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Fire up the engine: Transactional boom fuels bumper year for Eversheds Sutherland

Eversheds Sutherland had its transactional divisions to thank, as the firm’s corporate practice turned in its ‘best ever year’ to help achieve rocketing profits.

Profit per equity partner (PEP) jumped a considerable 26% from £984,000 to £1.2m, surpassing the £1m barrier. Net profits increased a similarly pacey 23% to £150.3m, while revenue was up 8% from £629m to £678.4m.

Chief executive Lee Ranson (pictured) told Legal Business: ‘The transactional side had its best ever year. Other parts did well but when that transactional engine is really firing you expect the whole business to feed off it.’

Ranson viewed the eye-catching PEP increase as a case of delayed gratification: ‘Last year we held some investment reserve back and it wasn’t distributed among the partners. We haven’t had the same need this year.’

The PEP spike came amid a marginal increase in overall partner headcount, as the firm combined concerted recruitment efforts in the M&A space with a spate of retirements. Among the most notable corporate lateral hires last year was Roger Barron, who arrived in May following a stint as a partner at Paul Hastings. Barron, who spent 27 years at Linklaters, joined as a ‘senior M&A adviser’ and is expected to provide strategic counsel as Eversheds seeks to bolster its global corporate capabilities.

As for the year ahead, Ranson is bullish about the need for investment: ‘We continue to look at expansion generally, but particularly in Europe, when opportunities meet client need. I want to emphasise that there is no slowing down in investment strategy – there may be ups and downs in the market but our continued commitment to investment will remain strong.’

Underlining this appetite, earlier this year Eversheds formalised a long-standing relationship with Bulgarian relationship firm Tsvetkova Bebov & Partners to officially launch in the region.