Survey Results - Trainee feedback on Mayer Brown International LLP

The lowdown - Trainees (in their own words) on Mayer Brown International LLP

Why did you choose this firm over any others?  ‘Friendly culture’, ’the variety of work and strengths across transactional and contentious seats’, ‘small trainee cohort which has truly led to more responsibility’, ‘broad practice areas’, ‘the focus on a hybrid model of formal training and learning on the job’, ‘the level of involvement and care given by supervisors allows you to develop very quickly’, ‘short application process’, ‘small trainee intake, practice areas, culture’ 

What is the best thing about the firm? ‘Quality of work’, ‘the people and their approachability, regardless of seniority’, ‘big clients’, ‘how approachable everybody is at every level, including heads of department and management’, ‘non-hierarchical nature’, ‘commitment to diversity and inclusion’, ‘quality of work and responsibility’, ‘great work and amazing environment’  

What is the worst thing about the firm? ‘Socialising with colleagues is fairly non-existent’, ‘the work/life balance – especially in transactional finance seats where you often work very long hours’, ‘a bit stingy in some respects (didn’t provide us with a WFH budget at all)’, ‘work can be repetitive’, ‘HR can be slow to respond to trainee issues’, ‘the work/life balance and lack of support in terms of home working set up’, ‘sometimes the hours’ 

What is has been the best moment of your training to date? ‘Having an article published in a legal journal’, ‘receiving positive feedback for a research task I undertook that was called ‘model’ and just what the partner wanted’, ‘completing a 23-jurisdiction asset-based-lending deal that had been a huge team effort months in the making’, ‘doing big-ticket work’, ‘attending a successful mediation’ 

What has been the worst moment of your training to date?  ‘No particularly horrendous moments spring to mind, thankfully!’, ‘being asked to work all weekend late on a Friday’, ‘long hours and working a few weekends’, ‘lack of support and understanding for trainees during the pandemic’, ‘the overwhelming workload in the run up to Christmas’ 

The Legal 500 Future Lawyers verdict on Mayer Brown International LLP

Mayer Brown’s ‘broad practice areas’ and ‘global network’ were big draws for applicants. Trainees enjoy high levels of responsibility, ‘extensive training’ and ‘exceptional supervision’ at the US firm. Elaborating, respondents pointed to ‘a good balance of formal training sessions and learning via being given responsibility’, resulting in trainees being able to ‘complete difficult tasks with a greater understanding’. Colleagues are described as ‘approachable at every level, including heads of department and management’. Even more encouraging is that ‘management care about the development of trainees and are very happy to take the time to discuss career goals and plans for the future of the firm’. This goes some way to explaining the reason Mayer Brown is a Future Lawyers Winner for confidence of being kept on. Another gong has been awarded for the firm’s vacation scheme. One downside of working at Mayer Brown is the work/life balance. ‘The hours’ were cited as the worst thing about the firm by more than one respondent.  A ‘lack of support in terms of working from home’ was also noted; trainees would have liked more financial support to buy the necessary equipment for remote working. Moreover, ‘pay is still an issue’ at Mayer Brown and ‘this is not helped by management telling trainees how successful the firm has been over the past few years’. On a much more positive note, several trainees experienced ‘fantastic’ client secondments, where they received ‘good exposure and responsibility’, while the firm ‘stayed in regular contact and ensured we received the necessary training throughout’. To work with very approachable people and do ‘great work in an amazing environment’, consider Mayer Brown. 

About the firm

The firm: Mayer Brown is the only integrated law firm in the world with approximately 200 lawyers in each of the world’s three largest financial centres – New York, London and Hong Kong – the backbone of the global economy. Its ‘one firm’ culture ensures that clients receive the best of its collective knowledge and experience.

The clients: HSBC, Barclay’s, UBS, Unilever, Nestle, Google, J P Morgan, Goldman Sachs, American Express, Mitsubishi, LG, Deutsche Bank, Credit Suisse, Societe Generale, Wells Fargo.

