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The new head is targeting elite clients and further headcount growth.

By Rose Walker | June 17, 2019 at 03:24 AM

Eversheds Sutherland has created a new leadership role for its European business, appointing long-standing partner Helen Thomas to the position.

The international firm has appointed Thomas European managing partner, in a new role that oversees the firm’s branded offices in Germany, France, Luxembourg and the Netherlands.

In her new leadership standing, Thomas will spearhead the international firm’s continued continental European growth.

She particularly wants the firm’s cross-Europe teams to make further headway in targeting multi-national companies.

According to Thomas, the firm already acts for 27 multinational companies across six or more countries. She would like to see this increase, and for the firm to ideally act for 65 corporate multinationals across three or more European countries.

In the firm’s Paris office, she wants the firm to act for more of the CAC 40, the index for France’s largest floated companies. Currently it acts for eight, including international luxury brand owner Kering and insurance giant AXA.

Thomas currently holds a sole client relationship at the firm,  for its largest global real estate client.

She said: “It’s important to keep a client facing role as part of the position. A big part of what I want to help deliver across Europe is strengthening those client relationships across our network. Large clients want teams across all the regions that they are active in.”

She previously led the U.S. client strategy at the time of Eversheds’ merger with Sutherland Asbill & Brennan, and said she wants to combine her management and client facing knowledge to drive the firm’s brand forward in Europe.

Eversheds Sutherland has recently grown its headcount across several offices in the region, which Thomas also wants to build on.

In Germany, the firm boosted its bench strength with the hire of a 10-lawyer team to its Munich office, and opened a base in Duesseldorf last year.

It has recently moved into a larger space in the city, and also shifted its Hamburg team into a new office at the start of this year.

Thomas has spent nearly 20 years at the firm, having joined legacy Eversheds in 2000. Since then she has held a variety of positions including head of transport and most recently as the global head of corporate real estate.

She also hopes as a senior woman in the business she can help deepen client relationships, arguing that “any law firm needs to reflect its clients”.

She adds: “I’m a big champion of gender diversity within firms. I think it’s really important to have senior women visible, and I’m lucky the firm has always given me opportunities to take on new challenges.”