Back in April, M&A maven Paul Maher walked away from Mayer Brown after he was passed over for the role of chairman. Now, in a surprising move, Maher has joined forces with Greenberg Traurig and plans to build a London City office of more than 200 lawyers within three years, which would place it among the 5 largest offices for a U.S. firm in London. Remarkably, the firm has allowed Maher to call the London office “Greenberg Traurig Maher.” Even more remarkable are the radical (for BigLaw) plans Maher has for the new office's operations. According to The Times (London):
[L]awyers will be paid depending on performance rather than seniority, with a smaller ratio of junior fee earners to partners — some City firms employ as many as seven associates for every senior lawyer — and increased use of flexible working.
“We’re taking every aspect of a law firm and turning it on its head,” he said. “Do we even need offices in the City? Could we have everyone working from home, or should we put them all in Luton? I don’t just want photocopiers with views of the Thames.”
Mr Maher also hinted that GTM would become one of the first City law firms to float when new rules allowing external investment in law firms come into force in 2012. “A lot of stakeholders will need to be convinced,” he said, but he added that it was inevitable that law firms would seek to raise outside capital when regulations allowed: “The rules of nature don’t do a right turn when they get to legal services.”
He said that the traditional law firm business model had been rendered obsolete by the downturn and the “golden age” of City firms was over.
-posted by brian
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