Commercial law team triples at Eversheds

EVERSHEDS’ international capabilities and sector expertise have helped the firm stay at the top of the North-East legal market.

EVERSHEDS’ international capabilities and sector expertise have helped the firm stay at the top of the North-East legal market.

This year’s Legal 500 directory highlights the strength of the firm’s Newcastle office, with Eversheds praised for its expertise in corporate and commercial, shipping, commercial property and clinical negligence. In addition the firm is ranked in 11 tier one categories including employment, public sector and EU and competition.

In one typical client comment, the firm is described as “extremely efficient, with a consummate understanding of our sector”.

Eversheds’ international network has grown in the past year, with offices opened at Doha in Qatar, Shanghai in China and new affiliations in the Baltic states. Its international reach is evident in the work of the banking and finance team at Newcastle led by new head Andy Nunn. The team has brought a host of international work to the region through national and international finance deals.

Alan Fletcher remains at the helm of the firm’s corporate team which led on more than 40 completed transactions in 2006 with an aggregate deal value of more than £600m. Their “enviable” client list includes Newcastle Airport, Sunderland Marine Mutual Insurance and One NorthEast.

Head of the commercial team, partner Ruth Connorton, received high praise in the report for her EU and competition work and her ability to provide “very good, sound advice and not just what she thinks you want to hear”. This year, Ruth’s team have advised on procurement and state aid for national clients including English Partnerships and Transport for London.

The past 12 months have seen the commercial litigation team triple in size, offering “expert advice which is appropriate and practical” with a particular emphasis on banking, financial services and international trade law.

The litigation and dispute management team has recently welcomed partner Bill Gilliam, who moved from the firm’s Leeds office to head commercial litigation.

Bill brings a wealth of sector expertise including health and IT. This year’s Legal 500 also heaps praise on the office’s shipping arm for its capability to handle large marine casualties and pollution incidents. Eversheds was involved in one of the largest commercial arbitrations of the year, acting for Polembros Shipping and The American Club with indemnity claims in excess of $8.7 bn.

The firm’s traditional strength in public sector projects remains high. In particular, 2006 can be marked out for significant work with further education colleges and its continuing relationship with Newcastle University, where Colin Crossman has been noted for his work.

Eversheds was also the only firm in the North East appointed by Catalist Legal (formally known as L-CAT) to both its full commercial and major projects panels.

Eversheds recently established a strong nuclear team in addition to the already leading renewable energy practice and continues to act for BNFL.

Another partner to receive high praise in the report is David Weatherburn, head of Eversheds’ healthcare group, which is setting the standard for legal service provision to the public and private healthcare market. The “group of charismatic individuals” currently represents more than 100 NHS bodies and private healthcare providers.

Recent years have seen Newcastle undergo huge rejuvenation. Eversheds advises on many of the region’s biggest regeneration projects, including redevelopment projects on Teesside, and has a client portfolio that includes English Partnerships and One NorthEast.

In response to this incredible pace of regeneration, head of real estate Adrian Stanley has bolstered the real estate team with another 13 highly regarded lawyers.

With the North-East economy continuing to consolidate and strengthen, Eversheds is committed to helping the region’s businesses to reach their potential.

HEADLINE DEALS/ PROJECTS

Eversheds has acted on the following high-profile deals and projects:

Qatar LNG – advising Qatar Gas on joint ventures to acquire 8 LNG tankers (valued at $250m per vessel)

Department of Health – Advising DHL Exel Supply Chain on the outsourcing of NHS Logistics through a procured process and the judicial review challenge by Unison of the Department of Health’s letting of the contract on procurement grounds. Bill Gilliam was also seconded to the Department of Health.

Middlehaven – advised English Partnerships and Tees Valley Regeneration on the £200m development of Middlehaven – the UK’s biggest carbon neutral real estate development.

Provided claims management for a large private healthcare provider for care homes and hospitals in the UK, Spain and Ireland.

Journalists

David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer