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The Lawyer can reveal that the Eversheds board is split between the rival camps backing managing partner candidates David Gray and Michael Brown
Voting for Eversheds' next managing partner closes on Wednesday (2 October), but most of the firm's 182 equity partners are understood to have cast their votes already. Last week sources in both camps said the outcome was too close to call.
"It's a secret ballot and lots of people aren't talking about their decisions. That's one factor. There are also others who are leaving it right to the end to decide what to do. A lot of people have voted, but others are saying that they will decide what to do over the weekend, so it's hard to be entirely sure," a source told The Lawyer last week.
Of those members of the firm's strategy board entitled to vote, Brown's supporters are expected to include head of client services Geoff Harrison, head of operations Colin Brown, head of biosciences Patrick Farrant, outgoing managing partner David Ansbro and head of international Alan Jenkins. London managing partner Brown is also on the board and is entitled to cast a vote for himself.
Gray's supporters on the board are expected to include environment and regulatory head Paul Smith and Birmingham corporate finance partner Michael Seabrook.
The bulk of the firm's practice group heads are supporting Brown. The majority of the Birmingham equity partnership appears to be in the Brown camp, as is the London office. But both Cardiff and the east of England are understood to be split between the two camps, with greater emphasis towards the Gray camp. Leeds and Manchester are largely in the Gray camp. Newcastle is understood to be split, while the East Midlands is understood to be split but with a leaning towards Brown.
One source close to the process said: "Despite some concerns about Gray's lack of inclusiveness, there is a sense that the vigour and focus he would bring to drive the corporate aspects of the business are what is needed. That said, Brown may still be the winner in the end, but it is too close to call."