|Headquarters||One Shell Plaza|
Downtown Houston, Texas, United States
|No. of offices||13|
|No. of attorneys||725|
|Major practice areas||Antitrust and Competition, Bankruptcy and Restructuring, Corporate, Energy, Environmental, Global Projects, Intellectual Property, Litigation, Real Estate, Renewables, Tax, Technology|
|Key people||John W. Martin (Managing Partner) |
|Company type||Limited Liability Partnership|
Baker Botts L.L.P. is an American multinational law firm of around 725 lawyers. Headquartered in One Shell Plaza in Downtown Houston, Texas, the firm has a major list of energy and technology related clients. It is said to be the second-oldest law firm west of the Mississippi.
The firm traces its history to 1840 in the Republic of Texas, with the beginning of legal practice by founding partner Peter W. Gray. Gray represented the Allen Brothers, founders of the city of Houston. Confederate Colonel Walter Browne Botts (from Fredericksburg, Virginia) joined the firm in 1865, and it became Gray and Botts. In 1872, James Addison Baker (a.k.a. Judge Baker; 1821–1897; from Huntsville, Texas) joined the firm and the name was changed to Gray, Botts & Baker. Gray left the partnership in 1874, to join the Supreme Court of Texas, and the two remaining partners, Walter Browne Botts and Judge Baker, renamed the firm Baker & Botts. Peter Gray also died in 1874. Judge Baker's son, also James Addison Baker (a.k.a. Captain Baker, 1857–1941) joined the firm as a clerk in 1877, a lawyer in 1881, and became partner in 1887, at which time the name became Baker, Botts and Baker.
In 1896, Captain Baker, personal attorney for Texas millionaire William Marsh Rice (Rice had become a client of Peter Gray in the 1850s), drew up a new will for Rice and was the will's executor. In 1900, Rice was poisoned in his bed by his valet, Charles F. Jones, and his New York City lawyer, Albert T. Patrick—a sensational crime that made national headlines. Captain Baker was a key witness and helped investigate the murder after Patrick produced a will that gave him control of five million dollars in 1904. Baker got the will he drew up entered as evidence in the case, and it was subsequently proved that Patrick had forged Rice's signature on the will he submitted. The case was not settled until 1910, and by that time the estate had grown to almost 10 million dollars. When the intent of Rice's will was finally executed, it led to the establishment of the William Marsh Rice Institute for the Advancement of Literature, Art, and Science, which is now called Rice University. Captain Baker was the first chairman of the Rice Board of Trustees. Rice University has maintained ties to Baker Botts since that time.
Captain Baker's son, James Addison Baker Jr. (1892–1973), also joined the firm in 1919 and his classmate and friend Henry Malcolm Lovett (son of the first president of Rice University, Edgar Odell Lovett) joined in 1924. Walter H. Walne served as managing partner from 1926 to 1933.
James Addison Baker, III, former Chief of Staff in President Ronald Reagan's first administration and United States Secretary of State (a.k.a. James Baker), joined the firm as a senior partner in 1993, after leaving public service. He maintained two offices in Washington, being also affiliated as a partner at the Carlyle Group (with the title of senior counsel).
In 2000, the firm renamed itself Baker Botts. In 2019, John W. Martin was elected managing partner of the firm. Based in the Palo Alto office, Martin became Baker Botts’ first managing partner based outside of Texas.
Baker Botts is active in community service and pro bono efforts. The firm provided legal support for victims of Hurricane Harvey in 2017 and responded to the COVID crisis with the publication of a COVID-19 Community Resource Guide.
Dutch quality newspaper NRC investigated Baker Botts representation of Rosneft, in a Dutch court case dealing with the Russian state's appropriation of Yukos. The two oil giants were embroiled in a bitter feud between Putin and an opponent of his, Khodorkovsy, the controlling shareholder of Yukos. Khodorkovsky was subsequently jailed, and Rosneft picked up the pieces of Yukos' bankruptcy. Journalist Joep Dohmen of NRC wrote that Baker Botts helped its client Rosneft forge Armenian court rulings, to shore up Rosneft's claims in Dutch courts. NRC, claiming possession of the actual court papers, found that Baker Botts partner Ryan Bull, and his Moscow associate Izabella Sarkisyan were co-authors of the verdict in Case 1494, which, according to NRC, was handed to Armenian judge Dremeyan on a USB drive. According to NRC, the text included the Armenian coat of arms. The NRC article has been translated into English. The article stated that Rosneft and Baker Botts denied NRC's allegations. The article also stated that Yukos settled out of court, after the Dutch court admitted the proofs of these actions.
Awards and Recognitions
- Baker Botts has been recognized by Diversity Lab for two years as “Mansfield Certified Plus.” The “Certified Plus” status signifies that the firm considered at least 30% women, people of color, LGBTQ and disabled lawyers for leadership positions and in lateral recruiting, and achieved representation of at least 30% women and diverse lawyers areas including leadership roles, inclusion in formal pitches, lateral recruitment, and equity partner promotions and representation.
