Mark Baute began working as a trial lawyer at Jones Day, from 1986 to 1990. Thereafter, Mr. Baute joined Blecher & Collins, a plaintiff’s antitrust and commercial litigation boutique, where he worked until founding Baute Crochetiere Hartley & Velkei LLP in 1995. During this first decade of practice, Mr. Baute was able to work with strong trial lawyers as mentors, and conducted multiple jury trials as first chair trial counsel. Since that time, Mr. Baute has served in dual roles as the lead trial lawyer and managing partner of Baute Crochetiere Hartley and Velkei LLP. During 33 years as a trial lawyer, Mr. Baute has tried over 60 large cases in urban and rural courtrooms throughout the country, in both state and federal court and arbitration tribunals, for both plaintiffs and defendants. Most of these trials were jury trials. Mr. Baute represents professional athletes, Fortune 500 companies, actors and actresses, high net worth individuals, real estate investment trusts and privately held companies in multiple sectors, including technology, fashion and manufacturing companies.
The firm’s four name partners define the firm’s culture and tone. The firm emphasizes the pursuit of intelligent and strategic pathways to closure – i.e., winning. The firm de-emphasizes “hours billed” because the quantity of hours billed has little correlation to protecting a client’s image, brand, business and revenues, whether in a courtroom setting or before litigation has commenced. Only a small percentage of cases actually go to trial, but the firm’s ability to win at trial, and willingness to go to trial, enables Mr. Baute and his partners to resolve many disputes behind the scenes, without allowing the media to pursue – or prolong – a story. Mr. Baute and the firm are somewhat “old school” in that they do not advertise or use a publicist, consistent with the firm’s culture and goals: win the trial if a trial must occur, but fully pursue all faster and quieter ways to resolve the matter first.
Mr. Baute has tried cases to verdict in the areas of trade secrets, unfair competition, antitrust, racketeering, professional liability and common law negligence involving lawyers and accountants, breach of contract, wrongful termination and labor and employment, breach of fiduciary duty, elder abuse, sexual assault, excessive use of force, officer and director liability, and direct and derivative stockholder liability cases. Several of those jury trials were covered by the nationwide media including: Derrick Rose’s federal jury trial against Jane Doe, in which an innocent NBA athlete was falsely accused of sexual assault; the breach of contract case against Lisa Kudrow for the syndication revenues on the TV show “Friends”; the racketeering trial prosecuted in federal court by Quinn Emanuel against Regency Outdoor Advertising; and Nicollette Sheridan’s trial against the Walt Disney Company.
Mr. Baute believes that much of the time and money traditionally spent on commercial litigation is of questionable value, and that most large cases often come down to a handful of key facts, three or four exhibits, and three or four important witnesses. Many commercial litigators have tried very few cases but are under systemic pressure to bill hours to try to make money. The combination of lack of trial experience and pressure to bill hours often results in excessive wasteful discovery and a failure to focus early on the two or three strategic pathways to closing and winning. Mr. Baute’s emphasis on winning and closing results from more than 30 years of resolving cases through mediation, summary judgment, or, if required by the opponent, and no other options are left, winning at trial. The firm’s culture and attitude is aptly summarized by three words: diversity, creativity and flexibility. Clients come first, law is a service profession, and the lawyer owes duties of loyalty and zealous advocacy to the client.