Law firm Paul Hastings hires NY partner in latest Shearman exit

Signage is seen outside of the Paul Hastings law firm in Washington, D.C.
Signage is seen outside of the Paul Hastings law firm in Washington, D.C., U.S., August 30, 2020. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

(Reuters) - Capital markets lawyer Grissel Mercado is taking her Latin America-focused practice from law firm Shearman & Sterling to rival Paul Hastings, the firm said Monday.

New York-based Mercado's clients have included Colombia's majority state-owned oil company Ecopetrol, Mexican airline Volaris and Grupo SURA, Colombia's largest investment company, according to her Shearman online biography.

A Shearman spokesperson in a statement said the firm wishes Mercado well and that despite her departure, "our Latin America Group's strength in the market continues to grow."

Paul Hastings has hired at least two other lawyers from Shearman this year, including Garreth Wong and Helena Potts in London.

At least 15 partners have left Shearman since the fall, including in Paris, Abu Dhabi and Munich. Shearman hires in the same period have included energy and infrastructure partners Mona Dajani in New York and Jorge Medina in Menlo Park as practice leaders from Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman last month.

Late last year, Goldman Sachs vice president Thomas Mastoras joined in New York and Mike Walsh, a former U.S. Department of Commerce official who most recently practiced at Foley & Lardner, joined in Washington, D.C.

Shearman earlier this month abandoned merger talks with Hogan Lovells. The following week, Shearman said Adam Hakki would take over as senior partner, in what the firm described as an early start to the process of transitioning the leadership role from David Beveridge.

Mercado will reunite with three of her former Shearman partners who joined Paul Hastings last May - projects and infrastructure lawyers Robert Freedman, Gregory Tan and Alexandro Padres, with whom Mercado said she had mutual clients.

She said her move is unrelated to the recent merger talks and her process of moving to Paul Hastings occurred earlier. She said counsel Maria Larsen is also making the move.

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Sara Merken reports on privacy and data security, as well as the business of law, including legal innovation and key players in the legal services industry. Reach her at