Mayer Brown

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Mayer Brown
Mayer Brown logo.svg
Headquarters71 South Wacker, Chicago, Illinois, United States[1]
No. of offices27 total
No. of lawyersMore than 1,800 (2021)[2]
Major practice areasGeneral practice
Key peopleJon Van Gorp (Chairman)
Revenue$1.52 billion (2020)[3]
Date founded1881
FounderAdolf Kraus
Levy Mayer
Company typeLimited liability partnership
Websitemayerbrown.com

Mayer Brown is a global white-shoe law firm, headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, United States. It has offices in 27 cities across the Americas, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East, with its largest offices being in Chicago, Washington, D.C., New York City, Hong Kong,[4] and London. Mayer Brown has more than 1,800 lawyers and by revenue is the 19th largest law firm in the world.[5]

History[edit]

The three firms that now form the core of Mayer Brown were all founded in the 19th century. The US portion of the firm was founded in 1881 in Chicago, by Adolf Kraus and Levy Mayer, and was shortly thereafter known as Kraus, Mayer & Brackett. After several changes in name to reflect its changing membership, the firm eventually became known in the US as Mayer, Brown & Platt. The English portion of the firm, Rowe & Maw, was established in 1895 in London and operated under that name until joining with Mayer, Brown & Platt in 2002 to form Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw. In 2007, the amalgamated firm shortened its name to Mayer Brown. Johnson Stokes & Master was formed in 1863 in Hong Kong, and is today known as Mayer Brown (formerly Mayer Brown JSM) after merging with Mayer Brown in 2008.[6]

Offices[edit]

The firm has offices in Beijing, Brussels, Charlotte, Chicago, Düsseldorf, Dubai, Frankfurt, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Hong Kong, Houston, London, Los Angeles, Mexico City, New York City, Palo Alto, Paris, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, Shanghai, Singapore, Tokyo, and Washington DC; and, in association with Tauil & Chequer Advogados, offices in Brasília, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, and Vitória.

Pro bono work[edit]

Mayer Brown is a signatory to the Pro Bono Institute's Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge, which commits the firm to devote 3 percent of total billable time to pro bono work[7] and a member of the UK Joint Protocol on Pro Bono Work, which stipulates that pro bono legal work must be carried out to the same standard as chargeable work.[8]

Recognitions[edit]

  • IFLR Asia Pacific Awards 2021: “Financial Services Regulatory Team of the Year” and "High-Yield Deal of the Year" Awards [9]
  • Received a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign Foundation's Corporate Equality Index 2021.[10]
  • 2020 Asia IP Awards: "Hong Kong Copyright Law Firm of the Year"[11]
  • The Law Society of Hong Kong's 2020 Pro Bono and Community Service Award: "Distinguished Pro Bono Law Firm Award" and "Silver Law Firm Award for Pro Bono" [12]
  • Law360 Firm of the Year 2016-2020[13] and Practices of the Year for: Appellate,[14] Banking,[15] Benefits,[16] Consumer Protection,[17] Environmental,[18] Project Finance,[19] Securitizations,[20] and Tax.[21]
  • On Law360's "Global 20" 2019 list of law firms doing the most substantial, complex and diverse global work[22]
  • 34 top-tier national and 80 top-tier metropolitan U.S. News Best Law Firms 2019 rankings[23]
  • Earned the highest overall scores in client service performance among law firms in the 2019 BTI Client Service 30.[24]
  • Received Private Equity, Projects & Energy and Real Estate deal of the year honors at the China Law & Practice Awards 2018.[25]
  • Mayer Brown named Top Law Firm for Training Contracts and Vacation Schemes at AllAboutLaw Awards 2018[26]

Role in Refco Inc. collapse[edit]

Refco was a New York-based broker of commodities and futures contracts. It filed for one of the biggest bankruptcies in the USA history in 2005, after evidence of major accounting fraud surfaced.[27] In the wake of the collapse, a lawsuit was filed against Mayer Brown for aiding Refco executives' theft of more than $2 billion.[28] In November 2012, Joseph Collins, a former partner at the Mayer Brown, was found guilty on multiple charges of conspiracy and fraud for his role in preparing Refco's IPO.[29][30] The law firm itself agreed to pay an undisclosed sum to settle the legal claims against it.[31]

Role in the removal of a Tiananmen Square massacre statue[edit]

