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1. 800.973.1177

Katherine Bacal: Partner with Baker & McKenzie, LLP [By Kenneth Davis] Before going to law school, Katherine Bacal had no plans to enter the legal profession. In fact, she initially wanted to be a history professor.

“I wasn’t prompted by any burning desire to

fourth 1327, (2002). She said that all of

“While I liked the idea of teaching, the

be a lawyer,” she said. “Instead, while on

the other cases in which she represented

emphasis-at least at my school and program-

leave from my Ph.D. program in European

Wyndham-including cases in California, Texas,

seemed to be on very specialized research,

history, I took the LSAT. Having scored

Illinois, and Florida-were either dismissed by

which did not interest me as much,” she said.

reasonably well, I decided that I would rather

the plaintiffs or resolved by settlement. As a result, she entered the University of

pursue a law degree than move into an ivory tower. After I began law school and worked

Some of her other well-known clients include

Texas School of Law and earned her J.D.

at a couple of law firms, I realized that I really

Goodrich Corporation, Galderma Laboratories,

in 1991. Following graduation, she joined

liked litigation and appeared to be well suited

and Wyndham Worldwide.

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher in its San Diego

to be a litigator. In other words, I’m slightly argumentative by nature but in a good way.”

office, where her practice focused on Bacal is also chair of the litigation and dispute

securities litigation. She remained there until

resolution group in her firm’s San Diego

the firm closed its San Diego office in 2000.

In appears that being argumentative has

office. In addition, she was recently elected

Bacal joined Baker & McKenzie in its San

paid off for Bacal, as she is now a partner

president of the Lawyers Club of San Diego.

Diego office that same year and made partner

at prominent international law firm Baker

She is currently the vice president of the

in 2002.

& McKenzie, where she has a successful

organization and will be sworn in as president

litigation practice. Her practice focuses on

at its annual dinner in May.

complex commercial litigation, particularly

She explained what attracted her to Baker & McKenzie:

“defense of class actions and unfair business

Bacal studied liberal arts, with emphases on

practice claims.” She also has a hotel, resort,

both literature and the history of ideas, as

“I came from a national firm which, like

and tourism specialty. Bacal has represented

an undergrad at the University of Redlands

many others, was trying to establish an

individuals and corporations in a wide

Johnston Center. She graduated in 1985, and

international presence. Baker already had

variety of matters, including cases involving

after that, she began working on her Ph.D.

that. As a result of this strong international

alleged unfair business practices and unfair

at the University of California, San Diego.

practice, it appeared that there would be

competition, trade-secret misappropriation,

However, Bacal eventually decided to go into

many new and different opportunities for

securities fraud, and accountant malpractice.

law instead of starting a career as a history

a California litigator. Additionally, I knew


about the commitment the firm and the San

In one of her more notable cases, she

Diego office had to community involvement.

represented Wyndham International, Inc.,

About Baker & McKenzie

in a series of lawsuits concerning the hotel

Baker & McKenzie is an international law

internationally driven and directed firm both

industry’s pricing practices. Motions to

firm that was founded in Chicago in 1949 by

interesting and appealing.”

dismiss were granted in two of those suits-

Russell Baker. It was one of the first law

one in Florida and one in California-and

firms to be truly global. It is now home to

She said some of the highlights of her career

one California case resulted in a published

more than 3,400 lawyers working in more

so far include being elected president of

decision affirming the dismissal: Searle v.

than 70 offices in 38 different countries.

the Lawyers Club of San Diego and making

Wyndham International, Inc., 102 Cal. App.


I found the combination of a locally and

partner at Baker & McKenzie.

continued on back


“And last but probably most importantly,

involved in community and/or bar activities.

having grateful clients who appreciate the

It is not only fulfilling; it is also a lot of fun.”

representation they received,” Bacal added.

1. 800.973.1177

On the Net Baker & McKenzie, LLP

Bacal was born and raised in Tucson,

She had the following advice for law

Arizona, where her two brothers and two


sisters still reside. Her mother, one brother,

Lawyers Club of San Diego

and one sister are all lawyers in Tucson.

you practice, it is actually a small world,”

She has been married for 19 years and

Goodrich Corporation

she said. “Your reputation is priceless.

has three daughters, aged 10, eight, and

Practicing law is much more fun in a

four. Bacal enjoys spending time with her

collegial environment. Although litigation is

children; she also likes to run and has

adversarial, it’s not warfare. Take the high

completed 12 half marathons. She also

road because it is the right road. Finally, get

enjoys recreational soccer.

“Don’t forget, in whatever community


Katherine Bacal: Partner with Baker & McKenzie, LLP  
Katherine Bacal: Partner with Baker & McKenzie, LLP  

I wasn't prompted by any burning desire to be a lawyer," she said. "Instead, while on leave from my Ph.D. program in European history, I too...