Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner names co-chair Steve Baumer as new global CEO

Fellow co-chair Lisa Mayhew will stand down as the firm moves to a single leadership structure

Steve Baumer Photo courtesy of BCLP

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner’s (BCLP) current co-chair Steve Baumer is set to become the firm’s global CEO as part of an agreed succession plan.

The move will see the firm cease appointing firmwide co-chairs in moving to a single leadership structure in 2024. Baumer, who currently serves as co-chair alongside Lisa Mayhew, was appointed to that post in 2020 after relinquishing his position as head of BCLP’s global transactions practice.

He succeeded Therese Pritchard, the legacy chair of Bryan Cave, on that firm’s 2018 merger with Berwin Leighton Paisner, where Mayhew was the previous managing partner.

Baumer’s tenure saw improvements in the firm’s financial performance, alongside the challenges of integrating the complexities of a transatlantic merger during a global pandemic and geopolitical uncertainty.

The firm has seen departures, particularly in the UK, where the number of partners has fallen since 2018, with Ashurst, DLA Piper, DWF, Mishcon de Reya and Taylor Wessing all beneficiaries. Investigations partner Nathan Wilmott moved to Ashurst in January 2022, while a large private client team moved to Taylor Wessing in 2021.

US rivals have also benefited from the arrival of disputes talent, with Oliver Glynn-Jones moving to Goodwin Proctor as head of litigation.

While there have been lateral hires to replace them – David Rundle joined as a London office partner from Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale & Dorr – acquiring UK talent has been just one market in which it has invested, with Germany and France also a focus in the firm’s three target areas of disputes, transactions and real estate.

Baumer said: “I look forward to working with our talented partners and colleagues to build upon our culture of collaboration, leveraging the investments we made in our global platform and growth engines to help our clients with the challenges and opportunities that matter the most.”

Mayhew steps down as co-chair, having been one of only a few women in the legal industry to lead a major global law firm, using her platform to drive substantive performance improvements, business transformation and consolidating BCLP’s international platform. The latter has seen some volatility, not least in Asia, with exits from Hong Kong during the merger and after.

She has also played a pivotal role in shaping BCLP’s inclusive culture and advancing its innovative diversity programmes. Under her leadership, the firm established BCLP’s first inclusion and diversity client relationship partner, a role currently held by Daisy Reeves, a unique position in the legal sector. The firm also established BCLP Podium, a new leadership communications programme that brings together the next generation of female lawyers from BCLP and its clients.

Mayhew said: “The foundation for the firm’s continued growth is firmly in place. Steve has the experience, the drive and the team spirit to take us to the next level. Having served with him as co-chair, I look forward to working closely with him during this transition.”

Baumer is expected to be supported by a senior partner based outside the US, which the firm intends to announce in September. London real estate veteran Robert MacGregor, having held the role for the EMEA region in the wake of the merger, will stand down on retirement this summer.

The firm recently announced it was cutting 47 global business services roles, joining firms like Cooley and Goodwin Procter in laying off staff. At the same time, it recently hired a 15-person IP and corporate team from Dentons, alongside opening a disputes-focused Seattle office

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