Shearman in the Middleton

Shearman & Sterling might just be stealing the crisis limelight from Dewey & LeBoeuf.

As we report today, the man pictured aiming what looked like a gun out of the window while driving Pippa Middleton is not just a finance associate at Shearman’s Paris office. Oh no, more than that, he’s an associate who has advised a small arms manufacturer on a bond offering.
Romain Rabillard could face prosecution and imprisonment if police can prove he was brandishing a gun in public, which in France can lead to a punishment of up to seven years in jail. Even Middleton, Prince William’s sister-in-law, could face questioning for her involvement, according to reports.

Now we’re not saying German arms maker Heckler & Koch gave all its outside lawyers model guns when they finished work on its €295m high-yield bond offering last year. That would have been quite an investment given that four partners, one counsel and 10 associates were in Shearman’s deal team, according to the firm’s press statement at the time.

But we are saying Shearman is having a bad time when it comes to fee-earner publicity. Earlier this year an e-mail from trainee Daniel England about ’rules’ for a lads’ holiday went viral. Four years ago a City associate took a vac schemer to a strip club.

Shearman took “appropriate action” with England and sacked the naughty strip-club lawyer, but Rabillard’s come-uppance could be more serious yet.

Meanwhile, US rival Dewey is shedding yet more partners and former Allen & Overy lawyer Deirdre Dare – who published an erotic novel online and then sued the firm after it fired her – is now set to launch a claim against her ex-employer in the States.

It’s all kicking off outside the Square Mile.