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Eversheds, Hogan Lovells and Bakers secure spots on defence multinational’s first panel

Eversheds, Hogan Lovells and Baker & McKenzie are among nine firms to have won places on French multinational aerospace, defence and security firm Safran’s inaugural global legal panel.

Weil, Gotshal & Manges, as well as Fieldfisher and Osborne Clarke (OC) have also made the roster, alongside domestic French boutiques Betto Seraglini, Brunswick Société d’Avocats and Courrégé Foreman.

The panel will last two years, expiring at the start of 2018. It was instigated and led by the company’s group general counsel (GC), Adam Smith, who joined Safran in September 2014 after spending four years as chief compliance officer for French industrial group DCNS.

Although there are nine firms on the panel with the same framework agreement, Eversheds, Hogan Lovells and Baker & McKenzie will handle the bulk of legal work for Safran, which has an annual legal spend of around €10m. The rest of the firms have been appointed to the panel for specific or niche mandates, including Weil Gotshal for corporate, Betto Seraglini for arbitration, Brunswick for venture capital work and Courrégé Foreman for white-collar crime.

Fieldfisher is currently on the panel for environmental work, though it could also be used for data protection, IT and intellectual property.

Before Smith joined Safran, the legal team operated an informal adviser roster with around 30 firms and most of the company’s legal spend went outside that panel. However, it was decided that in order to get better rates from law firms as well as value-adds, such as secondees, a formal legal panel would be a better fit.

After initial analysis, over a dozen firms were invited to pitch. The main selection criteria were quality and expertise, knowledge of Safran’s industry, value for money, and innovation in legal solutions and ways of working.