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A&O, Fieldfisher and Squires lose out as National Grid unveils new slimmer legal panel

Energy giant National Grid has revealed a new legal panel, further slimming down its roster to just 12 firms – a reduction of nearly 50% over its last two reviews.

New firms to have made the 2015 list include Addleshaw Goddard, Irwin Mitchell and Herbert Smith Freehills providing full-service expertise and Norton Rose Fulbright, which was appointed to provide specialist support.

With contracts starting in September, the trio for full-service advice join existing panel members CMS Cameron McKenna, DLA Piper, Eversheds and Linklaters.

Norton Rose Fulbright joins Berwin Leighton Paisner, Bircham Dyson Bell, Dentons and Shakespeare Martineau on the niche service support lines, which cover both regulated and non-regulated property and planning work, corporate services, and gas and electricity legal work.

Firms that lost out on their panel spots include Allen & Overy, Brook Street des Roches, Fieldfisher, Squire Patton Boggs, Oliver Legal and Walker Morris.

National Grid said that ‘in line with how the legal market is changing, all contracts will run for a shorter period of two years with an option to extend for a further two years’.

National Grid went out to tender in March and said in May that it was considering shrinking its current roster. At the time, 15 firms sat on the panel which was established four years ago after National Grid cut its roster by 25%. Since 2011, the British utility giant has cut its advisory panel by over half.

Alison Kay (pictured), National Grid’s group general counsel (GC) said: ‘Our review of the panel aimed to deliver an agile and smarter service delivery model with firms closely aligned to our business needs. Although the list of firms is shorter than before, we feel we’ve got greater coverage and focus.

‘We plan to work with the firms in a closer way to ensure successful delivery and use operational excellence methods such as aligned objectives, closer management of the outcomes to be provided and two way secondments to provide deeper understanding.’

The review was primarily led by UK GC and company secretary Rachel Davidson, with Kay heavily involved on corporate mandates.