Leading global law firm Baker & McKenzie has officially opened its new Grade A office space within City Quays 1, a further indication of the Firm's long term commitment to Northern Ireland. Having signed a ten-year lease on its new state-of-the-art premises, the Firm's Global Chairman Eduardo Leite travelled to the City to welcome the Belfast team to the firm, saying that operations in the Province have already exceeded expectations.
Baker & McKenzie is a pioneer in developing global legal services; it was the first law firm in the world to establish a business services centre when it opened its first services centre in Manila in 2000. Global Services Belfast will build on that experience and success to provide a centre of excellence for high quality legal and business support, delivering efficient and consistent services as well as providing cost efficiencies to clients.
The Firm announced plans for its Global Service Centre in Northern Ireland in August 2014 and now employs approximately 100 staff, nearly half of whom are legal professionals. Business services roles include finance, e-billing, marketing, communications, business development, talent management, IT, procurement, publishing, and business acceptance. Baker & McKenzie has plans to create at least a further 150 jobs in Belfast within the next two years.
Officially opening the new office, Baker & McKenzie Chairman Eduardo Leite said,
"I am thrilled to be in Belfast today with other colleagues from our Executive Committee, and delighted with our success here to date. We are hugely impressed by the talent Belfast has to offer. A high-quality, well-educated workforce was one of the most compelling reasons for choosing the city. Belfast is a great opportunity for Baker & McKenzie, and we hope Baker & McKenzie is also a great opportunity for Belfast. We really appreciate the welcome we've had and are excited to see where it leads us."
Jason Marty, Executive Director for the Centre, said,
"We feel a lot of cultural affinity with Belfast and we have experienced a warm welcome from the public, businesses, the media and stakeholders. We're looking forward to building on this. We are now well established in the City and our staff to date have made a huge contribution in shaping the firm's global landscape. Belfast is already delivering at the same level of service as our other structures, so I'm incredibly excited to see what we can achieve here. I am particularly proud of the corporate and social responsibility project work we have already started in Belfast; based on an employee-led selection process, we have formed a 2-year partnership with local charity 'Aware' to help support those affected by depression. We are also establishing pro bono and community service opportunities and we intend to be a market leader in Diversity and Inclusion initiatives. The BREEAM Excellent certified space we are opening today helps underline the final piece of our Corporate Social Responsibility agenda, reflecting our commitment to sustainability."
Baker & McKenzie have rented two floors of Belfast Harbour's City Quays 1 development, and are the first tenant to have moved in to the city's new premier office facility.
Northern Ireland Finance Minister Arlene Foster MLA, attended the opening and commented:
"Just under a year ago I met with Baker & McKenzie in my previous role as Enterprise Minister and it is tremendous to see the impact made in this short space of time. Baker & McKenzie has placed its confidence in our workforce and its investment in this new flagship office is not just good for Belfast but also for our legal and professional services sector. This new Global Services Centre signifies what has been a real coup for Northern Ireland and is a strong vote of confidence in what we can offer international professional services firms. The excellent work of Invest NI, over the last few years, secured this significant investment from the world’s largest law firm. Through long-term engagement with the company Invest NI are supporting the creation of 256 quality jobs in legal and administrative global services. Northern Ireland as a whole will benefit from this investment as Baker & McKenzie continues to integrate with our business community, engage our workforce and enrich our economy. I look forward to seeing Baker & McKenzie grow their operations in Northern Ireland.”
Also commenting on the opening, Dr. David Dobbin, Belfast Harbour’s Chairman, said:
“City Quays 1 and the wider City Quays development is Belfast Harbour’s response to ongoing demand by inward investors and indigenous firms for new Grade A office space in Belfast. City Quays1 is one of the most advanced office buildings in the region allowing tenants to benefit from significantly lower energy costs and environmental footprint. We are delighted to welcome Baker & McKenzie as our marquee tenant and they exemplify the quality of organization we want to attract to the development.”