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? ‘I really enjoyed my vacation scheme and truly felt like it was somewhere I really wanted to work’; ‘inclusive culture’; ‘it is global, has a strong practice in London, Hong Kong and the US, and provides interesting secondment opportunities’; ‘small intake and strength of its key practice areas (litigation, finance, corporate)’; ‘quality of training and reputation’

Best thing about the firm? ‘The culture – how friendly, community-minded and helpful everyone I have worked with is’; ‘people and work quality’; ‘the canteen food’; ‘the small trainee intake’; ‘trainees are given as much responsibility as they are able and willing to take on, which is great for learning and development’; ‘the breadth and quality of practice areas’

Worst thing about the firm? ‘The IT/technology offering is not great’; ‘varying concepts of urgency can lead to a lot being demanded at once’; ‘the technology’; ‘uncertainty around secondments and the few/narrow international secondment opportunities’; ‘the canteen area is small’; ‘office layout’; ‘the hours are long and there aren’t many trainees which means that we can be stretched’

Best moment? ‘Running my own real estate matters and receiving great feedback’; ‘receiving simple emails of gratitude and thanks from partners’; ‘convincing the courts to retrieve important documents at short notice, for a partner’; ‘winning a pro-bono case, it’s very satisfying to make such a clear difference to a client’s life’; ‘working on an arbitration which involved lawyers from the Chicago, Houston, Beijing and Hong Kong offices’

Worst moment? ‘Being very quiet in the real estate department in a post-Brexit market’; ‘working 15 days in a row to close a deal’; ‘making a mistake early on in my training contract and letting down the supervising associate’; ‘working with a tricky associate’; ‘working very late one night and making a few mistakes which were picked up the next day’

The Lex 100 verdict on Mayer Brown International LLP

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 deals: Advised longstanding client Entertainment One (eOne) on its sale to Hasbro, Inc for approximately US$4bn (£3.3bn); advised Toro Gold Limited, the private gold producer, on the sale of its entire share capital to Resolute Mining Limited for c.US$300; advised Bidfair USA on the acquisition of Sotheby’s, which saw the company return to private ownership; advised Kingswood Edge Limited, the joint venture formed by Hong Kong-based Wing Tai Properties Limited and Manhattan Garments Group, on its purchase of 30 Gresham Street, London for £400m; advised Eland Oil & Gas PLC on its sale to the West African oil developer Seplat Petroleum Development Company for approximately £382m.

The verdict

Mayer Brown’s stellar vacation scheme impressed the current cohort, who were ‘taken aback by the quality of the work and the approachability of the fee-earners’. The London office is ‘small but with a big international presence’ and affords trainees plenty of responsibility on varied and interesting matters. ‘Being given associate-level work with minimal supervision’ can be daunting but, thankfully, there is comprehensive training which includes ‘frequent talks and updates from barristers, along with significant front-loaded teaching at the start of each seat’. The best thing about Mayer Brown are the people: ‘everyone is very open to answering your questions and there is a genuine open-door policy where you are encouraged to contribute, regardless of your level’. It really is no wonder that the firm has scooped an impressive six Lex 100 Winner awards in categories including job satisfaction, quality of work and inclusiveness. On a less positive note, the canteen food leaves a lot to be desired, as does the technology, which is ‘changing now but we still have a lot to catch up with’. Moreover, some recruits expressed concern that certain departments seem ‘under-resourced, which means that trainees can be stretched’, especially given the smaller intake size. Among the best moments were ‘being told that it would be a waste if I did not become an employment lawyer’ and ‘being trusted to draft a letter of claim from scratch’. Such exciting work highlights surely make up for occasional mundane tasks such as ‘rolling out repetitive notices to other parties’. For a firm which is global in size but where the atmosphere on the ground is ‘incredibly welcoming, friendly and helpful’, take a closer look at Mayer Brown.

A day in the life of… Jasmin Simpson, trainee solicitor, Mayer Brown International LLP

Jasmin Simpson, Mayer Brown International LLP

Departments to date: Litigation and dispute resolution, corporate and securities

University: Cardiff University

Degree: Law, 2(1)

7.00am: I wake up and head to the gym for an early morning class before work. A great way to get energised for the day! Mayer Brown’s office is located near Liverpool Street where you are spoilt for choice with a range of gyms available through the firm’s subsidised memberships.

8.30am: I stroll into the office and make my way to our canteen (‘The Hub’) to pick up my morning coffee and granola. The office is still fairly quiet so I use this time to catch up on emails, review my to-do list and read the morning news to make sure I am informed of market updates.

9.00am: The rest of my team begins to arrive in the office. We catch up on any developments since yesterday and discuss the outcomes we need to achieve today.

9.30am: We have a hearing listed for next week in the High Court to obtain urgent freezing injunctions on behalf of our client. I am in charge of filing the hearing bundles with the court and the other parties, so I finalise all of the documents and serve the bundles before the deadline. After this, I liaise directly with our junior barrister with a view to finalising our skeleton argument.

11.30am: Mayer Brown runs a foundation training programme for the trainees when we join a new department. Today I attend an interactive session on how to interview witnesses ran by a litigation partner and PSL. During the session, each trainee has the opportunity to question the witness to obtain the information required to form the basis of a witness statement.

12.30pm: I head down to The Hub to have lunch with the other trainees. You can guarantee there will always be a large table in the middle where the trainees socialise. There are only ten trainees in my intake, so we all know each other well.

1.30pm: We have a conference call with counsel and our internal team to discuss next week’s court hearing. I am given instructions to draft correspondence to the respondents in an attempt to try and agree on issues in advance of the hearing.

3.00pm: The graduate recruitment team runs a mentorship programme among the trainees. I meet with my trainee buddy for a quick catch-up over a coffee to discuss how they are settling into the firm and to answer any questions they may have.

3.15pm: We have identified a number of potential expert witnesses to instruct on behalf of a client. This afternoon we begin a series of interviews to assess their suitability for the role.

5.00pm: I assist a partner in preparing pre-bills for a client in accordance with their billing guidelines which we send in advance of the final invoice. We summarise the work carried out to date and the approximate fees incurred.

5.30pm: I have been given a research task to complete to enable us to advise a client that is a defendant to proceedings. I carry out research regarding the limitation periods for issuing and serving a claim form outside the jurisdiction and the requirements that must be met for effective service, and prepare a draft email for the associate to review.

7.00pm: I check in with my supervisor to see if there is anything else I can help with, and then I head to our events space to attend an event hosted by the London Women’s Network. This is a great opportunity to network with the firm’s key clients and catch up with colleagues around the office.

About the firm

Senior partner: Sally Davies

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), 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, 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, 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 and LPC and provide a maintenance grant. The firm asks all LPC students to complete the LPC at BPP law school in London.

Diversiy, inclusion and welbeing

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 focuses 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.