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Baker McKenzie announces record global revenues of $2.92B

Baker McKenzie has announced record revenues for the fiscal year ended 30 June 2019 (FY19) of $2.92 billion. In terms of constant currency, Baker McKenzie’s revenues were up 4.4% compared to the previous year. In US dollar terms, the Firm’s reporting currency, this translates into growth of 1.2%, after the effect of adverse currency exchange.

Baker McKenzie remains the most geographically diverse global law firm and all of our regions recorded growth as follows: EMEA +5.2%, AP +2.1%, LA +9.0% and NA +4.0%

All of our key financial metrics improved over last year: revenue growth, net income, profit margin, Profits per Partner (PPP), Revenue per Partner and Profits per Lawyer. We are especially pleased to accomplish this amid a market with flat demand. PPP was up by 3% to $1.48 million in US dollars. Overall net income or profit rose by 2% to $1 billion. Over the last decade the Firm has grown by 40% in terms of revenue and 50% in terms of PPP, outperforming most of our competitors.

Among our standout markets, all with significant double-digit growth, include Bogota, Buenos Aires, London, Prague, Turkey and Warsaw.

Baker McKenzie Acting Chair Jaime Trujillo says, “Recording 4.4 percent growth in a market as challenging as this while maintaining our commitment to all of our offices and our full service offering is a good result. The investments the Firm continues to make in legal services, the centers of excellence we have opened in lower-cost locations, and more effective partnering with clients, supported by long-term investments in industry, practice and client programs have enabled us to show profitable growth.

“This is despite the distinct geopolitical head winds throughout the second half of the year, which prompted our clients to cancel or postpone projects. We are also one of the most geographically diverse professional services firms in the world, both one of our key strengths, and at times a challenge in markets impacted when the US dollar is so strong, as it was this past year.”

Our Future

Jaime concludes, “There have been moments in the past year when the Firm was tested as much as it has been in our 70-year history, but I am extremely proud of how we have come together and dealt with the issues that we have faced. Neither has it been an easy 12 months for the profession as a whole, with softening client demand as a result of geo-political uncertainty, an increasingly competitive market with new entrants and a declining overall market. It takes a Firm like ours with an enormous amount of resilience, experience and strong leadership from all our partners to be confident to face the challenges ahead.”

Hogan Lovells partner joins Baker McKenzie in Johannesburg

Baker McKenzie has appointed trade and commodity finance lawyer Lodewyk Meyer as a partner in its banking and finance practice group in Johannesburg.

Meyer was previously partner of the banking and finance team at Hogan Lovells in Johannesburg, where he had been since 2015.

His experience also includes roles at Norton Rose Fulbright, Bowman Gilfillan, Standard Chartered, Nedbank and Absa. Throughout his career he has advised banks, structured trade and speciality funds, and actors in the commodity value chain in Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Europe and the US.

“Lodewyk’s hire forms part of our strategy to grow our transactional practice in Africa through strategic recruitment and organic promotions,” says Baker McKenzie managing partner Morne van der Merwe. “Lodewyk’s skills in trade, finance and investment in Africa are invaluable to multinational organisations who must negotiate a multitude of trade and finance laws and regulations when transacting across borders in Africa.”

BIG APPLE

Baker McKenzie grows Life Sciences practice in New York

The co-chairman of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius’ life sciences practice, Randall Sunberg, and partner Denis Segota are moving to Baker McKenzie in the Big Apple.

Sunberg and Segota will join Baker McKenzie as partners in its health care industry group and its North America corporate and securities practice, the firm announced Tuesday. Though they are officially members of the firm’s New York office, they will operate out of the life sciences corridor in Princeton, New Jersey.

“The international platform is just unbeatable [at Baker McKenzie],” said Sunberg, who will now serve as co-head of the firm’s North America life sciences practice.

Sunberg joined Morgan Lewis in 1999 from Shook, Hardy & Bacon and has worked with clients on M&A and private financing transactions for more than 35 years.

