find the latest legal job
Corporate Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Highly-respected, innovative and entrepreneurial Not-for-Profit · Competency based Board
View details
Chief Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Dynamic, high growth organisation · ASX listed market leader
View details
In-house Projects Lawyer | Renewables / Solar | 2-5 Years PQE
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: All Australia
· Help design the future · NASDAQ Listed
View details
Insurance Lawyer (1-3 PAE)
Category: Insurance and Superannuation Law | Location: Sydney NSW 2000
· Join a dynamic Firm · Excellent career growth opportunity
View details
In-house lawyer 1-4 PAE
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Adelaide SA 5000
· Leading Brand · Report to a Dynamic Legal Counsel
View details
Freeland to remain as Bakers’ MP

Freeland to remain as Bakers’ MP

The managing partner of Baker & McKenzie has had his term extended for two more years to August 2014.

The managing partner of Baker & McKenzie has had his term extended for two more years to August 2014.

Chris Freeland was the first person in Bakers’ history to be appointed from the role of lateral international partner to managing partner in July 2010.

Speaking to Lawyers Weekly as he attended the final sound check before the opening of the Sydney Film Festival last night (June 6), Freeland said it was important for lawyers to have a range of interests outside the law.

“I think that helps them as lawyers, they become more thoughtful and creative people,” said Freeland, who is chairman of the festival for the third year running.

“I do it in my own capacity but with the support of Bakers as it takes up a bit of my time.”

Freeland has a busy schedule as it is, catching up with leaders from Bakers’ 70 offices in 43 countries.

Last year he visited Bakers’ offices in Europe and America and focused much of his attention on Bakers’ Asian network.

“I’ve tried to shape agendas [over the last two years] in a number of initiatives, including a greater focus on our Asian connections,” said Freeland, who is a member of the firm’s Asia-Pacific Regional Council. 


One of his greatest achievements in the managing partner role so far, he said, has been in thought leadership. The firm has released a number of thought leadership reports, which he said have been well received by clients and the market, on topics like bribery, food security and PPP.

“I’ve spearheaded [these] initiatives, but they’ve had a wide level of involvement from partners,” said Freeland, adding he was also proud of the firm launching its BakerWomen initiative and appointing the first women to its board in the firm’s history.

“I’ve championed areas of interest in gender space, which I think is a really important area in which all firms could do better,” he said.


Freeland asserts that the arrival of other global firms in Australia and local firms’ international tie-ups are not affecting the way Bakers competes for legal work and talent.

Bakers was a global firm when its Australian office was founded almost 50 years ago and became the country’s first global firm.

“We’re sort of a pioneer of international firms and we’re surprised it’s taken the market and other firms this long to realise the benefit of global firms,” said Freeland.

“Clients are increasingly looking for firms that are internationally connected.”

Freeland said that, while the firm’s corporate, disputes and insolvency groups remain strong, Bakers would look to bolster its energy and resources, environmental and food and agribusiness practice.

“It’s a competitive market and you need to think really hard about your value proposition.  I like to think our partners are entrepreneurial and develop good client relationships,” said Freeland.

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Freeland to remain as Bakers’ MP
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
NT Law Society sounds alarm on mandatory sentencing
The Law Society Northern Territory has issued a warning over mandatory sentencing, saying it hasn’...
Aug 22 2017
Professionals unite in support of marriage equality
The presidents of representative bodies for solicitors, barristers and doctors in NSW have come toge...
Aug 21 2017
Is your firm on the right track for gig economy gains?
Promoted by Crowd & Co. The way we do business, where we work, how we engage with workers, ev...
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...