Milton Cheng was recently elected as the firm’s new global chair, following the death in April of his predecessor, Paul Rawlinson. He is the firm’s first Asian chair and was previously the managing partner of the Hong Kong office, in addition to overseeing business in eight markets across the Asia-Pacific region. His four-year tenure began in October. Here he talks to India Business Law Journal about his thoughts and plans for the firm
IBLJ: As the global chair, what is your vision or strategy for Baker McKenzie? What are your top priorities for the firm in the coming year?
Milton Cheng: Our vision and purpose remains the same, which is to help simplify and navigate a complex world for clients, and to work with our clients and our people to serve our communities globally.
My priorities will be to fortify and align our client programmes around the world, our key client initiatives. We will make sure that we properly package and articulate ourselves internally; and for the resource market externally, what it means to be a Baker McKenzie lawyer, not just what it means to be a lawyer, in today’s world, and for the future.
We are going to continue our efforts for profitable growth, but updated from three-and-a-half years ago, when we launched our strategy, is today’s market, where, in addition to the focus we have on New York, London and China, we will look at other key markets as well, as trade and global macroeconomic circumstances change.
We will, as part of all of this, embrace innovation, not only in technology terms, but in broad mindset terms so that Baker people will remember that this means being willing and keen to approach and adapt, and embrace change. Changing our business model, changing the way we can help our clients, because our clients are doing so themselves.
And lastly, we will continue our various efforts to work closer together as one global team, to collaborate more on our client programmes and facilitate working more across teams. We recognize that financial integration and structural integration are subject to a lot of regulatory and other constraints. But we’ve worked well for so many years as one team globally, we need to continue pushing that.