• Santa Maria is a leading cross-border transactions lawyer assisting companies on various brand expansion strategies via direct investment, joint venture or franchise business models, and former Dallas Office Managing Partner 

  • The NAIC team handles transactional counseling, trade compliance, franchising, outsourcing, aviation and data privacy


Michael Santa Maria has been named Chair of Baker McKenzie's North America International Commercial Practice.

A partner in Dallas, Michael has more than 25 years of corporate transactions experience, advising companies on complex cross-border business issues, mergers and acquisitions, direct investment, joint ventures, international franchise and distribution matters. In addition, Michael has held a number of leadership roles in the Firm including serving as Dallas Office Managing Partner.

Baker McKenzie’s International Commercial Practice advises multinational companies on legal issues impacting global business strategy, including international trade, foreign investments, data privacy, information governance, global marketing, sourcing, business transformations and aviation issues. The team is ranked by Chambers Global in Commercial Contracts, Data Protection, Outsourcing, Technology & Communications, Franchising and International Trade. 

“Companies look to our International Commercial practice for innovative approaches and solutions as they grow and manage risk across borders, and I'm certain Mike will be an exceptional leader for the group,” said Colin Murray Baker McKenzie’s North America Managing Partner. “He thinks big picture about the market, while also bringing a full understanding of his clients' unique business needs.  He is a fluent Spanish speaker, whose multicultural practice transcends national boundaries.”

Michael succeeds Miguel Noyola, who will continue his active international trade practice, advising multinational companies on doing business and investing in Latin America and other international markets.

"It’s a great honor to serve as Chair of the Firm’s North America International Commercial Practice," said Michael. "I’m excited for the opportunity to lead our talented group and to build on Miguel’s strong foundation. Our team will continue to provide practical, globally-minded legal solutions that align with our client's strategy as they navigate opportunities and risks across borders.”  

During the last year, Baker McKenzie added a number of prominent new hires to continue strengthening its International Commercial Practice, including FinTech lawyer Daniel Logan, in-house attorney Christina Conlin, policy and regulatory lawyer Rod Hunter, international trade and investment advisor James Small, as well as aviation duo Kenneth Quinn and Jennifer Trock.

To keep clients and industry leaders informed of the latest legal trends, the practice launched the UAS Insights Blog, a resource for unmanned aircraft systems and drone stakeholders, and the NAFTA in Play video series, which discuses the renegotiation and its impact on Canadian, US and Mexican businesses. 

"I’m delighted to work with Mike in the further development of this group. His leadership experience and knowledge in the area of commercial and trade and his pragmatic approach to legal advice will benefit our clients around the globe," said Mattias Hedwall, Global Head of the Firm’s Global International Commerce & Trade Group.

Michael earned his Bachelor of Business Administration and Master of Business Administration from Southern Methodist University and his Juris Doctor from Texas Tech University.

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