Bakers overhauls New York management

Baker & McKenzie has named Coudert Brothers’ former chairman as one third of its tripartite management committee for the New York office and has announed a new office managing partner.

Former Coudert chief Clyde “Skip” Rankin will jointly head up the office’s management with finance partner Jenna Bellwin and Charles Niemeth, who succeeds Gerry Hayes as New York managing partner. Niemeth is also a relative newcomer to the Manhattan office, arriving in March 2005 from O’Melveny & Myers.

Much like its rival transatlantic giant, Mayer Brown Rowe & Maw (MBRM), Bakers’ New York office is attempting troika-style leadership (see, 3 October).

Bakers’ North American managing partner David Hackett said: “The new management is designed to effectively manage a much larger and growing office, as well as the growth process itself.”

The office expects further growth in headcount across the teams in M&A, private equity, securities, banking and finance, litigation, tax and intellectual property.

Bakers took Coudert’s New York headquarters and 70 lawyers, including Rankin, in September 2005 after merger talks with the whole of Coudert failed before its implosion. The addition gave Bakers essential bulk in Manhattan, bringing headcount to 130.

New York’s management rejig follows news two weeks ago that Bakers’ turnover had smashed the $1.5bn (£856m) mark for the first time. Firm chairman John Conroy attributed Bakers’ success to growth in New York as well as in China, London and Tokyo.

Although integration of the two teams has been widely hailed as a success within the firm, the first ex-Coudert partner, Kenneth Page, left Bakers for Hughes Hubbard & Reed in September.