The Legal Cheek View
Consistently rated one of the best firms for training in the City, Mayer Brown's newly qualified (NQ) associates are so well drilled that they're often targeted by other US and magic circle rivals. “There is lots of training at MB and it is excellent, both internal and external,” a current trainee tells us. But a rise in NQ pay above the £70k mark is illustrative of a newfound determination from the firm to hang onto its talent.
Remuneration has been a bugbear at Mayer Brown since its US-based management team opted against adopting MoneyLaw rates and instead chose to follow what is a broadly silver circle junior solicitor pay scale. With profit per equity partner (PEP) at the firm standing at £1.19 million – broadly equivalent to magic circle firms – some believe it could be a bit more generous. However, investment elsewhere has seen PEP drop slightly this year on the back of marginally increased revenue, suggesting rookies may have to wait a bit longer for any further pay rises. Still, the rewards are obviously in place for those who make it to the top. And the quality of work is what you would expect from such a profitable firm.
In London, Mayer Brown concentrates on corporate finance, litigation and high end insurance work, while also boasting highly-rated niches in intellectual property and tech. Alongside standard trainee tasks in these practice areas like bundling, bibling, proof-reading and general admin, insiders tell us that there is “meaty work, such as drafting documents, interesting pieces of research, and attending meetings/court.”
Secondments are another Mayer Brown strong point. According to the Legal Cheek Trainee and Junior Lawyer 2017-18, 75% of trainees do a client placement (sometimes internationally) while 21% do time at one of the firm’s overseas offices.
This year Mayer Brown rookies have sampled life at the likes of Thomson Reuters, HSBC and Moody’s (in Hong Kong). Common firm secondment destinations include New York and Hong Kong. Mayer Brown is apparently the only firm with more than 200 lawyers in each of these cities and London, the world’s three largest financial centres.
Work/life balance is pretty standard for this bracket of firm, with an average leave the office time of just after 8pm. Meanwhile, the general culture and friendliness of partners is said to be pretty good.
Perks are plentiful, with the subsidised gym membership the standout freebie (even if some complain that it is on the “stingy” side). A solid firm canteen, with “excellent” coffee and “lots of options including healthy ones such as juices, smoothies, fresh yoghurts and a great salad bar”, wins widespread broad approval. However, the social life is said to be slightly lacking with current trainees calling for more firm-organised socials.