The deals: Represented Barclays Bank PLC as arranger, agent and financier, and a syndicate of banks including ABN AMRO Commercial Finance, BNP Paribas Commercial Finance, HSBC Invoice Finance (UK), RBS Invoice Finance and Secure Trust Bank, in connection with a £357.5m syndicated asset-based finance facility made available to Aurelius to support the purchase of McKesson Corporation’s UK business; advised Aurelius on its acquisition of the Lloyds pharmacy business from McKesson Corporation; advised Deka Immobilien (Deka), a German real estate investor, on its $802m acquisition of Google’s Lakefront Blocks office campus in Seattle’s South Lake Union district from Newmark and Vulcan Real Estate; a Mayer Brown team, working with Quinn Emanuel as co-counsel, secured a major victory in Conduent State Healthcare, LLC, et al. v. AIG Specialty Insurance Company, et al. on behalf of two member companies of AIG, AIG Specialty Insurance and Lexington Insurance Company; obtained a landmark settlement for the players on the US Women’s National Soccer Team (USWNT) in their equal-pay lawsuit against the US Soccer Federation (USSF), the parties agreeing to settle for $24m in backpay damages and a guarantee of equal pay going forward for all games, including for the World Cup.

Senior partner: Dominic Griffiths

Managing partner: Jeremy Clay

Other offices: Bangkok, Beijing, Brasilia (T&C), Brussels, Charlotte, Chicago, Dubai, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Hong Kong, Houston, London, Los Angeles, Mexico City, New York, Palo Alto, Paris, Rio de Janeiro (T&C), Salt Lake City, San Francisco, São Paulo (T&C), Shanghai, Singapore, Tokyo, Vitória (T&C), and Washington DC.

Who we are: We’re a global law firm, whose signature strength is high-stakes litigation and complex cross-border work in financial services.

What we do: Our lawyers have expertise across a wide range of areas including corporate, finance, real estate, litigation, white-collar crime, investigations, employment, pensions, tax, restructuring and insolvency, financial services regulatory, and intellectual property.

What we’re looking for: We’re looking for people with the potential to be brilliant lawyers; candidates who not only have a consistently strong academic record including a minimum of a 2(1) (or equivalent) degree (predicted or obtained) in any discipline, but also who have a wide range of interests and achievements outside their academic career. Additionally, we would like to see innovative candidates with a drive for results, good verbal and written communication skills, resilience, and an ability to analyse, with good judgement and excellent interpersonal skills.

What you’ll do: You will be able to tailor your training contract across a broad range of seats, including our main practice areas in London, and international secondments. If you don’t want to stray too far, you have the option to gain valuable in-house experience by going on secondment to one of the firm’s major clients.

Perks: Pension, private medical insurance, dental insurance, life assurance, employee assistance programme, onsite GP and physiotherapist, onsite subsidised canteen, free eye test, membership of Mayer Brown Advantage, membership of My Family Care, season ticket loan.

Sponsorship: The firm will cover the cost of the GDL, LPC and SQE and provide a maintenance grant. The firm asks all students to complete their qualifications at BPP law school in London.

Diversity, inclusion and wellbeing

At Mayer Brown, we aim to cultivate a work environment in which we embrace, respect and value inclusivity and diversity. By demonstrating respect, both within and beyond our workplace, we support and celebrate our differences, while strengthening the productivity, creativity and effectiveness of our firm.

Creating and maintaining a more inclusive and diverse work environment is one of our key priorities, and this has spurred many of our diversity and inclusion initiatives. We drive these initiatives through our recruitment, training, mentoring, promotion, allocation of work and opportunities, expanding and developing our diversity networks and setting diversity targets.

In our London office we have four employee networks for race and ethnicity, families and wellbeing, LGBT+ and women and we have recently set up a working group to concentrate on social mobility. Our next focus will be to set up an employee network in relation to disability. Our networks regularly hold events, and recent highlights include a talk and panel discussion on colour blindness vs colour braveness, a panel event on supporting trans people, a women’s health event, and a speaker discussing life with Asperger’s. We are a sponsor of the Lord Mayors Appeal – Power of Inclusion events which focus around social mobility and we recently hosted a panel event on Social Mobility – Culture and Belonging.

To heighten awareness of unconscious bias and influence positive change, we have designed and implemented an interactive training workshop on unconscious bias.

We have launched several initiatives focused on employee mental and physical wellbeing, which is vital to create an inclusive culture. These include a global wellbeing month and a global mental health week. We have introduced a weekly Pilates class to promote healthy living and we have an onsite counsellor to support mental health. Recognising we can all help to eliminate the stigma associated with poor mental health, we have a team of mental health first aiders and we hold a range of events and seminars to promote mental health, such as an eight-week mindfulness course, suicide prevention training and talks on financial wellbeing, beating the winter blues, pushing past anxiety and on creating optimal sleep.

We work with PRIME, Sponsors of Educational Opportunity, Aspiring Solicitors (AS) and City Solicitors Horizons to provide students from under-represented groups with training, mentoring, networking and work experience.