Exclusive: Greenberg hires Maher to build '21st century firm'

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  • Wow, this looks like an amazing move, especially as Maher gets his name on the firm. But who the hell are Greenberg Traurig?????

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  • Oh only a firm that generates $1.2bn has 1350 lawyers and more offices than any other firm in the United States. I’ve certainly never heard of them!

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  • Precisely man, also the last time I checked their overall global ranking was greater than Mayer Brown’s.

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  • Greenberg is a perfect example of a firm making the most of the downturn. The hires it has made in the US have been fantastic. There is no doubt that GT would not have been able to hire the likes of Zirinsky during the boom. I suspect it's the same with Maher.

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  • I'm not sure if the point about Maher is right, they're obviously paying him a huge premium whilst offering him the potential to achieve a vast amount. I believe this is a deal that both parties would have clutched regardless of the economic climate; it's not often a lawyer of Maher's calibre is available.

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  • What happened to all the talk of going to top firms like Lathams? I wonder if either side know what they're getting here. Greenberg are a third tier firm in the US, like an Eversheds or at best lower second tier like a DLA. They may have size and a few highly paid partners, but they're otherwise very average or below, mostly known for real estate and certainly not for corporate. Is anyone surprised he moved from Maher Brown to Greenberg Maher? Will be interesting to see if anyone else jumps from the safety of a full service practice to a boutique firm with little to offer in the UK.

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  • Mayer Brown’s just bitter Paul, Greenberg's better in every way; facts speak volume and paint a clear picture for every onlooker. I don't remember Mayer Brown being awarded law firm of the year! Good luck with your new venture it sounds fabulous.

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  • Who are the two he has taken with him? Never heard of either of them.

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  • Re; 2.50pm
    "Paint a clear picture for every onlooker"? I'm not entirely sure what you mean. If you predicted that Maher would move to a boutique (at least in London) firm in the City, you're a better man or woman than I. Where has all the talk of Maher moving to one of the London giants, taking wave after wave of associates with him?
    In my opinion, this is a good move for Maher (in that he gets his name 'in lights'), a riskier one for Greenberg (in that they are starting a relatively new venture with a man that is known to be a divisive as he is talented) and a better-than-expected for Mayer Brown (as I can't see them losing out dramatically from this move).

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  • This may be a good opportunity for Maher, but make no mistake about it: Greenberg is most definitely a third tier firm in the US and rarely get attorneys from the top 25 law schools. We will see if Maher can make something different and better in the US. Ask anyone who is familiar with both firms - comparing it to Mayer is laughable.
    Let's just call it what it is: a surprising move by Maher to not join a peer (or better) firm than Mayer, in exchange for probably a ton of money and the opportunity to do whatever he wants at his own office.

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  • I suspect Mayer Brown are very happy with Maher's final destination as it won't offer any sort of threat to them. This is also a vindication for those who doubted Maher. No big firm has taken on the risk of his well known issues and he's clearly gone for the Man is Bigger than the Firm option by insisting the new firm use his name. Good luck to the 3 of them as both sides are no doubt happy with the outcome.

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  • Maher has a 20 million pound client base; he has taken the very two lawyers who have been working closely with him on this clientele base over the last 10 years.
    As for Greenberg they're bigger and a far more highly respected law firm than Mayer Brown; call it a boutique firm if you like but their turnover is the same as Mayer Browns.
    As for Mayer Brown Chicago, distort the facts as much as you want but you have just lost a big chunk of your business; you’re not the Chicago giant you were 20 years ago so stop trying to live of that reputation; you’ve even been surpassed by Kirkland and now sit at no.3 in Chicago. I sense there is even a hint of jealousy in the 4:55 Bloggers writing.

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  • I know Maher well as the chairman of a large law firm and i can tell you that he has turned down a bunch of legal giants to join this firm; may I just remind everyone GT is bigger than Mayer Brown.
    I am very disappointed you're not joining us Paul but I wish you luck. We almost had you!

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  • Apparently Cate Sharp was head of environmental law at Mayer Brown in the UK. Not sure what she and Greenberg are going to offer each other...

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  • Sorry when did Mayer Brown last win law firm of the year outside london?

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  • sorry when?

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  • These comments are wierd

    "I am very disappointed you're not joining us Paul but I wish you luck. We almost had you!"

    Is this for real? Somehow I think not.

