The chairman of Baker McKenzie, Paul Rawlinson, has died unexpectedly. He was 56.
In October last year Rawlinson took temporary leave as the firm's global chair due to medical conditions caused by exhaustion. Before taking the step back, he had started to oversee the firm's 2020 strategy which included expanding the Bakers transaction practices in London, China and New York.
Rawlinson had an illustrious career at Baker McKenzie. After studying law in England and France he joined the firm in 1986, making partner ten years later. From 2004 to 2010 he headed the firm's global intellectual property practice group. He advised a number of the firm’s top clients including Unilever, British American Tobacco, Hewlett-Packard, JCB, Cisco and L’Oréal.
Rawlinson helped to drive key initiatives to grow Bakers which included the launch of the firm's IP support centre in Manila in 2006 and setting up the firm's legal services outpost in Belfast in 2016.
He held the position of London managing partner for three years from 2013, before becoming the first British person to lead the firm, by some metrics the world's largest, as global chairman in 2016. He was at the helm for one of the firm's most successful financial performances in recent years, and in 2018 the firm's revenue hit £2.02bn, while PEP reached £1m for the first time.
In a statement the firm said Rawlinson had "very many friends at Baker McKenzie and outside the Firm that worked with and admired Paul. For all of us Paul was a visionary, a true leader and a good friend".
Outside of the office, Rawlinson was an avid Manchester City fan, accomplished pianist and very sociable - at parties, he was known to lead a full rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody.
He is survived by his wife Alison and their two children.