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Race to the top: Baker McKenzie promotes 80 new global partners and elects German managing partner

Baker McKenzie has made up 80 new global partners, bringing this year’s partnership intake to 139, while electing Matthias Scholz as Germany and Austrian managing partner for three years.

The firm, which now counts almost 1,600 partners globally, elected the highest number of new partners to its dispute resolution team, followed by mergers & acquisitions (M&A) and tax.

16 new partners were made up in dispute resolution, comprising three in Spain, one in Austria and one in Italy, while four were appointed in North America. Two new partners also joined its South African Johannesburg team.

The 80 promotions, effective from 1 July, included five in London (pictured) bringing the number of partners based in the UK capital to 100: Susie Davies in corporate, Kim Sartin in employment, Jennifer Revis in international commerce and trade, Mark Simpson in financial services, and Ben Farnell in real estate.

Paul Rawlinson, global chair of Baker McKenzie, told Legal Business said that investigations work in North America was a factor driving growing work in the region.

The firm’s M&A global team will have 14 new partners, half of them in Asia.

‘We are focusing on New York, London and China as three key centres for us,’ added Rawlinson. ‘Where we excel is cross border deals.’

He emphasised that specific sector capability was as much a factor in the leadership promotions as general M&A experience.

The firm appointed 12 partners to the tax team, half of them in the US.

‘Currently we are seeing controversy work in the US which is driving a lot of tax work,’ added Rawlinson. ‘Obviously the potential changes in the US tax regime are something to look out for: this is not driving any of these new appointments, but it is something to look at in the future.’

During this year, Baker McKenzie also added 59 lateral hires.

In London, Steve Labrum joined the tax practice from KPMG, Will Holder and Carl Richards were recruited to the M&A/private equity and employment practices respectively from King & Wood Mallesons. David Duncan and Melanie Howard joined as M&A partners from Allen & Overy and Clifford Chance. Alex Lewis joined the private equity practice from Ropes & Gray.

‘These people – we like to think – give a positive endorsement of our strategy: they say they like the firm because it is truly global and want to be part of it,’ Rawlinson said.

On 1 July, Scholz will replace Constanze Ulmer-Eilfort, who was Germany and Austria managing partner for five years.

‘IT and AI expertise is not just about advising clients but rather changing an organization to make it fit to be able to work in an environment which is constantly changing. Innovation is part of our global strategy, not just for the clients but also for us, internally.

Scholz worked in the London office in 1995-96 and ‘got to know Paul [Rawlinson] very well. We will work towards integrating our practices around the globe.’

‘We do have a good German client base, but we want to expand it further.’