Mayer Brown loses three partners as White & Case, Vinson swoop

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  • Interesting news - and a good move to stronger platforms for all three, most notably Henchie.

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  • White & Case have a better platform than Mayer Brown, and some good institutional relationships, but the leveraged market is still as dead as a dodo, so White & Case are taking a punt on hiring leveraged partners. It's optimistic move to say the least!

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  • It might be optimistic but after the year that practice has had you can understand them wanting to roll the dice.
    "He who dares, Rodders," as someone used to say

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  • The very expensive Lev Fin team at MB is yet to close a deal, so the departure of their most expensive hires may come as sweet relief. What were they thinking leaving the safety of the MC for MB and all its troubles? Difficult to see the remaining LevFin team (made up of salaried partners and no rain makers) surviving much longer.

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  • and what about the other partners heading out the door, watch this space but this ain't the end. Of course they bought the Corporate big boys back from PH so maybe they can cling on.

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  • "This time next year they might be millionaires"...again. Guarantees are a wonderful thing. Good luck both!

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  • You reap what you sow. MB brought in a lot of expensive laterals on guaranteed financial packages over the past few years and few if any have delivered. Meanwhile a steady stream of home grown talent (Henchie being a prime example) has headed for the exit. MB is neither magic circle (or even silver circle) nor part of the global elite. It has become a transit lounge for opportunistic laterals keen to boost their pension pots for a year or two before moving on to pastures new.

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  • Anonymous - I think they had little choice in leaving the "safety of the MC". Once the market died it was impossible for them to stay given their high salaries and little return (note to future lawyers - law firms are equally as brutal as businesses in a recession!).
    MB were foolish to take them on and believe they wouldn't move on the moment a better platform came along. Saying that, I suspect this is as good a move for MB as it is for WC. At the end of the day, the real winners are the partners and of course their lucky headhunters!

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  • One thing thats rather odd is that White Case still want to invest in this area, with such appalling low volumes and margins but maybe it made sense for the guys moving if their guarantee period at MB was running off (only conjecture).
    The really strange thing though is what possessed the two of the them to make the choice to leave the magic circle firms they had been at. Not just as they would have been kissing goodbye to huge salaries and a nice glide to retirement but also leaving the really stimulating, fun and congenial environmemts which especially Allen Overy's lev fin team is famous for. No good crying about it now but it does look like the wrong call. I noticed that an ex Allens lev fin partner who left around the same time as Jacky has just bee re-admiited as a senior partner, so maybe a retrun to the mothership could be next after Whites?

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  • jackie didn't leave A&O voluntarily, she left as part of the 9% partner reduction

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  • Anonymous - are you sure about that? Really do doubt that; I thought she was in the inner circle there with Stephen and Robin? Anyway, they must be re-thinking the whole thing since I believe a very senior guy was de-equitised and banged down to consultant but is now back riding high

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  • The general consensus from the MB crowd is that the MB Finance partners were very naive in taking on Evans and Cullinane to set up a Lev Fin practice at a time when the market was essentially dead. The remaining Lev Fin "partners" are essentially nothing more than senior associates from other firms brought in as lateral partner hires with neither the experience or client base to generate further business. I imagine CVs are being hastily polished.

    This is yet another misstep for MB Finance Management: they are haemorrhaging partners and associates at all levels (4 this week alone) and the talent has walked out the door in recent months. There's a serious chance the department could implode.

    Someone needs to take hold of the reins, but it's unclear how the department's fortunes will be reversed in the short-term. I think you'll most likely see changes in MB management early next year.

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  • Anonymous 4.15 pm "the talent has walked out the door in recent months" - precisely what talent? Two lev fin partners, who never closed a single deal in their short stay? No talent has left at partner level, and at associate level this year they lost two good senior associates to Lloyds and one mid-level star to the regulator. Sounds like you are disgruntled ex-MB.

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  • Anonymous 2.56pm: Ex-MB? No. Disgruntled? Hardly! Thus wrong on both counts, I'm afraid.

    And there *was* talent at MB, but the march out of the door for various reasons is undeniable (which you'll know from the number of leaving drinks you'll have been invited to this year).

    MB are losing good people far quicker than they are replacing them. This is hardly a good plan for the development of a solid client base or a legal team to support them.

    Thus my point is that the departure of Evans and Cullinane is indicative of wider strategic and management failures that need to be urgently addressed for the sake of the firm.

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  • Anonymous 4.15 and 12.53 is clearly well informed and 2.56 you are a poor propagandist. Two IP partners, Nick Henchie - the big star in the Construction team, Evans and Cullinane - who were trumpeted in on their arrival, Elana Hahn, up and coming SF star to MOFO another two finance partners (min) to follow, the only FSRE partner, a star Cap Markets partner, a senior Tax Partner, six finance associates, seven Corporate associates and a senior Anti-trust rising partner as a six month headcount! Four senior Corporate partners handed in their notice in the last year and were given their price to stay. When the big cheese turns rat and heads for the lifeboat you have to wonder that the journalists are missing something here.....

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  • Indeed, MB has been heaven for the opportunistic laterals during the economic downturn. Let's see how it will work in the long term.

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  • Wake up guys. Evans and Cullinane were always going to move to a better platform when the markets stabilised, and the fact that they never closed a deal at MB is evidence of what a lousy platform MB is rather than a negative comment on them.

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