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Streetwise

50th birthday for Canadian outpost of U.S. law firm Baker & McKenzie Add to ...

It's not true that Baker & McKenzie, the U.S.-based global legal giant, has had an office in Toronto since the War of 1812. It just seems that way.

While some commemorate the 200th anniversary of that cross-border conflict this summer, the law firm’s Toronto office is celebrating its 50th year in the city. It seems to get lost in recent talk of global law firms coming to Canada that one of the biggest U.S.-based firms in the world has had an outpost in Toronto since Kennedy was in the White House.

But instead of balloons, the firm’s Toronto office has been marking the occasion with some lateral hires. It recently announced that Kent Beattie, a real estate lawyer from Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg, has come on board. He has been involved in major real estate deals for clients including major corporations and banks.

The Toronto office is also hosting a meeting of its global senior leadership, including Eduardo Leite, the Brazilian chairman of its executive board, this week.

Baker & McKenzie has also sought out a handful of other lateral hires in Toronto recent months (it has so far chosen this year not to hire back any of its articling students, however).

Still, its overall impact on Bay Street has generally been regarded as low-key. Its focus has tended to remain on serving Baker & Mckenzie’s U.S. and global clients. But unlike some other major U.S. firms with Canadian footprints, Baker & McKenzie’s is a full-service offering with Canadian lawyers practising Canadian law.

The global firm, with 3,800 lawyers worldwide, already has offices in 43 countries and $2.27-billion (U.S.) in revenue in 2011. Last month it opened an office in South Africa, after launching new offices in Istanbul and Doha over the past year.

Follow on Twitter: @jeffreybgray

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