Refined, discriminating and uncompromising, clients turn to Shearman & Sterling in critical cases. Partner and Who’s Who Legal: Competition nominee Trevor Soames, described by one client as “highly knowledgeable, well-connected, and engaging to work with”, says the firm prefers big game to more straightforward competition work. “We’re brain surgeons,” he says. Looking at a client list that includes Qualcomm, Samsung, Nokia, Credit Suisse, Paramount and Microsoft, it is hard to disagree. This is a considerable achievement for a practice formed from the ashes of Howrey in 2011. Since then, partners Götz Drauz and Hans Jürgen Meyer-Lindemann have moved on; for the first time Shearman seems settled and has established its identity as one of Brussels’ most combative and dynamic firms.
Behavioural work – particularly abuse of dominance – is the firm’s forte. Practice head and Who’s Who Legal: Competition nominee Stephen Mavroghenis and of counsel Christopher Bright are advising Paramount in the commission’s investigation of US-EU pay-TV deals, while Soames and partner Miguel Rato were brought in by Samsung to defend it in the Commission’s Standard Essential Patent investigation. Shearman is also involved in the shipping price signalling agreement and the car parts cartels. Soames and Rato act for Qualcomm on a number of matters.
United States: New York
Shearman & Sterling continue to be successful in New York. That four of its members are nominated to Who’s Who Legal – practice leader Beau W Buffier, Wayne D Collins, Kenneth S Prince and Lisl J Dunlop – illustrates the strength of the practice. Merger work has been prevalent, with Collins, Richard Schwed and Alan Goudiss advising Ardgah in its $1.7 billion acquisition of Saint-Gobain’s bottling business. The FTC is also heavily scrutinising a merger between the country’s two largest funeral home owners, in which Shearman is advising Service Corporation International.
Collins also helped Singapore Airlines gain global clearance for the sale of its 49 per cent stake in Virgin Atlantic to Delta Airlines, and he and partner Jessica Delbaum advised Citigroup in the sale of parts of record label EMI to Sony and Universal Music Group. On the investigations side, Shearman represented Credit Suisse in the Libor cartel class actions, which were gutted by a New York federal judge in April. The firm is also involved in the car parts matter and several other undisclosed investigations.