Baker & McKenzie

The Baker & McKenzie is a great company. The purpose of the firm is “to bring to matters the instinctively global perspective and deep market knowledge and insights of more than 4,200 locally admitted lawyers in 76 offices worldwide and to have a distinctive global way of thinking, working and behaving – ‘fluency’ – across borders, issues, and practices.”( Baker& McKenzie, 2014. p. 1). Additionally, the firm works with other corporations, and it cultivates many other things. As it is stated, “The firm advises leading corporations on the issues of today’s integrated world market and cultivates the culture, commercial pragmatism and technical and interpersonal skills required to deliver world-class service tailored to the preferences of world-class clients worldwide”( Baker & McKenzie, 2014. p. 1). The firm is one of the biggest companies in the world in terms of revenue. Its main office is located in the United States. It is in 47 countries. The firm experiences some little problems in terms of strategies to spot and to manage probity issues. The company has some great historical changes or events. Many aspect of the company can be analyzed. It has great market-product focus. The marketing program is great. The company and its data can be projectedfinancially. It is really organized. They also try to implement some plans to better the company. Many plans had been evaluated, and many strategies had been controlled. The company has some environmental concerns and some goals in terms of race. As it is stated, “They want to foster an environment where individuals of diverse race, color, ethnicity, culture, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, religion, nationality, age, disability, and marital and parental status may succeed professionally and fully contribute to the goals of the Firm” (DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION ANNUAL REPORT, Baker & McKenzie, 2011. p. 1). The company also believes and understands that race seems to be an element that can help. As stated in the report, “We understand that organizations work best when people with different backgrounds and multiple points of view are brought together. Our own diversity mirrors our commitment to exploring multiple perspectives to develop the best possible solutions for our clients and to fostering a culture of respect and inclusion” (DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION ANNUAL REPORT, Baker & McKenzie, 2011. p. 1).

Baker & McKenzie is a great firm, an international one. “It is a global law firm founded in Chicago by Russell Baker and John McKenzie in 1949. It employs over 4,200 lawyers in 77 offices, which are located in 47 countries” (Baker & McKenzie 2014, p. 1). In 2013, the company made great revenue. “In the fiscal year ending 2013, Baker & McKenzie earned US$2.419 billion in revenue, making it the second largest among US law firms in terms of earnings vis-à-vis number of attorneys” (Baker & McKenzie 2014, p. 1). The company has partners in terms of management and is continuing to open other office. “Its current chairman is Eduardo C. Leite, former managing partner of its four offices in Brazil. In 2014, Baker & McKenzie opened its 75th office in Yangon, Myanmar” (Baker & McKenzie 2014, p. 1). The company has great historical event, and the unknown author of the article titled Baker & McKenzie also talks about its co-founding partner Russell Baker. “Co-founding partner Russell Baker, born in Wisconsin and raised in New Mexico, opened his early practice Baker & Simpson in Chicago in 1925 upon his graduation from the University Of Chicago School of Law. Baker had early exposure to the Spanish language and other cultures, and his firm provided legal services to Chicago's growing Mexican American community. The firm later advised U.S. companies investing in Latin America” (Baker & McKenzie 2014, p. 1). One of the best years in the history of the company is 1949. John McKenzie was also mentioned in the matter. “In 1949, the firm relaunched with John McKenzie, a litigator who had graduated from Loyola University Chicago School of Law. McKenzie took charge of the litigation practice, and Baker built an international practice. Through the 1950s, the firm's client roster expanded” (Baker & McKenzie 2014, p. 2). Historically, the company had made some changes. One of the changes was that the companies switched from being unintentional to international and chose some lawyers to help them out, and the owner of the company had moved to other cities. As it is stated,

“Baker & McKenzie became an international firm beginning in 1955, when a lawyer in Venezuela contacted Baker & McKenzie about opening a joint venture office in Caracas. Russell Baker's son Donald moved to Caracas to launch the satellite office. Within the next three years, offices were opened in Washington, D.C., Amsterdam, Brussels, Zurich, New York and São Paulo. Rather than practicing U.S. law abroad, Baker & McKenzie trained local lawyers, often bringing them to the Chicago base for an initial period or temporarily relocating U.S. attorneys to the foreign office to oversee the establishment of the practice. By 1978 Baker & McKenzie had 26 offices in 20 countries” (Baker & McKenzie 2014, p. 2).

