For an international commercial law firm, it’s fundamental to be aware of global events that can impact clients. Beyond providing legal advice, lawyers at Baker McKenzie need a robust sense of commercial awareness in order to maintain and enhance their credibility.
Michael Foundethakis, partner and Global Head of Banking & Finance, champions the FT as the firm’s primary source of reliable market intelligence. Their FT Group Subscription provides his team with the depth of analysis they require, as well as flexibility of delivery across their digital platforms.
Baker McKenzie’s FT Group Subscription embeds commercial awareness across the entire firm. The breadth of FT coverage enables their lawyers not just to be on top of issues that their clients are facing, but to react to them in advance. This enhances their credentials as trusted advisers to their global client base.
The FT is becoming a part of our fabric. It pays to be informed and I think we’re seeing the results of that.Partner, Baker McKenzie
Blazing a trail for global law firms
Baker McKenzie, founded in 1949, today has over 6,000 lawyers across their 77 offices in 46 countries. For an organisation that describes itself as the ‘original global law firm’, a holistic approach to international trends and issues is paramount. In reflecting on what it means to be a global law firm, partner and Global Head of Banking & Finance, Michael Foundethakis, explains that the firm’s spread isn’t just across the major financial hubs.
“We have teams in Jakarta, São Paulo, Johannesburg, Cairo, everywhere!” he says. “It’s important for us when setting the strategy of our transactional practices to be conscious of global trends not in just a particular financial centre, but in all other financial centres as well.”
Having a presence in so many parts of the world means that the key challenges for Baker McKenzie, and those of their clients, are manifold. Michael cites the US-China trade war as just one example of an issue they need to be on top of, but emphasises there are a number of important themes emerging where there’s more room for optimism.
“Let’s also be a little bit positive, look at sustainable finance right now,” he says. “We need to be aware of what our clients are looking for, how the market is developing, and getting - I think the most important thing for us - reliable information from reliable sources, because our credibility is dependent on it."
For Michael and the 700 lawyers for whom he is responsible, being informed is vital. From the development of copper in Zambia, to issues arising in Brazil, they take a holistic approach to international finance and have found an equally comprehensive source of intelligence in the FT.
With our FT Group Subscription, I know that my colleagues in other countries will be familiar with a particular issue or a particular piece of news.Partner, Baker McKenzie
An information partnership
It’s telling that Michael doesn’t refer to the firm as a FT customer, but rather views Baker McKenzie and the FT as partners. Prior to having group-wide access, Michael recalls the fragmented way that information was shared across the organisation and the issues associated with a “reliance on individuals to go out of their way to seek subscriptions.”
By enabling the firm’s global workforce to read a central source of trusted commentary and analysis, Michael says they’ve been able to fill spaces where previously there may have been knowledge gaps.
“With our group subscription, I know that my colleagues in other countries will be familiar with a particular issue or a particular piece of news,” he says. “Otherwise I would work on the general assumption that they would not be.”
The FT works closely with organisations such as Baker McKenzie, who have made the choice to make FT analysis available to all employees through a group subscription. As a firm, they benefit from the support of a customer success manager, who helps ensure that the delivery of content is tailored and relevant to the needs of teams and individuals. Such a service is invaluable in helping Michael and his colleagues get the most from their access.
“Where you have contact with the FT and it allows you to essentially create a window of information that is pertinent to your interests,” he explains. “It helps immensely.” It’s often not enough to simply make information available. You have to guide users in how to extract value from that information and apply it in their role. A FT Group Subscription creates a partnership between organisations and the FT, to help firms optimise the content available to achieve their intended business outcomes.
There is a huge advantage for us in having a group subscription, as a large international law firm. When our colleagues know that we have this relationship with the FT, which is as blue chip a provider of information as possible, it becomes second nature.Partner, Baker McKenzie
Timely insights, delivered anywhere
For Michael, the FT can be viewed through two lenses. On the one hand, it provides him with essential information he needs to feel informed. Secondly, the opinions and insights of FT columnists help to develop or validate his own views.
“For me, Martin Wolf just reflects the way I think and I find it extremely uncanny,” he says. “I recently read a piece he did about saving capitalism, and it was just absolutely spot on.” Michael is clear on the need for reliable information that he and the firm can trust. What’s also important however, is the timeliness of that information and the convenience of how it’s delivered. Through the FT’s curated email briefings, lawyers at Baker McKenzie are able to brief themselves with concise analysis, delivered directly to their inboxes.
“For me it’s the Brussels Briefing, UK Politics and the Brexit Briefing,” Michael explains. “So when I wake up in the morning, before I go anywhere, I get these briefings. It allows me to start my day with information that I find crucial for my business.” This pairing of tailored, sharp pieces of insight that can be read on the move or during a morning commute, with the ability to drill deeper into issues or themes, is one of the most valuable elements of the group subscription for Michael and his wider team.
“The email is the teaser, it’s the hors d’oeuvre so that later I can look a little bit further into information that has been provided to me,” he says. “I think the combination works absolutely perfectly.”
An FT Group Subscription extracts the intelligence that’s relevant to your business and delivers it via the media and technologies that suit you best, saving you time and keeping you informed on what matters.
For more information about how the Financial Times can help your organisation or to request a free trial, please get in touch.