John Martin is the Managing Partner of Baker Botts and leads the firm's Executive Committee. Based in the Palo Alto office, Mr. Martin is the first Managing Partner in the firm's 180-year-plus history to be based outside of Texas.
Mr. Martin, who became Managing Partner in April 2019, guides the strategic direction and growth of the firm; focuses on reinforcing the distinctive culture of the firm, which emphasizes its core value of professional excellence, its collaborative entrepreneurship, and its culture of apprenticeship; and directs the firm's operations and continued profitability improvement. Mr. Martin views diversity & inclusion as a business imperative and is dedicated to ensuring the firm's D&I efforts are meaningful in driving lasting change.
In September 2021, the firm was again recognized by Diversity Lab as "Mansfield Certified-Plus," for achieving representation of at least 30% women and diverse lawyers in several key areas - including significant leadership roles, inclusion in formal pitches, lateral recruitment, and equity partner promotions and representation.
Since becoming Managing Partner, Mr. Martin has played a key role in guiding the strategic direction of the firm. Beginning in 2019, Mr. Martin led a comprehensive strategic review of the firm. This data-driven exercise helped the firm define its vision, distinctive practices in which it will invest, cultural commitments, transformational themes, and initiatives designed to execute the strategy. As part of this strategic review and as a manifestation of the partners’ commitment to the firm, an internal survey reflected that an impressive 95% of partners said they would devote a significant amount of additional effort to improve the firm.
Throughout his tenure as Managing Partner, Mr. Martin has led a renewal of the firm by modernizing many aspects of the firm's business model, including through a range of client-focused investments. These have included investments in client development, with the hiring of the firm's first Chief Client Officer; investments in infrastructure, and an extensive partner training curriculum.
Prior to his election, Mr. Martin was the Partner-in-Charge of the firm's Palo Alto office and the firmwide Partner-in-Charge of Recruiting, while also serving as a member of the Executive Committee. Upon graduating from law school in 1984, he joined the firm's Houston office and relocated to the firm's growing Dallas office in 1988. He relocated to Palo Alto in 2013 to lead the firm's California operations from Silicon Valley and was instrumental in opening the firm's San Francisco office in 2016.
A more than 35-year veteran of Baker Botts, Mr. Martin has deep experience as a trusted advisor representing clients in mergers & acquisitions, corporate governance, capital markets and complex technology transactions. This includes representing both purchasers and sellers in public company and private M&A transactions, including cross-border transactions, business carve-outs and divestitures, recapitalizations, corporate reorganizations, spin-offs, joint ventures and strategic alliances. Mr. Martin also has substantial private equity and venture capital experience.
Selected comments by clients about Mr. Martin, as reported by Chambers & Partners (2004-2016), include:
- “has incredible technology expertise, an authoritative presence and a great ability to deal with senior executives”
- “hands-down one of the best outside counsels I have ever worked with”
- “the person I turn to if I have a difficult question”
- “immensely creative . . . the deal was very difficult to structure and he came forward with the creative ideas that helped us complete it”
- “very clear communicator and maintains focus on the important parts of the deal. . . very good in the give and take of points - he knows the points substantively and is very effective”
- “reputation as a brilliant deal person”
- “innate understanding of his clients’ business makeup”
- “his knowledge is top-flight, but his ability to communicate and guide negotiations is nothing short of amazing”
- “terrific negotiating skills”
- “knack for understanding the business itself and making it primary to the transaction”
- “talent for keeping things focused and putting together deals that really work”
- “strong on technical issues and he keeps sight of the bigger picture when negotiating - people listen to him”
- “the rigor and experience he and his team bring to bear in analyzing transactions is invaluable”
- “firm but collaborative style and understands the dynamics of a transaction”