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Shearman & Sterling quiet on London amid muted 1% global revenue growth

Global revenue at Shearman & Sterling barely grew last year as the firm marginally improved its key metrics while not revealing London results.

Turnover hit $968m at the New York-headquartered firm, a 1% increase on last year’s $955.5m. Profit per equity partner (PEP) was up just under 3% to $2.46m from $2.4m while revenue per lawyer was up almost 5% to $1.13m.

‘What we try to do is execute the long-term strategy of consistent growth, and that’s what we’re doing,’ Shearman’s senior partner David Beveridge told Legal Business. ‘We are reshaping the business to focus on corporate and our private client base. That means moving some people along and engaging in a strong lateral recruitment strategy.’

The results are a slowdown on last year, when the firm grew global revenue 4% and PEP 5%, a rebound from a lacklustre 2016 when the firm managed only 1% growth globally. Despite being tight-lipped on the firm’s performance in the City, Beveridge stressed ‘London is a very important part of the firm and the firm is very focused on London and making significant laterals.’

Shearman has seen notable moves in both directions in recent times, with high yield guru Apostolos Gkoutzinis decamping with his team to Milbank in January 2018, while the firm managed to hire back Ward McKimm from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer later that year.

Meanwhile, in October of last year the firm made a significant New York play, luring finance partners Alan Rockwell and Michael Chernick from Allen & Overy. Shearman also hired M&A partner Thomas Philippe to its corporate team in Paris that same month.

‘We have been stable and maintained our overall headcount,’ Beveridge added. ‘But we have increased our revenues, revenue per lawyer and profitability which is consistent with our strategy. All our business units performed well.’