B&M follows Verein conversion with London LLP transformation

The London office of Baker & McKenzie (B&M) is set to convert to limited-liability partnership (LLP) status in the first half of next year.

In July, the firm as a whole reorganised to become the first international law firm to operate as a Swiss Verein, having previously been an Illinois partnership.

A B&M partner said the decision to convert to an LLP was made to limit partners’ personal liability and to attract lateral hires, the theory being that if everyone else is doing it then it would be odd if B&M did not.

Before the Verein conversion, all B&M partners across the globe were partners in the Illinois partnership. Now they are partners only in their local offices.

Since becoming a Verein, B&M’s London office has been studying the benefits of LLP status. Deloitte & Touche and partnership specialist John Machell of Serle Court are advising the firm.

The UK partnership has yet to vote on the LLP conversion and has two partner meetings planned to discuss the subject. B&M has appointed a three-person team which has the responsibility for implementing the LLP. That team will now begin the arduous process of transferring the business to an LLP.