Baker & McKenzie largest law firm again

After losing top spot in 2012 to DLA Piper, Baker & McKenzie has become the largest law firm on the planet again. Today, the company announced global revenue of $2.54 billion for its 2014 fiscal year ending in June 30, a 5% increase on fiscal year 2013, making it the world’s largest by revenues, markets and headcount.

The current pace of mergers and acquisitions could change things rapidly again by the end of this calendar year, however.

Rivals more profitable

Rivals which operate on a calendar year, including Wharton & Garrison LLP, Rifkind, Weiss, Paul or Sullivan & Cromwell are more profitable. Their average profits per partner are between $2.5 million and $4.7 million compared to Baker’s $1.29 million. These law firms focus on the lucrative international finance centers more.

Eduardo Leite, Baker & McKenzie’s Chairman said:

“I am delighted and proud of how the 10,900 people of Baker & McKenzie have responded to the demands of our clients worldwide during the past twelve months.”

“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.”

Global Results Baker & McKenzie

(Source: Baker & McKenzie)

Baker & McKenzie’s standout practices

The firm’s Banking & Finance, Tax and Dispute Resolution practices grew considerably, while income from Trade & Commerce, Intellectual Property and M&A also increased significantly.

Baker’s transactional practices revenues rose by more than $1 billion for the first time, underlining both their size and importance to the company and renewed corporate activity by clients.

Despite an improving global economy, Leite commented that the market for legal services has become more competitive over the last few years. “Without the significant investments that Baker & McKenzie has made and continues to make in the quality and client-driven approach to our work we could not consistently win the external recognition of our practices or enjoy the breadth and depth of the client work in which we are engaged,” he added.

For fiscal 2014, Baker & McKenzie reported that:

  • profit per equity partner rose 7% to $1.29 million,
  • it hired 56 lateral partners,
  • it elected 65 new partners from within its ranks,
  • the number of full-time equivalent lawyers (FTE) grew to 4,245, of whom 1,430 are partners,
  • 29% of partners are women,
  • FTE headcount now stands at 10,896.

The most international law firm

Baker & McKenzie claims to be the most global firm in the world, with revenues spread by regions as follow:

  • The Americas: 35.5%
  • Asia Pacific: 26%
  • Europe, Middle East and Africa: 38.5%.

Baker says its current strategy is to be where the clients are, i.e. it is expanding globally. It recently opened new offices in Dubai and Myanmar (previously known as Burma). In July, a new office was opened in Brisbane, Australia.