Law firm breaks $2.5 billion revenue: The first to do it since GFC

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Global firm Baker & McKenzie has taken over from DLA Piper as the world’s largest firm, announcing record global revenues of $2.54 billion.

It is the first firm since the GFC to break the $2.5 billion revenue barrier.

Bakers is now considered the largest firm in the world by revenues, markets and headcount, and profits per equity partner increased by a smashing 7% to $1.29 million.

Total revenues saw a 5% increase.

Baker & McKenzie’s Australian national managing partner Chris Freeland told Australasian Lawyer that the practices Down Under have played a significant part in the global success of the firm.

“Most of our growth is organic growth, so it’s been from existing people and clients,” he says. “The Australian office was a significant contributor.”

Bakers in Australia outperformed the market against almost every measure, he says, reporting solid revenue growth, increased profits per partner, and acting on many of the largest transactions of the year.

“We were right towards the top of the league tables, and on top of it all we’ve just announced the opening of our Brisbane office, which we think is a very significant step in terms of the Australian [Bakers] offices,” Freeland says.

The office was the first new opening for the firm in Australia in 32 years, and aims to take advantage of Brisbane’s fast-growing energy and resources sector.

Three partners and a significant team of associates were poached for the opening, including Philip Christensen, a former partner of Herbert Smith Freehills who has held various board positions since including on Whitehaven Coal’s board; Jo Daniels, who has joined the firm from Allens; and Darren Fooks from Clayton Utz.

Overall, in Australia Bakers has had around six lateral hires over the past year, and seen the largest growth from its energy and resources, funds, tax and life sciences practices.

“We add lateral hires in areas where we think we can get growth opportunities,” says Freeland.

Globally for FY14, Baker & McKenzie hire 56 lateral partners, and promoted a further 65 new partners.

The firm was ranked number one in the world by number of cross-border deals for the fifth year in a row by Thomson Reuters, and standout practices included banking & finance, tax and dispute resolution, M&A, IP and trade & commerce.

Global chairman Eduardo Leite says he’s proud of the 10,900 Bakers employees scattered across the globe.

“We continue to break new ground and lead the legal profession, whether it is being the first law firm to exceed the $2.5 billion revenue barrier since the financial crisis, providing clients with the commercial solutions they require or by opening new offices in growth markets to better serve our clients,” he says.
 

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