Baker & McKenzie
|Key people||Eduardo Leite (Chairman of the Executive Committee)|
|Revenue||US $2.313 billion(2012)|
Baker & McKenzie is a global law firm, founded in Chicago in 1949 by Russell Baker and John McKenzie. It is home to more than 4,000 lawyers spread over 72 offices in 45 countries. The firm has opened five new offices in the past two years, and now operates in 26 of the world’s 30 largest economies.
As a transnational operation, no single nationality dominates the firm, and more than 80 percent of its lawyers practice outside the United States. The lawyers come from 60 countries and speak more than 75 languages, with English in common.
The Firm saw US$2.313 billion in revenue in fiscal year 2012. Among U.S. firms, it is ranked #2 of the largest by number of attorneys and revenue as of 2013. For 3 consecutive years since 2010, Baker & McKenzie has been named the strongest global law firm brand in the sharplegal® Global Elite Brand Index, a survey of more than 2,000 of the world’s largest law firm clients.
Chicago origins 
Baker & McKenzie was founded in 1949 but it has its origins in Russell Baker's practice opened in 1925 upon his graduation from the University of Chicago School of Law. Russell Baker, though born in Wisconsin, was raised in New Mexico. From an early age he was exposed to the Spanish language and other cultures. The early firm, Baker & Simpson provided legal services to Chicago's growing Mexican American community. The firm soon positioned itself to advise US companies investing in Latin America. Abbott Laboratories became a chief client in 1934 as it expanded overseas. In 1949, the firm relaunched with John McKenzie, an experienced litigator who had graduated from Loyola University Chicago School of Law. McKenzie took charge of the flourishing litigation practice, and Baker was able to devote his energies to building an international practice. Through the 1950s, the firm's client roster expanded to include Eli Lilly and Company (still a valued client today), G. D. Searle & Company, Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company and Honeywell.
Early expansion and the Baker & McKenzie model 
The firm became an international firm after 1955 when a lawyer in Venezuela contacted Baker & McKenzie about opening a joint venture office in Caracas. Donald Baker, the name partner's son, soon moved to Caracas to launch a practice for the firm. In the next three years, flags were planted in Washington, D.C., Amsterdam, Brussels, Zurich, New York and São Paulo. Unlike fellow American firms that often practiced US law abroad, Baker & McKenzie made a decision to train local lawyers, often bringing them to the Chicago base for an initial period or temporarily relocating US attorneys to the foreign office to oversee the establishment of the practice. By 1978 Baker & McKenzie had 26 offices in 20 countries.
Consolidation and further expansion 
The firm's management made a series of predictions that yielded greater profits and more legal mandates. In 1986, the firm established offices in Northern Mexico to facilitate legal transactions connected to industrial development in that region. Baker & McKenzie was one of the first firms to go East and open offices after the Iron Curtain fell. To achieve critical mass in California, the firm merged with MacDonald, Halsted, and Laybourne to start offices in Los Angeles and San Diego. Further growth resulted such that the firm operated some 49 offices on 6 continents by 1990, employing some 1500 attorneys generating $404 million in revenues.
The firm celebrated its 50th anniversary in 1999. That same year, Christine Lagarde — then-Paris managing partner and an antitrust and labor lawyer — was elected Chairman of the Global Executive Committee, the first woman to lead Baker & McKenzie. She was Chairperson for five years. In 2004, Forbes listed Lagarde as No. 76 in its list of “Most Powerful Women in the World." She then served as France’s Minister of Finance. In June 2011, she was elected as the first woman to become Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund.
In 2001 the firm employed 3000 attorneys and had $1 billion in revenues. Baker & McKenzie adopted a Swiss Verein structure on July 1, 2004. In 2005, the firm received a large boost when some 70 partners and other legal staff from the New York office of the disbanding international firm Coudert Brothers joined Baker & McKenzie.
In October 2006, Unilever chose the firm to manage its global trademark portfolio, the largest in the world with over 160,000 registrations. It was the first time a multinational company outsourced its trademark management to a law firm on such a large scale.
Eduardo Leite was elected Chairman in October 2010, the Firm's first chairman from Latin America.
In October 2011, the Firm opened an office in Turkey when it established partnership with Istanbul-based, Esin.
In May 2012, the Firm opened its 70th office in its 43rd country - Johannesburg, South Africa.
In July 2012, the Firm opened its 71st office in its 44th country - Morocco.
