May 25, 2021

Continuing growth trajectory, Mayer Brown elects Jon Van Gorp as chair


Firm achieved record profitability and client demand and made impressive gains in community service and diversity

Consistent with Mayer Brown’s culture of rotation in its senior leadership positions, the firm has elected longtime partner Jon Van Gorp as chair, effective June 1, 2021. He succeeds Paul Theiss, who has served in this role for three consecutive three-year terms since 2012. The firm has also elected partners Sally Davies, Raj De and Jason Elder as new members of its eight-person management committee.

Mr. Van Gorp, 51, has spent nearly his entire career at Mayer Brown. A partner in the New York and Chicago offices, he is widely recognized as a leading structured finance practitioner and has earned a reputation for innovation by playing an integral role in many first-of-their-kind transactions. He has held several leadership positions at Mayer Brown, including a seat on the firm’s management committee since 2017 where he worked closely with Mr. Theiss. He previously co-led the firm’s Banking & Finance, Capital Markets and Structured Finance practices.

Mr. Van Gorp takes on this role during a long period of success for the firm, with Mayer Brown in the strongest position in its history. Through organic growth and strategic combinations, Mayer Brown has become an international firm of 26 offices across four continents while maintaining a strong collaborative culture. The firm continues to grow in line with the evolving and expanding expectations of its clients. As the firm has grown, so has its profitability—driven by increased demand for its services, which reflects a deepening of the firm’s client relationships.

During Mr. Theiss’ chairmanship, the firm has seen a steady increase in several key financial metrics and strategic priorities.

In 2020:

  • Revenue increased to more than $1.5 billion
  • Profits per partner rose by 11 percent to more than $2 million

In the period of 2012 – 2020:

  • Profits per partner increased by 74 percent
  • The diversity of the partnership rose by almost 200 percent
  • Panel appointments grew nearly four-fold, with the firm now sitting on 275 client panels
  • Total pro bono hours globally increased more than 50 percent

“Mayer Brown has been my home for the past 24 years and I’m honored that my fellow partners have elected me to lead the firm,” said Mr. Van Gorp. “The firm’s collaborative culture, international reach and strong leadership have put us on a great trajectory, thanks in large part to Paul’s stewardship. I look forward to continuing to drive the execution of our strategic vision, and embarking on a listening tour to hear directly from our clients and colleagues across the globe how we can work and innovate together to achieve even greater success. Our best days are yet to come.”

Mr. Van Gorp is an active leader in the communities where he works and lives. He is a member of Bottom Line’s national board of directors and chair of its Chicago regional advisory board. Bottom Line provides college access and success programs for diverse low-income and first-generation college students. He is a member of the Carrington Charitable Foundation’s advisory board, which provides support to America’s servicemen and women returning from active duty, many of whom are coping with severe battlefield injuries. He is also a past Leadership Greater Chicago fellow.

Mr. Theiss, who is concluding his third three-year term, is the longest-serving chair of Mayer Brown since the 1990s. Previously, the firm’s chairs served no more than two terms as presumed by the firm’s partnership agreement.

“It has been a true privilege to serve as chair of this great firm during a period which it has thrived,” said Mr. Theiss. “Mayer Brown has become one of the largest and most successful law firms in the world. Together, we’ve experienced eight consecutive years of revenue growth, a marked increase in the number of clients who turn to us as their trusted advisor to help address their most complex needs, and developed an integrated culture of working together seamlessly across offices and practices to live our core values. Jon has played a vital role in the firm’s continued success. I’ve witnessed firsthand his logical, thoughtful and innovative approach to leadership and client relationships. Not only is he an excellent lawyer, he’s a transparent and steadfast leader who values our people and our culture. He’s widely known by the Mayer Brown community as a builder and a connector: he has both experience and a track record of success building our firm and connecting our partners and clients. The firm will prosper with Jon at its helm to carry out its strategic plan and next stage of growth. Mayer Brown’s future has never been brighter and I look forward to continuing to be an important part of that future.”

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