2020 Vault Rankings
At a Glance
“Genuinely nice people.”
“The amount of work and client demands.”
“2,100 billable requirement for bonus, which is not market.”
“Lack of communication with associates.”
About Mayer Brown
Mayer Brown is an international law firm with offices across the Americas, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East that employs more than 1,500 lawyers—among the 25 largest law firm workforces in the world. Known for its top-flight corporate, finance, and appellate work, Mayer Brown serves many of the world’s largest companies, including a significant proportion of the Fortune 100, FTSE 100, CAC 40, DAX, Hang Seng, and Nikkei index companies, and more than half of the world’s largest banks.
I’ve Got to See a Man About a Horse
It was the summer of 1879, and a Chicago court was hearing arguments about the sale of a lame horse. The defendant was David Mayer, a wealthy local merchant. His attorney was his younger brother Levy, who had just graduated from Yale Law School. The Mayers lost. They appealed to a higher court, as did their adversary: a 30-year-old, self-taught Czech lawyer named Adolf Kraus. The Mayers felt they should have prevailed; Kraus believed he was entitled to $200, not the $25 he’d been awarded. The appeal ended in a settlement two years later, under most unusual circumstances: the younger Mayer had impressed Kraus in the courtroom, so Kraus asked him to form a partnership. Each man contributed $100 to satisfy the pending claim and erase any conflict of interest. They quickly discovered that they worked well together. Almost a century later, the firm—then known as Mayer, Brown & Platt—began expansion that would see it double in size, opening offices throughout the United States and in Europe.
Although Mayer Brown’s practices cover everything from banking to real estate, it’s particularly well known for its appellate work. In fact, it was one of the first firms to establish a dedicated Supreme Court practice, which it formed in the early 1980s with recruits from the U.S. solicitor general’s office. The appellate practice includes more than 45 lawyers and has argued more than 225 cases before the Supreme Court, representing either parties or amici in approximately 15 cases each term for the past several years, and arguing an average of four per term. Unsurprisingly, the firm ranks among the top 20 in Vault’s Appellate Litigation ranking.
Of course, you can’t discuss Mayer Brown without mentioning its corporate practice, which is core to the firm’s work. The firm’s experience extends across such industries as agribusiness, chemicals, health care, hospitality, infrastructure, life sciences, oil and gas, private equity, technology, transportation, and more. When it comes to banking and finance, the firm has 200 lawyers across the globe that counsel clients on everything from asset finance to derivatives to emerging markets to global projects to structured finance, and more.
Put Me In, Coach
While Mayer Brown is big on learning by doing, the firm offers its attorneys various coaching opportunities to support them in their careers. The firm offers both individual and group coaching on career planning, communication, leave transitions, mentor relationships, and time management.
News & Awards
In June 2019, The Associated Press covered Mayer Brown’s successful effort to free a California man sentenced to a term of 23 years-to-life after a conviction for joyriding. The man, who served eight years of his sentence in solitary confinement, was freed after a team from Mayer Brown and the Three Strikes and Justice Advocacy Projects leveraged a voter-approved measure requiring the third “strike” to be a violent offense. “It’s almost impossible to believe that what happened to [the man] happened here in California,” said Litigation & Dispute Resolution partner Ward Johnson, who led the Mayer Brown team.
In March 2019, The American Lawyer published an article on Mayer Brown’s 2018 financial performance. Entitled “Mayer Brown Revenue Jumps as Firm Boosts New York Practice, International Work,” the article noted that the firm “enjoyed one of its strongest financial performances in recent years, driven by nearly doubling its corporate practice in New York and more cross-border legal matters.”
Chicago partner Lei Shen was profiled in a March 2019 Law.com article entitled, “How I Made Partner.” Asked to describe the most important factors in her path to partnership, Shen said, “I believe it was a combination of my overall performance, my demonstrated commitment to doing business development and my subject-matter expertise in a growing area.” Shen also pointed to Chicago partner Rebecca Eisner, a former leader of the Chicago office and current member of the firm’s management committee, as her mentor and role model.
The trade publication Law360 reported in January 2019 that, for the third consecutive year, Mayer Brown was a “Firm of the Year.” The firm earned this honor on the strength of its status as a “practice group of the year” in seven areas: Consumer Protection, Cybersecurity & Privacy, Environmental, Food & Beverage, Government Contracts, Project Finance, and Telecommunications.
- In 2011, the Supreme Court held that federal law preempted a California law that would have barred AT&T Mobility from using arbitration to resolve disputes.
- In 2006, Mayer Brown achieved a significant victory when the Supreme Court ruled that market power could no longer be presumed from the mere existence of a patent.
- In BMW v. Gore, the US Supreme Court ruled in 1996 that a $2 million punitive damages award violated BMW’s Constitutional right to due process.
- In 1972, Mayer Brown lawyers achieved a significant victory in a gender-bias case involving maternity leave policies for Chicago teachers.
- “Firm of the Year” (Law360, 2019)
- “Most Innovative Dispute Resolution Firm” in Asia (Financial Times, 2019)
- “Most Innovative Law Firms Top 50” in Europe (Financial Times, 2018)
- “Most Innovative Firms for Legal Expertise” in N. America (Financial Times, 2018)
- Finalist, Litigation Department of the Year (The American Lawyer, 2018)
Why Work Here
Mayer Brown is a distinctively global law firm, uniquely positioned to advise the world’s leading companies and financial institutions on their most complex deals and disputes.
With extensive reach across four continents, we are the only integrated law firm in the world with approximately 200 lawyers in each of the world’s three largest financial centers—New York, London and Hong Kong—the backbone of the global economy.
We have deep experience in high-stakes litigation and complex transactions across industry sectors, including our signature strength, the global financial services industry.
71 South Wacker Drive
Chicago, IL 60606
Phone: (312) 782-0600
Chairman: Paul Theiss
Managing Partner: Jeremy Clay
Recruiting Chairs: J. Bradley Keck (National), Joe Castelluccio (NY), Krista Cooley, Alex Lakatos & Brian Netter (DC), David Saye (Charlotte), Mike Molano (Palo Alto), Debra Bogo-Ernst (Chicago), Bronwyn Pollock (LA), & Shawn O’Brien (Houston)
Total No. Attorneys 2019:
1.5K - 2K
1st year: $190,000
2nd year: $200,000
3rd year: $220,000
4th year: $255,000
5th year: $280,000
6th year: $305,000
7th year: $325,000
8th year: $340,000
Summer associate: Based on the annualized salary of $190,000
No. of Summer Associates:
51 total (42 2Ls; 9 1Ls) (2019)
See firm website for more information.
Los Angeles, CA
New York, NY
Palo Alto, CA
San Francisco, CA
Ho Chi Minh City
Rio de Janeiro*
*Tauil & Chequer Advogados in association with Mayer Brown
Banking & Finance
Corporate & Securities
Cybersecurity & Data Privacy
Employment & Benefits
Financial Services Regulatory & Enforcement
Global Mobility & Migration
Government Relations & Public Law
Joint Ventures & Strategic Alliances
Litigation & Dispute Resolution
Private Clients, Trusts & Estates
Restructuring, Bankruptcy & Insolvency
*See firm website for complete list of practice areas and industries.