University students laying down flowers before the Pillar of Shame

In October 2021, Mayer Brown was hired by the University of Hong Kong to help remove a statue memorialising the victims of the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests and massacre from its campus.[32] The law firm issued a letter to Hong Kong Alliance,[33] which was a pro-democracy organisation known for holding annual candlelight vigils remembering the victims of the massacre and for arranging the erection of the statue at the university, to request the sculpture be taken away in seven days or be deemed abandoned. The Alliance, which had already been disbanded a month prior to Mayer Brown's letter because its members had been arrested for national security charges, did not actually own the statue but borrowed it from its creator, Danish sculptor Jens Galschiøt.[34] The statue, known as the Pillar of Shame, had been placed in the campus for more than 20 years before the university decided to have it removed.[35]

The decision to remove the statue attracted criticisms from across the world.[36] Uffe Elbæk, former Danish minister of culture, decried the decision "totally unacceptable",[37] and other Danish politicians requested the Danish foreign minister to meet with the Chinese ambassador to discuss about the removal.[38] Danish foreign minister Jeppe Kofod did later raise the matter with the Chinese government and his concerns for Hong Kong's freedom of expression.[39] United States Senator Pat Toomey criticized the removal attempt as an attempt to "rewrite history".[40]

In response to the press, the university defended its position, saying that the decision was based on “the latest risk assessment and legal advice”.[41]

The law firm also had to face pressure from American legislators and criticisms from around the world as well.[42][43] Senator Lindsey Graham commented to the press, "It is even worse American law firms are doing the bidding of the Communist Party to erase the memory of the brave, young Chinese students who gave their lives for freedom in Tiananmen Square." Senator Ted Cruz also said, "American firms should be ashamed to be complicit." Galschiøt, the sculpture's creator, compared the law firm's handling to Italian mafia methods and said, "I believe that Mayer Brown is morally and ethically responsible for helping to destroy the only mark of remembrance of the Tiananmen peace plan that exists on Chinese territory."[44]

On the day before the removal deadline, 28 human rights and civil society organisations around the world issued an open letter to Mayer Brown, urging the law firm to drop the university as a client.[45][46] These organisations argued that the law firm was violating its own social impact policy. Specifically, the Mayer Brown's mission statement claimed, "We encourage and enable our lawyers and business services staff to play a role in making a positive difference in the lives of others."[47]

When contacted by the press, the law firm explained that they were just trying to help their clients to understand and comply with the existing law. Mayer Brown said, "We were asked to provide a specific service on a real estate matter for our long-term client, the University of Hong Kong... Our legal advice is not intended as commentary on current or historical events."[48] This response prompted the press and activists to draw comparisons with the law firm's reaction following the murder of George Floyd.[49][42] The firm had issued a statement following Floyd's murder in June 2020, that "[a]s members of the legal community, we bear a special and heightened responsibility. We understand that the rule of law requires that everyone, and especially those in power, be held accountable for their actions."[50]

Two days after the removal deadline set by the law firm, and while the sculpture was still in place despite the deadline had already passed, Mayer Brown confirmed that they would stop representing the university regarding the sculpture removal.[43]

