Baker & McKenzie

London is the global firm’s largest office, where internal promotions remain the main route to partnership and retention rates are high

Baker & McKenzie has been one of the world’s fastest-growing law firms in recent years, adding offices and people across the globe.
Those joining the London office, either as trainees or higher up the ranks, could be forgiven for worrying that they are becoming a small cog in a giant machine.

However, London is actually Baker & McKenzie’s largest office, employing around 10 per cent of the firm’s workforce, including more than 200 associates. The firm’s dedication to managing its staff scooped it the ­Employer of the Year prize at The Lawyer’s recent Workplace & Diversity Awards.

The prize was awarded in recognition of the firm’s efforts to retain and incentivise its staff. Last year it restructured its associate career model, aligning career development to skills and potential rather than qualification level (although pay is banded to five years’ post-qualification).

Baker & McKenzie estimates its ­attrition rate is 4 per cent lower than that of its competitors in London, and also says 68 per cent of those lawyers leaving the firm are “weaker performers”.

The firm uses its global presence as an incentive for both associates and partners. Secondments to other offices are common, and three partners have moved from London overseas recently.

Frances Okosi, banking and finance partner

Okosi is the only banking lawyer to have been made up in London in recent years

Joanna Ludlam, litigation partner

Previously an associate at Bakers, she rejoined from Matthew Arnold & Baldwin in 2009