Baker McKenzie will review its professional and business services (PBS) team in London next month, as the international firm begins a three-year assessment of its global capabilities in the space.
Teams affected include Baker McKenzie’s business development, communications, finance, human resources, marketing and knowledge management teams in London.
As a result of the reshaping, the firm is set to launch new service centers in Latin America and North America this year, as well as create new roles in its existing service centers in Belfast and Manila. Further reviews of Baker McKenzie’s global service centers will take place over a three-year period.
“Our professional and business services function has grown organically over time and in line with changing client needs,” said a statement from Baker McKenzie global COO Jason Marty. “Ensuring that we continue to deliver the best client service globally however, depends on having a more modern and agile PBS function which most effectively supports the business and its practices, and which is aligned with the future needs of the firm.”
Marty, a former global director of operations at Baker McKenzie who earlier this year was promoted to COO, reiterated that the reorganization was necessary for the firm, whose global chairman Paul Rawlinson recently confirmed that Baker McKenzie was looking at U.S. merger possibilities.
“The new roles we are creating across the firm, the growth in our service centers and the investments we will be making in new technologies underpin our strategic priorities to be a more efficient organization with competitive and sustainable profitability, and a firm which is well placed to meet shifts in client demand in the future,” Marty said. “As this major change process gets underway, we will be working closely with our PBS teams to ensure they are fully supported throughout.”
The global legal giant saw its financial performance hit new highs in 2017-18, as gross revenue reached a record $2.9 billion, while profits per equity partner climbed to $1.44 million. The 4,723-lawyer firm, which was ranked No. 3 in both head count and gross revenue in The American Lawyer’s Global 100 rankings, saw its turnover in dollars jump more than 8 percent year-on-year for the fiscal year ending June 30.
By region, Europe, the Middle East and Africa brought in 39 percent of Baker McKenzie’s gross revenue during its most recent fiscal year, while the Americas accounted for 35 percent of revenue and the Asia-Pacific region some 26 percent.
Baker McKenzie recently launched a program that will see business services professionals working closely with partners to provide specialist support to clients, with the firm also rolling out third-party technology providers to more of its offices around the world.
Other firms to review their support functions recently include the U.K.’s Ashurst and Ince & Co. Earlier this year, Ashurst cut 54 secretarial positions in London following a redundancy exercise that started in May. Ashurst also is set to launch an alternative legal services delivery center in Australia next month.
Ince & Co, meanwhile, made 32 redundancies in London over the summer, with 25 business services roles and seven fee earners going as a result of a consultation that began in June. This week Ince & Co announced that it was in merger talks with fellow British firm Gordon Dadds. A successful tie-up would create the U.K.’s largest publicly listed law firm.