Andrew Shapiro had already been through rigorous legal training as a student at Fordham University School of Law, where he was a research assistant and domestic violence advocate. But when a newly minted partner at his first law firm job asked him to join the capital markets group, he knew he was in for more long nights of studying.
The firm was Proskauer, whose eight hundred lawyers serve top-tier clients, including entertainment icons, sports leagues, and Fortune 500 companies. “I knew that if I put the work in, I would develop a deep knowledge of a specific skill set and work on many high-profile deals in a great firm at an exciting time,” Shapiro says.
First, he had to formulate a plan to give himself a crash course on markets and securities. Shapiro did what any savvy law school graduate would do—he turned to the internet.
Simple searches like “what is finance law” and “best books on accounting” helped Shapiro get his bearings. He put his social life on pause, bought a treatise on capital markets, selected rush delivery, and read it cover to cover. Then he read it again and studied every related area during breakfast, at lunch, on the train, at dinner, and in every single spare second he could find.
The practice became a habit that stayed with Shapiro throughout his career. “It’s important for lawyers to stay curious and maintain a willingness to explore,” he says. “I’ve had to teach myself things that I would never otherwise have the chance to learn.”
As the capital markets function became more transactional in nature, and the team started getting more international work, Shapiro led cross-border deals. He later moved his family to the United Kingdom and helped build a robust capital markets office for the firm.
When Shapiro returned home, he went to another firm to counsel clients on matters related to corporate governance and risk management. That’s when he developed a working relationship with Moody’s Corporation. He joined the well-known business and financial services firm on a full-time basis in 2017.
Since then, Shapiro has continued his habit of professional development and lifelong learning, while applying his expertise to lead the legal aspects of numerous major acquisitions. He also spent three years drafting commercial agreements, negotiating transactions, and advising Moody’s in-house incubator that founded, nurtured, and developed internal and external business opportunities.
Most recently, senior leaders tapped Shapiro to lead global M&A and integration activities. In the new role, he oversees strategic expansion and works with a dedicated team that handles all deals from concept to due diligence to integration. Shapiro says the team is looking for companies that will enhance Moody’s suite of products to help the organization become a true “one-stop shop” for all risk analytics solutions and services.
Although Shapiro never set out to have a mergers and acquisitions practice, he is thriving in his role. “There is nobody anywhere else who is less prepared for the job they actually ended up doing,” he jokes. “But the constant learning process keeps me going.”
Deals can feel monotonous at times, but laws and rules and regulations change. Whether Shapiro and the M&A team are doing a simple transaction in Asia or a mega-deal in the United States, there are always new nuances to master. He stays updated by reading trade and financial publications, and even watching his colleagues debate current events on social media.
At Moody’s, continuous learning is a valued part of its culture. Shapiro and his colleagues are partnering with an outside firm to develop an internal training program to familiarize people from all departments with documents, terms, concepts, and the “Moody’s way” of doing deals.
During his tenure, Shapiro has helped Moody’s close some big deals. He joined the organization right as it was completing a $3.3 billion transaction for Bureau van Dijk and was instrumental in the $2 billion agreement that landed a risk modeling firm known as RMS. And he is constantly working on other deals and projects to enhance Moody’s status as the global leader in integrated risk assessment.