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Allen & Overy to merge with US firm Shearman & Sterling

Allen & Overy

The combined firm would have 3,900 lawyers and 800 partners across 49 offices

UK-headquartered Allen & Overy is to merge with US-based Shearman & Sterling, the firms jointly announced yesterday, May 21.

In a statement, the firms said the proposed merger would create a new global leader named Allen Overy Shearman Sterling, or A&O Shearman for short. The combined firm would have 3,900 lawyers and 800 partners across 49 offices.

According to the firms, it would be the only global firm that offered US, UK and local law capabilities in equal measure.

The planned merger comes at an intriguing time for both firms. In March, Shearman & Sterling abandoned talks over a tie-up with Hogan Lovells, while A&O previously pursued a merger with another US firm, O'Melveny & Myers.

A&O senior partner Wim Dejonghe said in a statement that the firm had long admired Shearman & Sterling’s work and outstanding legal talent.

“I have been so pleased by the striking cultural similarities between us and Shearman & Sterling. We are expecting this cultural fit to ease the path to integration and that our clients will be reassured by the familiarity in the quality and tone of the counsel they seek.”

Adam Hakki, senior partner at Shearman & Sterling, said: “Client need for global elite firms has never been greater. They are calling for integrated global legal solutions and advice: merging with A&O will dramatically accelerate our ability to meet their needs in an increasingly complex environment.”

The plans are subject to an approvals process, which includes a partner vote on both sides.

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