Estudio Echecoper.
The firm noted a more modest single-digit increase in Asia Pacific in 2011–12, while revenues were flat across North America and Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
Nonetheless, the firm had a number of successes in these regions, not least being appointed as preferred legal adviser for FTSE250 telecoms company Colt for all of its commercial work in Europe. The three-year fixed-fee deal is estimated to be worth around £1m a year to Bakers, which won the bid following a competitive tender that involved around 45 firms across Europe.
In November 2012 the firm announced it had put in an application to South Korea’s Ministry of Justice (MoJ) to open an office in Seoul.
Bakers has a strong litigation practice and posted a global litigation turnover of $578.3m in 2011, which saw the firm ranked in twelfth place in The Lawyer Litigation Top 50 2012.
No. of lawyers: 1,084
Before Herbert Smith and Freehills decided to start flirting with each other in 2012, Baker & McKenzie was the undisputed king of the Asia-Pacific region in terms of foot soldiers and with a 50-year track record to boot.
Bakers still takes the honours in terms of geographic spread with its 15 regional outposts, two more than the HSF Asia-Pacific footprint. And the firm added to that network at the end of May 2013 when it followed Herbert Smith Freehills by planting a flag in Seoul.
Core to the firm's approach to clients in the region is what Winston Zee, a member of the firm’s global executive committee and chairman of its Asia-Pacific regional council, describes as a “two-bucket strategy”. In the first bucket are multinational companies from outside the region, for whom the firm advises on doing local business. In the second bucket is local business.
The firm claims to have a passion for establishing itself as a leading player in all the regional jurisdictions in which it has an office. “Wherever the local rules allow it,” explains Zee, “we will be a local law firm practising local law. It is all about developing talent, as we like to have a good mix of ex-pat lawyers and local lawyers.”
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Overview100 New Bridge Street
Firmwide revenue 2011 ($m): 2,313.0
Global lawyers 2011: 3,805
No. of lawyers (Asia Pacific): 1,084
Offices (Asia Pacific): 14