Mayer Brown: WLFWALF?

Mayer Brown new logo Above the Law blog.jpgTime for some quick follow-up on yesterday’s intriguing email about “an exciting, transformational event” for Mayer Brown. As we speculated, the big news is a merger announcement.
From an article by Ameet Sachdev the Chicago Tribune:

Mayer Brown plans to announce Friday an agreement to join forces with a large Hong Kong firm in a deal that would dramatically expand the Chicago law firm’s Asian presence, the Chicago Tribune has learned.

Mayer Brown is teaming up with Johnson, Stokes & Master, one of Hong Kong’s oldest law firms known for its stellar reputation in banking and finance, also a strength of Mayer’s.

Note that it’s “Stokes,” not “Strokes.” A firm named “Johnson, Strokes & Master” surely would have made this list of funny law firm names. In Asia, the firm will be known as Mayer Brown JSM (which mercifully contains no “i”; but note that “jism” is a legitimate word, and a good way to get rid of your “J” if you enjoy online Scrabble, as we do).
An ATL source at the firm reports:

We just got out of the worldwide meeting they had for associates and counsel, and I thought it was pretty exciting. In its presentations in the past, it has always mentioned that it wanted to have a significant Asia presence. They said that JSM was one of the top law firms in Asia, and the complementary mix of practice groups and clients will lead to lots of “synergies” (that was the big buzz word).

Something you might find interesting — they put up a new chart ranking law firms by worldwide revenue. We jumped from 13th (with $1.1bn) to 10th (with $1.35bn). JSM last year had about $130 million in revenue on only 41 partners. I’m pretty psyched about it….

Despite $1.3 billion in revenue and 1800 lawyers, the merged firm plans to expand further. From the Financial Times:

The firms expect to grow substantially after the merger. Mr Holzhauer projects annual revenue to hit $2bn ”very quickly” and Ms Lo predicts earnings of $4bn within two to three years. ”This kind of growth cannot be obtained by just organic growth alone,” said Ms Lo.

Up to now, Mayer Brown’s Asia presence has been limited to one office in Hong Kong and a representative office in Beijing. JSM, whose clients include HSBC, Bank of China and Cathay Pacific, has 200 lawyers in mainland China, but none outside Asia.

Meanwhile, in other MB news, the firm just announced New York bonuses. Memo after the jump.
Mayer Brown to merge with big Hong Kong firm [Chicago Tribune]
Mayer Brown merging with Hong Kong’s JSM [Financial Times]
Earlier: Mayer Brown Is A Woman Now

Some words of introduction, from a happy tipster:

“MB NY bonus memo attached. Matching the special and regular bonus! It’s ‘discretionary’ and amounts are listed as ‘up to x,’ but expectations are that 99 percent of associates will get the full bonus.”

Mayer Brown New York bonus memo.jpg

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