Morning Briefing: Baker & McKenzie focuses on North America

by Steve Randall08 Dec 2015
Baker & McKenzie focuses on North America
Baker & McKenzie was until recently the largest global law firm but while Dentons continues to grow its worldwide footprint Bakers is focusing on its homeland. Although the firm was founded in Chicago it only has 8 US offices but is intending to change that. Currently, according to, just 15 per cent of Bakers’ lawyers are in the US and it ranks the lowest of the Top 10 US law firms for revenue per lawyer. The firm’s chairman Eduardo Leite commented: “North America is key for us, and we have a North American growth plan.” That plan includes aiming to take a larger cut of the big US firms and international clients wishing to enter the US market. 

Law firm to support LGBT conference 
International law firm Hogan Lovells is supporting a two-day conference in Hong Kong which will explore the role of business in advancing LGBT equality. The Out Leadership conference starts today (Dec. 8) bringing together senior Asia Pacific business leaders and prominent LGBT champions to discuss partnerships between businesses and local advocacy groups. Hogan Lovells has been a driving force behind LGBT equality in the region’s legal profession and recently held its own panel discussion on the issues. 

Asia-Pac lawyer co-author’s arbitration book
The Asia-Pac head of the international dispute resolutions practice at Squire Patton Boggs has co-authored an updated guide to arbitration. Partner Peter Chow added his expertise to the second edition of The Hong Kong Arbitration Ordinance: Commentary and Annotations published by Sweet & Maxwell. Chow is a chartered arbitrator and has acted as counsel in numerous arbitration proceedings. He was formerly vice president of the Hong Kong Institute of Arbitrators.

UK proposes standard route to become a solicitor
In the UK solicitors can qualify in two ways; a law degree, law firm training contract, another year’s course and work place training; or other accepted routes for those from a non-legal background or foreign qualification. The situation could be about to change though. The Solicitors Regulation Authority has started a consultation this week on its proposal to create a single Solicitors Qualifying Examination in order to protect consumers and provide a set standard to define the competence of solicitors. The SRA believes this new approach could help foster greater diversity in the profession by ensuring all candidates meet proper standards regardless of the pathway they take.