In this article Interlink Recruitment joins Michael Clavell-Bate, Senior Partner (Manchester) at Eversheds Sutherland for an insightful Q&A. Eversheds Sutherland is a global top 10 law firm with a creative and collaborative approach to law, which allows them to deliver a consistently high-quality service to clients. In this Q&A we find out about their incredible new office in Manchester which combines a high quality and stylish finish, with functional and innovative spaces for their Lawyers to succeed. Additionally, we gain insight into how they use technology to improve their processes and what the future holds for Eversheds Sutherland.
Q: As a global top 10 law firm, how does Eversheds Sutherland differ from other law firms?
A: I think I would answer that in one word – culture. We can’t say that we have the best clients and lawyers in the world. I think we do, but other top global firms will say the same. I have been incredibly impressed and proud of the fact that, despite our growth across the world over the last 20 years, we have stayed true to a culture which is supportive, collegiate, collaborative and allows us all to try things and to fail. If you describe colleagues as “friends” and the firm as “a family”, you are doing something right.
Q: As a full-service firm, have you found that certain practice areas are showing a significant growth relative to others, both nationally and internationally?
A: Absent extreme circumstances (the pandemic for example!) a normal year would hopefully see all areas performing well and growing. The economic climate inevitably impacts certain areas – growth times usually mean good times for Corporate and Real Estate. Litigation for the most part, I would say, is immune from the economic climate especially if you have a broad practice, as we do.
We were fortunate that during the pandemic, all areas of practice performed unbelievably well. The position internationally has been equally positive, although some regions have had more than their fair share of challenges. China and Hong Kong would be good examples in facing not just the pandemic, but economic disruption too.
Q: You have recently moved into new offices in Manchester. How are the offices designed to benefit the firm?
A: Serendipity springs to mind. We committed to our new office before the pandemic. We took less space because we had a vision for the future of work which mirrors our blended working practices today in a fabulous environment with technology, collaborative space and highly functional work zones at the forefront of the design.
Q: The new offices are located in the New Bailey Development. What made you choose this location in the end?
A: Good vision. We saw what was happening in this area of continued development and more importantly, the plans for the St John’s quarter and for Salford. We feel the centre of gravity is moving towards New Bailey Square.
Q: With 74 offices globally, what makes your Manchester office unique?
A: I think the answer to this is down to Manchester itself. A vibrant city region, independent and free thinking, ambitious, tenacious and gritty. We are fortunate to have a business strategy that dovetails incredibly well with the strategy for the city region – specialist sectors; a tech focus; a focus on sports, arts and culture; and maintaining relationships with key international partners such as the USA, but a drive to grow relationships in other jurisdictions – the emerging markets for example.
Q: What are the culture and values that you work to maintain across the firm?
A: As a purpose-led organisation we are proud of our culture and values that guide our behaviour. Our purpose: helping our clients, our people and our communities to thrive. Underpinned by our values: collaborative, creative, professional, inclusive and open.
Q: How do you ensure that the culture at Eversheds Sutherland remains collaborative throughout your offices internationally?
A: Leadership is key – strong communications on our strategy, rewarding the right behaviours and calling out behaviours that run contrary to our values.
Q: How has growth in technology changed the way you work and helped to improve processes at the firm?
A: Eversheds Sutherland’s technology solutions have allowed us to focus more on delivering excellence to our clients. Not only do we utilise third-party technology to manage documents and time, review contracts, collaborate with our clients and more, we have also spent significant energy developing our internal technology toolkit to include solutions which align with our commitment to client service excellence. Additionally, we offer technology solutions for clients including tailored e-Learning, client-specific mobile apps and access to a comparison tool to contrast commercial contract law across multiple jurisdictions. We are continuously improving our internal and client-facing systems and offerings to make the work we do more efficient and cost-effective for our clients.
Additionally, in recognition of the importance of technology to our business, we held our Techtober conference in the first week of October this year, expanding on the Techtember event we held in 2019. We provided training to colleagues across our international offices on the legal technology solutions we have at our disposal and invited our clients to participate in a panel Q&A to discuss the importance of digital transformation to their businesses. In conjunction with Techtober, we are holding a hackathon this month for colleagues to demonstrate their creative skills and help develop new use cases for our client technology programme. We have invited our clients to act as coaches and judges for the hackathon and look forward to seeing what new legal technology solutions our colleagues develop.
Q: What social events do your employees have the opportunity to partake in?
A: There is so much opportunity – admittedly, not so during the pandemic (at least, not in person). It is great that we are getting back to having some fun in person, whilst recognising government guidance and our own safety protocols, of course. It is great that teams are organising events and I hope that next year we will be back to our full office summer and Christmas events. Alongside the big events, social events feature throughout the year combined with the development programmes for each of our job families. Not to mention the many impromptu events which occur weekly and are usually the best.
Q: How important is your marketing and social media strategy to create a uniform brand for your firm and Partners, across all offices?
A: Incredibly important and consistency is key. This is a case of many, many moving parts all working together to drive the bigger picture. We are fortunate to have excellent marketing and comms teams to pursue quite sophisticated strategies.
Q: What are the three most important attributes for a Lawyer to have, if they want to join your firm?
A: My personal view: passion for everything they do and a positive attitude, good analytical skills and strong communication skills. Intellect is taken as a given.
Q: We are aware that you are consistently expanding, where would you like to see your firm in 2, 5 and 10 years time?
A: In 2 years’ time, to have settled into the future of work model, to have nailed our tech offering internally and client-facing, and to have grown the brand and revenue.
In 5-10 years’ time, to be recognised as a top 5 global law firm – recognised for client service excellence, tech solutions and transformational change internally and client facing, being diverse and inclusive, the employer of choice and a responsible business – driving the ESG agenda in our sector for a better world.
From everyone here at Interlink Recruitment we would like to thank Michael Clavell-Bate for giving such detailed and insightful answers to our questions. It has been a pleasure to work with Michael on this piece and we hope it inspires others with their legal future. We look forward to continuing to be a part of incredible growth of Eversheds Sutherland.