Eversheds has argued that its brand will not suffer as a result of plans to expand its commoditised business arm with the launch of a South African joint venture.
The firm has sent lease renewal work previously carried out by its Cardiff office to Johannesburg and is currently training two South African lawyers in Wales.
This is part of a pilot that if deemed successful will within six months see Eversheds launch a joint venture with its South African office to carry out legal process work previously done in the UK. This could see it targeting existing and new corporations, as well as private practice.
The firm claims that no UK jobs will be affected.
Anthony Davies, a litigation partner in Eversheds’ commoditised arm the Legal Systems Group (LSG), said: “Clients are sophisticated enough to understand that Eversheds does both [strategic and commoditised work]. By doing work across the board we understand the business much better than a business that only does London work.”
But the reaction from the market was mixed. Quentin Poole, senior partner at Wragge & Co, said: “If you make a push into this area and build a reputation as a firm that’s famous for relatively low-value commoditised work, there’s a risk that this could shift your brand away from the quality end of your practice.”