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Christine Lagarde, the new chairwoman of 2,551-lawyer Baker & McKenzie and the first woman to head such a big firm, is equipped to address one of the firm’s most vexing problems: defections due to Big Five accounting firms’ poaching talent from Baker’s international tax practice. She’s French and co-managed the Chicago-based firm’s Paris office when the Big Five first began to stage raids on Baker. She also served as the firm’s liaison for 11 offices in Western Europe and chaired the firm’s European regional council. Her strategy: Recruit tax lawyers from the accounting firms.

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