Law firm Shearman & Sterling names new leader after merger talks fail

Johnnie Pratt

  • Adam Hakki set to succeed senior partner David Beveridge
  • Shearman and Hogan Lovells ended merger talks last week

(Reuters) – New York-founded law firm Shearman & Sterling shook up its leadership on Tuesday, announcing what it described as an early start to the process of replacing outgoing senior partner David Beveridge.

Adam Hakki, currently the firm’s global managing partner and head of disputes and litigation, will take over the top leadership role “subject to a formal election later this year,” the firm said in a statement.

Last week Shearman & Sterling and larger rival Hogan Lovells said they were ending discussions about a potential merger. Shearman, a 150-year-old firm with about 850 lawyers, has seen a string of partner departures in recent months, especially outside the U.S.

When asked if the failed merger talks or partner exits were connected to Tuesday’s announcement, a firm spokesperson said Beveridge had already decided not to seek another term when his current one ends.

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Beveridge decided to “accelerate the transition to support the onboarding of his successor Adam Hakki in order to seamlessly pass the torch to the next generation of leadership,” the spokesperson said.

Beveridge was elected to a six-year term effective March 1, 2018.

Shearman is one of several major U.S. law firms to have laid off lawyers or staff in the past few months. In February, it cut 12 associates and 26 business services professionals, citing a need to “align our capacity levels with existing client demands.”

Hakki, who has spent his entire 25-year-plus legal career at Shearman, has unanimous support from Beveridge and Shearman’s executive group and policy committee, the firm said.

Beveridge and Hakki did not immediately respond to interview requests.

“We have made important progress in reshaping our business, and I believe this is the right time to begin a leadership transition to accelerate the pace of the firm’s ongoing transformation and the development of a new strategic vision,” Beveridge said in a statement.

Read more:

Hogan Lovells and Shearman & Sterling abandon merger talks

Another Shearman partner exits in London, this time for Paul Hastings

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