Eversheds is set to radically overhaul its litigation management, cutting the number of department heads from 10 to four.
The revamp comes as overall litigation head Ian Gray seeks to bring his department into line with the firm’s strategy of targeting commercial clients.
Gray said the new strategic focus for litigation follows Eversheds’ success in building a strong commercial client base in recent years, including Rolls-Royce, National Grid, Centrica and British Nuclear Fuels.
He added that a priority will be the growth of a financial services-based practice in the City of London.
“It’s part of the firmwide strategy and our non-contentious practice has made big strides with the retail banks, major investment funds and the investment banks,” said Gray. “In litigation we’ve made a huge amount of progress with the FTSE100 and major US corporates in the past five years and I want to see that replicated with major financial institutions.”
Gray will head the major financial institutions group, while partner Paul Moorcroft will run real estate litigation. Partner Gary Pellow will steer commercial dispute resolution, with partner Richard Ward leading the group focused on capital assets across construction, environment and shipping.
Eversheds’ disputes restructure follows the defection of financial crime chief Gerallt Owen and tax investigations chief Peter Kiernan to Washington DC-based Crowell & Moring (The Lawyer, 17 March).
They were the only partners at Eversheds who acted in their specific fields, which was more individual client-based than commercially focused, which no longer fits with Gray’s vision.