2019 Vault Rankings
“Solid work-life balance for a large firm”
“The work is interesting”
“Leadership is not transparent”
“Lower pay than lockstep firms”
“Lack of interaction between offices or practice groups”
A Cleveland native with a largely domestic focus, BakerHostetler has involved itself in a number of cases that shaped America over the past century. The firm maintains the requisite laundry list of BigCorp clients as well as a small yet respectable lobbying practice.
Hailing from the Forest City
BakerHostetler, founded a hundred years ago in 1916 on the strength of a $1,500 investment by three lawyers, has developed into a Cleveland staple. With specialties in tax, litigation, business, intellectual property, and employment law, the firm boasts a rich history. Major achievements include reorganizing Major League Baseball’s American League; representing the village of Euclid, Ohio, in its landmark zoning case against Ambler Realty; and playing a pivotal role in “The Great Chicago Water Steal” case involving 13 states, the Chicago Sanitary District, and a lot of H20.
The firm’s client roster currently includes such heavyweights as Major League Baseball, IBM, General Electric, Exxon Mobil, Verizon, The New York Times, Cardinal Health, Caterpillar, Ford Motor Company, Wal-Mart, the William Jefferson Clinton Presidential Foundation's HIV/AIDS Initiative, ABC, Inc., Bayer Corporation, The Progressive Corporation, Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc., and Trammell Crow Co.
From the New Deal to SOX
The firm has long been active in the political world with namesake Newton Baker serving as Woodrow Wilson’s Secretary of War during World War I. In his absence, Baker’s colleagues roped in two major media clients—the Plain Dealer Publishing Company and The E.W. Scripps Company—which remain with the firm today. A few years later, Baker attorneys represented private utility companies in their nearly 20-year fight against New Deal legislation that authorized the creation of massive public power projects. Baker lawyers later went on to advise a number of key players in the Watergate and Iran-Contra scandals.
In 2007, Baker scored an impressive Beltway coup when the firm hired former Ohio Congressman Michael Oxley, sponsor of the famed Sarbanes-Oxley Act: the Enron/Tyco/WorldCom-inspired law that mandated, among other aspects, new and increased oversight of publicly held companies’ directors. Oxley had previously worked for the FBI and then as a representative in the Ohio House of Representatives before starting a 25-year career in Congress that eventually landed him a seat as the Chairman of the Financial Services Committee. As a member of the firm’s government policy group in DC, Oxley (a noted free-market proponent) “works with multinational and corporate clients seeking to resolve or avert problems related to federal and/or state policy through legislative or administrative solutions.”
BakerHostetler is a go-to firm for bankruptcy matters, not only representing debtors and creditors, also serving as bankruptcy trustee for companies such as Hilton Head and RCS Financial. Since 2008, BakerHostetler has acted as both court-appointed SIPA Trustee and Counsel for the liquidation of Bernie Madoff’s investment business, dealing with the aftermath of the financial collapse of Madoff's infamous Ponzi scheme. The Madoff recovery initiative has recovered nearly 75%—or $13 billion—of the estimated $17.5 billion in principal lost by Madoff's defrauded customers.
IN THE NEWS
Convincing the U.S. Supreme Court to hear a case is the most difficult legal challenge in the country. Of the 7,000 to 8,000 petitions for a writ of certiorari filed each term, the court agrees to hear oral argument in only about 80, fewer than 2 percent. During the 2017-18 term, one of the rare cert petitions accepted was written by BakerHostetler Partner Andrew Grossman in a case that challenges cy pres settlements of class actions in which the class members receive no payment. The case will be argued before the Supreme Court in fall 2018.
April 2018 and Ongoing
In 2008, BakerHostetler Partner Irving H. Picard was appointed SIPA Trustee in the liquidation of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC, and the firm became the Trustee’s counsel. The challenge ahead was extraordinary—to untangle a web of relationships among investors, funds and fiduciaries, and assemble more than 1,000 complaints against financial institutions and others who received more funds than they had deposited. In 2017 alone, the Trustee reached 83 settlement agreements, recovered more than $1.2 billion and distributed more than $282 million. Nine years in, BakerHostetler has recovered $12.98 billion and distributed more than $11 billion to victims.
January 2018 and Ongoing
BakerHostetler plays a key role in researching, testing and using emerging legal technology tools to improve client service. The firm deploys a number of high-tech solutions at all levels and across every practice, including IncuBaker, the firm’s in-house initiative exploring artificial intelligence, data analytics and blockchain technologies. BakerHostetler is a national leader in the drive to adopt blockchain technology and standardize its use in the legal industry and beyond. In addition, the firm’s Blockchain Technologies and Digital Currencies practice team is advising a wide array of clients regarding legal issues presented by transformative blockchain technology and the rise of digital currencies.
BakerHostetler’s highly regarded Privacy and Data Protection team responds to hundreds of data breaches every year, counseling clients in responding to cyberattacks. So when Chipotle, Whole Food Markets, and Forever 21 learned that they may have been affected by a data security incident, BakerHostetler led a response that successfully addressed customers’ concerns. The firm’s counseling includes working with law enforcement, managing the forensics process, and helping to respond to media inquiries. BakerHostetler also typically defends any regulatory investigations and class actions that follow. It’s rewarding to work with clients on these issues, gaining insight into their operations and preserving brand loyalty.
In 2017, BakerHostetler helped the E.W. Scripps Company structure its $300 million parallel acquisition of Katz Broadcasting and Bounce Media. The first challenge was the timing as the sellers imposed a six-day window to complete the bid process and select the winner. The firm coordinated two separate but concurrent acquisitions of 100 percent equity of two private companies with 22 shareholders. To eliminate the risk of dissenting shareholders, BakerHostetler structured the acquisitions as stock purchase transactions, not mergers. This required signatures from all 22 shareholders across multiple jurisdictions. The firm helped Scripps negotiate acquisition agreements and obtain all signatures in a few weeks.
127 Public Square, Suite 2000
Cleveland, OH 44114
Phone: (216) 621-0200
Employer Type: Private
Chairman: Paul M. Schmidt
Hiring Partner: Ronald S. Okada
Total No. Attorneys 2018: 948
1st year: $145,000
Summer associate: $2,788/week
1st year: $120,000–180,000 (varies by office)
27 out of 29 (2Ls) (2017)
Cleveland, OH (HQ)
Costa Mesa, CA
Los Angeles, CA
New York, NY
Legislative & Regulatory