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Shearman & Sterling’s London office switches Kaplan for Uni of Law in LPC deal

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Contract kicks off this September in a post-sale boost for university

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Shearman & Sterling has shifted its bulk Legal Practice Course (LPC) deal for its London-based trainees to the University of Law.

The move comes as a blow to Kaplan Law School, which had the elite New York-based firm on its books for the provision of LPC places for between 15 and 17 trainees annually.

A spokesman for the US firm’s London outpost confirmed the move yesterday afternoon, saying the ULaw contract would kick off this September.

While the university declined to comment on the arrangement, the move will provide its new owners with a much-needed fillip. Over the last year or so, ULaw has seen some high profile law firm deals — including those involving magic circle players Clifford Chance and Allen & Overy — jump ship to arch rivals BPP Law School.

While Shearman’s London office takes on far fewer London trainees annually compared with magic circle rivals, the firm is still a big name trophy. And its reputation for quality work and high pay — newly qualified solicitor salaries at Shearman were recently raised to £88,000 — means that it has a high status among law students.

Shearman & Sterling is reported to have boosted its London outpost revenues for its last financial year by 7% to £93 million. Firm-wide, top equity partners on average trouser some £1.2 million annually, with Shearman having 172 lawyers based in the UK capital.

Kaplan still has training deals with a host of big name firms, including Mayer Brown, Nabarro and Fieldfisher. It declined to comment on the loss of Shearman.

Meanwhile, ULaw continued its recent flurry of announcements by today unveiling One Essex Court chambers head, Lord Grabiner QC, as its president.

Grabiner — a commercial an arbitration specialist, who was made up to silk in 1981 — took over the mainly ceremonial role at the university at the beginning of the month.

Grabiner was made a life peer in 1999. He attended at Central Foundation Boys’ School in Hackney in London before reading law at the London School of Economics. He was called to the bar at Lincoln’s in 1968.