The incumbent Vice Chairperson of the National Committee of the CPPCC and the former Chief Executive of Hong Kong, Leung Chun-ying, criticised Mayer Brown's decision to stop representing the university, questioned the firm's professionalism, and called for a boycott against Mayer Brown.[51] He also openly asked the Law Society of Hong Kong to explain to the public whether Mayer Brown's decision was reasonable and believed the university could file a complaint against the law firm with the Law Society.[52][53]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Chicago". www.mayerbrown.com.
  2. ^ "The 2021 Am Law 100: Ranked by Gross Revenue". April 20, 2021.
  3. ^ "Mayer Brown Notches More Revenue Growth, 11% Profit Gain".
  4. ^ "Mayer Brown's Hong Kong office"
  5. ^ "The 2021 Am Law 100: Ranked by Gross Revenue". www.americanlawyer.com. Retrieved 2021-04-28.
  6. ^ August 30, John Kang |; international, 2018 at 01:00 PM | The original version of this story was published on. "Mayer Brown to drop 128-year-old iconic JSM name in Asia". Law.com International. Retrieved 2020-09-02.
  7. ^ "Probonoinst.org", retrieved September 27, 2013.
  8. ^ "Lawworks.org.uk" Archived 2013-10-02 at the Wayback Machine, retrieved September 27, 2013.
  9. ^ [1], 25 March 2021.
  10. ^ "Corporate Equality Index 2021". Human Rights Campaign. 2021. Retrieved 2021-04-12.
  11. ^ [2], 4 February 2021.
  12. ^ [3], December 2020.
  13. ^ "The Firms That Dominated In 2020 - Law360". www.law360.com. Retrieved 2021-04-12.
  14. ^ "Appellate Group Of The Year: Mayer Brown" (PDF) – via Law360.com.
  15. ^ "Banking Group Of The Year: Mayer Brown" (PDF) – via law360.com.
  16. ^ "Benefits Group Of The Year: Mayer Brown" (PDF) – via law360.com.
  17. ^ "Consumer Protection Group Of The Year: Mayer Brown" (PDF) – via law360.com.
  18. ^ "Environmental Group Of The Year: Mayer Brown" (PDF). law360.com. Retrieved 2021-04-12.
  19. ^ "Project Finance Group Of The Year: Mayer Brown" (PDF) – via law360.com.
  20. ^ "Securitizations Practice Group Of The Year: Mayer Brown" (PDF). law360.com. Retrieved 2021-04-12.
  21. ^ "Tax Group Of The Year: Mayer Brown" (PDF) – via law360.com.
  22. ^ "Law360.com", retrieved April 12, 2021.
  23. ^ "USNews.com", retrieved June 7, 2019.[4]
  24. ^ [5]"BTIClientServiceaTeam.com" Archived 2013-09-21 at the Wayback Machine, retrieved June 7, 2019.
  25. ^ [6]"ChinaLawAndPractice.com", retrieved June 7, 2019.
  26. ^ "Mayer Brown named Top Law Firm for Training Contracts and Vacation Schemes at AllAboutLaw Awards 2018 | News | Mayer Brown". www.mayerbrown.com. Retrieved 2022-01-27.
  27. ^ "Refco Files 4th-Largest Bankruptcy in U.S. History". Bloomberg News. Archived from the original on 2013-10-23.
  28. ^ "Refco Trustee Seeks $2 Billion from Mayer Brown, Others". Archived from the original on 2013-10-12.
  29. ^ "Lawyer sentenced to prison for role in $2.4 billion fraud at Refco". Archived from the original on 2013-10-12.
  30. ^ "Refco Lawyer, A&O, Mayer Brown, Skadden: Business of Law". Bloomberg.com. 19 November 2012. Archived from the original on 2013-10-23.
  31. ^ "Settlement Reached in Billion-dollar Fraud Scheme". 15 July 2013. Archived from the original on 2013-10-12.
  32. ^ "Hong Kong university hires US law firm to seek Tiananmen statue's removal". Financial Times. 8 October 2021.
  33. ^ @uffeelbaek (7 October 2021). "Danske medier og ikke mindst @JeppeKofod og @AneHalsboe: Er I opmærksom på, hvad der lige nu sker med @Galschiot sk…" (Tweet). Archived from the original on 11 October 2021 – via Twitter.
  34. ^ "When removing a statue actually is antidemocratic". Vox. Archived from the original on 14 October 2021.
  35. ^ Chow, Vivienne (8 October 2021). "Danish Artist Condemns Hong Kong University's Removal of His Tiananmen Monument After Over 20 Years: 'I Think They Will Destroy It'". Artnet. Archived from the original on 10 October 2021.
  36. ^ Thomas, David (October 13, 2021). "Rights groups, U.S. senators blast Mayer Brown over Tiananmen statue". Reuters. Retrieved October 13, 2021.
  37. ^ @uffeelbaek (8 October 2021). "Danske medier og ikke mindst @JeppeKofod og @AneHalsboe: Er I opmærksom på, hvad der lige nu sker med @Galschiot sk…" (Tweet) (in Danish). Archived from the original on 8 October 2021 – via Twitter.
  38. ^ "Partier kræver, at Jeppe Kofod indkalder Kinas ambassadør og forlanger dansk kunstværk udleveret fra Hongkong (Parties demand that Jeppe Kofod convene China's ambassador and demand Danish artwork handed out from Hong Kong)". Politiken (in Danish). Archived from the original on 9 October 2021.
  39. ^ "Danish government raises concerns over University of Hong Kong's removal order for Pillar of Shame statue". South China Morning Post. 16 October 2021. Archived from the original on 16 October 2021. 'For long, I have expressed my serious concern about developments in Hong Kong. And we ... have raised the matter [of the statue] in Beijing,' the country’s foreign minister Jeppe Kofod said in a statement first reported in Danish media.
