Shearman & Sterling offers high-level legal work coupled with supportive teammates and strong mentorship. For those seeking international experience, the firm’s global presence means exciting cross-border work and travel opportunities. Shearman & Sterling is one of the world’s leading law firms, serving the domestic and cross-border needs of an impressive roster of clients. With approximately 850 lawyers in 25 offices across North America, Europe, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East, t...

Firm Stats


Total No. Attorneys (2021)


No. of Partners Named (2021)


Featured Rankings

Vault Law 100...


No. of 1st Year Associates Hired (2021)


No. of Summer Associates (2021)


Base Salary

Base Salary (2021)...

Vault Verdict

Shearman & Sterling seeks intelligent, driven candidates with an international interest. The firm’s culture is “social in a professional way,” and associates often form real friendships at work. Partners treat associates as valued colleagues, evidenced by their willingness to mentor and provide two annual performance reviews, one solely focused on professional development. Many associates put in long hours despite no billable-hours requirement, but they feel they can reach out for help when things get too busy. Compensation is market with the potential for above-market bonuses, and the firm issued COVID special bonuses this past year. Shearman doesn’t hold back when it comes to giving high-level, interesting work to associates—class year is less relevant than ability and d...

About the Firm


Shearman & Sterling is one of the world’s leading law firms, serving the domestic and cross-border needs of an impressive roster of clients. With approximately 850 lawyers in 25 offices across North America, Europe, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East, the firm has an enviable blend of prestige, prowess, and reach. 

Starting Big

Over 145 years ago, prominent lawyers Thomas Shearman and John Sterling locked hands in partnership, combining two legendary reputations to lay down a law firm’s foundation. Shearman & Sterling didn’t waste any time establishing itself—soon after the firm’s birth, it began forging relationships with Wall Street’s most commanding companies and personalities: The firm’s first client was Jay Gould, and Jim Fisk fo...

