Mayer Brown is one of the largest law firms in the world. While the firm’s expertise encompasses a broad range of areas, Mayer Brown is particularly renowned for standout practices in corporate, finance and litigation, and advises many leading FTSE and Fortune 500 companies.
- Interesting, rewarding work with lots of exposure to high profile deals and clients
- Sociable, friendly team atmosphere – especially at the trainee level
- Recruits from a wide range of universities
- Solid training at a department and firm-wide level
- Work hard, play hard atmosphere
- Be prepared to put in the hours and work late
- Solicitors do not get to participate in firm decisions, and there’s sometimes a lack of transparency over decisions
- Not enough foreign secondments for everyone to get a chance to go
Training Contract: We are looking for candidates who not only have a consistently strong academic record including a minimum of a 2.1 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 who can demonstrate a drive for results, good verbal and written communication skills, an ability to analyse, good judgement, thoroughness, client focus and excellent interpersonal skills.
When to Apply: Applications close on 31 July 2013 for Training Contracts beginning in September 2015/March 2016. Law undergraduates should apply after receiving their penultimate year results.
Salary: Our current starting salary for trainee solicitors is £37,500 for the 1st year, £42,300 for the 2nd years and £61,000 for Newly Qualifieds.
Vacancies: We recruit approximately 20 trainees every year.
With more than 1,600 lawyers spread across major cities in the Americas, Europe and Asia, Mayer Brown is one of the leading law firms in the world. The firm advises many of the leading FTSE 100 and Fortune 500 companies, and although its expertise encompasses a broad range of areas, Mayer Brown is renowned for stand-out practices in corporate, finance, real estate projects and litigation.
The three entities that make up Mayer Brown today all began to practice law in the 19th century – each inaugural arm emerging from a separate continent. Johnson, Stokes & Master began life in Hong Kong in 1863; Levy Mayer founded the US progenitor in 1881; Rowe & Maw was established in London in 1895, operating under that name until joining with its US counterpart in a considerable transatlantic merger in 2002.
When US firm Mayer Brown & Platt and London's Rowe & Maw audaciously attempted to expand their practices by joining forces, many industry commentators were somewhat sceptical. At first it was seen as an odd pairing: Mayer Brown & Platt was a high-rolling, prominently domestic firm known for structured finance in Chicago; Rowe & Maw was a corporate boutique with a selection of first-rate clients. Come 2011 and not only has the nine-year relationship yielded dividends for the UK arm but the London office's cherished culture has endured.
In addition to this historic merger, Mayer Brown has a large international presence and strong relations with regional firms. Mayer Brown has an established alliance with Madrid-based Ramón & Cajal and has more than 200 lawyers in Hong Kong and mainland China. The firm has a strong German operation and a successful Paris office – both the result of mergers. Mayer Brown also operates in association with leading Brazilian law firm Tauil & Chequer with offices in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, aimed at benefiting from the surge in IPOs, infrastructure investment, real estate transactions and cross-border M&A in this rapidly developing country.
During the 2008 financial crisis, Mayer Brown somewhat repelled the economic climate, posting revenues of $1.3 billion. The firm’s litigation, employment and restructuring practices led the way through the rough waters, with a steady stream of mid-market deals and the occasional high-profile one stoking the fires. Corporate clients include Reuters, Cable & Wireless and Monsanto. The firm’s lawyers are also kept busy by an abundance of M&A work, while the finance team is particularly noted for its project finance work.
Another string to the Mayer Brown bow is the dispute resolution team, with services provided to clients as diverse as Bank of America and The Football League. The firm's real estate practice benefitted considerably from the merger, frequently advising American investors on their expansion into the European market and acting for media organisations and technology groups.
Mayer Brown has a distinguished and pro-active pro bono and community programme, pledging to devote 3% of total billable time per year to altruistic activities. Transatlantic co-operation is used to help fulfil its commitment, with a full-time director of pro bono efforts and a full-time assistant director (both in the United States), augmented by a pro bono partner in London. The firm has a varied pro bono practice that, in addition to assisting the communities it operates in, helps provide its young lawyers with important training opportunities and exposure to public interest law. The London office has even assisted in starting up a university for disadvantaged young women in Bangladesh.Read all 182 employee quotes
As one of law's biggest players, securing a training contract is no walk in the park and you’ll have to put a lot of effort into your application if you want to make it to the interview stage. The firm looks to recruit the best of the best so it goes without saying that excellent academic credentials are a bare minimum. The firm is after people with good problem solving and analytical skills who can confidently communicate both in word and in writing, and you’ll need to convince the firm you’re able to make sound judgements as you will be given a ‘high level of responsibility’ as a trainee.
