In what the firms describe as ‘the first fully integrated global elite law firm’ Allen & Overy and Shearman & Sterling have announced a planned merger to create a ‘unique global law firm’ named Allen Overy Shearman Sterling – A&O Shearman for short.
In a statement, the firms said: ‘This merger will combine two of the world’s most prestigious law firms, leaders in their respective markets, to create an integrated global elite firm.
‘Together A&O Shearman will have 3,900 lawyers and 800 Partners across 49 offices. Allen & Overy and Shearman & Sterling have 250 years of combined experience and some of the greatest legal talent in the world. A&O Shearman will be the only global firm with US law, English law, and local law capabilities in equal measure. This merger is driven by clients’ needs for a seamless global offering of the highest quality and depth to support them in navigating an increasingly complex legal, regulatory, and geopolitical environment.
‘Allen & Overy and Shearman & Sterling are complementary with distinct market leadership, and between them they have huge strength in the US, UK, and markets all across the globe. This merger will transform their offering to clients: Shearman & Sterling will gain access to a dramatically expanded ‘rest of the world’ offering across practice areas, and Allen & Overy will benefit from increased board-level recognition and expanded access to a corporate client base in the US. The combined firm will be perfectly positioned to capitalise on global macro trends including energy transition, technology, and private capital.’
Wim Dejonghe, senior partner at Allen & Overy, said: ‘This combination of two great firms is such an exciting step for us. Both firms have a history of excellence, and together we think A&O Shearman will be a firm unlike any other in the world. We have listened to our clients and their requests for the highest quality advice to help navigate the demands they face, and to do so in an integrated and globally consistent way. We, A&O Shearman, will do this by accelerating our ability to bring the best of both firms, regardless of geography.
‘Shearman & Sterling is an incredible group of legal minds; a firm built on integrity and excellence, founded like us in a premier global financial capital and with an extraordinary group of longstanding clients. What excites me about this merger is the complementary cultures of our two firms. We have striking similarities across the board, and I believe we are going to be wonderful partners to one another on this journey.’
Adam Hakki, senior partner at Shearman & Sterling, said: ‘Client need for global elite firms has never been greater. They are calling for integrated global legal solutions and advice: merging with Allen & Overy will dramatically accelerate our ability to meet their needs in an increasingly complex environment. Allen & Overy is an outstanding firm whose work we have long admired and thought of as a kindred spirit. We have both always placed great emphasis on attracting and retaining top talent, were early to globalise, and are relentlessly focused on quality, excellence, and collaboration.
‘This is truly a game-changing moment for both firms that will create an unparalleled offering for our clients. It is also a fantastic opportunity for our people to be part of a transformative transaction and an institution of such significance, and we look forward to recruiting even more stellar talent in the coming years.’
Lazard is serving as financial adviser and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett is serving as legal counsel to A&O, while Davis Polk & Wardwell is advising Shearman.
The proposed merger is subject to customary closing conditions, including a vote of the partners of each of the respective firms.
More detail can be found on www.announcingaoss.com, a site set up by the firms.
This article first appeared on Legal Business