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Ending weeks of speculation, Baker & McKenzie last week announced its acquisition of most of the New York office of Coudert Brothers. The addition of 70 Coudert lawyers, about 25 of whom are partners, in New York meets one of the more pressing needs of Chicago-based Baker & McKenzie, whose presence in the city has been a modest 65 lawyers despite the firm’s status as one of the world’s largest with more than 3,200 lawyers. Last month, Coudert Brothers said it was disbanding its global network of offices and practices. The New York-based firm had been in merger discussions with Baker & McKenzie, a similarly internationally-minded firm, but the two failed to reach an agreement on a firmwide combination. In a statement, John Conroy, the chairman of Baker & McKenzie’s executive committee, said expanding in New York had been a long-term objective of his firm. The group joining Baker & McKenzie is led by Clyde Rankin, the present chairman of Coudert Brothers. He said in a statement that the group was “excited at the prospect of leveraging our combined strength in New York and elsewhere on the dynamic business model which Baker & McKenzie has been developing.”
Anthony Lin is a reporter with the New York Law Journal .

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