Baker & McKenzie remains world’s largest firm with $2.3bn turnover

Baker & McKenzie has posted a 2.1 per cent rise in global revenue for the 2011-12 financial year, taking total income to a record $2.3bn.

Eduardo Leite
Eduardo Leite

This means Bakers, which has a June year-end, has held on to its crown as the world’s largest law firm by turnover, usurping DLA Piper and Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom, which turned over $2.24bn and $2.16bn respectively in calendar year 2011.

According to the firm, Bakers’ revenue gains were 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 noted a more modest single-digit increase in Asia Pacific, while revenues were flat across North America and Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Like most of Europe, the firm’s London office was relatively subdued. “London’s following the same trend as the rest of Europe, which is suffering from the uncertainties of the eurozone,” said the firm’s executive committee chairman Eduardo Leite. “However, the relationships with our clients from London have become deeper and stronger, and those clients have businesses all over the world.”

Speaking of the firm’s performance in Asia and Latin America, Leite said: “Asia was the engine of growth in the 2010-11 financial year, but while the world is still moving to Asia Pacific, investments into China are slowing down. Africa is a focus for the long-term future – if Asia invests in South America or Africa, we have connections on the two sides.”

Meanwhile, the firm’s profit per equity partner figure dropped by 9 per cent from $1.2m to $1.09m. Leite attributed this to more cautious clients in established economies as well as sizeable investments made in the last 12 months – the firm has opened offices in Casablanca, Johannesburg and Turkey in the last year.

“There’s a time where you need to think, look at the future and say okay, now I’m going to invest in the future,” Leite said. “That’s exactly what we’re doing.”