GIR 100 2021

Shearman & Sterling

Shearman & Sterling

Professional notice

The firm has recently invested a lot of its resources in strengthening its investigations practice in Asia.

The firm

Shearman & Sterling's pedigree in the investigations space can be summed up by one fact: the firm's white-collar practice pre-dates the FCPA, which was introduced in 1977. Today, Shearman's investigations group is well-known for its anti-corruption, anti-money laundering, sanctions and antitrust practices.

From the firm's base in New York, Shearman's global co-head of litigation and global managing partner Adam Hakki works on civil and criminal investigations and proceedings before the US DOJ, the SEC and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

Also in New York, Stephen Fishbein cut his teeth in investigations while serving at the US attorney's office in Manhattan, where he specialised in prosecuting bank and computer fraud. Fishbein was a monitor for oilfield services provider Baker Hughes following its 2007 FCPA settlement; more recently, he successfully defended Todd Newman in an insider trading case that resulted in a landmark decision by the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Fishbein is a Who's Who Legal: Business Crime Defence nominee.

Other names of note in New York are Paula Anderson, who has worked on corporate monitor teams for Baker Hughes and York International, and John Nathanson, a former federal prosecutor who did stints in both the Brooklyn and Manhattan US attorney's offices.

In Washington DC, the firm has Philip Urofsky, another anti-corruption expert. Urofsky served as an assistant chief at the DOJ's criminal fraud section, where he investigated and prosecuted FCPA cases. A client praised Urfosky for his pragmatic approach to finding solutions. He is a Who's Who Legal: Business Crime Defence and Who's Who Legal: Investigations nominee.

He is joined by partner Mark Lanpher, a former federal prosecutor and assistant chief litigation counsel in the SEC's enforcement division, and Adam Schwartz, another former federal prosecutor who now represents individuals and companies in investigations.

On the West Coast, clients can turn to Patrick Robbins in San Francisco for assistance in internal and government investigations and criminal defence in corruption, antitrust and securities fraud cases. His clients have included Wells Fargo, Morgan Stanley, Uber and Toyota Motor Corporation.

From Hong Kong, fluent Mandarin speaker Brian Burke advises companies with operations in greater China. A client said they trusted Burke’s judgement, legal knowledge and practical guidance. Meanwhile, Masahisa Ikeda represents clients on anti-corruption and antitrust issues in Japan.

White-collar lawyer Katherine Stoller in New York was made partner in July 2021.

Recent events

Shearman has a healthy mix of cases around the world.

The firm is advising French automotive parts company Valeo group on its anti-corruption compliance as well as on investigations in China.

Shearman is also representing Angolan state oil company Sonangol in a Dutch case against Isabel dos Santos, the daughter of former Angolan president José Eduardo dos Santos. Sonangol asked a Dutch court that Dos Santos return a $500 million stake in Portuguese oil company Galp. Dos Santos, who has been accused of corruption and money laundering, has reportedly denied any wrongdoing.

The firm advised Brodie Shaw Thomson, a former executive at a government contractor who was sentenced in the US to 42 months in prison in 2020 for taking kickbacks.


Most of Shearman's investigations lawyers are located in the main legal and financial centres of the world, including New York, San Francisco, London, Brussels, Milan, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Tokyo and Washington, DC.


The firm has advised the likes of Wells Fargo, Bilfinger, JPMorgan Chase, UniCredit and Baker Hughes.

Track record

The firm has an extensive history of acting on major corporate matters.

Shearman & Sterling successfully guided German engineering group Bilfinger through a five-year deferred prosecution agreement concerning FCPA violations in Nigeria. The monitor imposed on the company as part of the settlement was unhappy with Bilfinger's compliance efforts following the settlement, causing a period of uncertainty for the German business. In 2019, the DOJ dismissed the charges after the monitor gave the company a clean bill of health.

That same year, Shearman & Sterling helped UniCredit, alongside two other firms, on a $1.3 billion settlement with US authorities to resolve allegations that the bank and some of its subsidiaries violated US sanctions, including those imposed on Iran's state-owned shipping company.

Shearman & Sterling was hired in 2016 by Wells Fargo to conduct an independent investigation into the bank's retail banking practices, after it was revealed that employees had boosted sales figures by opening fee-charging accounts on behalf of unwitting customers. In April 2018, the bank announced it had settled investigations by the US Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency for $1 billion.

The firm represented financial institution Citigroup in connection with an investigation into an alleged US$400 million fraud involving the bank's Mexican unit, Banamex. The firm settled the allegations with the DOJ for $97.4 million in May 2017.

As one of the first law firms to establish a presence in key global markets, Shearman & Sterling has led the way in serving clients wherever they do business for more than 140 years. From major financial centers to emerging markets, the firm has the reach, depth and global perspective necessary to advise clients on their most complex worldwide business needs. We are organized as a single, integrated partnership with more than 850 lawyers in more than 20 offices located throughout the Americas, Asia, Europe and the Middle East. The firm’s lawyers come from some 60 countries and speak more than 60 languages.

Shearman & Sterling understands its clients’ needs, with an innovative spirit honed over its long history to find creative ways to anticipate and address their problems. Harnessing the intellectual strength and deep experience of its lawyers across the firm’s extensive global footprint, Shearman & Sterling represents many of the world’s leading corporations, financial institutions, emerging growth companies, governments and state-owned enterprises. Those clients continue to choose the firm for its distinctive ability to leverage the knowledge and judgment of one of the world’s largest and most accomplished cross-border legal teams – a team ideally situated to counsel clients in this challenging 21st-century global economy.


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