The author of the article Baker & McKenzie goes on to state that “In 1986, the firm established offices in Northern Mexico to facilitate legal transactions connected to industrial development in that region. In 1989, Baker & McKenzie was one of the first firms to open offices in the former Soviet Union after the Iron Curtain fell.” The company also had office in California and in Los Angeles. “In California, the firm merged with MacDonald, Halsted, and Laybourne to start offices in Los Angeles and San Diego. By 1990, the firm operated 49 offices on six continents, employing around 1500 attorneys generating $4 million in revenues” (Baker & McKenzie 2014, p. 2).

From 1999 to present, the company had also had some great historical events. “In 1999 Christine Lagarde, the 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” (Baker & McKenzie 2014, p. 2). What happened in 2001, in 2004, and in 2005 in the company? What was the company revenue during that time? “In 2001, the firm employed 3000 attorneys and had $1 billion in revenues. Baker & McKenzie adopted a Swiss Verein structure in 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” (Baker & McKenzie 2014, p. 4).

“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. In September 2007, BTI Consulting rated Baker & McKenzie as one of the world's top 10 transaction law firms in its recent survey on corporate transactions, which was reported by National Law Journal. In July 2013, co-founding partner Russell Baker was named one of American Lawyer’s top 50 innovators for pioneering ideas and initiatives that changed the world of big law” (Baker & McKenzie 2014, p. 4).

Did the company open office in other locations from 2009 to today? Yes. As it is stated, “Since 2009, Baker & McKenzie has opened offices in locations including Abu Dhabi, Luxembourg, Turkey, Johannesburg, South Africa, Morocco, Peru, South Korea, and Dubai” (Baker & McKenzie 2014, p. 4).

What is the goal of the firm? What do they do? As it is stated in the company website, The purpose of the firm is “to bring to matters the instinctively global perspective and deep market knowledge and insights of more than 4,200 locally admitted lawyers in 76 offices worldwide and to have a distinctive global way of thinking, working and behaving – ‘fluency’ – across borders, issues and practices.”(Baker & McKenzie, “N.D.”“N.P”). Additionally, the firm works with other corporation and cultivates many great things. As it is stated, “The firm advises leading corporations on the issues of today’s integrated world market and cultivates the culture, commercial pragmatism and technical and interpersonal skills required to deliver world-class service tailored to the preferences of world-class clients worldwide”( Baker & McKenzie, “N.D” “N.P”).

“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” (Baker & McKenzie 2014, p. 4).

What do they say in terms of competitive advantage of the company? How can we describe the people who work at the company? As they stated in the report titled DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION ANNUAL, “The competitive advantage that our clients gain through our counsel finds its measure in our growth. Our stature as a diversity leader of the legal profession has attracted upwards of 4,000 of the world’s most competent lawyers and law-related professionals. The people of Baker & McKenzie are citizens of more than 60 nations, speak as many languages and exhibit virtually infinite combinations of genius, manner and habit” (Baker & McKenzie, 2011. p. 3). The people in charge go on to mention that they are not passive but active, and they also find out that their stature, which can have a relation with the competitive advantage of the company, is attractive. As it is stated, “We are active participants in a variety of organizations devoted to advancing appreciation for and the appearance of diversity in the workplace and in society. And perhaps most meaningful of all, our clients speak firsthand in these pages about the competitive advantage that the character and composition of the Baker & McKenzie organization make in the advancement of their legal interests” (DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION ANNUAL REPORT, Baker & McKenzie, 2011. p. 2).

Additionally, as it is stated, “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”(Baker & McKenzie 2014, p. 3).

Baker won many awards. The IRS has been also stated in the company matter. “In December 2009, Baker & McKenzie won a landmark tax case against the U.S. Internal Revenue Service for Symantec Corporation” (Baker & McKenzie 2014, p. 3). What happened during the year of 2005? How much the company owed in taxes? “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”(Baker & McKenzie 2014, p. 3).

