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Shearman & Sterling

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Shearman & Sterling LLP
Headquarters599 Lexington Avenue,
New York City, United States
No. of offices23
No. of attorneys850
Major practice areasGeneral practice
Key peopleAdam S. Hakki (Senior Partner)
RevenueIncrease $1.01 billion (2022) [1]
Profit per equity partnerIncrease $3 million (2022)[2]
Date founded1873 (New York City)
FounderJohn William Sterling
Thomas Shearman
Company typeLimited liability partnership
Dissolved30 April 2024; 43 days ago (30 April 2024)

Shearman & Sterling LLP was a multinational law firm headquartered in New York City, United States.


Wall Street origins[edit]

Shearman & Sterling was founded in New York City 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.[3]

Postwar global expansion[edit]

The firm expanded internationally during 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.[4] The firm's first international office was established in Paris in 1963.[5]

Hong Kong office at The Landmark's Gloucester Tower

Bolstering the firm's reputation in international law, President Eisenhower tapped partner Fredrick McCurdy Eaton to be the United States' lead negotiator at the 1960 Nuclear Ten Nation Committee on Disarmament,[6] in Geneva. From 1964 to 1975, Mr. Eaton was the senior partner.

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.[7] The firm then represented the German automaker in its purchase and subsequent sale of Chrysler.[8] The company practices mergers and acquisitions in Germany, and operates one of the largest London offices of a non-UK law firm.[9]

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.[10]

During the 1980s, firm attorneys helped restructure the debts of many Latin American nations in the Brady transactions, and 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.[11]

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.[12] In late 2018, the firm received a license to open an office in Seoul, headed by Singapore partner Anna Chung.[13]

21st century domestic expansion[edit]

Domestically, Shearman & Sterling opened up an office in Austin in the first half of 2018 and another office in Houston just two months later.[14][15]

On May 21, 2023, it was announced that Shearman & Sterling had agreed to terms in a merger with UK Magic Circle member Allen & Overy, creating a megafirm estimated to have over 4,000 attorneys across 49 offices. The combined firm will be known as A&O Shearman.[16]

New York City office at 599 Lexington Avenue

Notable clients and cases[edit]


Among Shearman & Sterling's East Asian clients is the Malaysian sovereign wealth fund 1MDB, which (under the control of Jho Low) had wired $368 million from a Swiss bank to the firm's trust account to pay for, among other things, a Beverly Hills hotel, private plane and yacht rentals, and the production of the film The Wolf of Wall Street. Shearman & Sterling was named in a series of civil complaints filed by the DOJ "for having provided a trust account through which hundreds of millions of dollars belonging to Malaysia’s 1MDB fund were illicitly siphoned."[33] However, the report added that neither Shearman nor any of its lawyers are accused of wrongdoing.


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.[34][35]

Pro bono[edit]

Shearman & Sterling has an active pro bono practice. Globally, the firm was 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.[36][37]

Notable alumni[edit]




