Baker & McKenzie London head elected as firm’s global chair

Baker & McKenzie’s London managing partner Paul Rawlinson has been elected as the firm’s global chair.

Rawlinson will become the first British chairman of the international firm when he succeeds Eduardo Leite in the role on 23 October at the firm’s annual partner conference in Barcelona, Spain.

Leite has held the role since 2010 and was handed a two-year extension to his term, after running unopposed in internal elections, in 2014.

Rawlinson fought off competition from the firm’s Latin America chair Claudia Prado, Europe, Middle East and Africa chair Gary Senior and former Paris head Eric Lasry for the global chair role.

His successor as London managing partner will be announced in September.

Leite said: “We had a group of outstanding candidates for our next chairman and the partners had an exceptionally difficult decision to make. In choosing Paul we have someone who can take this great firm to the next level. I offer him my sincerest congratulations.”

Intellectual property lawyer Rawlinson joined Bakers in 1986 and was made partner in 1996.

Rawlinson replaced M&A partner Senior as London head in 2013 when Senior stepped down after a decade in the role.

Rawlinson’s role as London managing partner was due to end next month.

During his time in the role Rawlinson discussed headcount and revenue growth as his two main priorities.

Prior to beginning his term, the total headcount for the London office stood at 680. The headcount is now over 800.

In the firm’s 2013-14 financial year, which ran from 1 July 2013 to 30 June 2014, the London office generated revenue of £133m. In 2014-15 that rose 5% to unaudited revenue of £140m.