Eversheds targets in-house with new consultancy business venture

Eversheds is set to expand its business into the consultancy arena with the launch of a new business strand that will see it advise in-house legal teams on the management of legal services.

Set to go live next week (20 September) Eversheds Consulting will see the firm advise general counsel on procurement, compliance, processes and record management matters.

The unusual initiative is a rare case of a major law firm switching from poacher to gamekeeper to directly advise in-house teams on legal services procurement and related commercial matters.

The nine-person team will be led by legal systems partner Graham Richardson, working alongside litigation partner Paul Smith, who will take responsibility for generating business, and Diana Newcombe, who specialises in regulatory compliance, corporate governance and legal risk management. Eversheds is currently hiring a number of additional management consultants for the venture.

The firm is aiming to compete against consultancies such as McKinsey & Company and PricewaterhouseCoopers in the legal sector, and has pinpointed the US as a key market for the business.

Both Richardson and Smith have recently visited the US to speak with general counsel about issues such as how to structure panel arrangements, outsourcing and managing budgets, particularly in their European legal operations.

Richardson commented: “We are entering into this as lawyers with the experience of management consultants. We will be looking at a client’s current situation against a model of how it should work, drawing up solutions that can be rolled out across in-house teams and panel firms. We understand the legal world and our specialist knowledge will hopefully give us a step up over the competition.”

Click here to download the Eversheds report ‘Law firm of the 21st century – the clients’ revolution‘.

Click here to view a video interview in which Eversheds chief exec Bryan Hughes discusses the shift in the traditional balance of power between law firms and in-house counsel.