He works with life sciences clients from biotech startups to multinational pharmaceutical and medical device companies on complex collaborations, joint ventures and licensing transactions, as well as equity investments and alternative financing arrangements. He also works with clients on contractual arrangements for drug discovery, development and manufacturing.

It was the focus on health care and life sciences worldwide that drove the pair to make the jump to Baker McKenzie, Sunberg said. From the number of cross-border transactions to the firm’s role in M&A and emerging markets across the globe, Baker McKenzie offered “a compelling story for us and for our ability to serve our clients on an even larger platform,” he added.

And Baker McKenzie’s presence in these emerging markets provides a strategic advantage for some of the pair’s clients looking to access services in those locations.

“Our pharmaceutical clients are focusing on growth and they’re looking at emerging markets for [that] growth,” said Segota, who spent nearly 20 years at Morgan Lewis advising companies in the pharmaceutical and biotech sectors on joint ventures, strategic alliances, licensing and other arrangements promoting the research and development of new products.

Segota advises clients on M&A and private financing transactions, working with both financial institutions and companies in royalty monetizations, venture capital and other private equity financings.

“Randy and Denis are trusted advisers to companies across the life sciences sector, from biotech startups to global pharmaceutical companies,” Alan Zoccolillo, chairman of Baker McKenzie’s North America health care industry group, said in a statement.

“As health care companies look to grow in a hypercompetitive environment, they need pragmatic, business-focused solutions. Randy and Denis bring deep industry and technical knowledge that will immediately benefit our team and our clients.”

Sunberg said there is a lot of client overlap already between the firm and his and Segota’s practice, but the pair will now bring the licensing and collaboration expertise to representations on a more global scale.

“We are really looking forward to working with the rest of the health care team at Baker McKenzie to build [the practice] and make it even stronger and have a really purposeful approach toward adding elements where we think we need additional expertise to better serve our clients on their worldwide transactions,” he added.

The pair worked with Sabina Lippman and Vijay Luthra of global legal recruitment firm Lippman Jungers in their move.

The addition of Sunberg and Segota is one of the first major hires stateside for Baker McKenzie, which earlier this year added White & Case M&A attorney Peter Lu as a partner and head of the firm’s China group in London. The firm also added consultants Casey Flaherty and Jae Um as director of legal project management and director of pricing strategy, respectively, as the firm looks to re-engineer the delivery of its services.

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DLA Piper boosts trainee salaries to £77k, as pay rises continue

DLA Piper has upped the salaries of its trainees and newly qualified (NQ) solicitors, as City law firms continue to chuck extra cash at their rookie ranks.

The global titan has confirmed that first years will now receive a salary of £45,000, up 2% from £44,000, while those in year two of their TCs will earn £50,000, again a rise of £1,000 or 2%. There’s extra cash for DLA’s NQs, too. The firm’s new associates will now receive £77,000, an extra £2,000 or 3%, putting them on the same remuneration levels as their peers at Baker McKenzie and Norton Rose Fulbright.

The firm, which offers around 70 training contracts each year, has also bumped pay across its offices outside London. First year trainees in the English regions and Scotland now earn £28,000, while those a year ahead will now receive a salary of £31,000 — an extra £1,000 across the board. Regional and Scottish NQ pay now sits at £44,000, up from a previous figure of £42,000.

News of the uplifts come just weeks after it emerged that DLA Piper had ditched a policy which ensured its London and regional trainees were paid the same while completing secondments overseas. Speaking at the time, a spokesperson for the firm said the “adjustment to the secondment policy for our UK regional offices” was part of a “new international graduate programme”.

A host of City firms have confirmed salary rises in recent weeks. A full breakdown of what they pay (and much, much more) can be found on the 2018 edition of our Firms Most List.

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Allianz Group acquires Nigerian insurer

International insurer Allianz Group has expanded its presence in Nigeria after completing a merger with Nigerian insurer Ensure Insurance, which will now trade as Ensure – a company of Allianz.

