Baker McKenzie is set to double headcount in New York in the next three years, and plans to expand several practices in London as part of its 2020 strategy, Baker McKenzie global chair Paul Rawlinson has vowed.
The firm’s objective is to “increase the firm’s bench-strength” in the New York office, which is seen as weaker than in some of the other US cities where it has a presence.
At the moment, the firm has a total of 54 partners in New York, compared to 133 in Chicago and 71 in Washington.
The growth strategy involves hiring both partners and associates in M&A, private equity, tax, disputes and compliance.
Rawlinson also has plans to grow London, with 10 to 20 lateral hires in the pipeline.
Should New York double in size, it would be the fifth largest office in the network behind London, Chicago, Sydney and Hong Kong.
During its last promotions round, the firm made up 23 partners in North America. Of these, only two were in New York: one in tax and one in litigation.
The strategy would boost the firm’s corporate headcount numbers in North America.
According to data from The Lawyer’s Global 200 2016, Baker & McKenzie has 462 corporate partners across the world, over one-quarter of the firm’s entire global partner headcount of 1,654.
The firm has the third-biggest corporate bench in Europe (excluding the UK); however it is distinctly underweight in the US, with just 83 partners, coming only 13th in The Lawyer’s Global 200 headcount rankings.
It is understood that North America managing partner Colin Murray will play a key role in developing the New York office.
The firm has made a number of recent lateral hires in New York over the last year, including Chadbourne & Parke lawyer Margarita Oliva Sainz de Aja, who joined as Latin finance chair; Haynes and Boone corporate partner Arman Kuyumjian; Hughes Hubbard & Reed corporate partner Jan Joosten; and Reed Smith tax lawyer Adam Beckerink.
Rawlinson was elected by the partnership last year as the firm’s first UK-based global head,while London tax partner Alex Chadwick took on the top role in London.
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