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Eversheds opens three European offices at once to extend international odyssey in line with strategy

Seven months after its game-changing transatlantic mergerEversheds Sutherland is continuing its spate of recent international expansion with the opening of three new European offices in Luxembourg, Moscow and St Petersburg, which include a number of lateral hires.

Two partners from Simmons & Simmons and five from Nordic Euro Elite firm Hannes Snellman will join the new offices, which bring the firm’s global footprint to 66 offices in 32 countries, in what Eversheds’ co-chief executive Lee Ranson (pictured) described as a ‘key element’ of the firm’s 2020 strategy.

The Luxembourg office, opening today (6 September), will initially focus on investment fund and corporate work, while the new Russian operations – which Legal Business understands will open in the next few weeks – will be full service, with a particular emphasis on M&A, real estate, litigation, corporate crime and investigations.

‘Luxembourg and Russia are both a natural fit for us in terms of our client base, practice strength and geography,’ said Ranson.

Partners José Ignacio Pascual Gutiérrez and Viviane de Moreau d’Andoy will join the Luxembourg office from Simmons, along with five associates.

Gutiérrez specialises in fund formation work, with a focus on alternative investment funds. De Moreau d’Andoy advises international clients on matters including the corporate and regulatory aspects of the structuring and distribution of funds.

In Russia, Eversheds has acquired Hannes Snellman’s entire operation, including a team of 22 lawyers led by Victoria Goldman.

Hannes Snellman senior partner Johan Aalto said it was time for the firm to ‘hand over the reins to Eversheds Sutherland, a firm which is more than well equipped to further develop the solid practice at hand’. He added that the firm would recommend the outgoing team to clients and looked forward to ‘co-operating on joint assignments in the future as well’.

Goldman has more than 20 years of experience in M&A and real estate, nine of which was spent as Hannes Snellman’s managing partner in Russia after it entered the market in 2006 by acquiring ETL Law Offices. Partners Yury Pugach, Luke Wochensky, Anu Mattila and Mikhail Timonov will move with her, adding to Eversheds’ local litigation, corporate crime and investigation operations.

For Eversheds, this announcement follows the opening of a Düsseldorf office in August through the acquisition of Grooterhorst & Partners, giving the firm a fourth base in the country along with Munich, Berlin and Hamburg. Meanwhile in Asia, a combination with Harry Elias Partnership gave Eversheds a Singaporean office in February.

Ranson has cited international expansion as one of the main causes for a dip in legacy Eversheds’ profitability in 2016/17, with profit per equity partner falling by 2% to £726,000 against an 8% growth in revenue to £438.6m.

He told Legal Business earlier this summer: ‘Continued strategic investment in people, recruitment and, most notably, our US combination led to an anticipated slight dip in profitability. We are making sure we are investing for the future. The acquisition in Germany [of Heisse Kursawe in 2015], investment in new recruits, systems, technology and the US combination, all of that comes into play.’

For a more informal interview with Lee Ranson, read recent our Life During Law profile here