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An 11-strong panel: Ashurst and Addleshaws lose out as Carillion finalises adviser review

Construction giant Carillion has finalised its legal panel review, with Ashurst and Addleshaw Goddard losing spots and Irwin Mitchell gaining a place for the first time.

Set to run for a two-year term until 2017, Carillion’s new 11-strong panel comprises Slaughter and May, Linklaters, DLA Piper, Clyde & Co, Clarkslegal, FBC Manby Bowdler, Irwin Mitchell, Kennedys, MacRoberts, Pinsent Masons and RPC.

The review was run by company secretary and director of legal services, Richard Tapp, and firms were asked to present client initiatives with regards to diversity and innovation. The company has continuously made efforts to tighten up the number of panel spots. Carillion’s 2009 panel review, which at that point comprised 14 firms, saw Addleshaws, legacy Barlows and Kennedys join the roster for the first time.

Carillion is one of the earliest adopters of innovative business solutions and subsequently altering the way it does business with external advisers in a bid to keep costs down.

Having established its own legal outsourcing arm, Carillion Advice Services (CAS), the company diverts the commoditised and quasi-legal portion of all its workload to Newcastle-based CAS, which is also now used by its panel law firms to service their own needs.

It became a requirement for panel firms during the company’s last review in 2012, and Tapp first trialled the CAS arrangement with panel employment advisers Clarkslegal. In 2013, Slaughter and May followed suit announcing it had begun offering the services of CAS to Vodafone, an arrangement that has since been extended to other clients. CAS has now grown in the last 18 months from carrying out contract review work for Carillion across the UK to across the globe, and the initiative has notably helped the company keep legal costs at the same level they were ten years ago.

Other moves to reduce costs include using external firms in a collaborative network, where firms agree standard forms of documentation for their Carillion work and meet twice a year. Carillion also asks its network of advisers to identify the potential legal issues that could impact its business in the future.

Tapp previously told Legal Business: ‘It works best if all the firms are getting work and we keep the network fairly small. I appreciate we are quite demanding so its quid pro quo.’