The lowdown (in their own words...)
If the firm were a fictional character it would be...
Shearman & Sterling employs approximately 850 lawyers in 20 offices across Europe, Asia, North and Latin America and the Middle East. The London office has a reputation for handling high-profile banking, finance and energy work, as well as for strong performances from its commodities, M&A, and litigation teams. Shearman & Sterling was named Corporate Team of the Year at the Legal Business Awards 2016.
The star performers
Acquisition finance; Banking litigation: investment and retail; Commercial litigation; Commodities: derivatives; Corporate tax; Debt capital markets; Derivatives and structured products; EU and competition; Emerging markets; Equity capital markets; Financial services (contentious); Financial services (non-contentious/regulatory); High yield; International arbitration; Investment funds: Hedge funds; Islamic finance; M&A: upper mid-market and premium deals, £250m+; Oil and gas.
Acted on Liberty Global’s $8.2bn acquisition of Cable & Wireless Communications; acted on the underwriter side on the multi-billion euro IPO and privatisation of ABN AMRO Group; assisted International Finance Corporation with launching private equity fund IFC Financial Institutions Growth Fund; acted for Electra as a co-investor alongside Patron Capital in the £325m acquisition of Grainger Retirement Solutions; advised Credit Suisse and others on a €239m offering by Dakar Finance.
Abu Dhabi Global Market; ArcelorMittal; Bank of America; Barclays; Bridgepoint; Citigroup; Engie; Intercontinental Exchange; Investcorp; Vitruvian.
The US-headquartered Shearman & Sterling is a ‘truly global firm’ undertaking ‘cutting-edge work’. Trainees in London speak fondly of ‘working alongside recognised experts and being able to learn from them’. In this way, ‘the training is stellar’, and the ‘lack of hierarchy’ and ‘collegiate approach’ makes for an ‘excellent learning experience’. Respondents have gathered ‘hands-on experience’ across a ‘variety of work’, ‘working on drafting complex legal submissions’, ‘being involved in an equity issuance of a major bank’ and ‘signing an extremely important transaction that made the cover of business papers’. The office itself receives a fair amount of criticism as ‘the view from the building isn’t very good’ and ‘a firm canteen would be nice’, though one respondent is pleased to be working ‘close to Shoreditch’. The ‘professional but relaxed vibe’ is a plus point, despite the ‘lack of organised social events within departments’. As well as the ‘exposure to global deals’ enjoyed in London, international secondments are also available to trainees. Those who have completed overseas seats comment on the ‘great quality of work’ accompanied by the ‘right amount of supervision’, and Shearman is a Lex 100 Winner in the international secondments and remuneration satisfaction categories. Though some departments have ‘consistently long hours’, trainees are ‘valuable members of the team and are made to feel appreciated’, as exemplified by the ‘£30 dinner allowance and taxi home’ for late finishes. Respondents treasure ‘the respect you get for having trained at Shearman & Sterling’, so if you’re looking to join an international law firm with ‘great prestige’, add this firm to you shortlist.
A day in the life of...
Theodora Dimitrova second-seat trainee, Shearman & Sterling (London) LLP
Departments to date: Mergers and acquisition, financial institutions advisory
University:University of Cambridge
9.20am: I arrive at the office, grab a cup of coffee and spend 15-20 minutes reading the BBC or the FT. I am currently involved in several public takeovers so it is useful to know what is going on in the business world.
9.40am: I take a look at my to-do list and order the tasks I need to complete according to priority. I have recently been involved in a fast-paced acquisition of a group of companies. My role has been to research points of law, draft ancillary documents and manage correspondence with various parties involved. I discuss with my supervisor, who is a counsel in the M&A department, whether I should prioritise reviewing and amending the shareholders’ agreement or focus on drafting the board minutes approving the transaction. We discuss the structure and parties involved in the transaction and agree that it is better to press on with the shareholders’ agreement as that involves obtaining information from the bankers and the corporate services provider.
