Craig Courter
Craig Courter ()

Katten Muchin Rosenman announced Tuesday its hire of Craig Courter to serve as chief operating officer, bringing on board an industry veteran who since 2003 has held a variety of law firm executive roles.

At Baker McKenzie, Courter started as the firm’s deputy chief information officer in 2001. He went on to serve as the global legal giant’s chief technology officer and COO before leaving for the same position at Perkins Coie in 2007. He returned to Baker McKenzie’s COO position in 2013 and left in May when the firm promoted Jason Marty, its global director of operations, to global COO.

Courter will officially join Katten on Oct. 16 to replace the retiring Allan Wood, who has been the Chicago-based firm’s COO since 1996. He will work with financial services partner Noah Heller, Katten’s CEO and one of the youngest leaders in the Am Law 100, to steer a broad array of operations at the firm.

In a statement, Katten said those areas will be financial, knowledge management and data analytics, marketing, talent management and technology. Courter said it was too soon to say what his priorities will be when he joins the firm in less than a week, but he said he was excited to work with Heller and Katten’s partnership.

“I’ve spent a lot of time talking with Noah and I’m really excited about working with him,” Courter said. “He’s an exciting person and I just think it will be a lot of fun to roll up my sleeves and work with him to get this stuff done.”

At Baker McKenzie, Courter garnered attention in the legal press for implementing a firmwide financial reporting and billing system using software from SAP SE and Fulcrum Global Technologies Inc. SAP claimed the system reduced the time needed to generate month-end financial reports to five days from five weeks, while also churning out bills in seconds rather than two days.

In joining Katten, Courter will move to a firm nearly one-eighth the size of Baker McKenzie by attorney head count and a bit more than a fifth the size by gross revenue. Baker McKenzie’s roughly 4,600 lawyers generated $2.6 billion in gross revenue last year, according to the most recent Am Law 100 list. That compares to 600 lawyers at Katten, which in 2016 brought in $554 million in gross revenue.

“Craig is a visionary leader who will use his wealth of experience, industry knowledge and ideas to take on the most difficult, business-critical projects at our firm,” Katten chairman Roger Furey said in a statement. “He knows how to balance efficiency and innovation, and he will build on the important initiatives and services that Al [Wood] worked tirelessly to establish over the last two decades.”

This summer, the managing partner of Katten’s U.K. arm told sibling publication Legal Week that the firm was keen on expanding its operations in London. Earlier this year, Katten absorbed Winston & Strawn’s public finance group in New York.