In the hot seat

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Milton Cheng was recently elected Baker McKenzie’s new global chair. He is the firm’s first Asian chair and was previously the managing partner of its Hong Kong office, in addition to overseeing business in eight markets across the Asia-Pacific region. His four-year tenure began in October, and here he talks to Asia Business Law Journal about his thoughts and strategies for the firm

Baker McKenzie
Global chair Milton Cheng speaking at Baker McKenzie’s annual meeting in London in October.

ABLJ: As the global chair, what is your vision or strategy for Baker McKenzie? What are your top priorities for the firm in the coming year?

Milton Cheng: Our vision and purpose remains the same, which is to help simplify and navigate a complex world for clients, and to work with our clients and our people to serve our communities globally.

My priorities will be to fortify and align our client programmes around the world, our key client initiatives. We will make sure that we properly package and articulate ourselves internally and for the resource market externally, what it means to be a Baker McKenzie lawyer, not just what it means to be a lawyer, in today’s world, and for the future.

We are going to continue our efforts to build profitable growth, but update this from three-and-a-half years ago, when we launched our strategy. In addition to the focus we have on New York, London and China, we will look at other key markets as well, as trade and global macroeconomic circumstances change.

We will, as part of all of this, embrace innovation, not only in technology terms, but in broad mindset terms. This means being willing and keen to adapt, and embrace change including looking at our business model, changing the way we can help our clients as they continue to evolve themselves.

And lastly, we will continue our various efforts to work closer together as one global team, to collaborate more on our client programmes and facilitate working more across teams. We recognize that financial integration and structural integration are subject to a lot of regulatory and other constraints. But we’ve worked well for so many years as one team globally, we need to continue pushing that.

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