Associate Reviews

  • “Polite, professional, and supportive.”
  • “Culture is the best part of the firm. We are friends as much as we are coworkers. I feel comfortable asking anyone in my practice to grab lunch or just catch up on what's going on in their life. We are expected to work hard, but senior associates and partners also know and respect that associates want a personal life as well.”
  • “The firm is social in a professional way: Events do not feel like an obligation and occur with enough frequency that the attorneys enjoy a break from work to catch up with each other. Even as the firm has moved to remote work, weekly practice group meetings and catch-up calls among deal teams have been great to keep in touch with my colleagues.”
  • “Great atmosphere—partners take time to teach and are very respectful to associates. Partners even take work off of my plate so that vacations can go uninterrupted.”
  • “Partners treat associates with respect and appreciate hard work and extra effort.”
  • “As a lateral from a previous firm, it is very refreshing to be at a firm where the decision-making and the firm's overall financial performance [are] transparent. Partners treat the associates with respect and autonomy once the associate has demonstrated his or her ability to manage the work.”
  • “Partners treat associates with respect and are generally very open, but there is still a bit of a lack of transparency on certain key strategic decisions (including making new partners).”
  • “We have one review a year and one meeting to discuss professional development. I found my professional development meetings very productive. The partners were transparent about what it takes to become a partner if that is what I choose and answered questions about how I can build the skills and characteristics I would need to become a partner. We have periodic practice group meetings to discuss practice group performance, workload, and steps being taken to address any issues.”
  • “People are reasonable about hours. As is the case with BigLaw, you will occasionally get hit with a big assignment on a Friday evening, but partners and senior associates are reasonable about timing and willing to work around your schedule if you have other commitments. The expectation is that you are a responsible attorney and will get the job done correctly and on time in the end.”
  • “Work is generally evenly distributed. There is no billable-hour requirement, but the expectation is that your levels of activity are within the range of the rest of the group's activity levels.”
  • “Given how unpredictable the past year has been, work has been generally evenly distributed. Staffing is very respectful of capacity, and busy periods are generally followed by a few days to catch up.”
  • “The work hours vary depending on the demand. There is some flexibility in when we work, but this largely depends on the deal flow. The firm has been very busy lately, so everyone has a lot of work. The firm does make an effort to communicate and ensure that we can speak up if we feel like our workload is too much. They will also make efforts to re-staff as needed to make sure people do not get too overwhelmed and our hours are monitored.”
  • “The firm is in the top tier of compensation. No complaints on that front.”
  • “Shearman pays market salary and bonuses. The firm has a 2,050 target for billable hours, but this is not a mandatory requirement to receive bonuses.”
  • “On top of our market rate bonuses, we've received two special bonuses in the last year (2020 and 2021). That has been awesome. We don't have a strict billable requirement, and I know people who still received all three even if they didn't hit their hours.”
  • “Pays above market (5-10%) for those who make a significant contribution.”
  • “I have been extremely pleased with the substantive work I've received. I've drafted several sections of important briefs and have been able to run smaller cases on my own. If you want the work and show you can create solid work product, then you can get substantive assignments. They reward merit, in that regard.”
  • “I enjoy the wide range of substantive work I get to handle. I can have as much responsibility as I want, but there is always adequate support if needed.”
  • “As a mid-level, I'm given the opportunity to work on mid-to-senior level work assignments. I have been given the opportunity to lead M&A transactions, lead conference calls with the client and opposing counsel, negotiate transaction documents, etc.”
  • “Distribution of interesting and substantive assignments is equitable. Our teams are quite lean, so there is enough substantive work for everyone, and if an associate expresses interest in a particular type of work, the partners will try to assign them that work when it comes up.”
  • “Adaptation to remote working during the pandemic appeared seamless from an associate perspective.”
  • “The firm made sure that all attorneys had an opportunity to get firm-provided printers while working remotely [and provided] desktop software to make and receive phone calls from our office lines when working remotely. It was generally an uninterrupted process, transitioning to working remotely.”
  • “Recently, the firm has updated its document management system and is [also] making the switch to a newer platform that is more interactive for teams. I haven't had many technology issues during the pandemic while working from home.”
  • “Overall, I think the firm is investing in technologies that make remote work efficient and hopefully will continue to do so. The firm has invested in a wide variety of legal-specific technologies as well, but their adoption is fairly lawyer-specific.”
  • “We have a program called ‘Thrive’ that hosts bi-weekly wellness seminars and events. We've also been given subscriptions to meditation programs and apps.”
  • “The firm already had a lot of wellness initiatives before the pandemic but has offered more since, including specific seminars on resilience, support groups for parents, and at one point, there were programming classes for kids (presumably to keep them occupied). These are open to everyone at the firm, not just attorneys.”
  • “This is harder in remote environment, but they certainly put on a lot of wellness-related programming. [Free] COVID-19 testing was offered on site and at home.”
  • “In addition to health care [benefits], they have Teladoc and Grand Rounds, which help find specialists, physicians, and therapists, which is nice.”
  • “Partners see themselves as mentors and take on responsibility for associate development. It's one of the defining characteristics of the firm and why I've remained at the firm.”
  • “The firm has a great balance of formal training programs established for different practice groups and classes of associates and the day-to-day informal training that comes from senior associates and partners. The senior lawyers genuinely care about the development of the younger associates, take the time to teach and want us to succeed. The firm also has mentor groups for the associates that meet regularly.”
  • “We have regular formal training. We work closely with the partners, which provides plenty of informal learning opportunities.”
  • “The firm provides weekly newsletters on CLE opportunities and holds yearly training academies for first years, mid-level associates, and senior associates. The training academies provide substantive introductions to various practice groups and soft skills, with an increasing focus on leadership training as the associates move up in seniority. …”
  • “Seems like there are opportunities for a partnership path, though the process isn't very apparent or transparent to me as a junior.”
  • “The firm has made it clear that everyone they hire is hired with the goal of making partner. The firm has also stated that it will support and help anyone who would like to go in-house with recommendations and connections.”
  • “It appears difficult to be promoted to partner, but obtainable. There are a number of counsel positions for senior associates.”
  • “Partnership is attainable for those who want to pursue it, and the firm offers various positions for those associates who want to transition away from partner-track roles. Exit opportunities are plentiful at firm clients, including banks, private equity firms, corporate clients, and hedge funds.”
  • “We have many different pro bono relationships with leading institutions, and there is no lack of pro bono experience. The firm is committed to pro bono and requires every person to meet a certain number of hours.”
  • “Great commitment to pro bono. I started two months ago and am already involved with four active pro bono matters.”
  • “Pro bono work is actively encouraged, with a wide variety of matters available to attorneys. Recent projects include participating in a hotline for COVID-19-related legal issues and drafting a white paper regarding data privacy with respect to contact tracing conducted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
  • “The firm requires at least 25 hours of pro bono work to be bonus eligible and is serious about enforcement. Not sure whether it counts towards utilization calculation. Recently, I have worked for Election Protection, taking shifts on their hotline and volunteering for the immigration hotline, which provides information and resources through the Legal Aid Society of NY.”
  • “We have affinity groups for women, POC, and LGBTQ individuals. The firm offers a Milk Stork program to help women return to work after having children (for example, an employee can go out of state for work, and Shearman will pay for this service provider to store and ship their breast milk back home).”
  • “The firm does a really nice job with diversity in all respects in recruiting summer and junior associates, but could do a better job in retention, which I know is a strong focus of the partnership.”
  • “The firm's diversity office hosts events several times a month.”
  • “As a disabled person, I am very happy with Shearman's efforts to foster and promote diversity in the workplace. The firm's affinity groups are central to the firm's culture and all are encouraged to join.”

