Eversheds plans to axe up to 166 staff across its international network - nearly half of them lawyers - as part of a management and office restructuring.

Among those leaving will be Nick Seddon, who joined Eversheds to head the Asia region in 2008 when the firm had only one office there, in Shanghai.

Lee Ranson will act as interim managing partner in Asia to lead expansion plans, which include opening a Beijing office this year and hiring new staff in corporate, finance and litigation.

In the UK, the firm said it is realigning business service functions such as marketing and IT more closely to its businesses and client base. It is also planning changes in the real estate and commercial practice areas spurred in part by medium-term forecasts of transactional volumes.

In Denmark, Eversheds will shut its Copenhagen office and instead seek a relationship firm, to which some staff may transfer.

The changes will affect up to 166 worldwide, including 84 non-lawyers and 82 lawyers including partners. Redundancy consultation begins today.

The firm said alternatives to redundancy will be considered, including both redeployment and relocation, together with opportunities at temp lawyer service Eversheds Agile.

Bryan Hughes, Eversheds chief executive, said: ‘Having established a new, clear strategy for the firm, we are now implementing the management and operational changes that will turn our strategic objectives into a successful operational reality.

‘The overall performance of the firm to date this year has been in line with our expectations, although there has been some variable performance across certain geographies and practice areas.

‘While we are always prepared to ride out cyclical issues, our view is that some markets in which we operate have undergone fundamental change rendering our current structure unsustainable, which, when taken together with our new strategy has led us to take the decisions announced today.’