In one of our November 2020 web workshops (‘Commercial Awareness: Standing out from the crowd’), we did a case study of Baker McKenzie, one of the world’s leading law firms. We tried to figure out why Baker McKenzie was so successful. And it is.

Yes, both in terms of the number of lawyers Baker McKenzie has (its ‘headcount’) and its revenue, it is one of the largest law firms in the world. However, that – by itself - does not really explain its huge success compared to other global firms we looked at who work in the same practice areas and also hire excellent lawyers.

A law firm’s website ‘Homepage’ will often tell you a lot about the firm. By that, we do not mean give you information about the firm - we mean it will tell you about the culture of the firm. If you have a look at Baker McKenzie’s Homepage, you are immediately ‘hit’ with the words, ‘Resilience, Recovery, Renewal’ in a sea of futuristic, but eye-catching graphics. What does this tell you about the firm?

If you scroll down the Homepage a little, you will see ‘Reinvent’, which is Baker McKenzie’s ‘Innovation Program’. One thing we suggest that all this tells you is that Baker McKenzie is a forward-looking firm which, itself, stands out from the crowd. It knows that its clients want, and expect, more from a law firm than simply legal advice. They want to know that the firm is embracing technological change and using it to improve efficient and effective outcomes for them. Clients want 'added value'. The question is, how can law firms deliver that?

In a recent blog on its website, Baker McKenzie said:

“As the world becomes increasingly interconnected, a new wave of smart technologies is changing how we approach everyday activities from finance to transportation to healthcare to purchasing goods and communicating to name a few.” [1]

As we explored in the workshop, Baker McKenzie is not only willing to embrace technology, but also, arguably, to take risks in adopting new technologies. In a recent session at the 2020 Singapore Fintech Festival, Baker McKenzie introduced the firm’s ‘SMART Framework’, which covers five ‘pillars’:

· Smart technology

· Modern workforce

· Aggregated data

· Regulators and regulations

· Transactions.

As Baker McKenzie said [1]:

“Digital transformation is not only about technology. It is about bringing together the power of technology with a culture that embraces the change and demands placed on the organizations by its customers.

At you are able to watch a video, lasting about 20 minutes, explaining this SMART Framework more comprehensively.

One thing seems clear. Baker McKenzie are going to continue to embrace new technologies and do so imaginatively.


© Cambridge Legal English Academy 2021

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