Law firm to create top 250 jobs in Belfast
More than 250 new high-paying jobs have been announced after the world's biggest law firm unveiled Northern Ireland as the location for its new base.
Baker and McKenzie will site its new Global Services Centre in Belfast.
The average salary for the 256 jobs will be £31,000 a year, contributing around £8m to the local economy.
More than 70 staff in legal services are being sought, with a further 185 being required to staff its administrative services. A recruitment drive will begin soon to hire lawyers, graduates and non-graduates, IT professionals and human resources personnel.
A raft of payroll and billing services and other support roles will also be brought on board in a process expected to be complete within the next three years.
The firm said its revenues of $2.54bn make it the world's largest law firm, employing 11,000 people in 76 offices in 47 countries.
The new operation is expected to open its doors in early 2015, following a process to lure the firm to Belfast, which commenced at last year's international investment conference at Titanic Belfast.
It was cemented by Invest NI's attendance at a convention in Chicago in June, according to the man charged with managing the Northern Ireland satellite.
Jason Marty, executive director of Global Services Belfast, said: "Through our visits to Belfast earlier this year and meetings with Minister Arlene Foster, Invest NI and other international firms that have Northern Ireland operations, we were persuaded that Northern Ireland offers an excellent location for our needs.
"We believe we can offer great opportunities to legal and other professionals in Northern Ireland wanting to work for the world's largest law firm."
He confirmed negotiations were ongoing to decide upon the best premises for the operation and would only say they were "in or around the centre of Belfast".
Invest NI is supporting the venture to the tune of £1.3m.
Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster said the investment was a real coup for Belfast and followed positive testimonies from other international companies who recently established bases here.
"Baker and McKenzie considered a number of locations around the world but through the excellent work of Invest NI and the advocacy of other international investors – including what they heard when they attended the investment conference last year – the company chose Northern Ireland," she said.
Baker and McKenzie chairman Eduardo Leite said the calibre of the Northern Irish staff will enable the firm to give its best possible service to customers.
"This investment will further enhance our ambition to lead our profession globally and offer our clients exceptional service wherever they are in the world, while benefitting the local economy through the creation of hundreds of jobs," he said.
Founded in Chicago in 1949, Baker and McKenzie revenues rose 5% in 2013 to $2.54bn (£1.5bn), making it the biggest law firm in the world. Its first Global Services Centre opened in Manila in the Philippines in 2000. 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.