11.20pm: I have also been involved in the sale of a mortgage portfolio involving a large financial institution. The parties to the transaction are supposed to sign the documents some time this week. I receive an email from one of the M&A associates asking if I could prepare signature pages to be signed at the client’s board meeting today. During the afternoon I would have to head over to the client’s offices to pick up the signed originals. I make myself a list of the documents for which I need to prepare signature pages and check the execution mechanics for contracts and deeds. I then give my PA the client’s address so she can arrange a cab.
12.30pm: I attend a training session by Erskine Chambers on the common pitfalls in corporate transactions. It is one of many training events organised by Shearman’s professional development team.
1.30pm: I get back to my desk and check my emails. One of the partners in M&A has asked me to check the Prospectus Rules and confirm the requirements in relation to financial information which needs to be included in a prospectus. Once I have pieced together the requirements, I draft an email to the partner who needs to go on a call with the client later in the afternoon on the same topic.
2.45pm: My taxi is here. I get to the client’s office and check the signature pages to ensure that they have been signed correctly. I then head back to our office where I scan and organise the originals.
4.00pm: My supervisor asks if I would like to join a call in relation to the shareholders’ agreement I reviewed this morning. The call identifies additional aspects of the transaction which I will need to capture in the board minutes. Afterwards we plan together how to reflect the new points discussed on the call in the minutes and I start working on my first draft.
5.40pm: We receive a request from one of our private equity clients to review and agree a non-disclosure agreement. I review and mark the document up. I send an email to the lawyers on the other side summarising my comments and attaching my mark-up. I then receive a call from the associate on the other side and we arrange a call for tomorrow morning to discuss the outstanding points.
7.00pm: I receive feedback from my supervisor on my draft board minutes and we come up with an action plan for the following day.
7.20pm: I write tomorrow’s to do list. Then I change into a cocktail dress and head out to the Financial News Awards dinner. It’s a great opportunity to chat with colleagues in other departments at Shearman and meet lawyers from other firms.
About the firm
Address:9 Appold Street, London, EC2A 2AP
Telephone: 020 7655 5000
Fax:020 7655 5500
Senior partners : Creighton Condon and Dave Beveridge
Managing partner (London) : Nicholas Buckworth
Other offices: Abu Dhabi, Beijing, Brussels, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, London, Menlo Park, Milan, New York, Paris, Rome, San Francisco, Sao Paulo, Saudi Arabia*, Shanghai, Singapore, Tokyo, Toronto and Washington DC. *Abdulaziz Alassaf & Partners in association with Shearman & Sterling LLP
Who we are: Shearman and Sterling LLP is one of the world’s leading premier global law firms and was established over a century ago. The London office opened in 1972, and quickly became one of the leading practices, covering all aspects of English, European and US corporate and finance law. Globally there are c900 lawyers, including around 200 partners.
What we do: Our main areas of work include finance, corporate (including mergers and acquisitions, private equity, equity capital markets and US capital markets), project development and finance, international arbitration and litigation, antitrust, tax, financial institutions advisory and asset management, real estate, and executive compensation and employee benefits.
What we are looking for: We are looking for trainees who are ambitious, relish intellectual challenge, and who want to be a success throughout their career.
What you'll do:During the two-year training contract, trainees have four seat rotations, with six months spent in each seat. One of these rotations may be completed overseas, in offices such as New York, Brussels, Abu Dhabi or Singapore. Trainees are fully integrated into the teams they work with and add significant value to the deals they are part of. From day one trainees are given a high level of responsibility, working with a range of individuals at all levels, from partners to associates. Trainees learn directly from the best in the industry, not just in the UK, but across a spread of jurisdictions.
Perks: Subsidised gym membership, private medical insurance, travel insurance, private dental insurance, BlackBerry, season ticket loans, annual eye test, matched pension contribution, life assurance, long-term disability insurance.
Sponsorship:Trainees are sponsored through the GDL and LPC, as well as receiving a maintenance grant.
Facts and figures
Trainee places available for 2019: 17
Applications received pa: Approx 900
Percentage interviewed: 6%
First year: £45,000
Second year: £50,000
Newly qualified: £95,000
Total partners: 42
When to Apply:By 31 July 2017.
Apply by 20 January 2017.
Apply by 20 January 2017.
Apply by 4 November 2016.