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UK City Firms

Shearman & Sterling (London)

S&S is, along with Weils, probably the most anglicised of US law firms in London. It’s been here for ages - it arrived in 1972 - and the office is an established part of an international network employing about 900 lawyers, 190 or so in London.

In 2015/16 global revenue was $860m, up 2% from 2014/15. However, PEP slid 4% to a still-bonkers $1.84m. The London office was actually the best performer, contributing $149m in revenue.

Things only improved on the financial front in 2016/17. PEP increased 18% to $2.165m (£1.74m!). Not just thanks to commercial performance, it has to be said: the firm de-equitised 22 partners, bringing the total number to 140. That being said, revenues did also rise, by 6% to $912.5m (£731m). London once again performed well: its City revenues increased by 14% to $169.7m (£136m).

Shearman’s global reputation is for finance. As with any big league firm you will be working long hours, but it’s not necessarily as grim as you’d fear. As one associate comments, “turns out Shearmans aren’t the hard nosed merciless bastards of US firm legend. They are actually very nice and prepared to meaningfully contribute to a successful work/life balance”. In fact, the "people are amazing", said another correspondent. On the other hand "Holidays do not always go uninterrupted by work". But the general consensus is that the firm is a very happy ship, reflected in continually  excellent placing in the RollOnFriday Firm of the Year Survey including the joint number one spot in 2016. And it came fourth in 2017 with an excellent 80%. Read more here.

Salaries are - as with most US firms - well above Magic Circle rates.  And we're told that there's a decent bonus scheme, so if you have a really busy time of it you can, in theory, still earn New York rates. Even if getting onto the all-equity partnership is thought to be pretty tricky.

Shearmans also provides a level of job security that's lacking at the London offices of many US firms, with staff praising the "good partner prospects for associates". The firm stresses that it has ambitious plans for growth in Europe, which already provides a third of the Shearmans' global turnover, and is continuing to grow in London. In fact, it's suggested that London has been slightly held back by New York's torpor.

And note we've written all that without even mentioning the Hooray Henry G4 emailgate and the gun-toting Parisian associate even once. Well done us.

For more information about Shearman & Sterling click here.
For more information on Shearman & Sterling click here


Salary (1st seat trainee): £45,000
Salary (NQ): £105,000
Salary (1PQE): £113,000
Salary (2PQE): £120,000
Salary (3PQE): £138,000
Salary (Salaried partner):

Bonus Scheme

Bonus scheme: Yes
Typical bonus as % of salary
- NQ: %
- 1PQE: %
- 2PQE: %
- 3PQE: %
- 4PQE: %
- 5PQE: %
- Partner: %


Grant for GDL: £7,000
Grant for LPC: £7,000
Training places per year: 13
% of trainees retained: 100%

RollOnFriday Firm of the Year Scores

Salary: 92%
Development: 89%
Work/Life: 64%
Openness: 78%
Biscuits: 94%
Toilets: 87%
Social: 85%
Firm of the year overall score: 83%


Holiday allowance: 24
Flexi holiday: No
Pension: No
Healthcare: Yes
Maternity policy: Enhanced, six months full pay subject to returning to work
Target hours: None
Childcare vouchers: Yes
Gym: Subsidised
Restaurant: Yes
24 hour photocopying support: Yes
24 hour secretarial support: Yes
Other: Dental care


News Stories

Exclusive: Shearman admits error as Freshfields bombs on trainee retention
And Forsters new NQs must throw a themed party ... read more > (4 comments)
Shearman & Sterling raises NQ pay 10% to £105,000
Sitting pretty above Magic Circle, below insane-o-pay US firms ... read more > (10 comments)
Exclusive: Shearman & Sterling in real fur furore
For PETA's sake ... read more > (4 comments)
Exclusive: Quinn Emanuel set to poach Shearman's entire Brussels office
All partners in talks to leave ... read more >
Shearman lawyer sues Airbnb for tricking him into poor person's flat
Had to leave after one night ... read more > (2 comments)
Exclusive: Shearman & Sterling retains 100% of trainees
The joint RollOnFriday Firm of the year 2016 is first out of the trap ... read more >
Shearman & Sterling hikes salaries across the board
NQs on £95,000 basic ... read more >
Weil, Shearman and Latham unveil cracking trainee results
100%, 100% and 95% retention rates from happy US threesome ... read more >
Shearman raises NQ pay to £88k
Restores sizeable lead over Magic Circle ... read more > (19 comments)
Former Shearman partner in viral anti-domestic violence video
Never hit a woman or abuse a child ... read more > (1 comment)

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