Shearman & Sterling
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.