Eversheds restructures to avoid brand confusion

Volume business LSG to be tied in with litigation and real estate areas

Lee Ranson
Lee Ranson

Eversheds has disbanded its commoditised arm as part of a firmwide restructure aimed at allaying any confusion about its brand.

The firm operates a ­volume business, Legal ­Systems Group (LSG), which deals with financial recovery, remortgaging, ­volume claims, personal injury and specialist litigation. LSG sits alongside, but is separate from, the firm’s four main practice areas.

Eversheds will continue to offer this volume work, but LSG and its partners and fee-earners will be absorbed into the litigation and real estate practices.

“We’re trying not to look at it as a distinct offering,” said managing partner Lee Ranson. “It’s a question of trying to offer a joined-up service, so [clients] don’t feel [they’re] going to separate businesses.”

Litigation head Ian Gray added: “Clients have been saying, ’Why am I dealing with two groups when I could deal with one?’”

This comes after the firm faced claims that it was diluting its brand by expanding its commoditised business arm in South Africa while also seeking to develop its high-end City reputation (The Lawyer. com, 14 January).

Eversheds’ management has since attempted to play down that move. At the same time the firm is ­targeting the creation of more ’institutional’ Tyco-style relationships with major corporates and financial institutions, claiming that it can offer better value than the magic circle.

“Institutions are saying they want fewer, deeper long-term relationships, just like the corporates,” confirmed Gray.

“Our objective is to be a dominant player for City work [competing against] Herbert Smith, Hogan Lovells, Norton Rose and Simmons & Simmons,” he added.

That said, a partner at one of those firms said he did not see any benefit to Eversheds’ move.

“Insofar as the bigger firms are advising on volume litigation work, they outsource it or get paralegals or partner law firms to do it, which in some cases is Eversheds,” he said. “Well done to them for being proactive. If you’re not getting the work you’ve got to try something different.”

Eversheds has ruled out redundancies due to the restructuring. Former head of LSG Graham Richardson has moved over to run the firm’s new venture, Eversheds Consulting, offering general counsel, procurement and compliance advice.