Helping Baker McKenzie become the world's favourite global law firm

Ahead of the curve
Baker McKenzie can credibly claim to have invented the idea of a global law firm. Founded in 1949 by two ambitious and farsighted Chicago lawyers they grew rapidly, establishing 68 offices in 40 countries with more than 1300 partners.  However by the second decade of the new millenium plenty of other US and UK firms had also established their own strong international networks, leaving Baker McKenzie’s international reach no longer sufficiently differentiating by itself. A team led by Principia’s CEO Ian Stephens* was engaged to help the firm redefine what it meant to be a truly global firm in the 21st Century.

First the team helped identify what makes Baker McKenzie special. In a word it’s the firm’s global ‘fluency’ in the way they think, work and behave. The firm has an instinctively global perspective that comes from being a truly multi-national firm of lawyers at ease in many business cultures – something that the more ‘colonial’ US and UK firms can’t yet match. It’s their fluency that enables them to navigate legal complexity across practices and borders with ease and it’s their fluency that allows them to bring the very best of Baker McKenzie’s global expertise to each of their clients regardless of geography.

Having defined the core idea and introduced it to their entire global partnership Ian worked with the firm’s global leadership team to develop a 12 month internal engagement programme to embed fluency across the firm so that every aspect of what they do from client service, talent management and culture to all their external communications is aligned with their core brand idea of ‘fluency’ and clearly projects their difference to the market.

First among equals
Today Baker McKenzie has confidently reasserted its position as the premier global firm in the post-crisis era of globalisation. The respected Sharplegal annual survey of international law firm brands, conducted among General Counsel of Fortune 500 companies, has scored Baker McKenzie as the No.1 law firm brand among the so called ‘Global Elite’ group of top international firms for the last 8 years. In both developed and developing economies around the world the firm is increasingly recognised by clients and recruits as a different kind of premium international firm – more in tune with their complex legal needs and better able to deliver across borders and business cultures.

*then in his role as Managing Partner of Saffron