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.

Paul Rawlinson

Paul Rawlinson

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.

Tributes have been pouring in and the firm has set up an email address to gather messages for Rawlinson's family: [email protected] 

He is survived by his wife Alison and their two children.

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Anonymous 18 April 19 10:06

How very sad. Condolences to the family - 56 is no age.  

Ash 18 April 19 11:37

I only met him a couple of times, but he was a kind, warm, insightful man, who had great ideas and enthusiasm and a love for life and the law. He'll be greatly missed by a huge number of people.

Orwell 20 April 19 11:06

What kind of arseholes are downvoting on this?  Have a word with yourselves,

Anonymous 21 April 19 15:18

Extremely sad.  Stress and wellbeing have to be taken seriously by the legal profession.  I hope this is a wake up call.

Anonymous 24 April 19 14:41

Who downvotes condolences that are offered when someone unexpectedly dies at a young age? What's wrong with you? Cacth yourselves on. 

Sultan 25 April 19 13:16

much to young ..very sad indeed

KC 26 April 19 15:10

He was a lovely man. He had many interests outside work. Maybe this was his downfall when doing the “big job”something has to give. Let’s not speculate about what happened but send our very best to his wife Alison and his children. How devastated they must be.

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