The Bakers bread-making machine rolls on

Next week The Lawyer will unveil its predictions issue, a wide-ranging punt on what the market will look like in five and 10 years time. The consensus that is emerging is that in a decade the top end of the market will feature an identifiable band of global firms with clear strategic positioning and a feasible client proposition. Equally, many clients will opt to use fewer legal services providers internationally and are likely to gravitate to the mega firms.

And who was it that pioneered the global platform approach to law? Baker & McKenzie, the firm that has just posted record results for its latest financial year. It’s hard to argue with the firm’s current levels of success (though somebody, somewhere no doubt will).

Bakers’ global fee income totaled $2.419bn last year, a rise of 5 per cent, while PEP rose 10 per cent to $1.2m. The firm’s executive committee Eduardo Leite told us yesterday that the improved figures followed a year of investment in 2011/12 in new locations, lawyers and support professionals for Bakers’ global client teams.

“The benefits of these investments are starting to show,” said Leite. “This growth was projected, expected and hoped for.”

The results follow a confirmation earlier this year by the firm’s new London head Paul Rawlinson that Bakers’s client-centred strategy would continue to put emerging markets at its core along with its ‘global managed services’ scheme, in which it packages up a specialist area such as IP, employment or real estate and manages a suite of work globally.

As Leite added, “We’re doing today what most of out clients in the service industry learned to do 20 years ago”.

In other words Bakers is providing what its clients want. Bet on it still doing that in a decade.

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