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Cutting back: Government slashes go-to-firms for public sector by 40%

The government is cutting back the number of go-to-firms its uses for external counsel by almost 40% as it prepares the launch of two new panels worth a total of £410m over four years.

The reduction comes in a bid to ramp up legal service delivery across the public sector.

The existing list comprises 47 law firms including Allen & Overy, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Slaughter and May, Ashurst, Simmons & Simmons, DLA Piper and Eversheds, but this will be slashed to a maximum of 28 law firms.

The Crown Commercial Service (CCS), which acts for the Minister for the Cabinet Office, is setting up the two new panels – one for general legal advice services and another to cover finance and highly complex transactions – to supply the central government and associate public bodies external legal counsel.

The general services roster will be worth £320m and will comprise 18 law firms to cover areas such as public law, competition/EU, contracts, construction, corporate, data protection, dispute resolution, employment, environment, IT, insurance, IP, litigation, restructuring/insolvency, tax, and real estate amongst others.

The separate finance panel will be worth £90m which could see a maximum of ten firms appointed. Areas that will be covered include complex finance matters, capital markets, regulation, highly complex transactions, and strategically important transformational change, including major or complex projects, and mergers and acquisitions.

The two panels will be made available to ‘permitted users’, which include all UK ministerial and non-ministerial departments, their associated executive agencies and non-departmental public bodies.

The panel will launch at the end of November and run for four years. The new arrangements will replace the current legal services framework, which went into effect at the start of February 2013 and will expire on 31 January 2017. The existing framework has delivered an average of 25% in savings.

The 47 firms which were appointed under the existing arrangement are:

Addleshaw Goddard

Allen & Overy

Arthur Cox



Berrymans Lace Mawer

Berwin Leighton Paisner

Bevan Brittan

Bircham Dyson Bell

Blake Morgan

Bond Dickinson


Browne Jacobson

Burges Salmon

Burness Paull & Williamsons

Capsticks Solicitors

CMS Cameron McKenna

Cripps Harries Hall

DAC Beachcroft

Davitt Jones Bould

Dentons UKMEA

DLA Piper UK



Foot Anstey

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer

Gowling WLG (UK)


Herbert Smith Freehills


Maclay Murray & Spens

Marriott Davies Yapp

Mills & Reeve


Parabis Law

Pinsent Masons

Sharpe Pritchard & Co


Simmons & Simmons

Slaughter and May

Squire Patton Boggs

Stephenson Harwood


Trowers & Hamlins

Veale Wasbrough Vizards

Walker Morris