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Baker & McKenzie chooses Belfast for second offshore services centre

Will provide 'better risk assessment and more efficient execution' 

27 August 2014

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By Manju Manglani, Editor (@ManjuManglani)

Baker & McKenzie has announced that it will open a second global services centre in an effort to "improve quality and increase efficiency" for clients.

The new Belfast operation, which opens next month, is expected to reduce its dependency on services from its Manila centre, which opened in 2000.

Initially around two thirds of the Belfast centre staff will be in business services support and one third will be legal staff.

Global director of operations Jason Marty is relocating from Chicago to Belfast to serve as the initial executive director of the new centre.

Commented London managing partner Paul Rawlinson: "One of the compelling reasons for choosing Belfast was the availability of a high-quality, well-educated workforce, able to support not just EMEA but all of our other regions."

Added Tim Gee, head of the firm's global M&A practice: "We are planning on building global centres of excellence in Belfast in the areas of due diligence and deal closing, which will be an integral part of our transactional team.

"Backed by project management specialists, the centres of excellence will provide integrated support to our deal teams around the world. The value for clients will be better risk assessment and more efficient execution."

The US$2.54 billion firm has been centralising a range of front-line and back-office services through its Manila centre over the past 14 years.

Eduardo Leite, chair of Baker & McKenzie's executive committee, said the Manila centre "has given us great experience in off-shoring back-office support services and mid-office support for practice groups such as our global intellectual property support team for centralised, high-quality intellectual property management services for multinational clients. It has given us an opportunity to develop our ideas for clients in other practice areas in a way which is truly innovative."

The firm is currently recruiting staff and securing premises for the Belfast centre and expects it to begin operations in September 2014. The centre is expected to comprise around 120 professionals by the end of its first year of operation, rising to between 200 and 250 after three years.

Baker & McKenzie was the first global law firm to open an offshore centre for legal and business services. Its Manila centre now has more than 600 business services and legal staff supporting the firm's 76 offices in 47 countries.





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