Eversheds' private client cast-off sparks mass exit

Following Eversheds' shake-up of its private client department (The Lawyer, 22 October 2001), four partners have left the firm to join Norfolk private client boutique Hansells

Charity law expert Philip Norton, private capital partner Richard Jacob, commercial property expert John Hardman and family law specialist David Sisson are taking three associates and six support staff with them.
Norton said that Eversheds wants to concentrate on big ticket private client work, which is related to corporate and commercial clients. “It would still be interested in advising the managing director of a corporate client or in work that has a tax focus,” he said. “However, wealthy individuals are of less interest as there's less business interest.
“They edged out the client type, and a number of lawyers then had a choice of whether to conform to the new client style and refocus their skills or to think about going somewhere else. We decided to go.”
There is very little private client capability left at Eversheds. Nottingham and Cardiff have a minimal presence and London has a three-partner team focusing on the international market.
The trend for sidelining private client work began in 1997 when the Birmingham office's trust and probate group was moved to Martineau Johnson. Two years ago, the private client group in Leeds was dispatched to Wrigleys. Then in 2000, Newcastle head Helen Travoges and a number of clients left for rival firm Dickinson Dees.
Eversheds East England managing partner Ian Shann said: “The move is in the best interests of the individual lawyers and our clients. We operate in an increasingly competitive marketplace and it's vital that Eversheds concentrates its energies and investment resources in its core areas.”