Global law firm Baker & McKenzie just announced its decision to open a Global Services Centre in Belfast, Northern Ireland. After opening its first Global Services Centre in Manila in the Philippines, in 2000, the Firm is further developing its capability to meet client demand through enhanced delivery of innovative legal services. Baker & McKenzie examined other locations before choosing Belfast as the best option for a variety of social, economic and business reasons.

The Firm is recruiting staff and securing premises for the centre starting in September 2014, and expects to begin operations next month. The centre is expected to include around 120 professionals by the end of its first year of operation, rising to between 200 and 250 after three years. Baker & McKenzie’s Global Director of Operations, Jason Marty, is relocating from Chicago to Belfast to serve as the initial Executive Director of the Centre.

Eduardo Leite, Chairman of Baker & McKenzie’s Executive Committee, said: “Clients consistently expect us to offer efficient and innovative services and manage costs. In response to client demand we have been centralizing a range of front-line and back-office services in Manila over the past 14 years. This has given us great experience in off-shoring back-office support services and mid-office support for practice groups such as our Global Intellectual Property Support team for centralized, high-quality intellectual property management services for multinational clients. It has given us an opportunity to develop our ideas for clients in other practice areas in a way which is truly innovative. We are delighted to choose Belfast for our second global services centre as an extension of our commitment to improve quality and increase efficiency.”

The Belfast operation will undertake legal work and provide business services support. It will facilitate round the clock services across time zones and reduce dependency on a single location. Initially around two-thirds of the professionals will be in business services support and one-third legal staff.