In October 2012, the Firm opened its 72nd office in its 45th country, Peru.
Transactional focus 
In recent years, Baker & McKenzie has been involved in some of the most complex transactions for clients. Recent matters include:
- The American International Assurance Company, Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of AIA Group Limited, on the US$1.8 billion acquisition of ING Groep N.V's Malaysian insurance and Takaful business.
- The Steering Committee of international creditors of BTA Bank JSC in the successful second restructuring of the Kazakhstani bank in relation to US$11.1 billion of its international financial debt and other claims. The deal was the largest Central and Eastern European restructuring of 2012.
- The Regal Real Estate Investment Trust on the establishment of its US$1 billion medium-term note program.
- The Thai Oil Public Company Limited on its offering of US$1 billion dual-tranche senior unsecured fixed-rate notes to foreign institutional investors in accordance with Rule 144A and Regulation S.
- Endeavour Silver Corporation on its option and joint venture agreement with La Sociedad Quimica Minera de Chile SA (SQM) to earn a 75% interest in the El Inca silver-gold properties.
- The Kingdom of Bahrain, in relation to its US$1,500,000,000 bond issuance.
- Sierra Gorda SCM and Salfa Montajes S.A., an affiliate of Chilean based SalfaCorp Engineering and Construction Business Unit on its agreement for the construction and installation of wet and dry areas of the Sierra Gorda mine project processing plant.
- AXA Private Equity, on its acquisition from the private equity arm of Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System (OMERS) of a portfolio of 11 private equity fund investments and the related unfunded commitments.
- WestLB, regarding a definitive agreement to sell its Subscription Commitment Facilities (SCF) portfolio in the USA and in the UK to the financial services provider Wells Fargo Bank, NA (Wells Fargo).
- The Dow Chemical Company (Dow) and certain Dow subsidiaries in relation to the US$1.4 billion Islamic finance facilities made available to Saudi Acrylic Acid Company (SAAC), Saudi Acrylic Monomers Company (SAMCO) and Saudi Acrylic Polymers Company (SAPCO).
- Schuler - Beteiligungen GmbH on, the sale of its 38.5% stake of the publicly listed Schuler AG, a world-leader in metal forming and metal processing, to Austrian technology company Andritz Group.
- Banque Saudi Fransi, Saudi Arabia's fifth biggest bank by market capitalization, on its debut US$750 million 2.947 per cent Trust Certificates due 2017 issued under its US$2 billion Sukuk Program.
- Global Blue, international provider of travel-related payment, on the sale of the company from Equistone Partners Europe to US private equity firm Silver Lake Partners for €1 billion.
- Yanzhou Coal Mining Company Limited (Yanzhou Coal), on its US$1 billion Notes issue.
- A CAPITAL, in connection with the international aspects of a new fund named A CAPITAL China Outbound Fund.
- Banque Saudi Fransi (BSF), in relation to the establishment and listing of its debut U.S. $2 billion Sukuk program.
- Almarai Company, on the establishment of a SAR 2.3 billion Sukuk program and inaugural issuance of a SAR1 billion Sukuk.
- Colt Group, the information delivery platform for businesses across Europe, on an initial three-year term to provide commercial, IT, Telecommunications and regulatory advice. The appointment is the result of a competitive bid that involved over 45 law firms around Europe.
- Fresenius Medical Care AG & Co. KGaA, the world’s largest provider of dialysis products and services, on Fresenius Medical Care North America’s acquisition of Liberty Dialysis Holdings, Inc. The acquisition is expected to add annual revenues of around $700 million and 201 clinics to Fresenius Medical Care’s network for an investment, net of proceeds from the divestiture, of approximately $1.5 billion.
- Kiekert AG, market and technology leader for automotive side door latches and inventor of the modern central locking system, on the sale of its shares to publicly traded automotive supplier, Hebei Lingyun Industrial Group Corporation Ltd. in Beijing, China. The transaction paves the way for an international automotive supplier with yearly revenue of EUR1.2 billion.
- Sierra Gorda SCM, held by Quadra FNX Mining Ltd., Sumitomo Metal Mining Co., Ltd. and Sumitomo Corporation, on the closing of its loan agreement with financial institutions for $1 billion.
Notable cases tried 
Baker & McKenzie represented five leading luxury goods and fashion brands in 2005 in an action against the landlord of the infamous Silk Market Shopping mall where counterfeit goods were sold. The Intermediate and Higher People’s Courts both confirmed that the landlord was jointly and severally liable for failing to stop infringements by vendors after being notified of them, making this the first time a landlord is held responsible for the illegal activities of their tenants in the judicial history of China. This case was also recognized as a “Top Ten” case by the Beijing Higher People’s Court.
