Encyclopedia o f Chicago
Entries : Baker & McKenzie
Baker & McKenzie

Baker & McKenzie

Soon after leaving the University of Chicago Law School in 1925, Russell Baker, a native of New Mexico, and friend Dana Simpson opened a small practice, Simpson & Baker. During the firm's early years, Baker frequently represented people from the city's growing Mexican American community. After Simpson retired in 1932, Baker formed a new firm, Freyberger, Baker & Rice; it soon represented major Chicago companies such as Abbott Laboratories. In 1949 Baker found a new partner in litigator John McKenzie; they started Baker & McKenzie, which began as a four-lawyer operation. This enterprise became the world's first multinational law firm when it began to open overseas offices in the late 1950s. By the late 1980s, the firm's franchises around the world had a total of about 1,000 lawyers, about 15 percent of whom were located in Chicago. By the end of the 1990s, the firm employed over 6,000 people in more than 60 offices around the world, and annual revenues were over $800 million.