Eversheds may still has its heart set on growth in London, with the firm a staple of City merger rumours, but this year its biggest gains have been abroad.
Turnover (£m): 354.5
Average PEP: 555
Equity spread (£k):285-967
Profit margin (%): 21
RPL (£k): 289
Vision – Execution – Governance –
The firm increased its Asia revenue by 22 per cent during the 2010-11 financial year and trebled its size in its Middle East offering through a merger with KSLG Legal in May 2011.
Middle East managing partner Chris Jobson laid the groundwork for the KSLG merger, with Eversheds’ six-strong executive committee (comprising CEO Bryan Hughes, managing partner Lee Ranson and head of international Stephen Hopkins,
as well as the firm’s finance director, head of HR and head of risk and compliance) giving the final nod. Expansion in the Gulf had been on the firm’s to-do list since 2009, when a document outlining Eversheds’ four-year strategy was sent around the partnership, eliminating the need for a partner vote.
Management now wants to consolidate the firm’s international presence, focusing on corporate and litigation, but with one eye on further opportunities in growing markets, particularly Russia and South America. Critics question whether Eversheds has the brand to land high-end mandates abroad, but the firm insists that an analysis on these terms misses the point – Eversheds is going after relationships, not a particular stratum of work.
In the wake of cost-cutting, Eversheds’ average profit per equity partner jumped from £517,000 in 2009-10 to £555,000 in 2010-11 with profit up by 4.2 per cent over the same period.
Management claims it was disappointed by the firm’s stagnant revenue, but with traditional core sectors such as public sector and projects enduring a slump, compensatory gains in competition, corporate and finance show that the firm is making headway in its goal to be a full-service, global relationship firm. It is a deliberate shift but nevertheless one that will unsettle lawyers seated in historically core practice areas.
Remuneration structures at the firm are unchanged on last year’s. There are 12 bands for equity partners (nobody has reached plateau) in the firm’s merit-based system.
Partners have their bandings reviewed every two years, with department heads and senior management assessing partners on five criteria: profits, clients, team development, behaviour (general interaction within the firm) and strategic value. Fixed-share partners, who also contribute a drawings-linked sum to the equity (usually around £10,000), continue to progress up a five-band ladder, with a possible 25 per cent bonus.