Baker & McKenzie

We like to talk a lot about prestige around here, but at Cravath, associates are learning that you can’t spend “prestige points” on your student debt repayments.

Branding is a little easier to take to the bank. It’s something that firm managers and leaders work hard to develop and maintain that can directly lead to business opportunities. As we mentioned in Morning Docket, Am Law Daily published an Acritas report on firm branding. The results will surprise the prestige conscious among you.

This list of firms with a stronger brand than the erstwhile bonus setters at CSM is astounding….

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Say hello to the Global 100 for 2011. This is the American Lawyer’s list of the world’s 100 largest law firms, ranked by total revenue.

There’s a lot of economic anxiety these days, with fears of a double-dip recession running rampant. But looking back — the list is compiled based on 2010 revenue numbers — the legal business seems to be hanging in there. As noted by Am Law, total revenue for the Global 100 increased by 3 percent last year.

Lawyers are a competitive lot. So you’re probably less interested in the overall figures than in how different firms fared in the rankings….

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* Mississippi’s “personhood” ballot measure could ban not only abortion, but birth control, too. This is supposed to “protect women.” Protect women from what, their right to choose? [Huffington Post]

* This defense attorney has seen plenty of big cases before, but this may be his biggest one yet. Paul Bergrin has been given the green light to represent himself in his own racketeering case. [The Record]

* More doctors are facing criminal charges than ever before. Here’s an idea: stop helping cultural icons (yes, this includes Anna Nicole) OD, and we’ll stop prosecuting you. [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

* Raj Rajaratnam still has no idea why he’s been convicted of insider trading, but he’ll have plenty of time to ponder the law if he gets the maximum sentence later this month. [Bloomberg]

* “One of the plaintiffs, Kyle Rooker, 14, has not declared his sexual orientation but . . . likes to wear glittery scarves and belt out Lady Gaga songs.” Most fabulous plaintiff ever? [New York Times]

* Why the hell does Baker & McKenzie think that its associates in Japan need spiritual guidance? Everyone knows that lawyers have no souls. [Careerist]


Without paralegals, legal assistants, legal secretaries, clerks, and receptionists, the entire Biglaw model could come to a screeching halt. Speaking as a former legal assistant and full-time law clerk, I know this for a fact.

For some attorneys, if members of the support staff weren’t there to assist, important letters would go unwritten, coffee mugs would go unfilled, pleadings would go unproofread, and envelopes would go unlicked. So attorneys, always treat staff members graciously and respectfully — you never know when you’ll need them to get you out of a bind.

All that being said, we were a little bit shocked when we learned about what is allegedly happening at one of the world’s largest law firms, Baker & McKenzie. Apparently some members of the support staff aren’t getting the kind of support they need….

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Matt Kluger

* Baker & McKenzie is being sued for $600 million. First they were the inspiration for Philadelphia. Then they gave me a cold offer. Now this? Horrific mistakes, all. [Sports Money / Forbes]

* Meanwhile, Bingham McCutchen is preemptively suing Frank McCourt for letting them screw him over so badly. [Los Angeles Times]

* The middleman in the Matthew Kluger brouhaha, Kenneth Robinson, has pleaded guilty to securities fraud charges. No word yet on whether he is a gay dad. [Bloomberg]

* The Ninth Circuit ruled that the most controversial parts of the Arizona immigration law will remain blocked. [Washington Post]

* A man was fired from his job as a part-time urine monitor because he was born a woman. He’s suing (with help from Gibson Dunn), but has already found new employment. As a package handler. [New York Times]

* Speaking of packages, this employment discrimination lawsuit filed against a Dallas law firm is struggling with penis ID. [ABA Journal]

* NFL owners and players have been ordered into mediation by a federal judge. Who gives a sh*t? It’s a great band, it’s a bad band. It’s like pizza, baby! [ESPN]

The American Lawyer Global 100 is out. It’s the list that ranks law firms around the world by gross revenue.

And this year, there’s a new name at the top. Baker & McKenzie leapfrogged a number of firms to become the top-grossing law firm in the world (based on 2009 revenue numbers). Baker narrowly edged out Skadden for this honor.