Baker & McKenzie focus on diversity, which can help their customers, and firms that can be multiplied to do certain services. According to Mark Firestorm,Executive Vice President, Corporate & Legal Affairs and General Counsel, “’We want firms that can operate at multiple speeds with multiple perspectives whatever the issue because Kraft is a global company. We have about 140,000 people around the world in over a hundred countries, and we have millions and millions of consumers around the world’” (Baker & McKenzie 2014, p. 6). Mark Firestorm goes on to talk about how the company believes in diversity. As he states, "’Consequently, our business depends on our ability to serve a very diverse population. The more diverse the law firm, the better their lawyers can understand our issues and the better they can work with us. Our guidelines make it very clear that we expect our firms to take very specific actions to support diversity. We ask for indications of what they do and how they staff our matters. If firms do not cooperate in that respect, we will likely look for other firms with which to work‘” (Baker & McKenzie 2014, p. 6). The author also shows that diversity is very beneficial to their customers because it leads to certain things that can help their customers. He adds, “Our diversity and inclusion efforts have resulted in a talent pool whose diversity exceeds most legal industry standards. The diversity of our talent allows us to better serve the rapidly changing needs of our clients across jurisdictions”(Baker & McKenzie 2014, p. 9).

He goes on to indicate, "’In these ways, diversity bears heavily on our working relationship with law firms but there's a broader aspect at play. I believe that all lawyers share an interest in a diverse and inclusive legal profession. It's more than about business; it's about social justice and our role, as lawyers, in society’"(Baker & McKenzie, 2014. p. 6).

According to NnamdiAnozie in the report:

“We’re going to be able to attack issues and problems from a million and one different angles. For the client, we’ll find more efficient and more effective solutions. But we can also help clients avoid difficulties by looking at the social impact they might be having, not just at their tax liabilities. It’s not just having people around you who look different but people with different cultural, personal, intellectual experience and capacity. That brings additional ideas and different perspectives and that brings innovation. “ (Baker & McKenzie, 2014. p. 14).

The company also uses diversity, which leads to profit, as a way to lead and to solve certain problems. “Bringing together not only the best legal minds but the right combination of skills and perspectives makes the difference in the way our Firm helps clients resolve critical and complex issues” (Baker & McKenzie 2014, p. 6).

“In one such matter, a Baker & McKenzie team from the Chicago, Dallas, New York, London and St. Petersburg offices advised in a highly successful corporate restructuring transaction for the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors of Metromedia International Group Inc., a Chapter 11 debtor owning a 46 percent interest in a leading Republic of Georgia mobile telecommunications company. Lead partners Carmen Lonstein, Ethan Berghoff and Shima Roy were complemented by 16 other lawyers, nearly half of whom were women “ (Baker & McKenzie 2014, p. 6).

In this matter, the team or the company also uses complex litigation strategy for assistance. As it is stated in the report, “From July 2009 to June 2010, the team employed a complex litigation strategy that entailed multiple emergency hearings, discovery disputes, valuation disputes and preparations for trial to create leverage on multiple fronts” (Baker & McKenzie , 2014. p. 6). It is also stated in the article that the plan or the strategy that they use is profitable. As it is indicated in the article, “The team’s seamless coordination and innovative strategy resulted in a global settlement agreement and a100 percent recovery in excess of $225 million under our client’s terms” (Baker & McKenzie, 2014. p. 7).

The writer of the report goes on to indicate that “the team traveled to London for depositions, to New York for investigations, and to Tblisi — where the debtor’s primary asset is located — for discussions on the economic and political risks under various restructuring and litigation scenarios. The trial was scheduled to be held in Delaware”(Baker & McKenzie 2014, p. 7).

The author also states, “’Our team’s diversity was a crucial factor in winning the matter,’ Carmen Lonstein said. ‘Harmonizing our different perspectives and strong points allowed us to design a creative and efficient strategy to reach a highly successful result’” (Baker & McKenzie, 2014. p. 7.

