Am Law 100 firm Mayer Brown is changing its leadership in Washington, D.C., appointing Elizabeth Espín Stern as managing partner of the more than 200-lawyer office.
Stern’s first day as Washington managing partner was Monday. She succeeds Raj De, who held the role since 2019 and is a member of the firm’s global management committee, to which he was recently appointed.
Stern said she was particularly attracted to taking on a position as the leader of Washington—”a pivotal office where risk, law and business converge”—at a time when the global transformation of politics, society and business was playing out.
“There is an evolution that has been accelerated by the global pandemic, and I want to see Mayor Brown—with its stellar legal talent and savvy commercial solutions—be at the center of engagement in this new transformation,” Stern said.
Since joining Mayer Brown in 2014, Stern has already had a number of leadership roles, including being a member of the firm’s global partnership board and co-leading its COVID-19 global response team. She sees D.C. as a gateway.
“Many of the world’s regulatory trends start or are influenced by what happens in Washington D.C.,” she said. “The D.C. region is charged right now—industry is growing in Washington, politics is being redefined and the diplomatic corps and multilateral engagement is increasing. To be part of this change and guide clients, we have our work cut out for us, but we’re up to the task.”
Stern is credited with building Mayer Brown’s most inclusive practice groups. She heads the firm’s global mobility and migration practice—a multigenerational, multilingual team that includes women, LGBTQ+ and ethnically diverse lawyers. The practice group helps clients on major and corporate immigration matters, including helping companies establish and maintain global compliance and management programs that assist in moving staff and executives around the world and across jurisdictions.
Diversity, equity and inclusion issues are very close to her heart, she said. Stern grew up in a cross-cultural home where her father was a diplomat from Latin America.
“Bringing the richness of cross-cultural backgrounds, different ways of thinking, different experiences, different generations, and a mix of lateral thinking brings a freshness and creativity unimpeded by the status quo,” said Stern. “And I think that’s important to helping our clients understand and negotiate this new world in which we operate.”
Mayer Brown chair Jon Van Gorp said in a statement that Stern is an “exceptional and visionary” leader widely known throughout the firm as an “innovator in pioneering initiatives” that bring client successes.
Van Gorp said he is “confident” Stern’s “deep understanding” of both the Beltway and international business communities will help Mayer Brown “further expand the momentum” of De’s “outstanding work.”
De also leads Mayer Brown’s global cybersecurity and data privacy practice, and its national security practice. He will continue serving on the firm’s eight-person global management committee.
“Reprinted with permission from the September 13, 2021 edition of National Law Journal © 2021 ALM Properties, Inc. All rights reserved. Further duplication without permission is prohibited.”