Rumors are roiling that high rolling firm Baker & McKenzie may close one of its 70 offices, maybe as soon as this month. Specifically, its San Diego office may be soon to go. Nothing has been officially confirmed, but then, nothing has been directly denied, and many sources have given clues that the office won’t last long.
Baker & McKenzie, founded in Chicago in 1949, has since spread its offices worldwide, hiring over 3,800 lawyers, with 80% of their staff in the United States. It could be they will be a little less ubiquitous in the near future. Said one source:
“Check Baker & McKenzie San Diego. Management decided to close the office a while back, yet they have not told clients or employees. Culture of deception?” Other sources corroborate the story, and there are a few tell-tale signs to suggest it isn’t idle gossip.
The headcount at the office has steeply dropped from 45 lawyers in 2000 to a current 13 lawyers. They recently lost two intellectual property lawyers, James Conley and Howard Wisnia, to Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo.
Some sources suggest that Baker & McKenzie have fallen into a rent trap with a contract that now expects them to pay double rent, though they have 50 offices with only 13 lawyers.
Baker & McKenzie’s Chicago Spokesperson would not comment on the possible closure of the San Diego office, which may be an admission by silence.