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Slaughter and May has held on to its position as the most popular legal adviser among UK companies, according to a league table produced by Crawford's, publisher of the annual Directory of City Connections.
Changes in the way the table is compiled means Eversheds comes third in 1996, unlike the previous year when the firm failed to make the top 10.
For the first time, the tally by Crawford's includes clients which were retained by firms' regional offices.
This had the effect of catapulting Eversheds into the premier league in 1996. It took the number three slot from Clifford Chance.
Linklaters & Paines once again came second but Ashurst Morris Crisp came fourth, overtaking Clifford's which dropped two places to fifth.
Crawford's awards points to firms on the basis of one point for a full advisory role, and half a point for a joint position with another law firm.