The Chicago-founded international firm’s revenue grew nearly 6 percent last year to just shy of $1.4 billion, according to preliminary ALM data. Profits per equity partner rose 8 percent to $1.7 million, and revenue per lawyer was up nearly 6 percent, at $885,000. The firm’s head count was virtually flat at 1,570 lawyers, while its ranks of equity partners declined by about 6 percent to 274.
Meanwhile, a record 66 of the firm’s top 100 clients by revenue worked with Mayer Brown lawyers in all three of its international regions (The Americas, Asia and Europe), Theiss said.
“That is the sign of a healthy and thriving law firm,” Theiss said. “Across geographies and across practice areas we continue to improve together. And our clients value that, and our partners value that.”
Some of those notable hires last year included Nicole Saharsky, the former co-chair of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher’s constitutional law practice; Glen Kopp, a former chair of Bracewell’s white-collar practice group in New York; Hallam Chow, a Beijing-based former project finance partner at White & Case; a number of partners in Tokyo; and a pair of London-based partners that included Sam Eastwood, the former head Norton Rose Fulbright’s business ethics and anti-corruption group.
Despite the new partner hires, Mayer Brown’s equity partnership has fallen the last two years, including the 6 percent drop last year. Theiss characterized the decline in the firm’s equity partner ranks as “an aberration” mostly due to a high number of retirements.
Not all the firm’s hires worked out. James Tanenbaum, who joined the firm’s capital markets group from Morrison & Foerster, resigned from Mayer Brown shortly after he joined after it surfaced that he faced sexual harassment allegations at his prior firm. (In a letter to ALM editors last year, Tanenbaum said he “never harassed anyone or intentionally made anyone feel uncomfortable.”)
Mayer Brown last year also suffered the loss of the highly lauded leader and founder of its Supreme Court practice, Stephen Shapiro, who was killed in August. Shapiro’s brother-in-law faces a murder charge in his death.
The firm’s top-line growth last year represents its sixth straight year of revenue growth. The firm’s PEP in that time has grown by nearly 50 percent.
Theiss said the firm would continue to focus on adding talent to make its international platform more attractive to existing and potential clients. He noted the lateral market is the most competitive he has seen it since his career began in 1985 at Mayer Brown.
Reprinted with permission from the March 11, 2019 edition of The American Lawyer © 2019 ALM Properties, Inc. All rights reserved. Further duplication without permission is prohibited