Baking up trouble with Labour

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Oct 11, 2017
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Baker McKenzie, the international powerhouse law firm, will be keeping its fingers crossed that the Labour party does not get anywhere near the levers of power in the UK – or that if Jeremy Corbyn does become prime minister, he leaves Diane Abbott out of his cabinet.

The firm’s London office – the biggest in the Baker McKenzie franchised global empire – held a bash at the National Gallery on Monday evening to celebrate the work of its wealth management group. Ashley Crossley, the partner in charge, stood among the 17th century works by Spanish artists Diego Velázquez, Francisco de Zurbarán and Bartolomé Esteban Murillo and asked: “Are there any Conservatives in the room?”

Many might suggest that it was the sort of question that did not need asking at a City law firm bash, but nonetheless several punters gamely raised their hands. Crossley then dived headlong into controversy by saying that the only entertainment derived from the “disastrous general election” was that Abbott was “rubbish at figures”.

True, perhaps, as the shadow home secretary’s car crash interview with LBC’s Nick Ferrari last May remains widely available on line. But clearly diplomacy is not a Baker McKenzie strong suit.

Punctuation & all that

More from Baker McKenzie. It is nearly a year since the firm wheeled in the consultants and presumably spent a fortune on a rebranding exercise that involved it taking the radical decision to drop its ampersand.

Yet the London team appears either not to have received the memo or to be romantically attached to tradition. The invitation to the National Gallery gig came from a “senior events executive” at “Baker & McKenzie LLP”. Word on New Bridge Street is that despite the rebranding, the firm’s legal name retains the ampersand.

Nonetheless, the firm’s ampersand-less logo has some important fans. In New York yesterday, Acritas, a market analysis consultancy, updated its eighth annual “global elite law firm brand index”, in which Baker McKenzie extended its lead at the top of the table. The data for the index is derived from more than 1,000 interviews with large corporate clients.

“To maintain and extend our lead in such a crowded market is very pleasing and a reflection of the hard work and dedication of all our people,” Paul Rawlinson, the firm’s London-based global chairman, said.

Who needs an ampersand?

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