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UK City Firms

Eversheds Sutherland (London)

Our view...

Things seem to be on the up at Eversheds.

The firm won a Golden Turd in the Firm Of The Year Survey 2010 by a country mile after making a massive number of staff redundant - 735 in all during 2008/09. And whilst it's possible that the firm had needed to do this for years, its London senior partner didn’t need to send an email pointing out that he was sharing in everyone’s pain by foregoing pudding, and paying the bare minimum statutory redundancy was frankly shameful.

That was then - but have things improved? Well, yes and no. For the last two years financials have been flat, with turnover at £380.7 million in 2014/15. Partners may well have hoped that a leaner firm would resolve Eversheds’ long-term headache of inconsistency across offices, a result of its aggressive policy of expansion via merger. This made it difficult to convince the market that it was a single body with an identifiable corporate culture rather than a collective of smaller firms. Over recent years some of the less profitable offices have been abandoned and smart new ones have been launched.

In looking to expand, the firm courted US firm Foley & Lardner in 2015, but a merger failed to materialise. However in 2017 it netted US firm Sutherland Asbill & Brennan and became Eversheds Sutherland. Sutherland was a far smaller firm than the Shed, but it does give it what the UK firm coveted: a foothold in the US.

While Eversheds' slightly clumsy vision - to become "a great place to work and the most client-centred international law firm" – looked dead in the water in 2010, it has fared better with staff in subsequent Firm of the Year surveys. Still hanging out in the bottom half of the table, at least there have been a good clutch of firms below it and a bit of distance from the Golden Turd. Eversheds staff are generally described as a "friendly and normal" bunch, with relatively few "stuck up law-types". The firm comes in for praise with its "huge range of client and international secondment opportunities". And for those in the UK that don't fancy the big smoke there's "good quality work in the regions".

The firm encourages junior staff to take on business development and awards "a bonus for successful initiatives". One lawyer praises the firm for being innovative with various projects, although noted that it "sometimes tips over into novelty for novelty's sake". However a slightly more cynical lawyer says there is a "huge amount of corporate bullshit" adding "if I had a boss who didn't see through it, I couldn't handle it". Whilst another complains that the firm "couldn't spell innovation, let alone deliver it".

Salaries are described as "below market" with bonuses "almost non existent". And despite high billing expectations "money stays at the upper echelons and doesn't cascade down" according to one lawyer. Some accuse the firm of "bleeding talent", with staff leaving because of pay.  Other lawyers say they feel "undervalued".

And there are mixed reports about management. One lawyer believes that there has been "much greater transparency from management" in recent times. However others are less positive saying "they keep promoting all the wrong people into management positions. People entirely clueless about what it means to run a business, whose main asset is its people". Whilst another says "the senior management team is utterly ruthless".
While the firm is definitively mid-market it has some stand-out practices including its public sector group, which has advised the MoJ on the expansion of prisons and regional development agencies on around £400m worth of EU-financed funds. Pensions and employment are also fast-growing areas. Although Eversheds' failure to grab a proper piece of the high-end corporate and finance action in the City - despite concerted attempts to do so - must grate with the firm, even if it's been suggested that the firm is at least starting to wake up from hibernation on that front.

On the plus side, there does appear to be a huge range of flexible working options, from career break to reduced hours, remote working and job sharing. Although one lawyer claims that the firm "talks the talk but definitely does not walk the walk in flexible working - you're definitely assumed to be slacking if you work from home and it's implicitly discouraged".

Overall the London office is making strides, even if it's still got a way to go before it can match the deal on offer at its City competitors. A work in progress.

For more information on Eversheds click here.

For more information on Eversheds Sutherland click here


Salary (1st seat trainee): £35,000
Salary (NQ): £62,000
Salary (1PQE): £64,000
Salary (2PQE): £68,500
Salary (3PQE): £77,000
Salary (Salaried partner):

Bonus Scheme

Bonus scheme: Yes
Typical bonus as % of salary
- NQ: %
- 1PQE: %
- 2PQE: %
- 3PQE: %
- 4PQE: %
- 5PQE: %
- Partner: %


Grant for GDL: £7,000
Grant for LPC: £7,000
Training places per year: 86
% of trainees retained: 80%

RollOnFriday Firm of the Year Scores

Salary: 52%
Development: 68%
Work/Life: 66%
Openness: 69%
Biscuits: 76%
Toilets: 71%
Social: 67%
Firm of the year overall score: 65%


Holiday allowance: 26
Flexi holiday: No
Pension: Group scheme contributions, match up to 5% of salary
Healthcare: Yes
Maternity policy: 6 weeks at 90% of salary, 12 weeks at 50%. Return to work bonus of 10% of the 6 week period and 50% of the 12 week period for those back at work after 6 months.
Target hours: 1500
Childcare vouchers: No
Gym: Corporate rates
Restaurant: Yes
24 hour photocopying support: Yes
24 hour secretarial support: Yes
Other: Life assurance, permanent health insurance, a comprehensive range of voluntary benefits


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Your Views

Feel free to enter your comments on the news story below, subject to our terms and conditions. Please note that comments are subject to moderation and so will not appear immediately.

Please keep it nice. Thanks.

anonymous user
27/01/2013 10:00
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It sounds from the article that they are moving in the right direction in a difficult economic period (era almost!).

'On the plus side, there does appear to be a huge range of flexible working options, from career break to reduced hours, remote working and job sharing.'- if so then clearly this is a very good thing indeed.' sounds like this approach should fit in with many peoples work / home needs - I agree interesting to get some feed back.
anonymous user
09/03/2014 19:43
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if only salaries were as published above! 3 pqe level is considerably less than above!
anonymous user
01/03/2016 11:24
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The trainee salary listed above is not accurate - it is now £37,000 for a first year trainee.