Mayer Brown International LLP

  • Overview


The Scoop

In September 2007, Mayer Brown joined the re-branding conga line, dropping the "Rowe & Maw" from its name. The firm is renowned for top-flight corporate, finance, real estate, projects and litigation practices. With more than 300 of the firm's roughly 1,800 lawyers located in London, Mayer Brown has a substantial presence in the UK, where its clients include many of the leading FTSE and Fortune 500 companies.

Merger by numbers

In 2002, Chicago-based Mayer, Brown & Platt linked up with the UK's Rowe & Maw; the pairing strengthened Mayer Brown's British and European practices, while Rowe & Maw gained greater US visibility and a larger global platform. In 2008, the firm enhanced its Asia presence via a merger with JSM (formerly Johnson Stokes & Master), one of Hong Kong's oldest and largest law firms, known for banking and finance. The combination gives Mayer Brown more than 200 lawyers in Hong Kong and mainland China; Mayer Brown JSM also has offices in Thailand and Vietnam. Mayer Brown JSM clients include HSBC, Bank of China and Cathay Pacific. In addition to the Hong Kong office, Mayer Brown also had a trade office in Beijing.

The firm also has a strong German operation with three offices, and a highly rated Paris office―all the result of mergers. New ventures for the firm include an office in São Paulo, Brazil, which was opened in 2007. One of the world's fastest-growing financial markets, Brazil is experiencing a surge in IPOs, infrastructure investment, real estate transactions and cross-border M&A. Mayer Brown has more than 15 years experience in the region, and a 40-member Latin American practice group working from offices around the world.

Number crunching

Pay freeze + job cuts = chilly times for Mayer Brown's London office. In November 2008, responding to the economic downturn, the firm made 33 lawyers and 55 support staff redundant in the US and launched a redundancy consultation which concluded in the departure of nine lawyers from the London office. A few months later, in March 2009, the firm began a second round of redundancies in the UK, which put at risk up to 55 jobs. Meanwhile, in the US, the firm made another 45 lawyers and 90 support staff redundant. The firm has also instituted a pay freeze for its London office, and has asked seven out of a 25-strong September 2009 trainee intake to defer until 2010 in exchange for a payment of £7,500.

Nevertheless, despite the difficult climate, Mayer Brown's London fared reasonably well in 2008, posting a revenue rise of 8 per cent to hit £111.6 million. Globally, the firm saw revenue rise by 9.4 per cent to $1.29 billion, although average partner profits dropped 10.5 per cent to $1.11 million. Top-performing practice areas included the firm's litigation, employment and restructuring practices. Still, the economic slump led to the making up of just 27 new partners, down from 43 in 2007. London claimed just two new partners, compared to the previous year when 10 were promoted in the UK.

New management

In 2007, Mayer Brown underwent some restructuring: after de-equitising 45 partners in an effort to improve profitability, the firm launched a new leadership model. The three-partner "office of the chairman" comprised Chairman James Holzhauer, plus two vice chairmen-former UK Senior Partner Paul Maher and former Washington DC head Kenneth Geller. This transatlantic triumvirate, however, was relatively short-lived. Less than two years later, in March 2009, Holzhauer announced his intention to step down; the following month, Bert Krueger was elected the new global chairman while Ken Geller was named to the newly created role of firmwide managing partner. The new structure, which took effect on 1 June, eliminated the position of vice chair and retained both of the key leadership roles on US shores.

In May 2009, after initially announcing that he would take a leave of absence, the third member of the management team, Vice Chair Paul Maher, resigned from the firm. Soon after, London partners Fiona Adams and Cate Sharp announced that they would also be leaving. By June, the firm had completed its management restructuring with the election of a seven-member management committee, which included London senior partner Sean Connolly, and a 12-member partnership board, including two UK partners, Jeremy Clay and Ian Coles.

Kick-starting the economy

In February 2009, Mayer Brown launched a new practice, uniting lawyers in its asset-based lending and receivables financing group with lawyers on the restructuring, bankruptcy and insolvency team. The new group includes 30 lawyers in London and New York who work together to advise banking clients on loan transactions how to better protect their assets in the event of a borrower's insolvency.

The firm also recently advised the European Securitisation Forum (ESF) on the establishment of a set of guiding principles to govern reporting standards in the securitisation sector. The Residential Mortgage-Backed Securities Issuer Principles for Transparency and Disclosure, which were approved in February 2009 by several UK and European banks, mortgage lenders and ratings agencies, were issued by the ESF as part of a worldwide effort to improve transparency and, in the words of UK Mayer Brown partner Elana Hahn, "kick-start the residential mortgage-backed securitisation sector".

Other recent work by lawyers in the firm's London office includes advising on the $62.5 million financing for construction of the Çöpler gold mine in Turkey in the spring of 2009. Mayer Brown represented Bayerische Hypo- und Vereinsbank AG, part of the UniCredit group, a longstanding client.

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Mayer Brown International LLP

201 Bishopsgate
London EC2M 3AF
Phone: +44 (0)20 3130 3000


  • Employer Type: Private
  • London Managing Partner: Sean Connolly
  • Total No. Attorneys 2010: 1,600

Major Office Locations

  • Brussels, Belgium
  • Sao Paulo, Brazil
  • Shanghai, China
  • Beijing, China
  • Guangzhou, China
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • Palo Alto, CA
  • Washington, DC
  • Chicago, IL
  • New York, NY
  • Charlotte, NC
  • Houston, TX
  • Bangkok, Thailand
  • Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
  • Ha Noi, Vietnam
  • London, United Kingdom
  • Paris, France
  • Berlin, Germany
  • Frankfurt, Germany
  • Cologne, Germany
  • Hong Kong, Hong Kong
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