In 2006, Baker & McKenzie wrote the amicus brief of the Council of Parent Attorneys & Advocates (COPAA) in support of the petition for a writ of certiorari in Winkelman v. Parma City School District, and later, COPAA's amicus brief on the merits. It argued that parents have the right to represent themselves in court to enforce their IDEA rights and protect their children's access to a free appropriate public education. This led to a unanimous Supreme Court decision in June 2007 granting parents the right to proceed without counsel on behalf of children with disabilities.
In December 2009, Baker & McKenzie won a landmark tax case against the U.S. Internal Revenue Service for Symantec Corporation. The IRS had claimed that the VERITAS Software Corporation, which Symantec had subsequently acquired in 2005, owed over $1 billion in back taxes, penalties and interest as a result of VERITAS non-U.S. operations. Symantec took the case to the U.S. Tax Court where Baker & McKenzie argued that the IRS position was arbitrary, capricious and unreasonable. In an opinion by Judge Maurice Foley, the U.S. Tax Court decided in favor of Symantec.
- Named strongest global law firm brand in the 2012 Acritas Sharplegal® Global Elite Brand Index for the third consecutive year.
- Named one of the top 25 corporate law firms in America by the Corporate Board Member magazine.
- Recognized as "European Law Firm of the Year" at the Chambers Europe Awards 2012.
- Named "Top Law Firm for Diversity" by MultiCultural Law Magazine for the 8th consecutive year.
- Topped the National Law Journal’s NLJ250 rankings, an annual list of the largest US law firms by number of lawyers for 2011.
- Ranked #1 by gross revenue in the 2011 Am Law 100 list of the top grossing firms in the US 
- Ranked #2 in Law360's Global 20, a ranking of law firms that stand out as pre-eminent global outfits 
- Selected by the International Law Office 2011 Client Choice Firm – International Award for excellence in client care and quality of service 
- Selected by BTI Consulting’s 2011 Client Service A-Team list, for the fourth time in five years 
- No. 1 in PLC Which Lawyer?’s Global 50 each of the past five years; Asia Law Firm of the Year, 2005–2009; Latin America Law Firm of the Year, three of the past five years; Middle East Law Firm of the Year, 2008 and 2009; Central & Eastern Europe Law Firm of the Year, 2008.
- Ranked in the top tier for its global climate change, data protection, employment, immigration, private client, outsourcing and technology & communications practices in the Chambers Global 2009 guide.
- The Foreign Policy Association gave its 2008 Corporate Social Responsibility Award to Baker & McKenzie, the first law firm to receive such an award.
- Recipient of the International Tax Review ITR award for European Indirect Tax firm of the year 2009
In the news 
In 1986, Geoffrey Bowers, then a New York attorney, filed a complaint with the New York State Division of Human Rights, charging that he had been fired from his job at the Manhattan branch of Baker & McKenzie law firm after AIDS-related lesions appeared on his face. The firm maintained that he was fired purely for his performance. Two months after testifying at a hearing on the complaint, he died at age 33. The case was resolved in his favor in late December, when Baker & McKenzie was ordered to pay $500,000 to Bowers' estate. It was one of the first AIDS discrimination cases to go to a public hearing. Baker & McKenzie appealed but subsequently withdrew the appeal after they negotiated a confidential settlement in 1995 with Bowers' family forbidding parties from ever discussing the case or the terms of the agreement. These events were one inspiration for the film Philadelphia, starring Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington (the script of which was derived from numerous sources). The film's credits include the following message: "This motion picture was inspired in part by Geoffrey Bowers’ AIDS discrimination lawsuit, the courage and love of the Angius family and the struggles of the many others who, along with their loved ones, have experienced discrimination because of AIDS."
In 1994, in a seminal case, a legal secretary, Rena Weeks, successfully sued the law firm for sexual harassment. The trial court ordered the law firm to pay $6.9 million in punitive damages, making it one of the largest damage awards in history for this type of action. On May 4, 1998, the California Court of Appeal for the First District upheld the trial court's judgment in full, and the Supreme Court of California denied review. A subsequent dispute among Weeks' victorious attorneys as to the division of fees among them (she had signed a contingent fee agreement for 40% of her recovery) did reach the Supreme Court of California in 2002; the court held that the later-associated co-counsel could not recover the full amount he sought because Weeks' attorneys had not obtained her consent to an agreement to split fees among co-counsel from different firms as required by California court rules. Martin R. Greenstein, the partner whose actions resulted in Weeks' successful lawsuit, was given a public reproval by the State Bar of California on March 26, 1998, and for obvious reasons, is no longer with Baker & McKenzie (the Court of Appeal decision noted that he was terminated by the firm in August 1993).
