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According to The American Lawyer, Baker & McKenzie reported Friday that global revenue declined 3 percent to $2.11 billion and profits per partner fell a more significant 17 percent to $992,000 in fiscal year 2009, bringing an end to a four-year period over which the firm experienced consecutive double-digit revenue growth and an 85 percent increase in profits.

While Chicago-based Baker & McKenzie, which generated 66 percent of its fees outside the United States, highlighted the role currency exchange rates played in the falling benchmarks for fiscal year 2009, management admitted the economic downturn negatively impacted the firm's financial performance.

"The financial crisis progressed into an economic recession that has been very challenging for our clients, for all law firms and for us," said John Conroy, chairman of the firm's executive committee. According to Conroy, the impact of the economic downturn has been muted by the firm's proactive efforts, beginning more than eight months ago, to engage clients and adjust to their legal needs. This has included expanding the firm's restructuring practice.

Other practice areas helped hold up the firm's bottom line. Labor and employment, intellectual property and tax remained resilient throughout the downturn, Conroy says.

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