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  • If Greenberg is a 3rd tier firm Mayer Brown must be a 6th tier firm.

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  • 5:19: you are sorely mistaken if you think Greenberg is "bigger and more respected" than Mayer. Greenberg barely cracks the top 70 US firms on Vault which, for all of its problems, is probably the best measure of "prestige" in the US market. Sure, things could change, but they are a third tier firm with third tier rates that has only grown by a series of roughshod mergers and high profile lateral hirings. Yes, the aggressive policy may pay off down the line, but it hasn't yet. And your comment on Kirkland shows that you know nothing about US firms. Kirkland is one of the top 10 law firms in the US and has been that way for a long time (and anyone who works there would argue top 5). It's no slight to Mayer to say that they aren't Kirkland.

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  • there are also more mcdonalds in the world than GT offices. Does that make mcdonalds better than GT? With reasoning like this you people can't be lawyers.

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  • to 5:33. 2009. It's not that hard to google 'mayer brown law firm of the year'

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  • I would have heralded an international alliance with Salans as Greenberg's next move in Europe instead. It might be too late for that now since Pinsents seized the moment, or is Greenberg still pursuing the idea? Not that I loved Maher less, but that I loved Paris more!

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  • If People want to live their lives in the 1980's then let it be but Mayer Brown has been outshined by Greenberg in the last 30 years: look at the facts.

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  • Leaving Mayer Brown and Greenberg aside for a moment everyone on this blog is forgetting one crucial aspect of the deal in question: Maher and Greenberg are establishing a new LLP; a new firm. Whilst Greenberg’s growth has been nothing short of magnificent over the last 20 years the core of the new firm is Paul Maher. Paul is a man with a highly respected reputation in London; a reputation that he will exported with him. This is what matters.

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  • With all due respect, but your cover today claims that Mr. Maher is Mayer Brown's "best known partner"!!?? Really? No doubt I am not well-enough plugged in, but I think you are betraying a clear London-centric bias, which may be inapprorpiatee when discussing a U.S.-based law firm. I, for one, have never heard of Mr. Maher (nor has he ever heard of me no doubt, so that is not at all meant as any kind of a put down of Mr. Maher whatsoever). I have, however, heard of Joel Williamson in Chicago, who has handled many of the largest U.S. tax litigations (involving literally billions), and Debra de Hoyos, an ex-Managing Partner.

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  • No, I think we're all forgetting that this Maher dude is no Boardman or Cheyne. Nor is he a Knowles or an Angel. Neither is he ever likely to be. He's more of a randon dude from a 4th tier firm who doesn't even register on most radars except for the fact he annoys some people.

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  • I'm from London, and I'd never heard of this guy until he recently parted ways with his firm. I suppose it's big news because he was management.
    I'm thinking this bruhaha is the equivalent of people getting worked up over an election for a district school board vacancy in Iowa: compared to a presidential election, for example.

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  • I will be glad when this guy settles in to his new role with this random firm so I can stop looking at his picture and reading boring stories about his career everytime open The Lawyer.

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  • Very funny, no one’s ever heard of him but he sits on the front cover of the lawyer every other week, has a 25 million pound client base and a $1.2bn dollar firm changing their name to accommodate his. Sorry but once again the facts work against most the arguments on these blogs.

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  • Maher does not have a £25m, £20m or any other laughably over inflated number for a practice. He has been running around the globe the last few years trying to mould Mayer Brown into his image and has been doing very little billable work. Even in his hey day when some mid-tier corporates (all of which no longer exists due to takevoers - which he didn't work on...) used him for mid-tier work, it would more like £3m. No disgrace, mind you, but all these hysterical claims of £20m followings are ridiculous. An internationally unknown US law firm with a relationship with that other heavy hitter, Olswangs, has hired him and let him carry his name. Big Deal.

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  • I’ve worked closely with Paul over the last ten years. I’m not trying to add anymore tension to this debate but the client base he’s been given clearance to take with him honestly generated 19 million pounds last year. All these clients have expressed they wish to continue working with Paul.

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  • Thank you Paul for getting on with it and resurfacing quickly at your chosen stable. That will enable quite a few of us either to remain where we are or to give Greenberg Traurig a miss. I wish you well, but from a distance.