See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Shearman & Sterling posts 'stellar' 58% jump in PEP as revenue grows 18% to hit $1bn".
  2. ^ "Reversing 2020 Results, Shearman & Sterling Grew PEP 58% in 2021 on Double-Digit Revenue Gains".
  3. ^ Hoffman, Paul (1982). Lions of the Eighties: The Inside Story of the Powerhouse Law Firms. New York: Doubleday. ISBN 0-385-17405-5.
  4. ^ Stewart, James (1983). The Partners: Inside America's Most Powerful Law Firms. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0-671-42023-2.
  5. ^ "Europe". Shearman & Sterling. Retrieved 2019-02-20.
  6. ^ Berger, Joseph (5 October 1984). "Fredrick Eaton, A Lawyer, is Dead". The New York Times.
  7. ^ Miriam Wildman, 'Daimler's NYSE Listing Piques German Interest,' New York Times November 19, 1994.
  8. ^ "Shearman & Sterling - Firm Brochure 2017". digital.shearman.com. Retrieved 2019-02-20.
  9. ^ Berris, Julia (2007) The Lawyer, "Shearman & Sterling: Empire State." "Shearman & Sterling: Empire state - 5 November 2007". Archived from the original on 2008-03-22. Retrieved 2008-02-29.
  10. ^ Bruce van Voorst et al., 'Iran Hostages: How the Bankers Did it,' Time Magazine, February 2, 1981.
  11. ^ "Shearman & Sterling Bolsters São Paulo Office and Latin America Practice with Return of Jonathan Kellner". Shearman & Sterling. Retrieved 2019-02-20.
  12. ^ "Asia Overview". Shearman & Sterling. Retrieved October 16, 2018.
  13. ^ Kang, John (December 3, 2018). "Shearman & Sterling Receives License for Seoul Office". International | The American Lawyer. Retrieved 2019-02-20.
  14. ^ "Shearman and Sterling Opens Austin Office". Shearman & Sterling. Retrieved 2019-02-20.
  15. ^ "Shearman & Sterling opens Houston office—its 2nd Texas location this year". ABA Journal. Retrieved 2019-02-20.
  16. ^ Beioley, Kate (2023-05-21). "Allen & Overy and Shearman plan merger to create $3.4bn law firm". Financial Times. Retrieved 2023-05-21.
  17. ^ Terlep, Sharon; Mathews, Anna Wilde; Cimilluca, Dana (2017-12-04). "CVS to Buy Aetna for $69 Billion, Combining Major Health-Care Players". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2019-02-20.
  18. ^ "Shearman & Sterling Advises Electronic Arts on Offering of Senior Notes". Shearman & Sterling. Retrieved 2019-02-20.
  19. ^ "WebMD has agreed to sell itself to a private-equity firm for $2.8 billion". Business Insider. Retrieved 2019-02-20.
  20. ^ "Shearman & Sterling - Brochure FinTech Updated". digital.shearman.com. Retrieved 2019-02-20.
  21. ^ Newsham, Jack. "Shearman To Rep Lithuania In $110M Veolia Arbitration Case - Law360". www.law360.com. Retrieved 2019-02-20.
  22. ^ Sider, Alison; Dulaney, Chelsey (2015-03-27). "Dow Chemical to Split Off Chlorine Business in $5 Billion Deal". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2019-02-20.
  23. ^ "Richard F. Schwed". Shearman & Sterling. Retrieved 2019-02-20.
  24. ^ Baccardax, Martin (2016-10-31). "GE, Baker Hughes confirm $32 billion oil and gas merger". TheStreet. Retrieved 2019-02-20.
  25. ^ "Finance 2018 Report" (PDF).
  26. ^ Opar, John; Partner. "HOTEL BUSINESS REVIEW: Articles for Hotel Executives". hotelexecutive.com. Retrieved 2019-02-20.
  27. ^ "Lexpert ® | Tech Consortium Acquires Nortel Patents for US$4.5B". www.lexpert.ca. July 29, 2011. Retrieved 2019-02-20.
  28. ^ "Shearman & Sterling Represents Boston Scientific Corporation | IR Global". www.irglobal.com. January 2011. Retrieved 2019-02-20.
  29. ^ "Shearman & Sterling Advises on Amgen Inc.'s $10.5 Billion Purchase of Onyx Pharmaceuticals | Kinney Recruiting". www.kinneyrecruiting.com. Retrieved 2019-02-20.
  30. ^ "Tax". Shearman & Sterling. Retrieved 2019-02-20.
  31. ^ "Shearman & Sterling - Media and Entertainment Brochure". digital.shearman.com. Retrieved 2019-02-20.
  32. ^ Flaherty, Scott. "J&J's $21B Synthes Buy Gets EU Nod After Divestiture - Law360". www.law360.com. Retrieved 2019-02-20.
  33. ^ "Shearman named in U.S. complaints related to 1MDB: report | Asian Legal Business". www.legalbusinessonline.com. Retrieved 2019-02-11.
  34. ^ Chambers & Partners (2010) Chambers Global Rankings, http://www.chambersandpartners.com/Global/Firms/3654-34953
  35. ^ "Home". legalbusinessonline.com.au.
  36. ^ "Nov/Dec Volunteer Feature: Shearman & Sterling - NYC Pro Bono Center". www.probono.net. Retrieved 2019-02-20.
  37. ^ "Pro Bono Making a World of Difference: Shearman & Sterling LLP" (PDF).

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]