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. Another highlights the benefit of the smaller intake: “You are often the only trainee on a matter and as such you are given much more responsibility once you have proved yourself to the team”.
Following a meteoric seven years of successive growth in revenue, the firm has steadied its pace with a 2% bump in global revenue to $1.52 billion (£1.1 billion). Profit per equity partner (PEP) figures, however, have continued to grow strongly, rising 11% to $2 million (£1.45 million).
Mayer Brown offers its freshly qualified solicitors a £95,000 pay package, with the firm’s US-based management team opting against adopting MoneyLaw rates and instead choosing to follow what is a broadly silver circle junior solicitor pay scale. This dates back to the firm’s English roots in Rowe & Maw, the legacy firm which Mayer Brown merged with in order to establish its base in London.
In London, Mayer Brown concentrates on finance, litigation, restructuring and high-stakes insurance work. Its excellent reputation for finance is illustrated by the firm recently luring a magic circle partner to the firm. On top of this, Mayer Brown also boasts highly-rated niches in intellectual property, pensions 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.” In the transactional teams in particular, trainees are “required to liaise directly with clients and lawyers at other firms”. One trainee sums it up by saying “there’s a good mix, plenty of standard trainee tasks but there’s quite a lot of opportunity for unusual research or drafting”, adding that “it does vary by department”.
Secondments are another Mayer Brown strong point. Trainees and junior associates have sampled life at the likes of Lloyds, HSBC, Marsh, Unilever, Wells Fargo and British Land where they enjoy a high degree of “independence” and “authority”. Common firm secondment destinations include Chicago and Hong Kong. They are expected to resume as Covid restrictions fall away. Mayer Brown is apparently the only firm with more than 200 lawyers in each of London, New York and Hong Kong, the world’s three largest financial centres.
Work/life balance varies from seat-to-seat, but trainees say that the general culture and friendliness of the place is a big boost when the going gets tough. Trainees are “a bunch that will go through hell and back with you”, and there’s “a real attitude of everyone being in it together” whilst “associates are very good at looking out for the trainees”. One newbie says that his cohort are “really good friends” and “spend a lot of time together outside of working hours which helps with the natural dips and lows of trainee life”. Partners are “very approachable” — and the ones in finance apparently “have some serious bantz”. They get their sleeves rolled up, too: a Mayer Brownite reports that “the senior partner is on a matter with me and is as visible as anyone else in the whole firm”.
Topping the perks is the firm’s London canteen, called ‘The Hub’. The “barista quality” coffee, cakes and pastries “freshly delivered every day from a boutique bakery” and “lots of options including healthy ones such as juices, smoothies, fresh yoghurts and a great salad bar” win widespread approval. Insiders describe the firm’s London office in the Broadgate Tower development as “lovely and modern” following a recent refurbishment that has provided Mayer Brown with “hipster meeting rooms”. The Greta generation also praises efforts at making the place eco-friendly: it’s still “paper-heavy”, perhaps inevitably, but otherwise the firm is “doing its utmost” to go green.
Mayer Brown’s young are hoping for a similar refresh of the firm’s IT, which provokes some grumbles. The firm’s relatively slow start to remote working has been “improving”, however, aided by the purchase of more laptops and a move away from the Citrix software. Despite this, it appears that more could be done, with one trainee noting an uptick in tech training and updates but a lack of consistent use of these new gadgets by the firm.