Mayer Brown’s revenue grew 2% as the company saw a double-digit increase in profits per capital partner in 2020.
The international firm has had a balanced performance across the world, with a widespread increase in demand in transactional and litigation practices, firm chairman Paul Theiss said in an interview, despite the firm closing his Bangkok office. . Mayer Brown increased its revenue 2.2% to about $ 1.52 billion, while its earnings per equity partner rose about 11%, topping the $ 2 million mark.
While net income rose 6.3% to $ 531.6 million, the firm saw a 4% drop in the ranks of financial partners, according to The American Lawyer’s methodology, and it increased the number of partners without participation of nearly 6% to 392.
Theiss said the increase in the number of non-participating associates came largely from a “robust promotion class,” which was also the most diverse in the company’s history. In particular, 53% of lawyers promoted to partners in 2020 are of racial or ethnic and / or LGBTQ + diversity, the firm said.
While the firm’s total number of lawyers increased by approximately 3% to a total of 1,685 lawyers, its turnover per lawyer fell approximately 1% to $ 900,000.
Mayer Brown does not break down London’s income separately, Theiss said, but noted that the company’s performance there and across the world was “very balanced”. The decision to close the Bangkok office came in consultation with clients and partners in Asia, he said, adding that the firm would be able to serve clients in Bangkok just as efficiently as in Hong Kong, Singapore and Vietnam.
Mayer Brown has not been in merger talks for the past two years, Theiss said, but he “would never say that we are not open to” such discussions. He said the firm has a strategic plan that calls for growth in selected locations and practices, in line with client demand.
These locations include major financial centers such as New York, Hong Kong, and London, as well as technology-rich northern California. Practice groups in which the company intends to continue investing in 2021 and beyond include projects and infrastructure, particularly electricity and renewables. Theiss added that the company is also committed to expanding its energy practice.
He said the firm is also committed to expanding its presence in high-stakes litigation and capabilities, including white-collar advocacy work, as well as continuing to represent financial institutions.
Mayer Brown had 24 full-backs in 2020, Theiss said, including a group of five lawyers led by former Hunton Andrews Kurth partners Eric Pogue and John Tormey in infrastructure; Regulatory and Investigative Lawyer Gina Parlovecchio, former District Attorney for the Eastern District of New York; and Trevor Borthwick, who joined the banking and finance practice in London, leaving as Global Head of Corporate Lending for Allen & Overy.
Like other large law firms, Mayer Brown experienced a slowdown in the second quarter of 2020, but activity picked up as the year progressed. “We have seen a reduction in transaction activity because our clients have adopted a somewhat wait-and-see attitude. But we’ve been fortunate to see really widespread growth in our core areas of practice, both on the transactional and litigation side, ”said Theiss.
COVID-19 has caused a lot of disruption around the world, and in this regard, the firm has tried to focus on caring for clients, families and others “in a really tough year,” said said Theiss. “From a numbers standpoint, it was really just a continuation of the path we’ve been following for several years. “
Among the cases Mayer Brown handled in 2020 included litigation on behalf of 3M, the St. Paul, Minnesota-based consumer goods company, against entities that allegedly tried to jack up the prices of its personal protective equipment. . The company also advised Goldman Sachs on a $ 6.8 billion financing transaction for United Airlines’ MileagePlus program, among others.
Theiss said the company will try to maintain momentum throughout the rest of the year.
“From a business perspective, we are as busy in the first two months of 2021 as we have ever been,” he said.