In June 2005, a senior associate in the firm's London office, Richard Phillips, drew a considerable amount of media attention after it was revealed that the highly paid lawyer had been making a determined effort to have a £4 dry cleaning bill paid by a secretary who had accidentally splashed tomato ketchup on his trousers. In an open email, the secretary explained that she had been slow in attending to the matter due to the recent death and funeral of her mother. Before long, the story had been widely circulated throughout the City of London and beyond.
Baker & McKenzie is one of the first law firms to have adopted a functional outsourcing operation, which is now being emulated by other firms. Its offshore operations in Manila, which include marketing, business research, and IT and computer maintenance support, was profiled in January 2006 by BusinessWeek magazine.
Baker & McKenzie is organized as a Swiss Verein in which each office is a largely autonomous component of a loose international organization.
North America 
- Chicago (One Prudential Plaza) - The Chicago office also houses Baker & McKenzie Global Services LLC, which coordinates Baker & McKenzie operations worldwide.
- New York (W. R. Grace Building)
- Palo Alto
- San Francisco (Embarcadero Center)
- Toronto (Brookfield Place)
- Washington, D.C.
Latin America 
- Buenos Aires
- Mexico City
- Santiago de Chile
- Valencia (Venezuela)
- São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Porto Alegre and Brasilia, Offices of Trench Rossi e Watanabe, Baker & McKenzie's associated firm in Brazil.
- St. Petersburg
Middle East 
- Ho Chi Minh City
- Hong Kong
- Kuala Lumpur - operated by member firm Wong & Partners
- Tokyo - operated as a joint venture named Baker & McKenzie (Gaikokuho Joint Enterprise)
- Johnson, Chris (August 28, 2012). "Baker & McKenzie Retains Global Top Spot with Record Revenues". American Lawyer. Retrieved 18 September 2012.
- "In 1989 it became one of the first international law firms in Moscow. The Soviet government retained the firm to handle what was the largest privatisation in the nation’s history – Volga Automobile Associated Works." 'From small beginnings to global giant,' Chambers Student Guide 2011
- Forbes http://www.forbes.com/finance/lists/11/2004/LIR.jhtml?passListId=11&passYear=2004&passListType=Person&uniqueId=24M5&datatype=Person
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- Baker & McKenzie Awarded Unilever Trade Mark Operations and Administration Outsourcing Contract October 11, 2006
- Law.com - Skadden tops list of corporate counsel's go-to firms
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- Silk Street divides and conquers foreign brands
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- Baker & McKenzie || News || Press Release Archive
- http://www.marketwatch.com/story/symantec-wins-545-million-opinion-in-tax-case-2009-12-10; http://www.symantec.com/about/news/release/article.jsp?prid=20091214_01; http://www.bakermckenzie.com/news/BMLitigatedVeritasTaxCaseforSymantec/
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- Foreign Policy Association: Homepage
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- Abbott Laboratories, Baker & McKenzie, and Midwest Immigrant & Human Rights Center Honored with First Ever 'Pro Bono Partner Award'. - PR Newswire | HighBeam Research: Online ...
- San Diego Source > Law > Baker & McKenzie honored for diversity by Starbucks
- Lawyer With AIDS Charges Job Discrimination
- Philadelphia' Screenplay Suit To Reach Court
- The Baker & McKenzie Sexual Discrimination Case,[dead link] Georgia Trial Lawyers Association.
- Sexual Harassment Laws: How a Six Million Dollar Man Became a Six Million Dollar Liability, The Payroll Factory.
- Weeks v. Baker & McKenzie, 63 Cal. App. 4th 1128 (1998).
- Chambers v. Kay, 29 Cal. 4th 142 (2002).
- See State Bar of California public record for Martin Richard Greenstein, State Bar Number 106789.
- Ketchup Trousers, Snopes.com. Also in 2005 Heidi Gritt was employed.
- , The Guardian
- Online Extra: The Cost-Killer in Manila, Businessweek.com