Eversheds uses ABS to build £100m alternative legal services venture

Richardson: ABS will give new business freedom

Eversheds Sutherland is to hive off three of its legal services teams into an alternative business structure (ABS), from which it will seek external investment to help the new venture more than double revenues to £100m by 2024.

Announcing the entity yesterday – dubbed Konexo – the firm plans to apply for an ABS licence in the next few months.

Eversheds Sutherland hopes to establish the venture’s presence in the US by the end of this year.

The three teams – ES Consulting, Corporate Secretarial, and Volume Insolvency – which are currently fast-growing alternative legal services businesses in their own right and contributors to the profitability of the international parent firm, rely heavily on technology.

Revenue from the three teams together is £40m and last year grew by 38% – and won and delivered the single biggest matter for the international business in the financial year.

The volume insolvency team of Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP will be transferred into a separate Financial Conduct Authority-regulated vehicle and the remaining teams will be joined in the ABS.

The new ABS will pursue joint ventures and external funds, hoping to make it a £100m business within five years, its head, partner Graham Richardson, revealed to Legal Futures.

The new venture “will act as a global alternative legal service and compliance provider, servicing global clients from its current teams in Europe and Asia”, the firm said in a statement.

“It will offer clients a unique, fully managed service including a consulting arm, financial services compliance and remediation services alongside more traditional contract legal services.”

Eversheds Sutherland – which has over 3,000 lawyers worldwide and has acted for two thirds of FTSE100 companies – has put non-lawyer tech professional in charge of Konexo, which will seek to meet an increasing demand for alternative providers.

Key to its offering will be technology, including “cutting edge robotics and artificial intelligence”.

The ABS will be adding “specialist, tech knowledge and experience through an external advisory board and the appointment of non-executive directors”.

Mr Richardson said: “Intelligent analytics, automation technology and innovative operational processes are at the heart of what we do and this will play a critical role in driving Konexo’s future success.”

He explained to Legal Futures: “[The ABS] structure will allow Konexo to benefit from its Eversheds Sutherland connection and heritage, with the structural freedom to access external funding and joint venture opportunities to support and accelerate its growth ambitions.”

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