Law Firms

Shearman leader will 'begin to pass the torch' after failed merger talks, overseas partner departures

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Shearman & Sterling is speeding up the transition to a new leader after its merger talks with Hogan Lovells failed.

The term for the law firm’s current senior partner, David Beveridge, ends at the end of the year, but he has already started the transition to his replacement, Adam Hakki, report and Bloomberg Law.

Hakki is global managing partner and head of disputes and litigation. He will formally be elected later this year and could take over before the year’s end, a Shearman & Sterling spokesperson told

“We have meaningful work ahead of us,” Beveridge said in a statement. “And I feel strongly that the time has come for me to begin to pass the torch on to the next generation of leadership. I am fully confident that, in partnership with the management team, Adam will be the leader the firm needs to deliver on our ambitions.”

Shearman and Hogan Lovells announced March 2 that they were calling off merger talks. The prior month, Shearman laid off 12 associates and 26 staff members.

According to, the transition announcement was made amid “a string of departures” at the firm. Those departures mostly happened overseas and included a 20-lawyer team in Munich, Law360 reports. reported in January that many of Shearman’s international offices were underperforming.

According to the January story, Shearman was ranked No. 9 for gross revenue in the mid-1990s. But in 2021, its gross-revenue ranking was No. 50. identified several problems. One issue: Shearman was particularly affected by the 2008 financial crisis because it lost banking clients amid mergers.

Law360 spoke with legal consultants and recruiters about Shearman’s situation.

Brian Burlant, a managing director at legal recruiting firm E.P. Dine Inc., told Law360 that a failed merger can lead to a perception “that you are now really in play.”

“Because those firms that are at the top of the food chain know that there’s a lot of quality at Shearman & Sterling, and if they can make a run … they’re going to try to do so,” Burlant told Law360. “So it’s imperative to try to keep those people.”

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