Eversheds takes on UK limited-liability status

Eversheds is set to convert to a UK limited-liability partnership (LLP) at the beginning of the new financial year, The Lawyer can reveal.

A partnership vote on the move is due on 22 April, but it is expected to be a mere formality.

Outgoing head of operations Colin Brown has led the team looking at the initiative. A series of papers has already been presented to partners ahead of the vote.

Opportunities to protect individual partners in the event of a claim are being explored. Brown said this would “not undo the main purpose of the LLP, which is to remove joint and several liability”.

It is understood that Eversheds‘ overseas offices will not be embraced by the LLP status until tax, regulatory and jurisdictional complications are resolved.

Wragge & Co decided earlier this month to convert on 1 May, but Eversheds has approximately three times as many partners as Wragges’ 113-strong partnership, so it will easily become the largest UK LLP. Kemp Little, Withers and the London arm of Mayer Brown Rowe & Maw have all converted to UK LLPs, while Clifford Chance converted to a US LLP before the UK structure became available.

Eversheds’ decision comes at a turning point for the firm. Managing partner David Ansbro will hand over his role to Gray on 1 May, after steering Eversheds through its first three years as a single balance sheet firm. Ansbro will take on a consultancy role with Eversheds, which will focus on client reviews.