Roots in California
Founded in Los Angeles in 1927, Sheppard Mullin has been providing top quality legal services to national and international clients for decades. The firm presently has 16 offices: seven in California (Los Angeles/Downtown and Los Angeles/Century City; San Francisco; Silicon Valley; Orange County; and San Diego/Downtown and San Diego/Del Mar), plus offices in Chicago, Dallas, Houston, New York, Washington, DC, Shanghai, London, Brussels and Seoul. The firm serves notable clients in a wide variety of industries including Nordstrom, Inc., Costco Wholesale Corporation, Lions Gate Entertainment, Marriott International, Samsung Group and Sempra Energy.
Diversified and durable practice
Despite the ups and downs of the economy, Sheppard Mullin has prospered by continuously diversifying its practice areas. The firm specializes in ten key areas: Litigation (including White Collar defense); Corporate and Securities; Labor & Employment; Finance & Bankruptcy; Antitrust; Governmental; Entertainment, Technology and Advertising; Intellectual Property; Real Estate, Land Use & Environmental; and Tax. To address the changing nature of the legal practice and client expectations, the firm assembles interdisciplinary teams, some industry-specific (e.g., Health Care, Life Sciences, Clean Technology, Fashion & Apparel, and Sports) and others that are client-specific.
Emphasis on attorney development
Sheppard Mullin focuses its recruiting efforts on law students who want to continue to learn and do important, challenging work from Day One. Similarly, when a practice group seeks a lateral associate, it seeks attorneys with a proven record of responsibility and success with prior employers. All associates are hired with the expectation that they have the potential to one day become partners, if that is their chosen career path, and we design our professional development programs to help associates achieve that goal.
The firm staffs junior associates on legal matters of all sizes so that they have exposure, responsibility, guidance and client contact at an early stage. A number of firm matters are staffed so that one associate works side-by-side with one partner. Associates also gain experience in firm administration by serving on in-house committees such as the Associates’ Forum and the Pro Bono, Recruiting, and Summer Associates Committees.
Sheppard Mullin emphasizes associates’ development of professional skills. The firm offers substantive training programs in both litigation and transactional work, with guidance from supervising lawyers. The program includes a hands-on exercise in negotiation and document drafting, as well as a trial in front of real judges.
Each practice group at Sheppard Mullin conducts an extensive training program for its associates. Training seminars are available on demand, on a 24/7 basis. The firm also conducts annual academies for associates. New Lawyer Academy is for 1st to 3rd year associates and focuses on the necessary skills and expectations of being an associate for our newest associates. Mid-Level Academy is for 4th to 6th year associates and focuses on developing management skills, particularly “managing from the middle.” Partnership College is for 7th and 8th year associates as well as Special Counsel and focuses on the transition to partner, the role of a partner, business development and compensation. The firm’s generous policies regarding attendance at outside CLE courses and reimbursement of client development meal and event expenses enable even the most junior associates to start developing their business development skills. In addition, associates are given billable credit for time spent on business development, recruiting, professional development and diversity and inclusion activities.
Sheppard Mullin believes that the best way for new attorneys to develop is through mentorship. Every associate at the firm is paired with a Partner Mentor whom they are encouraged to meet with at least once per quarter to review their Professional Development Plan (for junior associates) or Business Development Plan (for senior associates). Associates are given the opportunity to change their partner mentor if desired during the annual program refresh, to ensure that the mentor/mentee pairings are successful.
The firm conducts an annual evaluation process for all associates. During this process associates are provided to the opportunity to complete a professional statement which lists accomplishments from the current evaluation period and outlines goals for the coming year. At the conclusion of the process, associates review their full evaluation, with attribution. The firm also conducts a mid-year evaluation process each year to evaluate any new attorneys that joined in the past year and provide an opportunity for a check-in and course correction, if needed.
To assist associates in their integration and professional growth, the firm has a Talent Management Team that reports directly to the Chief Human Resources Officer. The Talent Management Team oversees all stages of an associate’s time at the firm, including law student and lateral associate hiring, orientation and integration, mentoring, training, evaluations and diversity and inclusion.
To learn more about our associate development programs, click here.
