Highly Regarded ERISA Litigator James Baker Joins Baker & McKenzie
22 February 2012
San Francisco, USA, February 22, 2012 – Veteran ERISA litigator James “Jim” Baker has joined Baker & McKenzie as a partner in the San Francisco/Palo Alto office, adding 30 years of experience in the entire spectrum of employee benefit and executive compensation matters.
Described by Chambers USA as “an ERISA legend on the West Coast,” Mr. Baker’s practice focuses on ERISA litigation and the counseling of employers on ERISA, employee benefit and executive compensation issues. Among Mr. Baker’s most notable cases, he was the lead attorney in five ERISA stock drop class action cases resulting in consecutive client victories using five different legal theories: In re First American Corp. ERISA Litigation, (C.D. Cal. 2009); In re Dell ERISA Litigation, (W.D. Tex. 2008); Spivey v. The Southern Company, (N.D. Ga. 2006); In re Administrative Committee ERISA Litigation, (N.D. Cal. 2005); and Ogden v. Americredit Corp., (N.D. Tex. 2005). He also regularly represents clients in federal district and appellate courts across the country.
“We are very pleased that Jim has joined Baker & McKenzie,” said Rick Hammett, Chair of the Firm’s North American Compensation and Employment Law Practice Group. “Jim is widely regarded as one of the top ERISA litigators in the US, and he joins a strong ERISA litigation practice at our firm. I know our clients will value his significant experience and insight, particularly in ‘stock drop’ cases, which continue to be an issue for many companies.”
“Jim is a great addition to our San Francisco/Palo Alto Office,” said Shane Byrne, Managing Partner of the Firm’s San Francisco and Palo Alto offices. “His impressive experience and credentials enhance our strong employment law practice, and increase the range of services we can offer clients in California and beyond.”
“I’m excited to join Baker & McKenzie,” said Mr. Baker. “Baker & McKenzie has one of the preeminent global employment practices, and its impressive depth and international reach are terrific complements to my practice.”
Mr. Baker joins a dynamic employment law practice at the Firm, including a robust ERISA practice. This past year, Baker & McKenzie secured trial victories in two well-publicized ERISA class actions, Jensen v. Solvay Chemicals Inc. and Maytag v. UAW, as well as a favorable ruling from the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Jensen. In California, the Firm has more than 30 lawyers focusing on domestic and international employment, employee benefits and compensation, ERISA, and related areas. The Recorder recently named Baker & McKenzie to its 2011 list of firms with “absolute go-to employment law practices in the Bay Area.” San Francisco/Palo Alto Partners Cynthia L. Jackson and Susan F. Eandi have been recognized by the Daily Journal as among the Top 100 Labor & Employment Lawyers in California, among other honors. In addition, Partners Edward D. Burmeister and Valerie H. Diamond have been repeatedly recognized by Chambers and other directories as two of the top employee benefits and executive compensation attorneys in California.
In the US, the Firm has a strong and active ERISA litigation practice that includes well-regarded litigators Michael A. Pollard and Lisa S. Brogan, both based in Chicago. The Firm’s nationwide ERISA litigation team collaborates with the Executive Compensation & Employee Benefits practice – with experience in plan design, implementation and administration – and with other employment lawyers at the Firm to counsel clients on all aspects of ERISA.
Globally, Chambers Global ranked the Firm in their first tier for employment and immigration law. The practice was also ranked #1 in the world and recognized by PLC as the top firm in its "Super League" of global law firms with the widest breadth and depth in a labor and employee benefits practice.
About James Baker
Mr. Baker has been repeatedly cited as one of the top employment law and ERISA litigation lawyers in the US. Best Lawyers in America named Mr. Baker as the 2012 “ERISA Litigation Lawyer of the Year” for San Francisco, and the National Law Journal has honored him as one of the nation's 40 best ERISA attorneys. Recognized in Chambers USA every year since 2007, the leading directory noted in 2011 that he has been “handling very prominent cases and producing work of the highest quality.” In addition, he’s been listed in other legal directories as a leading attorney nationally for ERISA litigation, including the Legal 500 US (2008–2011), The Best Lawyers in America (2009–2012), and Northern California Super Lawyers (2005–2011). He was inducted into the American College of Employee Benefits Counsel as a Fellow in 2011.
Mr. Baker is co-chair of the American Bar Association’s ERISA and Pension Litigation Subcommittee of the Committee on Business and Corporate Litigation. Since 2006 he has been the primary author and Editor of the “ERISA Litigation” chapter for the ABA’s Annual “Developments in Business and Corporate Law” treatise. He is the Contributing Editor of the Benefits Law Journal. He also serves as a mediator on ERISA cases for the U.S. District Courts for the Northern and Eastern districts of California. In addition, he is a volunteer attorney for the AIDS Legal Referral Panel.
Mr. Baker previously practiced at Winston & Strawn. He received his B.A. in 1975 and his J.D. in 1980 from Santa Clara University. He received his L.L.M. in Tax from Georgetown University in 1983.
About The North American Compensation and Employment Law Practice
Baker & McKenzie’s North American Compensation & Employment Law Practice includes 100 lawyers working seamlessly across 10 offices in US and Canadian financial centers in the key disciplines of Employment Counseling and Litigation, Executive Compensation and Employee Benefits, Global Equity Services, Global Employment and Labor Law, and Global Immigration and Mobility. Our Global Employment Practice is among the world’s largest and most renowned. With more than 480 attorneys located in 69 offices around the world, we offer an unmatched combination of practical, on-the-ground local insight and sophisticated, global experience. We regularly handle the full spectrum of labor and employment laws facing the world’s largest organizations and their management.