Baker & McKenzie Chooses Belfast for Second Global Services Center




27 August 2014

Global, 27 August 2014 – Global law firm Baker & McKenzie is pleased to announce its decision to open a Global Services Center in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

After opening its first Global Services Center in Manila in the Philippines, in 2000, the Firm is further developing its capability to meet client demand through enhanced delivery of innovative legal services. Baker & McKenzie examined other locations before choosing Belfast as the best option for a variety of social, economic and business reasons.

The Firm is recruiting staff and securing premises for the center starting in September 2014, and expects to begin operations next month. The center is expected to include around 120 professionals by the end of its first year of operation, rising to between 200 and 250 after three years. Baker & McKenzie's Global Director of Operations, Jason Marty, is relocating from Chicago to Belfast to serve as the initial Executive Director of the Center.

Eduardo Leite, Chairman of Baker & McKenzie's Executive Committee, said: "Clients consistently expect us to offer efficient and innovative services and manage costs. In response to client demand we have been centralizing a range of front-line and back-office services in Manila over the past 14 years. This has given us great experience in off-shoring back-office support services and mid-office support for practice groups such as our Global Intellectual Property Support team for centralized, high-quality intellectual property management services for multinational clients. It has given us an opportunity to develop our ideas for clients in other practice areas in a way which is truly innovative. We are delighted to choose Belfast for our second global services center as an extension of our commitment to improve quality and increase efficiency."

The Belfast operation will undertake legal work and provide business services support. It will facilitate round the clock services across time zones and reduce dependency on a single location. Initially around two-thirds of the professionals will be in business services support and one-third legal staff.

Paul Rawlinson, Managing Partner - Baker & McKenzie London, said: "Clients want to work with firms that demonstrate a commitment to adapting to new challenges and are not just talking about it. What clients are asking for is an integrated approach that adds value through a strategic understanding of their needs, disciplined execution and smart use of talent, deploying cutting-edge technology to improve service efficiencies". He continued: "One of the compelling reasons for choosing Belfast was the availability of a high-quality, well-educated workforce, able to support not just EMEA but all of our other Regions. We believe we can offer great opportunities to legal and other professionals in Northern Ireland wanting to work on cross-border matters for a truly global firm."

The Firm has made innovation of services for clients a priority and will be building key service offerings to support transactional practices and large litigation mandates, among others. Legal professionals in Belfast will be able to provide broad legal process support for a range of cross-border transactions, projects and disputes around the world thanks to Northern Ireland being a common law jurisdiction and English law being the law of choice for most large cross-border matters.

Tim Gee, Head of the Firm's Global M&A practice, adds: "We are planning on building global centers of excellence in Belfast in the areas of due diligence and deal closing, which will be an integral part of our transactional team. Backed by project management specialists, the centers of excellence will provide integrated support to our deal teams around the world. The value for clients will be better risk assessment and more efficient execution."

The world's largest law firm by revenues, geographic reach and headcount, Baker & McKenzie pioneered the use of global service centers to drive efficiency, innovation and lower costs for clients when it opened its first center in Manila. It was the first global law firm to introduce such an operation. The Manila center has since grown in headcount by around 10 per cent per year since 2000. It now has more than 600 business services and legal staff supporting the Firm's 76 offices in 47 countries.