Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw is somewhere between the West of its youth and the East of its future.

To the west is Chicago, the firm’s founding city, where a powerful vanguard resides. That includes a majority of its 13-member policy and planning committee, final arbiter on all decisions that matter. To the east is London and Paul Maher, the firm’s formidable 47-year-old vice chairman, ominously dubbed by some Mayer Brown wags as the “Dark Sith Lord.”