The firm encourages a diverse intake: current trainees come from just under 30 different universities, and over 50% of them pursued a non-law degree. One trainee asserts that there is a ‘truly diverse mix of cultures and sexes at the firm. There are a lot of female partners and the firm generally has a real multi-cultural feel about it’. While this may be a major selling point to applicants, employees are also drawn to the fact that Mayer Brown offers a culture that is ‘quite relaxed, but ambitious’. Trainees are ‘very supportive of each other’ with little competition present during the training contract.
The firm’s training contract consists of four seats, with one mandatory secondment. ‘There is a variety of departments that you can sit in such as corporate, finance, insurance, tax and real estate’. International secondments can be undertaken in Hong Kong and New York, but expect to compete with strong candidates for these popular placements. Trainees say they ‘get exposure to big and interesting deals’ and the firm ‘has many top-notch clients’. The training is said to be ‘comprehensive, well-organised and taken very seriously by the firm’. It is spread over the two-year period and ‘departmental training is also offered throughout each seat for trainees currently sitting in that department’. Also you can expect to share a room with a partner or senior associate who will offer informal training and advice on a regular basis.
The hiring process starts with the online application form, followed by an online psychometric test and an assessment centre. Held over one day, ‘this consists of a fact-finding exercise, a written exercise, a group exercise, lunch with trainees and an interview with two partners. The interview is a mix of competency and commercial questions’. There will also be a big business case study, which is designed to test ‘your time-keeping, but also your commercial awareness, your common sense and your ability to follow a brief and take instructions’. The assessments are well-organised, and despite increasing candidates’ stress-levels, they are described as ‘quite enjoyable’. Current trainees advise applicants to ‘prepare well for the interview and speak up in the group exercise’. Also ensure beforehand that you are ‘commercially aware and know the firm’.
Students who undertake a work experience programme with Mayer Brown will get the chance to be assessed for a training contract during their placement. These are based in the London office and take place in the Spring and in the Summer. During the scheme you’ll get the chance to share an office with a partner or an associate who will be responsible for your work load. Social activities also form an important part of the scheme, including a day out in one of the firm’s European offices!
Places for these schemes tend to fill before the actual deadline is passed so make sure you apply early. If you can impress during the vac scheme, you will be asked to attend a 35 to 40-minute interview for a training contract with a member of the graduate recruitment team.
Mayer Brown Graduate Recruitment Info
Graduate Recruitment, London
Tel: +44 (0)20 3130 8524
Training Contracts: 31st July 2013
Vacation Schemes: 31st January 2013
No. of lawyers firm-wide: 1,600+
No. of lawyers in London: 250+
London partners: 100
London associates: 160
London trainee intake: Approx. 20
London trainees retained: 68% (2012)
Approx. no. of applications per year: 2,000
1st year trainee: £37,500
2nd year trainee: £42,300
Newly qualified: £61,000
Banking & Finance
Financial Services Regulatory & Enforcement
Insurance & Reinsurance
Intellectual Property & Information Technology
Litigation & Dispute Resolution
Pensions & Employment
Restructuring Bankruptcy & Insolvency
The culture is quite relaxed, but ambitious. Trainees are very supportive of each other with very little feeling of competition between each other. There is a lot of socialising between trainees, often organised by trainees themselves.First year traineeHelpful?
I have two mentors – they rarely (if ever) speak to me and we have never even had a ‘mentor’ type discussion.Newly qualified solicitor, BankingHelpful?
The assessment day was well organised and, in the end, quite enjoyable. The members of staff who took part were approachable and welcoming. I interviewed with two partners and it lasted for approximately one hour. The interview was testing but there were also, informal questions and conversations at times.First year traineeHelpful?
Decisions haven't been very transparent in recent years. I think the firm was aware of how strongly people felt about this and the lack of communication at times. I think the firm is now making a concerted effort to be more transparent and communicate with us more.Newly qualified solicitor, LitigationHelpful?
London EC2M 3AF
Tel: +44(0)20 3130 3000
No. of worldwide offices: 21
Ho Chi Minh City