British law firm Eversheds is attempting to merge with a US rival just a year after it failed to agree a tie-up with another American legal business.
Eversheds confirmed last night that it was in talks with Sutherland Asbill & Brennan over a deal that would create a firm with more than 2,300 lawyers spanning 29 countries around the world. Partners at both firms are due to vote on the mooted deal before the end of the year and if approved the combined business will be called Eversheds Sutherland.
It marks the second time in the space of a year that Eversheds has attempted a US deal, which has been a long-held ambition of Bryan Hughes, its chief executive. Last November, talks with Milwaukee-based Foley & Lardner failed to result in a merger.
The talks are also the latest in a series of deals in recent years as UK law firms look to expand overseas, to ramp up competition with the big “magic circle” firms that are already well-established abroad. Last month, CMS UK, Nabarro and Olswang announced a three-way merger to form the UK’s sixth-biggest firm.
With nearly 2,000 lawyers in total, including over 500 partners, Eversheds is much bigger than Sutherland, which has about 170 partners and a further 200-plus lawyers.
However, while the British firm has offices in Europe, Africa, Asia and the Middle East, it does not have offices in the US. Sutherland, meanwhile, has lawyers in cities including Atlanta, where it is headquartered, New York and Washington DC.
“Joining forces with Sutherland will give each firm’s clients a global platform and we will be discussing the proposal with our partners positively in the coming weeks,” said Mr Hughes.