Eversheds LLP

  • Overview

THE SCOOP

Eversheds is one of the largest law firms in the world, with 48 offices across Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia.  It is also among the highest-grossing UK law firms, ranking ninth in the 2008 Legal Week Top 50 after bringing in £390 million in fees for the financial year 2007-2008.  In 2008, the firm also picked up the coveted "Law Firm of the Year" Award at the British Legal Awards.  Divided into five main practice groups-company commercial, human resources, legal systems, litigation and dispute management, and real estate-Eversheds advises clients in a range of sectors, including central government, education, energy, financial institutions, food, health care, local government, retail and transport.

The snowball effect

Eversheds was formed through the multi-pronged merger of several UK regional practices in the late 1980s.  Firms in Birmingham, Norwich, Manchester and Sheffield announced their intention to come together in 1988, with a view to being a single partnership by 1993.  Between 1988 and 1995, firms in Leeds, Bristol, Newcastle and Nottingham also jumped on the bandwagon.  In 1995, the individual firms began operating under the Eversheds name, while other practices continued to join the fold, including several from overseas.

The conglomerate firm elected its first firmwide managing partner in 2000, and by 2006, firms in Italy, Germany and Denmark had joined its ranks, alliances had been formed with Poland and Dublin, and a licence to practise in Shanghai had been acquired.  In 2008, Eversheds acquired a licence to operate in Abu Dhabi.  This represented a significant expansion of the firm's Middle Eastern business and further development of the services available to clients in the region, among them the National Bank of Abu Dhabi and HSBC.  Overall in 2008, Eversheds opened offices in South Africa, Lithuania, Switzerland, Bratislava, Prague and Estonia.

Reaching ever farther

Since the start of 2009, the firm has continued to expand its global network.  Eversheds' six-year leader David Gray stepped down from his post in May 2009, and his crown was taken up by the firm's UK managing partner, Bryan Hughes.  Hughes has made plain his determination to continue with Gray's strategy of expansion and investment, and his uncontested appointment suggests that Eversheds' partnership are behind him in this.  In January, the firm opened an office in Edinburgh with two recent hires from McGrigors and also set up shop in Singapore.  The following month, Eversheds scooped five partners from DLA Piper and one from Fried Frank to staff its new Hong Kong office.  In March, the firm opened an office in Ostrava, its second in the Czech Republic.  Most recently, at the end of April, the firm moved into Saudi Arabia via an alliance with the Hani Al Qurashi Law Firm.  But with the gains come some losses: in March 2009, the firm's head of real estate litigation left to join LG's contentious property team in London.Pulling through tough times

Eversheds had a good year in 2008, all told.  Revenue grew by 10 per cent, as did average profit per partner, which rose to £552,000.  In the previous financial year, the workhorses largely responsible for the firm's income were in the corporate and finance department and the property team.  Revenue for these departments, however, was down in 2007-2008.  In September 2008, Eversheds announced that the downturn in property work meant it would be forced to close its Norwich office.  Two months later, 31 real estate lawyers lost their jobs in a redundancy sweep.  The firm also announced a further wave of job cuts, with 45 lawyers in the M&A, finance and insurance departments on the "at risk" list.  Then, in April 2009, the firm cut 10 more lawyers in the real estate department.

At the same time, Eversheds asked 31 of its 73 incoming September 2009 trainees to defer their start date in exchange for £5,000 or the opportunity to be employed as a paralegal for one year.  The firm also announced that it is not accepting any more applications for training contracts until it reassesses the situation again in 2010.

The sky's the limit

Nevertheless, amid the cutbacks, closures and careful cash management, Eversheds has managed to keep busy.  In fact, an impressive range of deals and instructions characterised 2008 and the first quarter of 2009 for Eversheds.  In December 2008, Eversheds was re-appointed to the legal panel of builders merchants Wolseley UK as preferred supplier of real estate work.  The real estate team also won a role in the financing of what will soon be Europe's tallest building, the 1,000-foot "Shard of Glass" at London Bridge.  Eversheds acted for the developers, the LBQ consortium, on the £2 billion project.

In a potentially lucrative instruction, the firm was selected by Lloyds TSB and HBOS to deal with employment and labour law issues arising from the banks' merger; given that up to 40,000 staff could lose their jobs as a result of the takeover, Eversheds' lawyers should have plenty to do.  The firm also cashed in on another bit of credit-crunch fallout when it was asked to advise on the spin-off of the European private equity business of failed investment bank Lehman Brothers.  Eversheds represented the Europe-based funds of Lehman Brothers Merchant Banking Partners, which was bought out by the group's managers and South African billionaire Johann Rupert in April 2009.  Also in 2009, Eversheds was named to the global legal panel of Dubai Holding.
Ever-green

Eversheds has a large and active energy practice, with specialist teams in clean energy and sustainability, as well as the more traditional oil and gas sectors.  Eversheds advised the Hungarian Development Bank on its joint venture with the Russian state-controlled Gazprom to build the Hungarian leg of the €10 billion South Stream natural gas pipeline.  The firm also landed a key role as advisor to the Greater Manchester Waste Disposal Authority, the largest waste disposal authority in England, when the GMWDA signed a £640 million waste services contract-the largest such contract in Europe-with Viridor Laing limited in April 2009.

The firm has acted on a number of wind farm projects in the last year, including advising frequent client Statkraft, the largest generator of renewable energy in Europe, on its acquisition of 50 per cent of the Sheringham Shoal offshore wind farm.  In other sustainability matters, Eversheds is helping launch the world's first zero-carbon motorcycle race, as advisor to TTXGP Ltd, which is running the Grand Prix in June 2009 as part of the Isle of Man TT circuit.



Eversheds LLP


1 Wood St
London EC2V 7WS
Phone: +44 (0)20 7919 4500
www.eversheds.com

STATS


  • Employer Type: Private
  • Chief executive: Bryan Hughes
  • Total No. Attorneys 2009: 3,300

Major Office Locations

  • Tirana, Albania
  • Vienna, Austria
  • Brussels, Belgium
  • Sofia, Bulgaria
  • Shanghai, China
  • Ostrava, Czech Republic
  • Vilnius, Lithuania
  • Kuala Lampur, Malaysia
  • Port Louis, Mauritius
  • Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • Rotterdam, Netherlands
  • Warsaw, Poland
  • Prague, Poland
  • Wroclaw, Poland
  • Doha, Qatar
  • Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
  • Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
  • Singapore, Singapore
  • Bratislava, Slovak Republic
  • Johannesburg, South Africa
  • Madrid, Spain
  • Barcelona, Spain
  • Valladolid, Spain
  • Stockholm, Sweden
  • Zurich, Switzerland
  • Geneva, Switzerland
  • Berne, Switzerland
  • Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
  • London, United Kingdom
  • Leeds, United Kingdom
  • Edinburgh, United Kingdom
  • Birmingham, United Kingdom
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • Cardiff, United Kingdom
  • Manchester, United Kingdom
  • Nottingham , United Kingdom
  • Newcastle Upon Tyne, United Kingdom
  • Ipswich, United Kingdom
  • Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Tallinn, Estonia
  • Paris, France
  • Munich, Germany
  • Budapest, Honduras
  • Hong Kong, Hong Kong
  • Dublin, Ireland
  • Milan, Italy
  • Rome, Italy
  • Riga, Latvia
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