Shearman & Sterling’s financial health has been strained amid the drop in deal work in the last year and financial commitments to certain partners, several sources familiar with the firm have told However, the firm’s new leader, senior partner Adam Hakki, is strongly refuting those characterizations, noting that many of the firm’s core practices are thriving.

Shearman’s financial overhead has been growing under an unusual set of circumstances for a big law firm, including retention bonuses and other pay guarantees to certain partners, several sources familiar with the firm said. Amid the financial strain, the law firm entered into merger talks with Hogan Lovells, but both firms walked away from the talks earlier this year. 

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