Baker & McKenzie revamps partner setup

Baker & McKenzie is set to overhaul its partnership structure and ditch its status as an Illinois partnership.

The firm will implement reforms later this year after partners received recommendations in a report following consultations by London partner Gabriel Fisher.

At present, and because the firm was founded in Chicago, all Baker’s partners across the world are members of an Illinois partnership. The only thing likely to stop the changes would be arguments of the type recently witnessed at a meeting of German partners, who were called to look at the firm’s compensation system in the jurisdiction. They met to discuss a move towards a modified lockstep, as used by the partnership in London, among other places. Germany still uses an old formula, used by most of Baker’s offices, which hinges on the amount billed and hours worked, mixed with an element of profit share and length of service.

A string of departures had brought the issue back to the top of the agenda, but after much dispute the German partners voted to retain the status quo.