Posted on Wednesday 27 August 2014 by Ulster Business
Pictured are Invest NI chief executive Alistair Hamilton, Chairman of Baker & McKenzie Eduardo Leite and Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster.
The world’s biggest law firm is creating 256 jobs over the next three years at a new Belfast base.
Baker & McKenzie is headquarted in Chicago and plans to take on 70 staff in legal services, most of which will be lawyers, and 185 in administrative roles – human resources, IT and payroll services – at its new Global Services Centre.
The total wage bill will reach £8m annually, a figure which works out at an average salary of £31,000, well above the Northern Ireland average of around £22,000.
Baker & McKenzie already has a back office in Manila in the Philippines and was looking for another in a European timezone.
The decision to come to Northern Ireland was partly a result of the experience of other legal giants such as Allen & Overy and Herbert Smith who have successfully set up offices here.
Invest NI is supporting the investment with £1,280,000 and its persistence in selling the benefits of the region helped beat off stiff competition from other countries.
"Through our visits to Belfast earlier this year and meetings with Minister Foster, Invest NI and other international firms that have Northern Ireland operations, we were persuaded that Northern Ireland offers an excellent location for our needs,” Jason Marty, Executive Director of Baker & McKenzie Global Services Belfast, said. “We believe we can offer great opportunities to legal and other professionals in Northern Ireland wanting to work for the world's largest law firm."
The company had travelled to Northern Ireland to attend last year’s investment conference and Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster and Invest NI head Alistair Hamilton had visited the Chicago headquarters in June.
“The legal services operation will be the first unit of its type globally for Baker & McKenzie, and, as such, can be seen as a real coup for Belfast,” the minister said. “These are high quality jobs, contributing over £8million in salaries to the economy every year. With roles available across a variety of functions this investment will provide a wide range of opportunities for people at various stages of their career, from graduates to legal and other professionals. The firm is also keen to work closely with our universities to help develop curricula that will produce graduates with industry-relevant skills, making Northern Ireland an even more attractive to other global legal firms.”