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Baker McKenzie Reshuffles Major Practice, Industry Leadership

June 1, 2020, 7:01 PM

Baker McKenzie announced new leaders for key practice and industry groups as firm chair Milton Cheng makes his mark some seven months into his new role.

The firm’s global practices, including banking & finance, private equity, capital markets, and corporate, will all have new leaders. The healthcare & life sciences industry group also has a new leader.

Cheng took the reins of Baker McKenzie in October and has already seen the multinational firm through a number of global crises.

Cheng is a Baker McKenzie lifer. For nearly 30 years, he has been based in Hong Kong where pro-democracy protests raged during his earliest days leading the firm and where tensions are flaring again.

In May, the firm cut U.S. lawyer pay by 15% in a coronavirus-related move that could last until the end of the year. Still, North American CEO Colin Murray said it was well-positioned for the economic downturn.

Baker McKenzie is one of the world’s largest law firms with 77 offices across more than 45 countries and more than 12,000 employees. It pulled in $2.92 billion in revenue in fiscal 2019.

London-based Matthew Dening will chair the banking and finance practice. Dening rejoined Baker McKenzie in 2018 after serving as Sidley Austin’s London managing partner. He had previously served as chair of Baker McKenzie’s global derivatives practice.

Helen Bradley, a London-based partner and longtime Baker McKenzie lawyer, will lead the global capital markets practice.

Karen Guch will chair the global private equity practice from London. Guch, who joined the firm in 1998, had previously served as a regional chair for the group. Guch replaced David Allen, a London-based partner who has been appointed head of corporate.

Vanina Caniza, who joined the firm in the mid-90s and is based in Buenos Aires, will chair healthcare & life sciences.

“We have had plenty to be proud of this year despite the challenges we are all facing and I look forward to seeing how this new team will continue to drive our progress,” Cheng said in a statement.

To contact the reporter on this story: Roy Strom in Chicago at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rebekah Mintzer at; Tom P. Taylor at