Editor's Note: This is one in a series of Q&As with Baker Botts partners on significantly enhancing Baker Botts’ Middle East practice by combining its existing practice with the acquisition of one of the most significant practices in the Middle East.
What are the firm’s strategic reasons for acquiring this group of lawyers in the Middle East?
AB: We are working to align all operations of the Firm so that we are best positioned to deliver superior client service to our clients, wherever in the world they need it. We view international markets as key areas of growth for our firm, as part of the globalization that is taking place in the world economy and shaping the activities of our clients. The Middle East is a natural area of growth for us since it touches so many strengths of Baker Botts, including energy, disputes, and corporate and commercial transactions of all stripes. In fact, in no other geography other than the State of Texas in the United States do we have three offices in such close proximity. With experience in key industries and practices, along with a shared sense of culture and client service, it became clear that this group could greatly enhance our already significant practice in the region and help us achieve our goals.
What is your vision for the firm in the next 2-3 years?
AB: We are committed to providing creative and effective solutions for our clients' most important opportunities and challenges, wherever they may be. We see unparalleled opportunity in markets outside the U.S., because of our core strengths, our people and our clients. Acquisitions like these help achieve our goal of being one of the world’s premier law firms serving the energy and technology industries, and maintaining and expanding our position both domestically and abroad.
What message do you hope hiring this group sends to your clients and potential clients?
AB: We recognize that clients have more choices today than they ever have had when looking for how to address their legal needs. This telegraphs to our clients that we are committed to continuing to enhance our platform so that -- in the United States and internationally -- we have the capabilities to meet the evolving needs of our sophisticated global client base, and to provide our lawyers every opportunity to achieve their most sophisticated practice goals.
With respect to clients with interests in the Middle East -- both those residing in the region and those operating or contemplating operating within the region from other locations -- the message this sends is that we are committed to the region and offering client services with sophistication, breadth and depth. Adding fine lawyers of this caliber allow us to make Baker Botts the region’s best “one-stop” firm to obtain sophisticated assistance with corporate and commercial transactions (including M&A, finance, and project finance), regulatory and compliance matters, international arbitration and dispute resolution matters, and local law issues across a range of industries, including energy, aviation and defense, construction, hospitality and consumer products. We are excited about the additional services we can offer current and prospective clients, and are eager to have conversations with them about how we can further assist them with their business goals and legal needs.
With all the talk about consolidation in the legal industry, where does this move position Baker Botts?
AB: It is no secret that there are many challenges facing law firms today, and we, like our competitors, are adapting to the changing environment by making strategic decisions that are in the best interest of our clients and our firm. Globalization is upon us, that is for certain. And with the "new normal," client needs and expectations are higher than they have ever been. We believe this move positions us well to expand the range of high quality legal services we can offer in the region as well as on a global basis, which ultimately means our clients and prospective clients will see more value in working with Baker Botts.