Eversheds considers taking shares in exchange for legal services

March 18, 2010 The industry-wide discussion about alternative billing options is developing, as UK firm Eversheds considers taking shares in client companies in exchange for legal services.

The practice of exchanging shares for fees was common in the UK during the dotcom boom, but has become much rarer since. Eversheds' South African chapter has already taken shares in around six listed companies and a number of unlisted clients, and the firm is considering whether the practice will suit its UK operations.

Eversheds' chief executive Bryan Hughes said: "We have looked at it over the years and generally steered away from it, but there is more appetite for sharing risk and reward so we are looking at it again."

Other alternative billing practices that are on the rise include rebate arrangements, where firms pay back a percentage of fees at the end of the year depending on how much was spent; the use of ‘success and abort fees’ in non-contentious areas; and volume discounts.

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