Eversheds to 'market' German states

Eversheds is expanding into the consulting business after winning a contract to market the German states of Berlin and Brandenburg to investors.

The firm fought off competition from one of the big six accountancy firms, two marketing companies and at least one other law firm, to win the contract from the Berlin and Brandenburg economic development corporations.

It is believed to be the first time a UK law firm has taken on such a marketing role.

Eversheds has set up a new name for the contract, Eversheds Consulting, and brought in an outside consultant Clive Vokes, a former director of the Welsh Development Agency, to help with technical details.

But managing partner Peter Cole said no staff would be allocated to the contract full-time. All the firm's solicitors would be expected to keep an eye out for clients who might be interested in investing in Berlin or Brandenburg. “We have a thousand fee earners in the market place, so they don't need to be full-time.”

Investors would be sought in the UK and Ireland and among US and international clients.

If legal work flowed from that, “we wouldn't be unduly upset,” added Cole.

The firm has a Berlin office and a German unit in London and first encountered the Berlin Development Corporation in 1994 when it held a seminar on investing in Berlin.

Hans Estermann, managing director of the Berlin Development Corporation, said Eversheds' national network had been the deciding factor when the contract was awarded.

The two states have appointed an investment bank in Tokyo to do the same job for them in Japan, and a marketing, consulting and accountancy company in New York to cover the US.

Eversheds would not reveal how much it is being paid, but Estermann said the two state parliaments had approved payments for two years. Further approval would have to be sought after those two years.