Baker & McKenzie signs up to exclusive Turkish alliance with Esin

Baker & Mckenzie has become the latest international firm to expand into Turkey, following partnership approval for an exclusive relationship with Istanbul-based firm Esin Attorney Partnership.

The move comes in response to growing client interest and activity in Turkey, one of the world’s fastest-growing economies.

“Istanbul is an increasingly important hub for global business,” said Eduardo Leite, chairman of Baker & McKenzie’s executive committee, in a statement.

The firm’s European chairman Koen Vanhaerents noted that Baker & McKenzie has been advising clients on high-profile cross-border transactions involving Turkey for years.

In July 2010 and March 2011, for example, a team led by Simon Porter advised on two major bond issues by leading Turkish bank Akbank, the largest company on the Istanbul stock exchange.

“It has become increasingly clear that Turkey is rapidly growing in importance for our clients,” Vanhaerents said.

It is also understood that the firm is in the process of applying for a licence to establish an office in Istanbul. If the licence is granted, the firm will be able to relocate lawyers to Turkey to advise on foreign law, working closely with Esin’s 40 Turkish lawyers. Esin’s managing partner and founder Ismail Esin is also expected to become a partner of Baker & McKenzie.

Baker & McKenzie is following both Clifford Chance (11 April 2011) and DLA Piper (23 February 2010) into Turkey.

White & Case, Gide Loyrette Nouel and Salans are a number of other international firms that have a presence in Istanbul.

The latest expansion follows a period of recent expansion for Baker & McKenzie. In May 2011, the firm opened an office in Qatar, following Luxembourg in October 2010 and Abu Dhabi in 2009.