Baker McKenzie - Strong London office, but ambitions not matched by actions | Glassdoor

Employee Review

Employee Review

Helpful (1)

"Strong London office, but ambitions not matched by actions"

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  • Work/Life Balance
  • Culture & Values
  • Career Opportunities
  • Comp & Benefits
  • Senior Management
Current Employee - Associate in London, England (UK)
Current Employee - Associate in London, England (UK)
Recommends
Positive Outlook
Approves of CEO

I have been working at Baker McKenzie full-time (More than 5 years)

Pros

The reputation as the "friendly" law firm is justly deserved, vast majority of staff are incredibly warm and open-minded people.

The work is of a high quality and though pressured at times, this is relatively light for a global law firm.

Conditions are very good (including excellent flexible working) - and though pay is just below top-tier, this is the quid pro quo for a not unreasonable work/life balance.

Note that experiences vary significantly between departments, which are effectively silos/fiefdoms of their managers. Litigious, advisory and business support departments tend to fare better than transactional ones.

The London office is in an excellent location, both in terms of public transport links and being on the western edge of the City (which, in my opinion, is definitely the nicer side).

Cons

Ambitions to become a more significant player in the London legal market are stymied by the [relatively small] size of the corporate department.

Similarly, global reach is hampered by the lack of connectivity between individual offices (the fee structures are not joined up between cities, nor are key IT/phone systems).

These faults are widely recognised and targeted, but without the partnership becoming less risk-averse, these "cons" will continue for the foreseeable future.

Like any corporate law firm, the culture can be stressful and pressured. As law firms go, it is relatively manageable. However, there is a risk that - as the firm seeks to meet its ambitions - its better cultural elements will be shed.

The London office interior is pretty dire, with staff keenly awaiting for the day when facilities runs out of carpet tiles (so that the floors can be recovered in something other than sea-vomit green).

Advice to Management

Efforts to engage and improve on issues of socio-economic/ethnic diversity and gender/sexuality issues are a major strong point and should continue to be keenly pursued.

Creating a stronger firm requires taking risks, risks to buy in the corporate capacity in London necessary to draw in the requisite quality and quantity of work to expand the ancillary departments, and risks to adopt innovative working practices that will maximise both business efficiency and staff satisfaction (the two go hand-in-hand).

While growing the firm, look to take the steps necessary to preserve the positive culture. In particular, what is the work/life balance-versus-pay deal that you're going to cut with staff?

My personal recommendation would be to look to increase productivity and billing recovery, rather than pushing the workforce to work longer hours (an obvious strategy given that wages are the biggest cost and are largely fixed). Longer working hours would upset the cultural status quo, and BM does not have the prestige nor offer the wages to offset this.

And don't skimp on the office upgrade.

Other Employee Reviews

Other Employee Reviews

  1. "Leadershop"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Baker McKenzie full-time

    Pros

    Environment is good and compensation plan is good as well especially if you are among the elites.

    Cons

    You need to get used with corporate politics.

    Advice to Management

    Strike balance from honest good leadership vs. Corporate politics.


  2. "paralegal"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Baker McKenzie full-time

    Pros

    Security, comfort and good amenities

    Cons

    no career progression visibility and growth

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