Mayer Brown seeks to grow London through hires

Mayer Brown London senior partner Sean Connolly claims that “a merger isn’t plan A” for his firm after formal talks with Simmons & Simmons broke down.

Sean Connolly
Sean Connolly

The firm’s executive partner, Jeremy Clay, said the firm had been approached by Simmons and, despite its attitude towards a merger, agreed to talk with the firm. “There are a lot of UK firms looking to do deals. Most don’t get past the first phone call, but Simmons did because it’s a good firm.”

Clay and Connolly said Mayer Brown is “not looking for a big deal” and is focusing instead on “growing out London” through hires into finance and corporate, as well as targeting expansion in New York and China.

However, a source close to the situation disputed that the initial contact was made by Simmons.”The initial approach came from Mayer Brown to Simmons. Simmons was open to the idea, [but] it’s not the product of a merger itself. [It doesn’t have a] merged mentality.”

While management of the two firms were thought to have been attracted by practice and client synergies, stumbling blocks are thought to have included geographies and the £200,000 divergence in average profit per equity partner (PEP) bet­ween the two firms.