17 April 2019

Paul Rawlinson, global chair of Baker Mckenzie, dies aged 56

Paul Rawlinson, the global chair of  Baker McKenzie, passed away on Friday, April 12, the firm said in a statement.

Rawlinson, who was 56, joined the firm more than 30 years ago and went on to become a highly-respected IP lawyer. He later became the firm’s first UK-based global chair in 2016.

The firm released a statement saying: “It is with great sadness that we mark the unexpected passing of Paul Rawlinson, the firm’s global chair. The firm’s thoughts are with Paul's family, who we will continue to support during this most difficult of times.

“For all of us Paul was a visionary, a true leader and a good friend. He will be greatly missed.”

Rawlinson took leave in October last year due to medical issues caused by exhaustion, the firm said.

Jaime Trujillo, who was appointed acting global chair of the firm at the time, will continue in the role until the firm identifies a new chair.

Early on in his career, Rawlinson specialised in IP despite having once admitted that he’d “never picked up a book on IP in my life”.

From there, he grew to be the lead relationship partner for a number of the firm’s largest clients including Unilever,  L’Oreal and British American Tobacco.

Rawlinson was also a member of the International Anti-Counterfeiting Coalition, the French Trademark and Design Association and the International Trademark Association.

Sanjay Khanna, the director of the  Whitespace Legal Collab at Baker McKenzie, said Rawlinson’s “kindness, infectious energy and commitment to diversity and inclusion touched people irrespective of their role or status”.

“Executive assistants, catering staff, lawyers and business professionals have universally remarked on Paul’s genuineness towards them,” Khanna said.

In September 2018, Rawlinson was named as a Male Champion of Women in Business by the Financial Times and HERoes, a gender equality initiative.

Kelsey Farish, a commercial and IP solicitor at Preiskel & Co, said Rawlinson embodied the key traits of a great IP lawyer: “He was genuinely interested in the technologies and innovations underlying the success of his clients”.

Farish described him as a vocal advocate of gender pay equality and a “leader courageous enough to publicly acknowledge the demanding pressures of the profession”.

“With Paul’s passing, we have lost a role model whose passion for IP and commitment to helping others will be sorely missed,” she said.

Ben Weinberger, a strategist for technology provider Prosperoware, who knew Rawlinson professionally, described him as “business savvy” and someone who “understood the real issues that law firms today are facing, such as the need to understand branding and business drivers”. He said Rawlinson “very quickly gave the impression of being very approachable and very personable.” “He didn’t have an ego and he was not beyond talking to people.”

WIPR offers its sincere condolences to Paul’s family, friends and colleagues.

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