Shaun J. Mathew is a corporate partner in the New York office of Kirkland & Ellis LLP. Shaun counsels public companies and their boards of directors on shareholder activism and hostile takeover response and preparedness, investor engagement, complex corporate governance matters, and other matters requiring significant board attention. His recent experience includes defending public companies and private equity sponsors in several of the most high profile challenges to M&A transactions, and he has defended clients against campaigns mounted by a number of activist investors including Elliott Management, Carl Icahn, Starboard Value, JANA Partners, and Engaged Capital. In addition, Shaun is a member of Kirkland’s Crisis Response Practice Group, counseling clients on internal and external communications in high-profile crisis situations.


Thought Leadership


REIT Activism Trends to Expect in the Wake of COVID-19,” Law360, October 2, 2020

Poison Pills — A Measured Prescription,” Kirkland M&A Update, March 24, 2020 

"#MeToo Compliance — Two Years In, “Wait-and-See” Is No Longer An Option," Kirkland Governance Update, October 3, 2019

"New SEC Policy for No-Action Requests to Exclude Rule 14a-8 Shareholder Proposals for 2019–2020 Proxy Season," Kirkland Governance Update, September 9, 2019

"Purpose, Culture and Long-Term Value — Not Just a Headline," Kirkland Governance Update, February 11, 2019

Surviving Activist Shareholders, Passive Index Funds and Corporate Crises,” Corporate Board Member, September 10, 2018

Shareholder Activism – Evolving Tactics,” Kirkland M&A Update, August 9, 2018

Advance Notice Bylaw Deadlines – A Warning Shot,” Kirkland M&A Update, May 16, 2018

Advance Notice Bylaws – Advantage Confirmed,” Kirkland M&A Update, April 16, 2018

“Takeaways from BlackRock’s 2018 CEO Letter,” Law360, January 26, 2018

“Diversity Poised To Take Center Stage In 2018 Proxy Season,” Law360, December 14, 2017

Select Seminars

"Preparing for Shareholder Activism: What You Need to be Doing Now 2020," The Practicing Law Institute (October 2020)

“Shareholder Activism and Corporate Control Contests in Practice,” Guest Lecture, Corporate Lawyer (Prof. Vikramaditya Khanna), University of Michigan Law School (April 2020)

Shareholder Activism and Private Equity M&A, Kirkland PENews Brief (November 2019)

“Disclosure in Public M&A,” Guest Lecture, Mergers and Acquisitions (Chief Justice Strine), Harvard Law School (November 2019)

2019 Corporate Governance Roundtable, Harvard Law School (November 2019)

Preparing for Shareholder Activism: What You Need to be Doing Now 2019, Practising Law Institute (October 2019)

2019 Shareholder Engagement Roundtable, Harvard Law School (June 2019)

Shareholder Activism & Engagement: Lessons from the Trenches, Governance Week (June 2019)

Governance Issues, Why ESG Issues Matter to Energy Companies and How to Handle Them (January 2019)

Shareholder Activism: Adapting to a New Era of Investor Relations, Equilar Webinar (November 2018)

Shareholder Activism Spotlight, Merrill Insight (September 2018)

How to Handle Post-Deal Activism, DealLawyers.com (January 2018)

Shareholder Activism and Contested Corporate Elections: Lessons from the Trenches, American Bar Association (November 2017)

M&A and Shareholder Activism Panel, Global Restaurant Leadership Conference, Dubai (October 2017)

Press Mentions

Quoted, “Activist Defense Law Firm of the Year,” The Deal, September 2020 

Quoted, “The Activist Insight 2019 Adviser Awards,” Activist Insight Monthly, December 2019

Quoted, “Another Summer of Discontent,” The Deal’s DealMaker Quarterly, September 26, 2019

Quoted, “M&A, Active Managers Among Catalysts for H1 Insurgencies,” The Deal, August 30, 2019

Quoted, “Activist Investors Gain Clout as Stocks Tumble,” The Wall Street Journal, December 26, 2018


Recognized by The Legal 500 United States for Shareholder Activism: Advice to Boards, 2019–2020

Memberships & Affiliations

Harvard Association of Law and Business (Co-Chair, Alumni Advisory Board)

NYU Lawyer Alumni Mentoring Program (Advisory Board)

Ashoka Foundation (Ashoka Support Network)


Admissions & Qualifications

  • New York
  • Texas


  • Harvard Law SchoolJ.D.cum laude

    Founder, Harvard Association of Law & Business

  • New York UniversityB.A., Economics & Politicssumma cum laude
  • London School of Economics and Political ScienceGeneral Course