Shearman’s Yukos: the epic pay day

Big days don’t come much bigger than the one Shearman & Sterling enjoyed late last week, when the firm triumphed in its decade-long, $50bn arbitration battle for Yukos shareholders against the Russian state.

But there were other numbers that, while not quite as big, are almost as impressive. As we reported in our Behind The Law blog yesterday, the respondents described Shearman’s costs as “plainly excessive”. The total amount billed by the firm on its behalf and that of its experts was $76.63m plus an additional £1.1m, over nine years of arbitration. The tribunal reduced this to the $60m but charge-out rates during the epic case still rose to $1,065 at one stage.

That said, the tribunal admitted that “the quality of the written and oral pleadings was outstanding”.

The take away for Shearman is to underline the credentials of its arbitration team and the earning power of its top lawyers, including Paris partner Emmanuel Gaillard.

In other words, you get what you pay for.

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