Shearman & Sterling

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Shearman & Sterling LLP
Shearman Logo Black 300ppi pos.png
Headquarters 599 Lexington Avenue,
New York City, United States
No. of offices 20
No. of attorneys 850
Major practice areas General practice
Key people David Beveridge (Senior Partner)
Revenue US$912.5 million (2016)
Profit per equity partner US$2.165 million (2016)
Date founded 1873 (New York City)
Company type Limited liability partnership

Shearman & Sterling LLP is a multinational law firm headquartered in New York City, United States. The firm's lawyers come from some 80 countries, speak more than 60 languages and practice US, English, EU, French, German, Italian, Hong Kong, OHADA and Saudi law, as well as Dubai International Financial Centre law and Abu Dhabi Global Market law. Nearly one-half of the firm's lawyers practice outside the United States.

Shearman & Sterling was founded in New York City in 1873 and is considered a part of the group of elite American "white shoe" law firms.[1]


Wall Street origins[edit]

Shearman & Sterling was founded in 1873 by Thomas Shearman (/ˈʃɜːrmən/) and John William Sterling, who concentrated on litigation and transactional matters respectively. The young firm represented financier Jay Gould and industrialist Henry Ford, and cultivated a number of important business ties that would evolve into long-standing client relationships, such as with the Rockefeller family and the predecessor banks to Citigroup and Deutsche Bank.[2]

Postwar global expansion[edit]

The firm experienced international expansion in the post-World War II era under the direction of Boykin C. Wright, a senior partner who joined the firm from Cahill Gordon & Reindel with a group of lawyers, briefly leading the firm to add his name to the letterhead.[3] The firm's first international office was established in Paris in 1963.

In postwar Germany, Shearman & Sterling helped German companies such as Siemens and BASF restructure their debts and re-emerge as credible exporters to the United States. The firm's lawyers assisted Daimler in its listing on the New York Stock Exchange in 1993, the first such listing by a German company, prompting other major companies to follow suit.[4] The firm then represented the German automaker in its purchase and subsequent sale of Chrysler.

The firm is well known for its ability to compete in key legal markets, particularly in Germany where its mergers and acquisitions practice is preeminent and in the United Kingdom, where it fields one of the largest London offices of a non-UK law firm.[5]

Elsewhere, the firm played an important role in the establishment of state-owned oil and gas companies, including Sonatrach in Algeria and throughout the Middle East. In 1979, Shearman & Sterling lawyers represented Citibank during the intense negotiations that ensued during the Iranian Hostage Crisis, after the US government froze all Iranian assets in US banks.[6]

Shearman & Sterling has been involved in Latin America for decades. The firm's lawyers helped restructure the debts of many Latin American nations in the 1980s in the Brady transactions. It also won mandates in the privatization of numerous state-owned entities. In 2004, the firm launched an office in São Paulo, Brazil and has since represented Brazilian companies in a number of important transactions.

In East Asia, Shearman & Sterling was one of the first firms to grasp the future strategic importance of the Asia-Pacific region, establishing offices in Hong Kong in 1978, followed by Tokyo, Beijing, Singapore and Shanghai.[7]


Shearman & Sterling has attained recognition in a number of legal publications and industry rankings for its work in the United States and internationally across a range of practices areas, including: dispute resolution/litigation, international arbitration, project finance, public international law, capital markets, and mergers and acquisitions.[8][9]

Pro Bono[edit]

Shearman & Sterling has an active pro bono practice. Globally, the firm is pro bono counsel to the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) in Arusha, Tanzania. Shearman routinely assists the ICTR through seconding one lawyer there per month to work on particular projects. The firm also assists FINCA International, the pioneering microcredit and village banking non-profit organization. Other pro bono initiatives include asylum cases, Violence Against Women Act petitions, criminal appeals and art law representations.

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ "Shearman & Sterling LLP". Chambers Associate. Archived from the original on 6 October 2014. Retrieved 4 October 2014.
  2. ^ Hoffman, Paul (1982). Lions of the Eighties: The Inside Story of the Powerhouse Law Firms. New York: Doubleday. ISBN 0-385-17405-5.
  3. ^ Stewart, James (1983). The Partners: Inside America's Most Powerful Law Firms. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0-671-42023-2.
  4. ^ Miriam Wildman, 'Daimler's NYSE Listing Piques German Interest,' New York Times November 19, 1994.
  5. ^ Berris, Julia (2007) The Lawyer, "Shearman & Sterling: Empire State." "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-03-22. Retrieved 2008-02-29.
  6. ^ Bruce van Voorst et al., 'Iran Hostages: How the Bankers Did it,' Time Magazine, February 2, 1981.
  7. ^ "Asia Overview". Shearman & Sterling. Retrieved October 16, 2018.
  8. ^ Chambers & Partners (2010) Chambers Global Rankings,
  9. ^

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]