Baker McKenzie

The Legal Cheek View

Baker McKenzie's founder, Russell Baker, was so poor that he rode for days in the cattle carriages on trains in order to enrol at the University of Chicago, where he then worked as a boxer to fund his tuition. Nearly 100 years on, his firm is among the largest in the world, turning over an enormous $2.67 billion (£2.07 billion) this year. Alongside fellow behemoths DLA Piper and Latham & Watkins, Bakers is one of the top three biggest law firms in the world by revenue.

Its roots may be in the US, but Bakers sees itself very much as an international firm, and is keen to emphasise that its largest office is London rather than Chicago. In total, the firm has a whopping 76 offices across 49 different countries. Legal Cheek understands that this year over half of Bakers' London trainees and junior lawyers have spent time on secondment in one of these locations, with Brussels, Tokyo and New York among the most popular. Most secondments are three, rather than six, months, leaving some trainees the opportunity to do two. We’re aware of at least one London rookie who has done a dual stint in Washington DC and Hong Kong.

There are some excellent client secondment opportunities too – with just under half of trainees having done one. Locations include The Guardian and the Royal Courts of Justice as a judicial assistant. And if you’re really lucky you might get to do a plumb placement at the Silicon Valley head office of an unnamed global technology and internet services company that the firm counts as a client.

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Insider Scorecard

Quality of work
Peer support
Partner approach-ability
Work/life balance
Social life

Insider Scorecard Grades range from A* to D and are derived from the Legal Cheek Trainee and Junior Lawyer Survey 2017-18 of over 2,000 trainees and junior associates at the leading law firms in the UK.


First year trainee salary £45,000
Second year trainee salary £49,000
Newly qualified salary £72,000
Profit per equity partner £1,000,000
GDL grant £6,000
LPC grant £8,000

Trainee target hours are 1,200.


Average arrival time 9:09am
Average leave time 8:01pm
Annual target hours 1,700
Annual leave 25 days


Chances of secondment abroad 53%
Chances of client secondment 47%

General Info

Training contracts 33
Latest trainee retention rate 81%
Offices 77
Countries 47
Minimum A-level requirement 340 UCAS
Minimum degree requirement 2:1


UK female associates 54%
UK female partners 26%
UK BME associates 17%
UK BME partners 4%

The Firm In Its Own Words