Of course, Skadden people shouldn’t be ashamed of their second-place finish. Baker & McKenzie is huge: it leads the Am Law list of most lawyers by more than a thousand over its nearest rival, Clifford Chance. Skadden ranks #9 on the “most lawyers” list, with an attorney headcount that is almost doubled by Baker & McKenzie. Skadden gets to #2 in the revenue rankings by having a much higher revenue-per-lawyer figure.

Let’s take a look at the top ten in terms of revenue, and drool over these billion-dollar businesses…

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We’re doing our annual march through the Vault prestige rankings, to give ATL readers the opportunity to have their say about perks and pitfalls at these firms. If your firm actually let you swap your Blackberry for your iPhone, brag here. Or if your firm has such a strong stench that it makes you nauseous, vent here.

We’ve been doing open threads in batches of ten, but now we’re going to pick up the pace. Here are the Vault #41 – 60. This is when the prestige list gets a little more geographically diverse, with firms based in Houston, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Palo Alto and even Pittsburgh:

41. Winston & Strawn
42. Baker Botts
43. Jenner & Block
44. Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft
45. Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati
46. Proskauer Rose
47 (tie). Dewey & LeBoeuf
47 (tie). King & Spalding
48. Goodwin Procter
49. Baker & McKenzie
50. Fulbright & Jaworski
51. Vinson & Elkins
52. McDermott Will & Emery
53. DLA Piper
54. Morgan Lewis & Bockius
55. Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman
56. Bingham McCutchen LLP
57. Dechert LLP
58. Cooley LLP
59. K&L Gates LLP
60. Alston & Bird LLP

We took a spin through their Vault rankings and awarded superlatives, after the jump.

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Last week, MSNBC ran an alarmist article entitled “Details of 100 million Facebook users published online,” after a hacker security consultant compiled a list of the 171 million Facebook users who have their profiles set to show up in a public search. Any story these days with “Facebook” and “privacy” in it tends to set the Internet afire. Sometimes, the hysteria is warranted. (And when I say “sometimes,” I actually mean “rarely.” People join the social network to be social and share information, after all.)

In this case, especially, the hysteria really wasn’t warranted. The list contained people’s names, addresses, Facebook profile urls, and in some cases, phone numbers. Next time Verizon drops off my new White Pages, I expect MSNBC to break a huge, angry story about it.

InsideFacebook called the story “irresponsible journalism,” and Techcrunch appropriately titled their piece on the story, “Hacker Proves Facebook’s Public Data Is Public.” (Want to be freaked out about being tracked online? Read this instead.)

The file with Facebook users’ info was available for download on the security consultant’s site. Gizmodo was able to figure out the IP addresses of people downloading the file, and published a list of the many companies that appeared to be interested in the info. Among them were three law firms: Davis Polk, O’Melveny & Myers, and Baker & McKenzie. Quite a few ATL readers have sent this our way. Said one tipster:

I understand what a corporation which markets a product or non-legal service might be doing with this kind of data, but what purpose can it serve for a law firm? All the data collected was publicly available, but the whole thing is a little shady. Maybe ATL can figure out what their plans are for using all this information.

Okay, let’s take the conspiracy theories down a notch….

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Baker & McKenzie’s incoming class of 2009 can no longer fool themselves. If they haven’t started at the firm by now, they are never going to start.

Back in September, we reported that 12 of the 18 members of the 2009 Baker & McKenzie class still waiting to start had been re-deferred until June. At the time, Baker gave these people an ominous warning (emphasis added):

Starting in January, 5k stipend plus benefits for up to six months. at ANY time during six months, MAY get a call from b&m, have 1-2 weeks to report to work, but absent a major bump in work, not likely to happen. If after June, no call from b&m, “the relationship will end.”

Well, it’s June, and it appears that the relationship between Baker & McKenzie and 11 of the 12 re-deferred incoming associates has, in fact, ended…

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Over the last 24 hours, there have been some managing partner shake-ups at some notable large law firms. Let’s tackle the news in Vault order. First up: Baker & McKenzie.

The firm has gone international to find its next managing partner. The WSJ Law Blog reports:

[I]f anyone had any doubts about the firm’s commitment to its international presence, consider this: It recently elected São Paulo partner Eduardo Leite as the next chairman of the firm’s eight-person executive committee…

Leite represents the firm’s first Latin American chair. And we can’t think of any other U.S.-based law firm that’s picked someone based in Latin America to lead it.

Am Law has a great quote about Leite…

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Leadership changes at Baker & McKenzie, Dechert.

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