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Mayer Brown’s London Managing Partner has told his colleagues not to ruin fee-earners' holidays with work demands.

Dominic Griffiths instructed his partners that "there is a presumption that holidays will not be cancelled or interrupted unless there is a genuine emergency which cannot be resolved without the input of the individual concerned". 

Griffiths told RollOnFriday that he reinforced his reminder with a message to fee earners, telling then that an interruption of their annual leave "only ever happens where there is a genuine emergency which cannot be resolved without your input".  

US firms have a reputation for expecting their solicitors to be available 24/7, 365 days a year, and Griffith's edict could be interpreted as an effort to placate put-upon Mayer Brown associates in a red-hot recruitment market. A senior solicitor at Mayer Brown told ROF earlier this year that there was "no protection of holidays" at the firm and that "even unimportant emails [have] to be responded to while on holiday".

Lawyers at many US firms in London are compensated generously for their time, and they enjoy some of the biggest wages in City law. However, a junior solicitor at Mayer Brown complained that her firm did not pay enough to justify wrecking vacations. "Mayer Brown views themselves as on par with K&E, Latham, STB, etc., and expects the same output, weekend work and cancelled holidays while paying (sometimes less than) silver circle salaries", she said.

Free time has become especially important in the WFH era, with lawyers across private practice complaining that supervisors began treating them as on call at all hours. A Mayer Brown solicitor said that during the pandemic, it was "very much the attitude, 'well you aren’t doing anything else...'".

However, a spokesperson for Mayer Brown said Griffiths was "simply reiterating the importance of people having a real break from work whilst on holiday, which is largely followed already, and letting the associates know that a work/life balance is one of his priorities".

Griffiths told ROF, "I believe it is incumbent upon us that client matters are always appropriately covered whilst our lawyers take well deserved breaks in the ordinary course".


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Comments

Deluded 10 June 22 08:49

“Mayer Brown views themselves as on par with K&E, Latham, STB, etc.”

Mega lolz. Mayer Brown is where you go once you have been fired by one of those firms and at least one or two others after that.

The spiral of failure usually looks something like:

K&E —> White & Case —> Proskauer —> Mayer Brown / MoFo / Jones Day —> DLA / Eversheds —> Weird in-house role / move off-shore

Anonymous 10 June 22 09:20

I think that is very unfair of Deluded to say. I have marked up their document to correct the errors in the original:

 

K&E —> White & Case —> Proskauer —> Mayer Brown / MoFo / Jones Day —> DLA / Eversheds —> Weird in-house role / move off-shore —> Pet Psychic

Inhouse outhouse shake it all abouthouse 10 June 22 09:21

@Deluded 10 June 22 08:49

That's you not getting any instructions from weird in-house lawyers. 

Now if you will excuse me it is nearly 10 AM on a Friday and lunch and the weekend beckons.

Anonymous 10 June 22 09:43

"Offshore is certainly where you end up when you have failed."

Failed to avoid marrying a smoking hot trophy wife who wants to spend their days lounging around your pool in scandalous bikinis while you 'work' 10 - 4 before joining her for cocktails, you mean?

 

A crushing fate indeed.

ellie 10 June 22 09:55

What is with all this offshore bashing these days?  Those lads work heard for their daily pudding.  Harder than a lot of onshore lot who seem very jealous of their success.  For shame! Perhaps a gander at the mirror and some intropsection regarding your own life choices would serve you better.

Anon 10 June 22 10:02

Anonymous 10 June 22 09:43: no, more like failed to succeed onshore, and therefore considered a failure by the rest of the legal profession.

A crushing fate, indeed.

Insurance Goblin 10 June 22 10:08

I suppose the one good thing about earning £50k after ten years' lawyering is that I can stop working at 5pm on the dot and never even think about working a weekend. This kind of 24/7 nonsense can get fucked. It's only money!

Anonymous 10 June 22 10:12

This is a product of competition. My firm would never do this and offers a wide degree of flexible working. Forget working for the old model of firm - no-one is looking at the greasy ladder these days.

Anonymous 10 June 22 10:31

Heh, I'd take a hefty tax-free wage, working in hawaiian shirt and shorts, and decent weather over 'success' in Blighty any day of the week. 

But not in the Middle East. No thanks, a bit too, er, repressive dictatorial supervillain-y for my liking. 

Anonymous 10 June 22 10:33

I used to work as a rubbish paralegal as a national bucket shop.