- In April 2020, Baker Botts earned 10 Band-1 practice group rankings in Chambers USA. The Band-1 rankings were for practices that included Environmental, Global Projects, Intellectual Property, Litigation, Real Estate and Tax.
- In May 2020, the firm was named to The National Law Journal’s 2020 “Pro Bono Hot List” for the second year.
- In August 2020, the firm was ranked the No. 1 legal advisor for global oil & gas M&A deals, by number of deals, for the first half of 2020, according to GlobalData.
- In November 2020, Baker Botts was named to the National Law Journal’s “Appellate Hot List” for the second year.
- In January 2021, the firm was named an “Energy Practice of the Year” by Law360 for the second year.
- In January 2021, the firm was named “Texas Litigation Practice Group of the Year” by The American Lawyer for the second year.
Notable partners and employees
- Claude Allen, associate employee 1991–1995
- Judge James A. Baker, partner, father of Captain James A. Baker
- Captain James A. Baker, joined 1881, partner 1887, grandfather of James Addison Baker, III
- James Baker, senior partner, as of 1993
- Richard C. Breeden, former employee, activist hedge fund manager and former SEC Chairman[who?]
- George W. Bush, former mail room employee
- Jean Dalby Clift, former employee, 1952–1957
- Wallace Clift, former employee, 1953–1957
- Ted Cruz, former employee, 1995 
- Peter W. Gray, founder, partner, 1840–1874
- Joe R. Greenhill, former employee, of counsel, Chief Justice of the Texas Supreme Court 1972–1982
- James Wesley Hendrix, United States District Court Judge
- Robert Jordan, partner
- Rebeca Huddle, former partner, current Justice of the Supreme Court of Texas
- Matthew J. Kacsmaryk, United States District Court Judge
- Robert Keeton, former employee
- Thomas R. Phillips, current partner, retired Chief Justice of the Texas Supreme Court 1988–2004
- "Baker Botts Firm Profile". Chambers & Partners.
- "John W Martin". Bloomberg.
- "Baker Botts hires corporate partner." Austin Business Journal. Wednesday January 21, 2004. Retrieved on August 25, 2010.
- "Houston, Texas Archived 2010-08-31 at the Wayback Machine." Baker Botts. Retrieved on August 25, 2010. "One Shell Plaza 910 Louisiana Street | Houston | Texas..."
- "Baker Botts LLP - The Inside View". Chambers Associate.
- Sapino Jeffreys, Brenda (5 March 2021). "Despite Revenue, Profit Declines, Baker Botts Cashed in on Technology, Energy Sectors in 2020". Texas Lawyer.
- Williams, Marjorie. "Jim Baker is smooth, shrewd, tough and coolly ambitious. That's why Washington loves him", The Washington Post, January 29, 1989.
- The Life of William Marsh Rice
- Vise, David A.. "Former Secretary of State Baker Joins Carlyle Group", The Washington Post, March 11, 1993.
- History – Baker Botts
- Curriden, Mark (13 February 2019). "Baker Botts Elects Non-Texas Partner to Lead Firm". The Texas Lawbook.
- Bagley, Allison (13 July 2020). "Baker Botts' Keri Brown responds to COVID crisis with community resource guide". Houston Chronicle.
- Rosneft manipuleerde de rechtsgang in Nederland, NRC, 24 November 2016
- Jackson, Dylan (15 September 2020). "As Mansfield-Certified Firms Hit 100, Diversity Lab Announces New Midsize Firm Program". The American Lawyer.
- "Baker Botts Ranked Departments". Chambers & Partners.
- ALM Staff. "The 2020 Pro Bono Hot List". The National Law Journal (4 May 2020).
- "Simpson Thacher & Bartlett and Baker Botts were top legal advisers by value and volume in global oil and gas sector in H1 2020, says GlobalData". GlobalData. 30 July 2020.
- ALM Staff (1 November 2020). "Appellate Hot List 2020: Baker Botts". The National Law Journal.
- "Energy Group Of The Year: Baker Botts". Law360. 13 January 2020.
- Seal, Ben (14 January 2021). "Drumroll, Please: The 2020 American Lawyer Industry Awards Winners". The American Lawyer.
- White House press release
- Bryce, Robert. – "It's a Baker Botts World". – The Nation. – September 23, 2004.
- "Vetting Ted Cruz's Presidential Resumé". Houstonia Magazine. Retrieved 2016-02-09.
- "Retired Supreme Court Justice Joe Greenhill dies in Austin". Austin-American Statesman. February 11, 2011.
- Official website
- Baker Botts, LLP (2005). "United States Copyright Law Digest". Martindale Hubbell International Law Digest, Argentina-Vietnam Law Digests; Selected International Conventions; US Uniform Acts (137th year ed.). New Providence, NJ and London, England: Reed Elsevier Inc. ISBN 1-56160-649-9. Retrieved December 15, 2020 – via Internet Archive.