Eversheds reduces sets from 90 to 15

Eversheds is to radically overhaul its use of the external bar in a drive to increase competition for its work.

Eversheds is to radically overhaul its use of the external bar in a drive to increase competition for its work.

Eversheds litigation head Ian Gray is looking to reduce dramatically the number of chambers the firm’s litigation and employment partners instruct from 90 to 15.

Eversheds is believed to be one of the largest users of the bar, racking up a bill of £16.5m on outside counsel over the past two years. This is in spite of establishing its own advocacy unit in 2006.

Gray said the firm was likely to increase its spend on litigation and employment barristers as the recession deepens, but that this needed to be managed properly as clients looked for better value for money.

By reducing the panel to 15 sets the emphasis will be on making use of collective chambers rather than ­individual QCs. This would mean partners are instructing sets as opposed to individual QCs. This will include general and niche sets.

“The objective is to focus our spending,” said Gray.

The firm desires “close and deep relationships” with chambers, said Gray, adding that it would expect to work with the sets in a similar manner to the way in which it works for client Tyco.

Eversheds is the sole adviser to Tyco, which places a number of demands on the firm, including that it should raise diversity achievements and reduce litigation against Tyco by 15 per cent, in return for bonuses.