It says something about the evolution of the legal market when a single global law firm makes up more partners annually than the total partnership of a sizeable UK practice like Travers Smith but a handful of players are now in that camp.
Passing that threshold with ease is Baker & McKenzie, which has just promoted 71 partners globally as the firm also today (1 July) announced that leading arbitrator Jose Maria Alonso will take over as managing partner of its Madrid practice just over a year after he joined from Garrigues.
The partner promotions, which take effect today, represent a 13% increase on last year and 19 of the promotions are in the Asia-Pacific region, including five in Bangkok, four in Sydney and three in Hong Kong. Twenty five partners have been appointed in the EMEA region, 18 in North America and nine in Latin America.
The group join a partnership fast closing in on 1,400 globally, roughly the equivalent of 23 Travers Smiths, as it happens.
By practice area, global M&A has benefited most with 20 of the promotions, followed by tax (15) and dispute resolution (9) with the remainder spread across other practice areas. Thirty two percent of new partners are female, an above average performance by the standard of large international law firms.
However, only one partner was elected in London, corporate tax specialist James Wilson, who in 2013 acted for Best Buy on its £500m sale of a 50% stake in Carphone Warehouse Europe to Carphone Warehouse.
Meanwhile, in Madrid the 4,000-lawyer firm has elected high-profile arbitrator and former Garrigues managing partner Alonso as regional managing partner for a three-year period, effective today. He succeeds Luis Briones, who will continue to practise as a partner in the tax team.
Alonso will combine managing the Madrid office with overseeing Bakers’ local litigation and arbitration department. He said: ‘We will work creatively and tirelessly to continue finding legal solutions for our clients and investors in Spain, and to use our unrivalled global coverage to help Spanish companies internationalise.’
You can see how Bakers fits into the international elite on Friday (5 July), when the July edition of Legal Business will reveal this year’s Global 100, assessing the performance of the world’s largest law firms.