What led you to a career in the deal-making industry?
Essentially, happenstance – leaving Ireland to come to practice as a lawyer in NY for what I thought would be one or two years – 35 years ago! – having an argument with my first boss who believed women should not be paid as much as men, moving over to Shearman and then ending up in Shearman’s M&A practice group because of Shearman’s mandatory rotation policy – and liking M&A.
How does diversity add value in the deal-making process?
I believe any transaction process benefits from the involvement of people with different backgrounds, and perspectives, whether the diversity is based on gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, financial position or, ideally, more than one of the foregoing. Being able to approach a transaction through the lens of different viewpoints brings energy and creativity to a process, as well as building cohesive and integrated teams.
The most memorable deal I worked on....
It’s hard to pick one – I’ve been lucky enough to work on some great transactions. Among my most memorable are Boston Scientific’s acquisition of Guidant Corporation, Mubadala’s investment in the EBX Group, Raytheon’s merger of equals with United Technologies, and the currently pending transaction between Ardagh Group and Gores Holdings V, a special purpose acquisition company.
Advice for achieving success in the industry....
Be prepared for meetings and calls (read the background materials!), take time before responding to questions or issues that arise so that your response can be thoughtful, informed and complete, and try to set limits for yourself, with the goal of enjoying both your job and your life outside your job.
Clare regularly advises major US and international clients on their public and private mergers and acquisition transactions, including public company restructurings, joint ventures and large public transactions. She also provides counsel on corporate law questions, including corporate governance matters. Clare has been consistently acknowledged as a leading M&A lawyer and has received a “Dealmaker of the Year” award by The American Lawyer.
Prior to joining Shearman & Sterling, Ms. O’Brien worked with the law firm of Brady & Tarpey, P.C., where her practice included cross-border corporate transactions, litigation and domestic relations. She began her legal career at the Irish law firm of Eugene F. Collins & Son.
Education: Irish Roll of Solicitors, Incorporated Law Society of Ireland, B.A in Legal Science, Trinity College, Dublin.
Location: Shearman & Sterling, New York, New York.