$1M in Profits Per Partner is Not Enough for Mayer Brown

Mayerbrown_2 I'm working to get comment from Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw's on its decision to axe 45 partners.  I'd like to know how they think this affects:

  • The firm's image.
  • Recruiting of ivy league law students.
  • Lateral partners with books of business.
  • The opinion of clients.

"We want to drive our stock price up," chairman-to-be James Holzhauer told the Wall Street Journal law blog.

Their recruiting slogan is "Don't Just Work. Thrive." My guess is that federal court clerks, law grads and lateral partners won't believe the slogan just now.

Holzhauer will be viewed like Tom LaSorda, Chrysler chief executive officer, when he announced 13,000 job cuts.  The stockholders loved it, but the people who lost their jobs felt that they had been stabbed in the back. One comment on the WSJ blog said, "Cue the Death Star theme music..." 

Unlike Chrysler, Mayer Brown had record earnings in 2006: $1.1 billion, up 11% over 2005.  In fact profits per partner exceeded $1 million.  So this means the decision was motivated by avarice, insatiable greed for riches, and an inordinate desire to gain and hoard wealth.

If I were a client of Mayer Brown, I might be thrilled that my law firm was run by bloodthirsty cut-throats who will jettison longtime colleagues for money.  But maybe I'd be a little scared of the firm too.  Mayer Brown has signaled that its firm culture is a money-hungry, ruthless sweatshop. That would give me the creeps.

I guess I'll never get a project from Mayer Brown after this post. But then again, I don't take jobs from Huns, Goths or Vandals.

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Patrick Hillman - March 8, 2007 6:37 PM

My firm's no where near that big, but this is a prime example of the kind of thing that partners do without a marketing executive at the table to say, "Uh... hey guys..." Used to happen all the time where I work. I'd usually find out via the dreaded "memo" from some secretary announcing yet another ill-conceived policy.

MBRM partner - September 5, 2007 5:28 PM

As an epilouge to this entry, MBRM or (as it's now known) MB has suffered a massive exit of partners (over 70 this year) including many of its highest paid and biggest earning partners. I guess it wasn't just the marketing executives who thought swinging the axe was a bad idea. Anyone for a job at Mayer Brown?

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