US firms promote City life as Bakers overhauls management team

Question: When is a US firm not a US firm? Answer: When their London offices become so immense they can grow their own talent.

As our feature this week underlines, a growing number of US firms’ City offices are beginning to look as much like a UK firm as their London-headquartered rivals. The most locally embedded firms, with the highest proportion of UK-qualified partners in the UK and the most promotions locally, according to The Lawyer’s exclusive data? Latham & Watkins, Baker & McKenzie, Kirkland & Ellis and White & Case.

The least? Debevoise & Plimpton, Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, Milbank and Sullivan & Cromwell. That said, none of these firms are averse to picking up a bit of local talent, as Gibson Dunn’s marquee hire of former Ashurst senior partner Charlie Geffen proves.

Elsewhere in London this week you can barely move for a Baker & McKenzie partner, with the firm colonising three hotels to cater for its epic global partners conference. Yesterday’s news was that the firm is opening up shop in Jeddah as it boosts its presence in Saudi Arabia.

This morning’s news is that Bakers has just confirmed a raft of management changes, though one thing that isn’t changing is the identity of its chairman. Incumbent Eduardo Leite was today handed a two-year extension to his four-year term.

We can’t wait for tomorrow.

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