Eversheds to introduce bonus to reward cross-selling with US merger partner

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Eversheds and its new US merger partner Sutherland Asbill & Brennan will create a new bonus system to reward partners for facilitating integration once the merger between the two firms goes live on 1 February.

Partners from both firms will be eligible to receive the bonus, which will reward cross-selling and client referrals between the two firms.

The pair will come together as Eversheds Sutherland at the start of next month under a company limited by guarantee structure – a non-financially integrated model that has also been adopted by UK/Canadian firm Gowling WLG.

Under the structure, the two firms will retain separate profit pools, with each to set aside a portion of profits for rewarding partners who foster cross-selling between the two arms of the firm.

This new integration bonus will sit on top of Eversheds’ existing performance-based bonus.

The merger will create a firm with 61 offices worldwide, 2,300 lawyers and combined turnover of more than £600m.

Eversheds is the larger of the two firms by revenue, posting turnover of £405.5m in 2015-16, compared to Sutherland’s $301m (£241m) in 2015.

The combined firm will be led by joint CEOs – Sutherland managing partner Mark Wasserman and Eversheds chief executive Bryan Hughes.

The pair will be part of a six-strong global management team that will be overseen by a global board of 10 partners, with equal representation from both sides.

Hughes is set to be succeeded as Eversheds’ chief executive by current managing partner Lee Ranson in May, with current corporate head Keith Froud succeeding Ranson as managing partner. Current international managing partner Ian Gray is set to take a new role as executive partner. This leadership team will be unchanged by the combination with Sutherland.

Eversheds has sought a US merger for at least five years and in 2015, had failed discussions with Milwaukee-headquartered Foley & Lardner.

The firm was in discussions with Sutherland for around nine months before news of the pending union was announced.

Speaking to Legal Week in December after the deal was agreed, Hughes said the two firms would look for further merger opportunities in the US following the creation of Eversheds Sutherland.