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  • The fact that some people are writing negative comments about Paul Maher and Greenberg Traurig show they're flustered and clearly very jealous of this exciting new venture. Mayer Brown have lost their brightest star; a star who was totally loyal to them over the years. Just shows that loyalty doesn't' pay in an elitist firm. Good luck Mayer Brown London; you'll need it.

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  • Some of these reponses are typical of parohicial UK market watchers, who think the sun shines out the arse of the City and fail to understand the U.S legal market. Greenberg Traurig are a fabulous firm, who have been mkaing great strides in recent years. Their revenue for 08 was over $1.2 bn, that's between 700 and 800m sterling, or, put it this way, twice that of Herbert Smith. Sure, they're not top tier in Cravath-esque way. But maybe those firms are too white-shoe and cautious for Maher. I can see the attraction of trying to create something at a firm with roots in Florida, a great U.S footprint, strength in New York, and Latin America - a firm that's dynamic, ambitious. I think this is a great move for him and the GT.

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  • Gavin Sharpe, director of Shilton Sharpe Quarry, told Recruiter that he expects these placements will be the first of many made by the firm. “This law firm [Greenberg Traurig] will continue to hire not just in the UK but in financial centres globally. Watch this space,” he toldRecruiter.

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  • Guys - wake up and smell the coffee. The old firms are doing it the old way! Same fee structures, same hourly targets, same ways of paying their lawyers. Mayer Brown, Olswang etc. The new firms will do it the new way - different cost structures, different remuneration incentives. Can't you see that? Maher is a visionary. Am waiting for SSQ to call me!

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  • For those who think Greenbergs are a "fabulous" firm, I suggest you google " Greenberg Taurig Problem Partners" and see what pops up. In summary, loads of partners indicted, disbarred or generally in trouble. They make Mayer Brown (which has a US partner on trial right now for a billion dollar fraud and several billion in law suits from Refco and a failure to file the US equivalent of form 395's) look quite good.

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  • Fascinating reading these blogs re the merits of the two firms and the implications of these moves on both - so much vitriol! But, for one who knows Paul, Fiona and Cate quite well, having worked with them for over ten years, I can only say that GT now have on board three very experienced and highly competent M&A practioners. All have superb drafting & negotiating skills and are very well repsected by their clients, most of whom I exepct will gladly move their business with them. (We certainly will.)

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  • Me suspects a green eyed monster! How does a firm apparently with no long term debt that reels in 2 or 3 of the finest laterals on both sides of the Atlantic get so vilified? Hasn't BLP slipped up recently? Remember the Travers Smith fiasco? The Lawrence Graham fraudster? Those are all decent firms that had recruitment mishaps. Yet Greenberg is more successful than all of them put together. Why the outpouring? Good luck to Maher. All those law firms that lost out in recruiting him and are losing business to Greenberg in the States should blog with more dignity!

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  • I‘ve also worked closely with these three lawyers over the last decade and just to clarify for as long as they practice law I’ll always select them to handle our legal work.
    It certainly has been fascinating reading these blogs; clearly there is a lot of hostility between the Maherites and those who are not so fond of Paul. As far as I’m concerned I can’t understand why some people view Paul in such a bad light; he’s bright, energetic, funny and above all the best at what he does. It must be difficult for him to read such sinister blogs with a personal undertone. The vast majority of what is written is unjust Paul; you have everything you need to make GTM a success: your ability and clients.

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  • I think we should all be ashamed of ourselves. One assumes that most of us reading this and blogging are lawyers. As intelligent, balanced and articulate individuals - what are we doing?! Do we Brits still resent success so much? What is Paul Maher's crime? He has become one of the most successful lawyers of our time. Full stop. He built (no doubt alongside some good lawyers) a fine international law firm. Few doubt that. So where on earth does this outpouring come from? Mayer Brown is starting to look like the Tory party after Mrs Thatcher. They need to get comfortable in their new skin. Like the Tory party, they executed the coup de grace on their leader and so they can't have it both ways or they will also have years in the wilderness while they work out their direction. But why personalise it so much? They should just get on with it and....maybe...a merger with Olswang?

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  • Those of us who still have the pleasure of working with Walter Grieb see nothing new in this. As ever, our Kent Magic circle is ahead of the game. Walter held out for a name on the plate after the Field merger and has never looked back. i only hope maher has the same spunk.

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  • I also confirm we are disappointed we would have loved to have you on board.

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