Why Work Here


Shearman's commitment to Pro Bono has won the firm wide recognition.

Shearman was one of the New York firms to provide Pro Bono assistance to victims of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The firm advised residential and commercial tenants who were unable to return to their homes and businesses because of the attacks, and the private client group advised on trust and estate issues. Special recognition went to the firm's successful campaign to win compensation for a woman whose common-law husband died in the World Trade Center. Common-law marriages aren't recognized in New York State, making the woman ineligible under initial rules; Shearman eventually secured recognition of the marriage and compensation from the fund set up for victims and their families. Shearman continues to represent the families of more than 20 victims, many of which are low-income, immigrant families.

Diversity at Shearman & Sterling LLP

"Diversity & Inclusion: Goals Outline We are all Shearman & Sterling. As a global law firm, diversity and inclusion (D&I) are part of our fabric, interwoven in who we are and all we do. We are committed to attracting, retaining and developing the best and most diverse talent from around the globe to serve our clients with the insights, judgment and excellence that they expect from us. We know that the continued success of our firm, our people and our clients are inextricably bound, and require that we reflect the..."

Getting Hired Here

  • “The firm's hiring process is highly competitive, and the firm looks for smart, driven, energetic, and creative candidates to join the firm. Shearman does not limit hiring to T14 schools and looks beyond the name of the school to make hiring decisions based on an applicant's entire background.”
  • “They focus on the most competitive candidates, and among that group they look for ‘good fit,’ work ethic, level of commitment, and personality.”
  • “Looking for associates with international experiences and interests.”
  • “Interviewers are expected to review the hiring guidelines and ask standard interview questions that are geared towards eliminating biases in the interview process. We interviewed a wide range of candidates from various law schools recently, and it seemed like there was a good cross-section, though I'd say most of the schools were top 25.”
  • “It was mostly a casual conversation, but be prepared for the common interview questions: What interested you in this firm, what practice area are you looking at, etc.”
  • “Behavioral questions oftentimes [are asked] during the initial interview process, and more so ‘fit’ questions during callback interviews to see if you'd be a good fit culturally/socially.”
  • “I was asked about the ‘interests’ section of my resume and what I'd been reading at the time. I was also asked about previous experience and why I wanted to be a lawyer.”
  • “The firm asks behavioral hypotheticals, such as how people respond to difficult challenges.”

Practice Area Q&A’s

Robert Freedman

Lead Industry Coordinator and Partner

Shearman & Sterling LLP
Paula Anderson


Shearman & Sterling LLP
Grissel Mercado


Shearman & Sterling LLP

Perks & Benefits