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Baker & McKenzie Elects Michael Smith Managing Partner in Chicago Office
Summary: Leading real estate attorney Michael Sawyer Smith elected as Managing Partner of Baker & McKenzie's Chicago office.
Baker & McKenzie announced on Thursday that Partner Michael Sawyer Smith has been elected as the Managing Partner of its Chicago office. Smith is a real estate and infrastructure attorney and leads Baker & McKenzie's North American Real Estate Group. He also serves on the law firm's Global Real Estate Steering Committee. He has practiced at Baker & McKenzie since 2005.
Smith succeeds Mike Morkin whose extended term ended last month. Morkin was recognized in 2013 by Best Lawyers as the Chicago Lawyer of the Year for International Arbitration. He will continue his active practice and will handle international arbitration and litigation matters for the firm.
On the leadership transition, Morkin said, "The past four years have been a period of growth for the Firm in Chicago, and it has been an honor to serve in a leadership role … Michael is a proven leader focused on enhancing our firm for the benefit of our clients. I'm excited to work with him as Baker & McKenzie further sets its position as Chicago's premier global law firm."
Over the last several years, several partners have joined Baker & McKenzie in Chicago, expanding services for clients. Most recently, leading derivatives lawyer Matthew Kluchenek, litigators Adrienne Pitts and Michael Duffy, and tax lawyer Marc Kushner joined the Chicago office of the firm.
Smith's practice concentrates on real assets in domestic and international transactions. His areas of focus include public private partnerships for social and transportation infrastructure as well as homebuilder finance.
Speaking on his plans, Smith said, "Chicago is a key market for many of our clients, and it continues to be a key location for all of our practices. We are in an active growth mode and seeking to add lawyers who want to augment what they can offer clients in an increasingly international business and regulatory climate …. A focus for me in the Managing Partner role will be to help clients with international needs and lawyers who want to expand their practices understand the truly outstanding capabilities of our firm."
Baker & McKenzie was recently featured on the cover of Chicago Lawyer magazine recognizing the law firm's efforts to foster a diverse and inclusive culture.
Smith earned his JD in 1993 at the Vanderbilt University. He received a B.A. in Economics and Political Science in 1990 from Boston College. He serves on the Executive Committee and as General Counsel of the USO of Illinois as well as a number of corporate boards.
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