They once rang me about a case on the day of my grandmother's funeral. About whether a PTC had been filed. The case management system showed it had been completed with cover letter. 

 

Anonymous 10 June 22 10:48

I earn 68k as a 11pqe insurance lawyer.  Often work until 7pm. Fuck being contacted on holidays. 

Insurance Goblin 10 June 22 11:02

Anonymous 10 June 22 10:48

 

£68k? How did you pull that off?! That's above my ceiling here!

Anonymous Anonymous 10 June 22 11:13

Leave the firm. Move to a Chateau in France. Set up a legal practice and offer good legal advice at reduced price to UK customers. Enjoy the swimming pool all year round. Simple.

 

Anonymous 10 June 22 11:19

@ Insurance Goblin 10 June 22 11:02

Got lucky as boss left and risk of team leaving with him so we all got bumped.

No skill. All luck.

US associate 10 June 22 14:17

Interested in people’s thoughts on the term “US firms”. Not trying to be mean but how could Mayer Brown be called a “US firm” when it apparently pays less than a silver circle firm? I almost think that US firms should be exclusively high paying (read: £150k+ NQ) institutions. Mayer Brown, Bakers, DLA and Willkie should all be called “firms”, which term is distinguished from “MC firms” or “SC firms”.

Anonymous 10 June 22 14:35

@US associate 10 June 22 14:17

I don’t know for sure but I’ve heard that the “US” in “US firms” is actually an abbreviation for “United States” (referring to the location of the firm’s headquarters) rather than for “Unjustifiable Salary” (referring to its NQ remuneration policy). 

Gobblepig 10 June 22 16:36

US Associate: stupidest comment ever. Do you genuinely think that whether a firm qualifies as a US firm depends on what it pays compares to the Silver Circle? 

Presumably therefore you believe that if Simmons & Simmons or whoever went bonkers and upped its NQ salaries to £200k, all "US firms" would suddenly just become "firms"?

Sensible 10 June 22 16:50

US firms is a pretty unhelpful category generally. If you actually break them down, we have:

Full Service Firms - Latham & Watkins pays NY rates but in all other respects is closer to a magic circle firm than other US firms, given it’s essentially full service, its client base and the number of lawyers in its London office.

Large but Niche Firms - K&E again pays NY rates and most of its work is for European clients, but it’s office is built around private equity, so in London it doesn’t have some of the smaller practice areas a full service firm would (employment, pensions, real estate etc).

Mid-Atlantic firms - White & Case, Dechert, Reed Smith. Pay more than magic circle but less than NY rates, operate a bit like Silver circle firms and are generally not full service. From a work perspective that’s a bit harsh on W&C, which probably sees itself as closer to LW / K&E in terms of the type of work it does, but can’t lose the mid-Atlantic tag until it starts paying on the Cravath scale.

Satellite Offices - David Polk, Cravath, Katten etc. Small number of boots on the ground, office primarily services US clients and does local counsel work for its US offices.

Joke Shops - Gibson Dunn, Ropes & Gray etc. They have offices in London, nobody (including themselves) really knows what they are trying to achieve. Every 5 years they oscillate between (i) paying a fortune for a “big hitter” from a more reputable firm, who is usually 50+ and looking for a final pay day while doing nothing and (ii) letting everyone leave when (i) doesn’t result in any meaningful increase in work.

Anonymous 10 June 22 17:01

At DLA Leeds there was a corporate partner who interrupted every holiday I had. 
 

Utter c**t.

Anon 10 June 22 21:01

I am now working offshore in the Caribbean - finish by 5.30 every day, never work weekends, oh an no income tax! I would definitely take that having worked for 8 years in a top 10 City firm and don't see that I have failed in any respect - I am winning at life for sure! 

Anonymous 10 June 22 21:31

"I finish work early" and "yay no tax" shows exactly why offshore lawyers don't get it. This attitude is also why nobody respects them.

City 10 June 22 22:20

We can all agree that offshore is where you go when things haven’t worked out. But if these people are happy, then so what?

Sensible 11 June 22 01:24

BCLP is another type again, basically an English firm that continues to be run as a separate firm with an American holding company.

Bit like Hogan Lovells.

You could call it “US in name only”.

Anon 11 June 22 07:27

"Mayer Brown views themselves as on par with K&E, Latham, STB, etc., and expects the same output, weekend work and cancelled holidays while paying (sometimes less than) silver circle salaries"

Seems like the usual mid-market US firm experience, for example, Reed Smith.

