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5 minutes with Jude D’Alesio, Future Trainee

What university did you attend?

The University of Bristol.

What subject are you studying?

I am currently in my final year of a Law degree.

When do you join as a trainee?

I will join as a trainee in August 2023

How did you hear about Shearman & Sterling?

I initially heard of Shearman & Sterling as early as sixth form when I read their profile in a Chambers Student guide. However, when I arrived at university I attended their ‘Myths of US law firms’ event on campus, as well as the ‘Rise of US law firms in London’ event with Legal Cheek.

What made you apply?

Shearman and Sterling immediately struck me as a unique law firm, for multiple reasons on which I will elaborate below; therefore, I knew that I would apply for a vacation scheme when given the opportunity.

As a second-year, the choice was between applying for a spring or summer vacation scheme. Although there are arguments in favour of both, I opted for a Spring Vacation Scheme as this allowed me to potentially secure a training contract before the end of my second year and hopefully allow time to relax over the summer! I should emphasise that this was purely personal preference, and the scheme is exactly the same no matter when you do it.

How did you approach the initial application form?

Having attended several events with Shearman & Sterling in my first year, such as its superb ‘Head Start’ programme, I spent the summer holiday consolidating my information on the firm and filling gaps where necessary to ensure that I was prepared for the opening of the application window. As such, I had enough time to fully digest the application questions and did not need to worry about researching the firm late into the application cycle.

When applications opened, I initially read the questions and spent a day thinking about answers, as it is rarely a good idea to dive straight in. I then spent approximately a week planning my answers and ensuring that all my best knowledge of the firm was showcased. It then took me a day to write the application before reading over it three times to correct any mistakes. Spelling the firm’s name wrong is unforgivable!

What made Shearman & Sterling different to other firms?

Firstly, the geographical dominance of Shearman and Sterling as a truly global, full-service firm, with offices in almost every continent, allows it to maintain a competitive edge by growing continually despite a country’s national crises whose effects will not span the entire firm.

Secondly, a global reach inevitably brings expertise in expanding practice areas, manifested clearly with the firm’s three offices in Texas to capitalise on the scale of oil, gas and projects work. This rapid expansion into new industries establishes Shearman and Sterling as the authoritative voice, gaining clients’ loyalty before other firms can penetrate. The firm is of course prominent in M&A, particularly private equity; however, I was intrigued by how a Senior Partner at the firm, David Beveridge, had pledged to grow other areas such as litigation and antitrust. Not only did this demonstrate its commitment to adapting to clients’ dynamic needs, but from a trainee perspective it was useful to know that each practice area is of high quality.

Thirdly, Shearman and Sterling’s reputation outside the legal profession is especially interesting, and before applying I had watched James Webber, an Antitrust partner, appearing before a UK Parliament select committee. That the firm’s lawyers are trusted to advise on the creation of the law itself is a striking appraisal of its expertise, knowledge, and trustworthiness which I always remembered.

Did you do a Vacation Scheme and if so, what did you learn/enjoy?

I did Shearman & Sterling’s Spring Vacation Scheme which I would highly recommend, not only as the firm recruits exclusively from the vacation scheme, but also to gain a detailed insight into its practice, ethos, and lawyers.

Among the many things I learnt on the vacation scheme, I was particularly interested in hearing the client secondment opportunities and how trainees had benefitted. A popular destination for client secondments was the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), a Fortune 500 company which operates global exchanges and clearing houses, amongst other work. That secondees were trusted to work for such a prestigious institution and interact closely with its management demonstrated the early responsibility afforded to trainees.

The free pizzas and espresso martinis were also perks of the vacation scheme!

What made you accept?

Although I considered it for about a day, I knew immediately that I would accept as Shearman & Sterling simply ticked all the boxes for what I was seeking in a firm, for all the reasons outlined above. Moreover, the firm has been training lawyers for 20 years in London, so I knew that I would be in experienced hands for what is a crucial stage of any lawyer’s career.

What advice would you give to others who are interested in Shearman & Sterling?

There is no substitute for getting to know a law firm personally, so I would advise attending at least one careers event with Shearman & Sterling and speaking with the graduate recruitment team and trainees. In addition, if you are a first-year Law student or second-year non-Law, then the firm’s ‘Head Start’ programme serves as a great introduction to its practice.

Finally, recognise what truly distinguishes Shearman & Sterling from other firms, particularly other US firms. By doing so, not only will you demonstrate a thorough understanding of its business, but you will also feel more confident that the firm is, or is not, for you. Again, this knowledge can be developed by attending careers events and researching thoroughly.

Other than that, I wish you the very best with your application.