Baker’s new chairman plots steady course

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Baker McKenzie will carry on the firm’s strategy its late chairman helped create, and remain flexible enough to adjust to the challenges of changing markets, said Milton Cheng, the firm’s newly elected global chair.

Cheng was recently elected following the death in April of his predecessor, Paul Rawlinson. He is the firm’s first Asian chair and was the managing partner of the firm’s Hong Kong office, in addition to overseeing business in eight markets across the Asia-Pacific region. His four-year tenure began in October.

“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,” he told Asia Business Law Journal.

Cheng said his work going forward would be anchored around five priorities.

“My priorities will be to fortify and align our client programmes around the world, our key client initiatives,” he said.

“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, to 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.

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