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Drinks With The Deal: Shearman’s Aryani on Getting Comfortable With Discomfort

Published: August 24th, 2023
In the latest Drinks With The Deal podcast, Shearman M&A partner Lara Aryani talks about how her practice has evolved and why it’s OK not to know what you want to do as a young associate.

“If you’re not uncomfortable, you’re not learning,” said Lara Aryani, an M&A partner at Shearman & Sterling LLP in New York, on this week’s Drinks With The Deal podcast.

As an associate, Aryani embraced that sentiment in changing her focus from capital markets work to M&A. “When I thought about what I wanted to do more of, I was looking to the practice area that I was a little less familiar with, a little bit more uncomfortable in,” she said.

Aryani originally wanted to do public interest work, but she didn’t enjoy litigation.

Aryani graduated from law school in 2008, a very challenging time to begin practicing, and she did a mix of work at Chadbourne & Parke LLP, her first firm, before focusing on Latin American capital markets and M&A work. Ultimately, she landed at Shearman’s broad M&A practice, where she is working with Paramount Global (PARA) on a $1.62 billion agreement to sell Simon & Schuster Inc. to affiliates of KKR & Co. (KKR).

As an associate, “I didn’t talk to people about my career, because I was scared that if I let people know I was second-guessing things or that I wasn’t sure, that it would somehow backfire,” Aryani said.

That was a mistake, she said.

“I’m constantly telling the associates around me to talk to people because the questions they’re asking themselves aren’t new questions,” she said. “Being able to hear how other people are looking at and dealing with the same circumstances is incredibly important.”

Listen to the podcast below with Lara Aryani below:

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