Shearman cuts six lawyers from Hong Kong base

Shearman & Sterling has made six lawyers redundant in Hong Kong, as the US firm continues to adjust its Greater China team in response to the capital markets slowdown.

The six lawyers, who were asked to leave the firm yesterday, are all in the Shearman’s Hong Kong office and across all qualification levels. One is from the firm’s M&A team and the other five are from the capital markets team. Four of those are US capital markets lawyers.

As previously reported by The Laywer, the firm laid off a small number of corporate and capital markets lawyers in its Beijing and Shanghai offices a few months ago.

A spokesperson for the firm confirmed the job cuts to The Lawyer and noted: “We’ve made a small number of redundancies in China to better align ourselves with the current market.”

The firm has recently reported a firmwide turnover of $752m for 2012, the same level as the previous year. Its firmwide lawyer headcount increased from 834 to 842. However, profit per equity partner dropped 2.6 per cent last year, from $1.56m to $1.52m, as did revenue per lawyer, which fell from $900,000 to $895,000 (25 February 2013).

Affected by Hong Kong’s dismal IPO market, a noticeable number of firms have let lawyers and staff go over the past a few months. Most recently, DLA Piper has cut back six capital markets fee-earners in Hong Kong (22 February 2013). O’Melveny & Myers, Paul Hastings and Sidley Austin are among other firms that are understood to have had layoffs in Hong Kong.