Focus on wellness
Shepherd has a holistic approach to development and several programs to encourage lawyers to focus on their wellness, whether physical, mental, emotional or social. The firm began providing Headspace subscriptions to all employees over three years ago and offers regular virtual chair yoga classes. The firm also pays its employees a bonus each month that they complete at least 10 wellness activities, such as yoga, meditation or any physical exercise. To help create bonds among lawyers, the firm hosts practice group retreats every year to bring lawyers together across the firm.
In 2021, the firm unveiled its innovative “Unplug and Recharge” program which allows lawyers to receive billable credit for up to 40 hours of unplug and recharge time each year.
Leader in diversity
Sheppard Mullin has a long-standing commitment to increasing and sustaining diversity in the legal profession. The firm has been named as one of the “Top 100 Law Firms for Diversity” every year since 2009 by Multicultural Law magazine and received recognition by several publications and organizations, including the prestigious Thomas L. Sager Award.
The Diversity & Inclusion Committee is dedicated to providing quality training, mentoring and opportunities to all Sheppard Mullin attorneys. Our Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer, along with the firmwide Diversity & Inclusion team, manage existing diversity efforts and develop innovative award-winning internal and external initiatives.
The firm has a variety of affinity groups, which include the Diversity & Inclusion Attorney Network for attorneys of color; Out At Sheppard, the firmwide LGBTQ+ attorneys group; Veterans at Sheppard for our veterans and their families; Sheppard Mullin Women Lawyers Group; the Women Attorneys Leadership Council; and Parents at Sheppard. The firm hosts an annual retreat for all attorneys of color and LGBTQ+ attorneys as well as a bi-annual retreat for our Women Lawyers Group.
To read more about the firm’s diversity initiatives please click here.
Committed to the community
Sheppard Mullin encourages attorneys to use their skills to enhance the lives of people in the communities in which they live and work. Pro Bono Partner Dan Brown, 2015 winner of the prestigious ABA Pro Bono Publico Award, has led the firm’s efforts in community service and delivery of legal services to those in need. Our attorneys sit on the boards of community service organizations too numerous to mention.
In 2020, in response to the murder of George Floyd, the firm and Georgetown Law’s Innovative Policing Program created The Active Bystandership for Law Enforcement (ABLE) Project, a nationwide program and research hub that trains police officers how to successfully intervene to prevent harm and create a law enforcement culture that supports peer intervention.
In 2022, the firm’s pro bono team helped in the landmark settlement that will provide universal accessibility to the NYC subway system, central to life as a New Yorker.
Click here to learn more about the firm’s widely recognized commitment to Pro Bono work.
Sheppard Mullin strives to identify how we can best meet and exceed our business objectives while simultaneously advancing environmental sustainability throughout all our internal operations. Sheppard Mullin sees sustainability as integral component of delivering high-quality services to our clients while also acting as a positive force in the communities in which we and our clients work and live, and throughout our respective value chains. Our commitment to the following initiatives results not only in a more sustainable environment, but also in state-of-the art workplace and conference centers.
Our commitment to sustainability is intertwined with our strong pro bono program. We are proud to advocate for organizations throughout the U.S. that support the environment. We support the non-profit organizations and communities by volunteering to further awareness and clean-up efforts within our communities.
The firm is a members of the Law Firm Sustainability Network (LFSN), a nonprofit organization of global law firms committed to promoting the benefits of environmental sustainability within their firms and throughout the legal industry. Through participation with the LFSN, Sheppard Mullin has supported the global Earth Hour initiative to reduce power consumption and promoted legal industry Earth Day initiatives.
We also have a dedicated ESG and Sustainability Team focused on the needs of our clients providing ESG and Sustainability-related services cut across substantive legal topics and span the range of our traditional practice groups. Our integrated approach incorporates ten areas: (1) Climate Change and Decarbonization; (2) Corporate Governance and Regulatory Risk; (3) Sustainable Business and Projects; (4) Financing of Green Energy and Infrastructure; (5) Project Development; (6) Land Use and Environmental; (7) Clean Technology; (8) ESG Marketing and Consumer Communications; (9) Business and Human Rights; and (10) Equitable and Healthy Workplaces.
We make sure our clients get the benefit of our market-leading experience and expertise by assembling teams that approach client issues from a broad spectrum of perspectives as one firm.