Professional Development

We believe the key to being a successful lawyer in today’s global economy is to continually hone your skills.  At Shearman & Sterling, we pride ourselves on providing extensive, thoughtfully-designed programs so our lawyers grow professionally and stay competitive.  At our firm, learning is a lifetime commitment. 

Our Professional Development programs offer ongoing specialized instruction in areas such as communication, leadership, business development, negotiation, accounting, legal writing, and ethics.  Practice group-specific programs offer specialized training to strengthen your legal skills and expand your base of knowledge.

At each level of your career there are programs that will enhance your skills and encourage personal and professional growth.  You’ll be invited to lunchtime seminars, class-year conferences, talks by distinguished alumni, and much more.  Over the past year alone, the firm has offered over 250 training programs to our lawyers.

In addition to many other offerings, below are some of the programs that we regularly offer our lawyers.

First-Year Associate Development Series
This series is designed to help our first-year associates transition to our firm.  By offering periodic seminars on skills such as negotiation, legal writing, and managing up, we provide new associates with tools to succeed in the law firm environment.  The First-Year Associate Development Series is an opportunity for first-year associates to continue to deepen their skills while simultaneously networking with colleagues from different practice groups.
Business Development
These programs are designed to help our associates enhance their business development perspective and skill set.  Program topics have included “Bringing Home the Business,” “Honing Your Message,” and “The Economics of Firm Relationships.”
Global Conferences
Global Conferences include the First-Year Conference, the Mid-Level Conference for fourth-year associates, and the Associate Leadership Academy for a select group of senior associates.  In addition to the rich content they offer, these conferences provide opportunities for our associates to meet and build relationships with colleagues around the world. 
Summer Associate University
This series is designed to introduce summer associates to the firm’s practices and the legal and professional skills fundamental to being an effective lawyer. 
Firm Practices Series
This series is designed to provide our associates with deeper insight into our firm's diverse practices and capabilities.  Over casual lunches, partners from different practice groups give informal presentations about their group’s work.
New York Corporate Group Trainings
Junior associates in the New York Corporate Group attend regular training sessions on the fundamentals of law in the eight practice areas included in the New York Corporate Group.  By the end of their second year, associates in this group are well-trained in all of these transactional practices, making them well-rounded corporate lawyers.
All-Lawyer Social Events
We hold several social events throughout the year so that our lawyers in the New York office can get to know each other in a casual setting.
Class-Year Gatherings
Periodically, members of a specific associate class are invited to get together as a group, without a formal agenda.  These gatherings provide opportunities to meet lateral associates, network, and generally catch up with fellow classmates. 
Oasis Events
Three afternoons a week, the largest meeting space in the New York office converts into the Oasis coffee bar.  In addition to providing a fun and informal environment for associates to catch up and grab complimentary coffee and snacks, we also use this venue to host a variety of themed events, including gatherings to celebrate the Super Bowl, the Oscars, the arrival of summer, and more.
Lean In
This initiative emphasizes empowerment and equality for women.  The firm is one of many leading organizations that act as a “Platform Partner” to support Lean In efforts.  One of the many ways the firm supports Lean In is through regular Education Circle Meetings on different leadership topics.
Rosetta Stone Foreign Language Program
In order to provide greater service to our global client base, we have partnered with the leader in foreign language instruction to provide our lawyers with an opportunity to further develop their language skills. 



  • Before you start at the firm, you'll be asked to complete a preference sheet not only for your practice group interests, but for your office interests as well.  These preference sheets are consulted frequently when opportunities in the firm's offices arise.  Even if you don't express an interest in a certain office when you join the firm, you can contact a member of the Associate Development Team to inform them of your office interest at any time.

  • Associates often have the opportunity to spend a period of time working at a client.  Many associates enjoy the experience of working alongside our clients, and find that once they return to the firm, their "inside" perspective allows them to better respond to clients' needs.