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Change has arrived at three Am Law 100 firms, with Mayer Brown, Fulbright & Jaworski, and Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton electing partners to new firm leadership roles.    At Mayer Brown, corporate and securities partner Paul Theiss—who has spent his entire 27-year career at the firm—assumed the role of chairman as of June 1. Theiss succeeds employment partner Herbert Krueger (both Theiss and Krueger are based in Chicago, where Mayer Brown has its roots). Krueger, 64, was elected chairman in 2009, after Mayer Brown unveiled a new management structure that reestablished the managing partner position (Kenneth Geller currently holds that title). Krueger is ineligible to serve another term due to age limits contained in the firm’s partnership agreement. Theiss, 52, will serve a three-year term in his new post at the firm, which he joined in 1985 after graduating from the University of Chicago Law School. He is also a member of Mayer Brown’s management committee and is a former coleader of the firm’s global corporate and securities practice. As a partner, he has advised clients on various aspects of M&A and capital markets work. Despite a 7 percent dip that brought its head count down to 1,523—the lowest total since 2007—Mayer Brown enjoyed a turnaround in its financial performance last year, according to the most recent Am Law 100 data. Krueger has said the decline in the attorney ranks was the delayed result of recession-driven layoffs. The firm did hire more than 30 lateral partners last year, though, including 21 former Howrey attorneys. Mayer Brown also recently picked up five partners from Dewey & LeBoeuf. Theiss says he views lateral hiring as part of the firm’s growth strategy. “We are focused on growing in places where we’re already very strong to try to play to our strengths,” he says. But he adds that it’s still too early to tell whether or not the firm’s head count will increase in 2012. Mayer Brown came in at number 14 on the most recent Am Law 100 ranking in terms of gross revenue. According to that data, the firm saw its gross revenues increase by 2.4 percent in 2011, to $1.134 billion. The bump came a year after gross revenue fell to a four-year low of $1.11 billion. Theiss credits cross-selling work across practice areas as one reason for the firm’s turnaround last year. “I think our partners have really embraced the idea of working together as teammates across jurisdictions and across practice areas,” he says. Nestlé is one major client that has given the firm work in a number of areas, including M&A and litigation. Earlier this year, Krueger told The Am Law Daily that he expected litigation to remain a strength for the firm in 2012, but that things could be a bit tougher on the transactional market. Already this year, though, Nestlé has turned to the firm as outside counsel on a megadeal—the company’s $11.9 billion acquisition of Pfizer’s infant nutrition business in April—and Theiss says he’s optimistic that more such assignments will follow.

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