2019 Vault Rankings
“Flexible working opportunities”
“Sophistication and quality of work”
“High bonus requirement”
“Lack of diversity in partnership”
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.
During the early decades of the twentieth century Mayer and Kraus's Chicago-based firm grew, adding attorneys and partners, and became known for its work in some of the era's most notable cases. The firm represented owners of the Iroquois Theater in Chicago when a 1903 fire killed 600 people (many exits were blocked because the doors only opened inward). The theater owners were exonerated, but the outcome of the case resulted in tougher fire codes that were adopted in municipalities across the nation. By 1970, 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.
A Transatlantic Merger and More
In 2002, Mayer, Brown & Platt merged with UK-based Rowe & Maw. The latter firm dated back to 1895, and at the time of the combination, it boasted 250 attorneys and locations in London, Paris, and Frankfurt. A streamlined moniker was introduced in 2007 as the firm became known as Mayer Brown, and the following year it merged again, joining forces with JSM, one of the largest firms in Asia. This brought the Mayer Brown brand to major hubs in the region, including Hong Kong, Shanghai, Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Guangzhou, and Singapore (in Asia, it's officially known as Mayer Brown JSM). The firm has had a close association with Brazilian law firm Tauil & Chequer Advogados for the past decade and in 2015 launched an association in Hong Kong with the mainland China law firm of Jingtian & Goncheng, one of the first private and independent partnership law firms in China. In the past two years, the firm has opened offices in Dubai—it’s first in the Middle East—and Mexico City.
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. In a recent headline-grabbing win, Mayer Brown attorneys represented the appellant in Impression Products v. Lexmark International, successfully arguing that Lexmark’s patents could prevent Impression from buying used Lexmark cartridges, refilling them, and selling them back to customers.
IN THE NEWS
The Financial Times included Mayer Brown in its annual roundup of the “Most Innovative Law Firms” in Asia. The firm received the “Standout” designation in the category of “Legal Expertise: Driving Value” for its innovative solutions in the restructuring of Z-Obee. The firm was also “Highly Commended” for managing complexity and scale in the issuance of US$575 million 5.875% Senior Notes due in 2024 for Indika Energy. Finally, the firm was “Highly Commended” for its work on the majority sale of PRASAC Microfinance Institution, Cambodia’s largest microfinance institution.
The Refugee Employment Academy, a flagship community program spearheaded by Mayer Brown's office in London, was recognized in the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Innovation category at the Legal Week Innovation Awards 2018. The program, delivered in partnership with Breaking Barriers, a London charity, helps refugees improve their chances of employment by providing work placements, skills training, coaching, and mentoring opportunities. The Legal Week Innovation Awards recognize innovation, creative excellence and best practice in the legal profession from several disciplines, including CSR.
For the second consecutive year, Mayer Brown was named a 2017 “Firm of the Year” by Law360. Once again, the firm finished in a first-place tie with Skadden, with Gibson Dunn taking the third spot. In its coverage, the publication cited Mayer Brown’s victory in the US Supreme Court’s landmark IP ruling of Impression Products v. Lexmark, as well as its strong practice-area capabilities in eight categories: Appellate, Banking, Class Action, Consumer Protection, Food & Beverage, IP, Project Finance and Tax.
From a field of nearly 70 candidates, Mayer Brown was among a handful of firms to earn a finalist spot in The American Lawyer’s “Litigation Department of the Year” competition. The publication noted the firm’s victories in several significant results, including the seminal SCOTUS ruling in Spokeo v. Robins. “Mayer Brown has found success in out-of-the-box arguments that shape not just the client’s path forward, but an entire industry’s practices, making the firm a clear finalist for Litigation Department of the Year,” the publication noted in its coverage.
The National Law Journal named Mayer Brown and its renowned Supreme Court & Appellate practice to its “Appellate Hot List” for the tenth consecutive year. The publication included Mayer Brown in its list of “elite … law firms that posted hard-fought wins at the U.S. Supreme Court or in federal circuit courts” on the basis of the firm’s landmark IP SCOTUS win in Impression Products v. Lexmark, among several other high-profile matters.
Mayer Brown was recognized as an “Illinois Powerhouse” in Law360’s 2017 Regional Powerhouse list, a ranking of law firms “handling some of the biggest deals and most high-profile courtroom battles across seven states, offering clients regional expertise, and making a lasting impact on the law at the state and local level,” according to the publication. The article also cited the firm’s “readiness to adapt to change and take on some of the newest and most challenging issues” confronting its clients.
Mayer Brown is 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 200 or more 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. Our diverse teams of lawyers are recognized by our clients as strategic partners with deep commercial instincts and a commitment to creatively anticipating their needs and delivering excellence in everything we do. Our “one-firm” culture—seamless and integrated across all practices and regions—ensures that our clients receive the best of our knowledge and experience.
Attesting to the strength of our various capabilities, the firm’s accomplishments are frequently reported by respected business and trade publications. Examples of such coverage include the following:
71 South Wacker Drive
Chicago, IL 60606
Phone: (312) 782-0600
Employer Type: Private
Chairman: Paul Theiss
Managing Partner: Jeremy Clay
Recruiting Chairs: J. Bradley Keck (National), Matt Ingber (New York), Krista Cooley, Alex Lakatos & Brian Netter (DC), David Saye (Charlotte), Mike Molano (Palo Alto), Debra Bogo-Ernst & Kevin Rang (Chicago), Michael F. Kerr (Los Angeles), & Shawn O’Brien (Houston)
Total No. Attorneys 2018: 1,500
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
51 out of 53 (2Ls) (2017)
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
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