Distinctively Global

From Chicago to the world

Mayer Brown is one of the world’s largest international law firms, headquartered in Chicago with offices reaching across four continents. The firm had grown rapidly and profitably over recent years but its reputation on a global stage lagged behind its reality, with its brand lacking a clear focus and narrative to compete with other large firms that had begun to find their voice and positioning in an increasingly crowded and competitive market for international legal services.

Distinctively global

Principia’s team, led by CEO Ian Stephens, worked with Mayer Brown’s global leadership team through 2018/19 to discover what their clients valued most about working with the firm and what they could stand for overall. Engaging with partners and clients across the US, EU, Asia and Latin American markets we built a rigorous platform of insight into what distinguished Mayer Brown from other high-quality firms. Alongside the firm’s widely recognised reputation for excellence was a more hidden theme surrounding its distinctively global capabilities.

“With extensive reach across four continents, we are the only integrated law firm in the world with approximately 200 lawyers in each of the world’s three largest financial centers—New York, London and Hong Kong—the backbone of the global economy.”  (mayerbrown.com)

The international legal market overall still lags behind other professional services sectors — accountancy, management consultancy, investment banking — in terms of globalisation, with the largest firms being heavily skewed towards one or two regions. However, as a result of careful and sustained expansion through mergers and organic growth over many years, Mayer Brown had emerged as being the only integrated law firm in the world with more than 200 lawyers in each of the world’s three largest financial centres – New York, London, and Hong Kong – the backbone of the global economy. From the perspective of its clients — including many global corporations and financial institutions — covering this breadth of the global economy is a distinct advantage and more in line with the way their businesses had evolved to operate over recent years.

A new brand for a new era

A new brand narrative built around the ‘distinctively global’ theme was developed and after presenting the brand recommendations to the global partnership, Principia supported the introduction of the new strategy to the firm’s lawyers and staff through a series of workshops and town hall meetings held across the firm’s largest offices. Principia also developed a new visual identity system and set of internal and external brand applications designed to take the new brand to the market — including advising on a new web site — that were launched in March 2019 around the world.

The firm has thoroughly embraced the brand themes at all levels and continues to engage partners and staff around the world with the brand messages and client service principles. Financially, the firm just enjoyed its best-ever year in its history reporting revenue growth of 7% to $1.5bn.

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