The deal, announced last year, was completed on 18 July, with the Munich-headquartered insurer acquiring 99.03% of the shares in Lagos-headquartered Ensure from London-based insurance investor Greenoaks Global Holdings.

Ensure provides retail, reinsurance and corporate insurance and generates EUR 18.2 billion in premiums last year.

Regional chief executive of Allianz Africa Coenraad Vrolijk said in a statement: “We are pleased to enter this fast-growing market through the acquisition of a solid financial player with strong local expertise. This new step of development will allow us to leverage the strength of the Allianz Group and the expertise of the Nigerian team to provide high quality products and services to Nigerian customers in both personal and commercial lines.”

Allianz said it sees Nigeria “as a high-potential market in Africa with a strong regulatory environment and promising demographics”. The insurer has operations in 17 African countries and reports having clients in 39.

It came just a couple of months after Allianz acquired an 8% stake in African Reinsurance Corporation (Africa Re), headquartered in Lagos, the continent’s first and largest reinsurer. The deal was worth USD 81 million.

At the time, the Allianz board member responsible for global insurance and reinsurance in the Middle East and Africa, Niran Peiris, stated that the company had “identified Africa as one of the future growth markets”.

A study published late last year by international law firm Baker McKenzie predicted a rise in mergers and acquisitions in Nigeria and South Africa during 2018.

As the continent’s biggest economy, it is an obvious focus of interest for international investors, especially as the country seeks to diversify its economy in order to protect itself from future variations in the oil price. The government has committed to improving the ease of doing business, with economic growth happening across the West African region.

However, Nigeria has yet to commit to the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which was agreed by members of the African Union in March. With South Africa having now committed, there is plenty of scrutiny as to whether Nigeria will follow suit. It would be a blow to both Nigeria and to the credibility of AfCFTA President Muhammadu Buhari is believed to be in favour, but with an election due next year, is cautious about alienating the more protectionist forces in the Nigerian unions by committing to free trade until afterwards, so a commitment from the government may not come until 2019.

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HHP Law Firm brings expertise and knowledge to global markets

As Indonesia’s premier international legal services firm, Hadiputranto, Hadinoto & Partners (HHP Law Firm) advises many of the world’s leading institutions on domestic and cross-border issues. This includes advising on infrastructure projects related to China’s “Belt and Road Initiative”, where HHP Law Firm represents Indonesian and Chinese state-owned companies.

The project attests to the firm’s continuous growth, which seems to parallel Indonesia’s developing economy. “I think infrastructure and renewable energy investments will be a key driver of our country’s economic growth for the next few years. These are also the areas where our firm continues to grow our capability and capacity so that we can better serve our clients’ growing needs,” says Timur Sukirno, managing partner. HHP Law Firm specialises in providing sophisticated advice on corporate and commercial transactions, including mergers and acquisitions (M&A), foreign direct investment and key legal consultancy across industries.

The country’s Investment Coordinating Board recorded that China was Indonesia’s fourth-largest foreign direct investor in the first quarter of this year, with about US$700 million worth of foreign direct investment in Indonesia.

“Our depth of knowledge in the nuances of law and business enables us to guide our clients, primarily multinational companies, state-owned enterprises and major Indonesian companies,” Sukirno says. Strong government relations and its alliance with international firm Baker McKenzie have been HHP Law Firm’s key competencies in helping clients solve complex legal problems across borders and practice areas.

The country’s first wind power purchase agreement for the 70-megawatt Sidrap Wind Farm project, which has become the model for future wind projects in Indonesia, is a pioneering example of the firm’s accomplishments in the energy and infrastructure sectors.

The firm has been voted Indonesia’s “National Law Firm of the Year” by Chambers Asia-Pacific Awards 2018 and “Indonesia Law Firm of the Year 2017” by Asian Legal Business.

“Our longevity and accolades show how our clients believe in our expertise,” says Helmy Handoko, senior business development and marketing communication manager.