How are the customers of Baker? How do they treat them? According to Paul Rawlinson, Managing Partner, London, of the company, “At Baker & McKenzie we have an impressive client base and our strategy is to provide clients with a unique combination of local and global expertise. Our history of working on cross border projects and advising multi-national organisations is reflected in our client base. Because of our global history, size and spread, we understand our clients industries, cultures and goals”( Baker & McKenzie, Our Clients, 2014. “N.P”). The company really focuses on its customers, and the people at London at the company works hard to satisfy them. Paul Rawlinson goes on to add, “Baker & McKenzie is a client-driven firm. That means we put our clients at the heart of everything we do. Our success at doing that rests with all of our people. Our size in London means that we can offer the scope and scale of work that you would expect from a major global law firm yet in an environment that is friendly and supportive. In an age of global business, we are effortlessly global. With offices in more than 40 countries, our people work seamlessly across jurisdictions and borders”( Baker& McKenzie, Our Clients, 2014. “N.P”).Paul goes on to indicate,

“As we are continuously striving to improve the service we offer to our clients, we believe it is important to listen to what our clients have to say. Baker & McKenzie has a robust client feedback programme in place – we conduct over 400 client feedback reviews globally each year.We systematically reach out to our clients after we pitch for work, after we complete major projects and at regular intervals in the relationship to find out what they think we're doing well – and what we could be doing better. Our client feedback programme plays a vital role in allowing us to be a truly client-driven firm.Our events programme provides clients with a wide variety of opportunities from informing them about legislative issues to debating a topical issue with our lawyers and their peers” ( Baker& McKenzie, Our Clients, 2014. “N.P”).

How is the company in terms of marketing aspects? “It is often in the marketing and regulatory phase of getting their products to the market that companies most feel uncomfortable and unfamiliar with the many laws, rules and regulations that are at play. Product advertising, for instance, can be a deceptively treacherous field,” as stated in the article titled Marketing, Regulatory & Public in Baker & McKenzie (2014). Advertisement represents a part of their marketing strategies that may help or harm the organization. As it is stated, “Some advertising can be misleading, or comparative, and there are rules on sales at a loss, discount percentages, predatory pricing and unfair competition. In the regulatory field, clients need to be mindful, more than ever, of compliance requirements, labeling regulations, and others” (Marketing, Regulatory & Public in Baker &McKenzie ,2014. P. 1).

“Our Trade & Commerce lawyers have deep knowledge in each of these matters, across all industries and service sectors, and can help you navigate them with ease,”as stated in the article titled Marketing, Regulatory & Public in Baker & McKenzie (2014).

Baker & McKenzie is diversely organized, so they receive great awards for their diverse organization. “Diversity and inclusion align with business priorities. It isn’t just the physical appearance or the mix of racial or ethnic differences. Different perspectives lead to different interpretations and different understandings of meaning. You get to better solutions faster. You want that to have the best outcomes for clients,” according to Mekdes Fanta in the article titled DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION ANNUAL (2014). The author goes on to talk about some of the awards that the company receives. He also lists many of them. “The awards we receive from respected industry journals and league tables reflect not only our many leading practices and individuals but also the multicultural composition of our talent. These awards underscore both our commitment to multiculturalism and our success in leveraging the diversity of people to better serve our clients,” as stated in the report titled DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION ANNUAL. Some of the awards that the author mentions are: 2011 Top Attorneys, International Who's Who of Corporate Immigration Lawyers for 2011, Top 75 Women Corporate and Transactional Lawyers for 2011, 2010 San Diego Young Attorneys, Silicon Valley 2010 Woman of Influence, Top Labor & Employment Lawyers for 2011, Leading Individual for Intellectual Property for 2010, 2010 Nation’s Best Advocates: 40 Lawyers Under 40, 2011 Woman of Achievement, and 2010 Top Woman Litigator.

Baker & McKenzie Company is extremely great. It is doing very well in all the aspects listed above, except that it faces some little flaws in terms of marketing aspect. It has received many awards.

References

DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION ANNUAL (2014), Baker & McKenzie. Oct. 16, 2014.

Baker & McKenzie, 2014.Oct. 16, 2014.

MFirm Profile: Summary, 2014 , 10/15/2014.

Marketing, Regulatory & Public in Baker &McKenzie ,2014. P. 1.10/15/2014.

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Comments 2 comments

Dana Tate profile image

Dana Tate 2 years ago from LOS ANGELES

Good in-depth article. I never heard of this firm.


vkwok profile image

vkwok 2 years ago from Hawaii

This is a great, well-written, intelligent article, Paul!

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