Eversheds no tears

Eversheds has split from its South African alliance partner after spending almost two years fighting for – and ultimately winning – the right to trade under its own brand in the country.

Eversheds first shacked up with 41-partner Routledge Modise in April 2008, with the latter becoming a member of Eversheds International and incorporating the Eversheds brand.

A year later, Eversheds decided that it wanted to drop the Routledge Modise name-tag altogether and just go with ‘Eversheds’. South Africa’s Northern Provinces law society, however, was having no truck with this and ordered a name reversal. Eversheds, feeling the decision was anticompetitive, decided to scrap it out and challenged the ruling. In February 2011 it won the right to have its brand reinstated.

But now Eversheds is having to abandon its alliance with Routledge Modise due to conflicts between two of the firms’ most prominent clients, with Eversheds’ chief executive Bryan Hughes describing the situation as “impossible”. All that effort for nothing, it seems.

Still, it’s a case of one out, one in as Canada’s Fasken Martineau signs a merger deal with South Africa’s Bell Dewar. There was no mention of what the merged firm would be called, but now at least we know that they’ll be free to name it whatever they want. Despite only being in South Africa for a few years, Eversheds’ legacy is set.

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