Two months after The Lawyer reported that SJ Berwin senior partner Stephen Kon was putting international expansion at the heart of the firm’s strategy, we can reveal that the firm is holding exploratory talks with US firm Mayer Brown.
The talks follow the appointment of Paul Theiss as Mayer Brown chairman, replacing Bert Krueger in the role, and it is understood that the Chicago-headquartered firm is keeping its cards close to its chest on this one with few (if any) outside senior management in the loop.
SJ Berwin targeting Mayer Brown is a bit of a departure for the UK firm, which previously appeared to have its heart set on tying up with a New York player, most recently Proskauer Rose. That said, a number of years ago rumours circulated that SJ Berwin was talking to Sidley Austin - another Chicago firm - about a merger, so it’s not completely out of the blue.
The news comes as King & Wood Mallesons’ senior partner Stuart Fuller admitted, cryptically, that the Asia Pacific firmwas talking to either Nixon Peabody or SJ Berwin about a link-up.