Chicago: Keeping it together
With a wider spread of offices than any other law firm, Baker & McKenzie has left its rivals standing in terms of global expansion. But without fuller integration of its worldwide network, could the firm become a victim of its own success? Jan Harvey asks firm-wide managing partner Christine Lagarde
Baker & McKenzie is something of an enigma. In terms of global spread, it is peerless, comprising more than 3,000 lawyers based in 36 jurisdictions – more than any other firm – with a client list that includes such luminaries as Sony, Bank of America, BP Amoco, Disney and Goldman Sachs. Yet it has proved an easy target for detractors, who claim its inability to crack the top tier in any but a handful of jurisdictions belies wider issues of quality control. Having stolen the march on the competition by going global long before such a phenomenon had even been named, the firm appears to have become a victim of its own early success.
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