    'The freedom to express opinions peacefully – through speech, art or other means – is a fundamental right of all human beings. This goes for Hong Kong too.'
  40. ^ @SenToomey (12 October 2021). "The CCP is further tightening its stranglehold over #HongKong. First they stripped Honk Kongers of their basic fr…" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  41. ^ "Hong Kong: University orders Tiananmen statue's removal". BBC. 9 October 2021. Archived from the original on 10 October 2021. The university said the decision was "based on the latest risk assessment and legal advice" without expanding on this explanation.
  42. ^ a b "Rights groups, U.S. senators blast Mayer Brown over Tiananmen statue". Reuters. 13 October 2021. Archived from the original on 14 October 2021. "American firms should be ashamed to be complicit" in the statue's removal, Cruz told journalist Eli Lake in a Substack column published Wednesday. Graham in the article lamented that "American law firms are doing the bidding of the Communist Party." A spokesperson for Graham declined to comment further. Cruz's office did not respond to a request for comment.
  43. ^ a b Taylor, Adam (15 October 2021). "U.S. law firm Mayer Brown to cease work for Hong Kong University in dispute over Tiananmen memorial removal". The Washington Post.
  44. ^ Hamilton, Jamie (15 October 2021). "'Morally reprehensible' Mayer Brown works to suppress memory of Tiananmen Square massacre". Rollonfriday. Archived from the original on 15 October 2021. The artist told RollOnFriday that the demand was "the kind of methods that an Italian mafia boss will use", and that Mayer Brown's involvement was "morally reprehensible".
    "I believe that Mayer Brown is morally and ethically responsible for helping to destroy the only mark of remembrance of the Tiananmen peace plan that exists on Chinese territory", he said.
  45. ^ "University of Hong Kong's Wed deadline for removal of 2-ton Tiananmen Massacre statue remains despite two typhoons". Hong Kong Free Press. 12 October 2021.
  46. ^ "Open letter to Mayer Brown law firm". Visual Artists Guild. 12 October 2021. Archived from the original on 12 October 2021.
  47. ^ "Mayer Brown makes a real difference to the communities in which it operates: Our Mission Statement". Mayer Brown. Archived from the original on 8 October 2021.
  48. ^ "A Hong Kong university orders the removal of a memorial to the Tiananmen massacre". NPR. Archived from the original on 13 October 2021. The firm told Hong Kong Free Press that it was being retained "as outside counsel [to] help our clients understand and comply with current law."
    "We were asked to provide a specific service on a real estate matter for our long-term client, the University of Hong Kong," the firm said. "Our legal advice is not intended as commentary on current or historical events."
  49. ^ Candice Chau (2021-10-13). "University of Hong Kong told to contact Tiananmen Massacre statue artist as removal ultimatum nears, despite T8 typhoon". Hong Kong Free Press HKFP. Retrieved 2021-10-14. Previously the firm has commented on political events – namely the Black Lives Matter anti-racism protests in the US.
  50. ^ "Statement from Mayer Brown on the Death of George Floyd". Mayer Brown. 1 June 2020. Archived from the original on 12 October 2021. At Mayer Brown, our core values are grounded in the principle that every individual—each and every individual—is equally worthy of respect and appreciation. We recognize the value that diversity and inclusion bring to our business and to our communities and we have a corresponding responsibility to speak up when our core values are undermined.
    As members of the legal community, we bear a special and heightened responsibility. We understand that the rule of law requires that everyone, and especially those in power, be held accountable for their actions. Those who failed to protect or even recognize George Floyd’s human rights should be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law. Mayer Brown stands in solidarity with all who lawfully seek justice for those who have been denied their civil liberties and human rights, and particularly when that denial has such tragic and irreversible consequences.
  51. ^ Leung, Chun-ying (15 October 2021). "Leung Chun-ying's Facebook post". Facebook (in Chinese). Archived from the original on 16 October 2021.
  52. ^ Leung, Chun-ying (16 October 2021). "Leung Chun-ying's Facebook post". Facebook (in Chinese). Archived from the original on 16 October 2021.
  53. ^ Leung, Chun-ying (15 October 2021). "Leung Chun-ying's Facebook post". Facebook (in Chinese). Archived from the original on 16 October 2021.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]