Worried SA 11 June 22 10:48

@Claygate Clown 10 June 22 20:44

It is a second rate real estate outpost of a mid-west nonentity which is ‘on the turn’ to use a sell by date analogy.

I’m in finance (sic) at the firm and it’s most definitely past it’s sell by date as far as my career is concerned. Desperate to GTFO.

Worried SA 11 June 22 11:01

@Sensible 11 June 22 01:24

Correct and Big Brother and the Holding Company are kicking seven shades of shit out of it. Staggering numbers of departures across the board. According to one partner recruiter it has the highest number of partner departures in the City in the last 2 years by some margin.

Anon 11 June 22 11:37

Anonymous 10 June 22 21:31: exactly. Who wakes up one morning and says, “My practice is going well. I have got a shot at partnership/Silk in a few years. I know! I will give it all up and head offshore to be a post box for onshore lawyers.”

Offshore is for failures.

Anonymous 11 June 22 16:31

It's not even that the offshore mob aren't cut out for partnership/silk - this life isn't for everybody, and is certainly not a final determinate measure of success. Nevertheless it is indeed true, these lawyers are certainly massive failures in this respect. 

Separately, nobody likes or respects them. That is because they aren't providing any intellectual input and just do a completely meaningless copy/paste function job, requiring no decision making skills. Then they get all excited about "no taxes", not working very hard, and lounging around the pool.

Virtue Signaller 12 June 22 08:20

@Worried SA 11 June 22 11:01

It’s not all gloom and doom at BCLP. Sure, we’ve got rid of partners and associates that don’t fit with the strategy but for those that are willing to shapeshift into something related to real estate, however remote, it could present an opportunity to try to remain relevant (sort of).

Anonymous 13 June 22 03:50

Lol-ing a the jealousy for those working offshore. Everyone has to earn a crust, it is not a sin to enjoy life while doing it.

Anon 13 June 22 09:29

Offshore bashing is hilarious. Unless you've done it you have absolutely no idea. Work is actually good, life is substantially better. Too many people here pre-occupied about perceived status of quality of work or hierarchy of firm. Become a real person interested in real life with some actual substance to your personality beyond I heart law.

US associate 13 June 22 13:45

The problem with the English legal fraternity is that sour grapes are ubiquitous. It doesn’t matter whether offshore lawyers are post box or not - the simple fact is that they make more cash than you while having a 9 to 6 lifestyle. 

@Gobblepig: Simmons can never pay the same kinda salary a “real” US firm is able to afford. And yes, in this market there has to be a defined parameter as to whether a firm should be a “US firm” or a “firm”. 

@Anon 11 June 22 07:27 13 June 22 18:09

lol Reed Smith isn’t a “mid-market US firm”. At best it’s a “mid-market firm” or “SME firm”. 

A “mid-market US firm” would be something like Sidley or Covington. 

Anonymous 13 June 22 18:32

"Then they get all excited about "no taxes", not working very hard, and lounging around the pool."

Hang on though... all of those things sound great.

I'd be excited if someone told me that they were coming my way; so what exactly is your issue here?

Procter and Gamble 14 June 22 14:22

Where do Goodwin P fit into all of your categories, folks? Incidentally, they have been giving their associates free holidays. Would you rather have your firm pay for a hotel and then bother you whilst there / take your chances with no interruption and empty pockets?

Anonymous 14 June 22 14:46

@Anonymous 10 June 22 21:31

Does this mean that the obscene salaries for offshore lawyers is to compensate for the lack of respect they get from private practice? 

Ex US now offshore veteran 16 June 22 05:53

All these offshore/US bashing are unwarranted and unjustified. To be perfectly honest, the best lawyers are often found in offshore and US firms.  We’ll be  splurging at Gucci while the UK firm folks spluge at TK Maxx.

US Associate 16 June 22 09:40

@Procter and Gamble: Goodwin is a US firm (unlike Mayer Brown or White & Case), paying the highest salary amongst all US firms in London. It’s growing fast but not full service like Latham or Kirkland or prestigious like Simpson Thatcher. I’d say it’s sort of like Akin Gump/Shearman/Weil/Paul Hastings.

City 17 June 22 07:24

Ex US now offshore veteran 16 June 22 05:53: I am sorry things have not worked out for you. Being in an offshore form is the mark of failure. Offshore firms house the worst lawyers in the common law world.

Anon 17 June 22 07:31

Dealing with offshore legal teams is always painful. The only way to do so is to treat them as a post box. The moment you give them any substantive input, they get it wrong. 

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