03 August 2020

Eversheds Sutherland posts strong results as CEO warns of tough times ahead

Eversheds made 22 partner promotions in the UK this year

Firm's international business, excluding the US, sees net profit rise 5%

Eversheds Sutherland’s international business posted solid earnings for the past financial year despite headwinds caused by what it called a challenging global economic and geopolitical backdrop that was compounded by the coronavirus pandemic.

Net profit rose 5% to almost £109m in the financial year ending 2020, while revenue climbed 8% to £592m. Profit per equity partner was up 2% to £902,000. The results exclude the firm’s US business. 

While the firm didn’t give a detailed breakdown of what helped drive those numbers, chief executive officer Lee Ranson said its strategy had helped deliver strong growth and allowed the firm to make a number of significant investments across the year in people, property and technology. 

However, Ranson is circumspect about what the future holds as the coronavirus continues to spread and weigh on global economic activity.

He said: “Whilst the business has responded well to the challenges and uncertainty created by the pandemic, and adapted quickly to the changing priorities and needs of our clients, there is no doubt that the year ahead will be testing for us all given the high levels of uncertainty across the world.” 

There have been some changes in the firm’s international business over the past 12 months. In June it announced it was calling time on its three-year Singapore venture with local firm Harry Elias, and is now re-evaluating its plans for the country. 

The firm also had a bumper promotions round back in April when 38 lawyers were made partner across its European and international network—a 40% increase compared to 2019 and almost double its round in 2018.

Sixteen of those partner promotions were women, putting the firm on course to hit its target of 30% female partners by 2021. The UK saw the biggest number of promotions, with 22 of its UK lawyers made partner. South Africa saw the second highest concentration of new partners with six promotions, followed by Ireland (three) and Austria and Poland (two each). 

The firm’s ALSP business Konexo has also continued to grow since its launch last year. In December it introduced a workflow and document management service for in-house teams, and in February it teamed up with accountants Grant Thornton and DXC Technology to provide advisory services on the LIBOR transition.

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