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Unexpected death of former Baker McKenzie chief was suicide, inquest hears

Paul Rawlinson took his own life at Swiss treatment centre

Paul Rawlinson

A former Baker McKenzie boss who died unexpectedly last year took his own life, an inquest has been told.

Paul Rawlinson, global chair of the international law firm, passed away in April 2019 aged 56 while on a leave of absence.

An inquest has now heard that his death was not suspicious and that Rawlinson took his own life while being treated for “an acute depressive illness”, according to the Financial Times.

Rawlinson, the first British-based boss of the Chicago-headquartered firm, was being treated at the Kusnacht Practice in Switzerland. He went for a walk one morning and never returned.

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An interview published in late 2018 described Rawlinson as an “affable, down-to-earth Mancunian, grandson of an Italian immigrant”. He joined Bakers in 1986 in the intellectual property department, becoming a partner ten years later, then London managing partner and eventually global chair.

The coroner described Mr Rawlinson as “an incredibly successful lawyer who was adored and loved by his family”, according to the FT.

When news of his death first emerged, Bakers said that “for all of us Paul was a visionary, a true leader and a good friend. He will be greatly missed”.

Bakers said in a statement: “Paul’s sudden death in April 2019 was a tragedy, most obviously for his family, but also for Baker McKenzie, where he had been a long serving partner and inspirational leader in various roles. He was a man of enormous charisma and energy.”

It continued: “The circumstances surrounding Paul’s death are a private matter for his family and we continue to request appropriate respect for that. As painful as events have been for his many friends and colleagues in the firm, our thoughts throughout have been with Paul’s wife and children, and will continue to be, as they move forward.”

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