Baker & McKenzie revenues smash $1.5bn mark

Baker & McKenzie has reported a 13 per cent increase in global revenues to break the $1.5bn mark for the first time, placing among the five largest firms in the world.

The results see Bakers global revenue reach $1.522bn (£856m) during the 2005-06 financial year up from $1.352bn in 2004-05. Meanwhile, net profit rose an impressive 24 per cent to $565m (£318m).

Bakers chairman John Conroy attributed the firm’s results to its four-pronged strategy: to grow in China, London, New York and Tokyo; to focus on M&A, banking and finance, private equity and securities; to develop relationships with its key clients; and to improve cost management.

Conroy told The Lawyer: “The strategy worked. It proved that you can grow in all respects if you grow strategically.”

In particular, he noted the increased utilisation of Bakers’ shared services centre in Manila and its larger headcount. Bakers added 252 lawyers during 2005-06, while equity partner numbers jumped 8 per cent to just under 700.

Average profits per equity partner also increased 16 per cent to $872,000 (£490,279) in 2005-06 up from $752,000 the previous year. Bakers operates a 30 June year-end, and applied a conversion rate of $1.78 to £1 for 2005-06.

The increase places Bakers in the top five firms worldwide, behind Clifford Chance, Linklaters, Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer. However, this is not a direct comparison as these firms operate on either a December or April year-end.

The Europe and the Middle East region remains the largest contributor, generating 41 per cent of turnover. This compares with 35 per cent in North and Latin America and 24 per cent in Asia.

The finalised figures, released today (19 October), were cleared by the firm’s partners during its annual partnership conference in Washington DC late last week.

The conference also saw a reshuffle of the firm’s worldwide executive committee. The shake-up sees Barcelona managing partner Rafael Jimenez-Gusi and Venezuela-based Roberto Mendoza replace former London managing partner Russell Lewin and Mexico-based Andrés Ochoa-Bünsow.

Jimenez-Gusi is the first Spanish representative on the committee, however, the changes see London left without a representative on the executive committee.

Jimenez-Gusi is replaced as Barcelona managing partner by partner Xavier Junquera following a unanimous vote by the local partnership.