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Mayer Brown vice chairman Paul Maher has issued a highly unusual statement regarding his future at the Chicago-headquartered firm, announcing his decision to take a leave of absence following the firm’s recent leadership elections.
In the internal statement, seen by The Lawyer, Maher said: “In recent days I have been approached about several interesting opportunities. To give them careful consideration, which I am sure will understand I must do, I have requested and been granted a short sabbatical leave from the firm. Whatever my decision will be, it will involve me alone.”
Maher’s sabbatical follows widespread speculation about his role at the firm after it elected Bert Krueger to chairman earlier this month, while his US-based counterpart Ken Geller was elected to the newly created role of firmwide managing partner. The London-based Maher’s failure to get the top job triggered an outpouring of supportive comments on TheLawyer.com (17 April).
It is understood that Maher had difference of opinion over the strategic direction of the global firm. The renewed dominance of US partners in Mayer Brown’s management has been seen as heralding a more inward-looking strategy (20 April).
In his statement Maher said: “For the record I have long been a strong advocate for governance change and fully endorse the new structure. Bert Krueger and the new management team are very capable and I am confident they will continue to run the firm successfully.”
The announcement, which was sent in the name of the firm’s current chairman Jim Holzhauer, highlights Maher’s prominent role in the 2002 Rowe & Maw merger with Mayer Brown & Platt.
“Paul is a strong advocate of expanding the firm’s global footprint, which he helped bring about as the firm’s primary negotiator of Mayer Brown’s combination with JSM in Asia,” the statement said.