Bakers furious at 'outrageous' claim on Almaty walkout

The founding partner of Baker & McKenzie's Kazakhstan office has left to set up a new practice amid a bitter war of words with his old firm.

Michael Wilson is taking seven other fee earners with him to his new corporate finance and projects firm Michael Wilson & Partners.

He told The Lawyer that he had taken the core of the practice with him – but Baker & McKenzie's chief executive, John Klotsche, described the claim as “outrageous”.

Wilson established the Almaty office in 1995 as part of the firm's seven-office CIS practice. Since then, he has acted on a number of headline transactions in the country, including the privatisation of a seven million tonne capacity steel mill, 15 deep coal mines and 15 power stations. He also acted on Kazakhstan's first sovereign debt issue.

However, his departure still leaves the firm with two partners and 25 fee earners, which keeps it as Almaty's biggest international firm.

Wilson said he left because he was bringing in almost all of the office's fees and because he needed a new challenge.

But Klotsche said the firm was fully committed to Almaty and added that Wilson's departure would have no material affect on the practice.

“If what he is saying is that the core of the practice has gone, then that is outrageous,” he said.