GCR 100 - 10th Edition

Baker & McKenzie

14 January 2010

Once again, Baker & McKenzie has the second-largest competition group in the Global Elite.

14. Baker & McKenzie

Global heads: Samantha Mobley, David Clanton, Andrew Christopher, Tulio Coelho and Joerg-Martin Schultze
Home jurisdiction: United States
Total size of firm: 4,969
Number of competition specialists: 309
Percentage of competition specialists: 6
Who’s Who nominees: 9
Partners: 120
Percentage of partners in Who’s Who: 7
Senior associates: 62
Associates: 101
Counsel: 12
Other: 14
Number of lateral partner hires: 2
Number of partner departures: 2
Number of internal promotions: 4

Only Howrey’s antitrust practice is larger. The Baker & McKenzie team of 309 competition specialists are spread across nine jurisdictions, highlighting one of the firm’s key strengths - its impressive geographical spread.

This year, the firm landed BBC Trust as a client in the UK, advising the independent oversight body on several competition-related matters stemming from a number of new service offerings in its multitude of broadcast platforms. Elsewhere, it advised ICI on its complex tie-up with Akzo Nobel, advising more than 40 manufacturing companies owned by the two parties on merger control issues in both Japan and China. The group has also made strides in South America. In Colombia, for instance, it is the only international law firm operating a competition practice. That team represented Hewlett-Packard when it acquired EDS, and advised chemicals company BASF Quimica Colombiana on its acquisition of assets from Degussa.

This year, the antitrust group saw two partner departures when János Martonyi retired from the Budapest office and Shinchi Saito retired in Tokyo. Their retirement was offset by two lateral partner hires: Andreas Traugott from DLA Piper in Vienna and Mary Azcuenaga from Heller Ehrman in Washington, DC. There were also four internal promotions to partner in the competition group.

Colombia

Baker & McKenzie Colombia is the only international law firm in the country. Founded in 1937, the practice is regarded as one of the most successful Baker & McKenzie offices in Latin America. Its competition team, headed by partner Carolina Pardo, is strongly tied to the firm's M&A practice and benefits from having an international support network, both from the wider firm's M&A and antitrust practice groups.

"Most of our work consists of mergers that have to be reported to the superintendency," says Pardo, who works alongside three other partners and three associates with competition expertise. "Since 2003, companies have begun to take this process more seriously.

They realise that clearance is not easy and they must provide a large amount of detailed information for analysis." Last year, Pardo advised Hewlett-Packard on its acquisition of EDS, and chemicals company BASF Quimica Colombiana on its acquisition of assets from Degussa. The firm has advised Schering-Plough and Telefónica on deals in the past. Other clients include Nike and Martinair.

Czech Republic

Alexandr Cesar leads international firm Baker & McKenzie's Czech competition practice. He leads a group of five specialists, including senior associate Marek Kreisl. The practice serves a number of the firm's international clients and deals with behavioural cases as well as private competition litigation.

The firm is representing ?eskoslovenska obchodní banka, the country's largest bank, in its litigation against the Czech government regarding state aid granted prior to the country's accession to the EU. It's also acting for Mitsubishi Electric. The Competition Authority accused the company of taking part in the gas insulated switchgear cartel, but its case was overturned. The authority is appealing against that decision. Finally, the team represents Telefónica O2, the country's largest telecoms company, in several competition matters, including litigation against the competition authority, and in private actions brought by other operators who accuse the company of abusing its dominance.

Germany

Baker & McKenzie LLP also boasts an extensive international network. Jörg-Martin Schultze leads the four-partner practice; Dominique Wagener and Stephanie Pautke are both well regarded by rivals, while Johanna Kübler was recently promoted to partner. Four associates make up the team.

The practice does lots of cartel work, while compliance advice to large multinationals is a growing area. Wagener handled Shell's successful leniency application in the recent paraffin wax cartel, while the group also advised Canada's Magna on the competition law aspects of its approach for car maker Opel.

The team has a strong focus on competition law questions in distribution systems and agreements, and inter alia advises Procter & Gamble, the Japanese luxury cosmetics manufacturer Shiseido and VF Corporation, which owns a large number of brands including Eastpak, North Face and Wrangler. Abuse of dominance is another strength; the practice recently worked for a large German media company in a dominance case, while pharmaceuticals and chemicals are an important industry focus.

Hungary

Zoltan Hegymegi-Barakonyi, head of competition at Baker & McKenzie, is widely cited as the best competition specialist in town. Hegymegi-Barakonyi worked for the Competition Authority between 1992 and 1994, before turning to private practice. The firm now has six Hungarian competition specialists, a team of three partners and three associates.

Overall, the team spends about 20 per cent of its time working on merger filings and splits the rest equally between cartel work and abuse of dominance cases. Half of this total involves representing clients before the authority, and half is compliance work

Recently, the team advised the Hungarian Chamber of Pharmacists in a case that dealt with whether certain documents recovered in a dawn raid were subject to legal privilege. The team also represents Artsjus, the Hungarian collective copyright association, before the European Court of First Instance in an appeal against a European Commission decision.

Cartel work also occupies the team. It advised motorway construction companies and a mobile telephone services provider in separate proceedings in 2005. Other clients include a US software company and an events programme publisher, while energy is another focus.

Russia

Baker & McKenzie is in the process of developing its competition practice in Moscow. Associate Nadia Goreslavskaya leads the team, which comprises one part-time partner and three associates. The firm spends the majority of its time on antitrust issues. It also focuses on corporate mergers and acquisitions and commercial law matters.

Around 60 per cent of the team's work is focused on mergers, while the rest is dedicated to abuse of dominance and other behavioural issues. Clients include Alcoa, which the firm successfully represented in two proceedings regarding alleged refusal to fulfil orders placed under state aviation and defence contracts. The firm also represents companies in the pharmaceuticals and IT industries.

Switzerland

Baker & McKenzie's Swiss office is more than an outpost of the international firm. "The majority of our competition work is generated locally, although we do a lot of network cases too, with mandates coming from our other offices," says Peter Reinert, co-head of its Zurich competition practice with Philippe Reich. Baker & McKenzie's Swiss competition team, which includes three partners, boasts many big names on its client roster, such as Sanofi Synthelabo and Permira. Herbert Wohlmann and Roger Zäch, a former vice chairman of the Swiss Competition Commission, joined the practice last year as of counsel.

Although merger work takes up a large portion of the team's time, it also works on dominance and cartel cases. Baker & McKenzie is advising the Swiss government on an alleged abuse of dominance claim regarding public procurement bids for helicopter construction. It also represented Romande Energie (CVE) in the French-speaking part of Switzerland in respect of the merger clearance of a regional joint venture following the partial liberalisation of the Swiss electricity supply market.

United Kingdom

Meanwhile, Who's Who nominee Samantha Mobley leads the competition team at Baker & McKenzie LLP. The six-partner practice has worked on several notable deals over the past year, along with investigations and other confidential work that has yet to become public. The firm says that its "strength and increased reputation" helped it to land the BBC Trust as a client in 2009. Since winning the work, the firm has advised the BBC's independent oversight body on several competition-related matters stemming from a number of new service offerings in its multitude of broadcast platforms. Elsewhere, the firm has helped Eurallumina to work through state aid issues at the European level in relation to the excise duty paid on fuel oil. Other clients include Royal Dutch Shell, British American Tobacco, Nike and PepsiCo.

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