2020 Vault Rankings
At a Glance
“Friendly firm culture.”
“Lack of transparency from management with regard to associate pay, bonuses, and advancement.”
About Baker McKenzie
Baker McKenzie takes “global” to another level with dozens of offices spanning every continent. The firm’s geographic and practice-area diversification has enabled it to ride out financial storms while outrunning a legion of BigLaw competitors. The firm counsels more than half of the world’s largest public companies in a range of practices.
It all started in 1948, when Russell Baker and John McKenzie shared a cab and discussed the idea of an international law firm. By 1949, the two had launched Baker & McKenzie, with Baker focusing on building the international practice while Baker handling the litigation work. The rest is history.
These days, any firm with a few outposts outside its home city or a number of foreign-based clients proudly awards itself an “international law firm” sash. Baker McKenzie, however, pretty much coined the term: it is by many measures the largest law firm in the world, with more than 6,000 attorneys (one-third of whom are partners) covering dozens of jurisdictions. Thanks to the firm’s global footprint (78 offices in 47 countries, at last count), Baker McKenzie remains unique among law firms. The firm continues to grow, with an average of one new office being added each year since its inception, the firm has defined rapid and steady growth without losing its reputation for quality legal work.
Crossing Borders, Crunching Numbers
While the firm wears many hats, it is most known for its cross-border work and its tax practice. The firm advises on an array of practice areas, including antitrust, capital markets, employment, intellectual property, international commercial and trade, M&A, private equity, real estate, restructuring, tax, and the list goes on. And, of course, the firm’s reach in these areas is global. In fact, according to the firm, almost two-thirds of firm revenues are derived from cross-border deals where clients are in five-plus countries.
Baker McKenzie is consistently among the top five firms in Vault’s Tax Practice Area ranking. The firm’s tax department assists clients around the globe in such areas as customs, economic services, real estate tax, state and local tax, supply chain tax planning, tax despite resolution, tax issues relating to M&A and reorganization, general tax planning and policy, and more.
Given its international reach, it may come as no surprise that Baker McKenzie offers its associates ample international work experience—and that experience may include living abroad. Through the firm’s Associate Training Program (“ATP”), associates live and work abroad for a period of two months to two years. This inter-office secondment aims to give associates insight into the firm’s global work, contribute to associates’ professional development, and bolster the firm’s transactional strategies, among other things. Law students can ready their passports, as well—the firm offers 10 international clerkships to second-year law students and recent grads.
News & Awards
Baker McKenzie announced plans for a new Center in Tampa, Florida in the United States, which will create more than 300 new high-quality jobs. An innovative hub, connected with the firm’s offices globally, the Tampa Center will provide expert support to Baker McKenzie and its global clients—for example, in Legal Services, Finance, IT, Knowledge Management, Operations, Business Development, Marketing and Communications, and Talent. The Center is expected to be fully operational in the beginning of 2020.
The American Lawyer profiled Baker McKenzie in early 2019, highlighting the firm’s strong financial results and plans for the future, including its intention to continue expanding in London and China specifically. “Baker McKenzie posted solid increases in revenues and profitability in its 2018 fiscal year, with gains driven by an uptick in cross-border deal-making.”
Baker McKenzie announced revenues for the fiscal year ended 30 June 2018 (FY18) of $2.9 billion. In terms of constant currency, Baker McKenzie’s revenues were up 10% compared to the previous year. In U.S. dollar terms, the firm’s reporting currency, this translates into growth of 8%. Baker McKenzie remains the most geographically diverse global law firm with revenues spread by region as follows: Asia Pacific 26%, EMEA 39%, Americas 35%.
Baker McKenzie announced the appointment of David Cambria as the firm’s first Global Director of Legal Operations. Cambria will be responsible for ensuring that the strategies for pricing, legal project management, and other commercial activities are closely matched to increasingly sophisticated client needs and expectations. He brings a unique “voice of the client” to the leadership of Baker McKenzie and will work directly with major clients to both help shape delivery of the firm’s services and to assist clients in addressing the development of their own operations.
- Acted as lead legal counsel to Knauf, a major German building materials company, in connection with its $7 billion acquisition of Chicago-based USG Corporation.
- Lead counsel for France-based pharmaceutical company Servier on its acquisition of Shire’s Oncology business for $2.4 billion, allowing Servier to establish a commercial presence in the U.S.
- Representing a consortium of 40 Swiss banks in relation to the U.S. Department of Justice’s unprecedented clampdown on offshore bank accounts.
- Advising the world’s largest hotel group, Marriott, with a landmark transaction that will allow the client to manage the first casino hotel set to be located in Madrid for 20 years.
- Working Mother Best Law Firms for Women, 2019
- Chambers USA D&I Award (shortlisted), 2019
- Acritas Global Elite Law Firm Brand Index—No. 1, 2018
- Law360 Global 20, recognizing firms that have the broadest global reach and the proven ability to handle the most difficult cross-border matters, 2018
- Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index—Best Place to Work for LGBT Equality, 2019
300 East Randolph
Chicago, IL 60601
Phone: (312) 861-8000
Acting Chair: Milton Cheng
Hiring Partners: Emery Mitchell (California); Susan Ryba (Chicago); Melinda Phelan (Dallas); Summer Austin (DC); Michael Hamilton (Houston); William Roppolo (Miami); Reza Nader (NY)
Total No. Attorneys 2019:
5K - 6K
1st year: $190,000
Summer associate: $3,654/week
Summer Associate Offers:
37 out of 41 (2Ls only) (2019)
No. of Summer Associates:
59 total (41 2Ls; 18 1Ls) (2019)
Director of Recruitment, Americas
See firm website for more information.
Los Angeles, CA
New York, NY
Palo Alto, CA
San Francisco, CA
+69 international offices
Antitrust & Competition
Banking & Finance
Consumer Goods & Retail
Compliance & Investigations
Energy, Mining & Infrastructure
Employment & Compensation
Environment & Climate Change
Global Structuring & Integration
Information Technology & Communications
International Commercial & Trade
Mergers & Acquisitions
Restructuring & Insolvency
White Collar Defense & Investigations in North America
*See firm website for complete list of practice areas and industries.