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Eversheds, Reed Smith and Dentons land spots on inaugural Avis panel

Eversheds, Reed Smith, Dentons and K&L Gates have landed spots on a seven-firm global panel created by US car rental giant Avis.

Avis, the world’s third largest car rental agency, has condensed its use of law firms through a detailed panel review that will see it move from using around 650 firms to a seven-firm global panel.

Eversheds, Reed Smith, Dentons and K&L Gates have all secured spots for European legal work. Three US firms have also been selected.

The New York-listed company has an annual revenue of $8.5bn and has expanded rapidly in Europe over the past five years, purchasing car-sharing firm Zipcar for $500m in 2013 and Avis Europe, once a separate corporate licensing the Avis brand, for $1bn in 2011. The company has a fleet of 500,000 cars.

Avis created an innovative legal panel that bars its law firms from competing with each other for work. Each firm has been given pre-determined areas of work, with the idea being that the panel firms act as one unit, joining up their advice across their respective remits. The firms have agreed to a global blended rate.

The panel process was run by Michael Tucker, executive vice president and general counsel, and EMEA head of legal Gail Jones. Legal Business understands that Trevor Faure, the former general counsel at Big Four accountancy EY, was drafted in to advise Avis on its use of outside legal counsel.

K&L Gates has a long history of advising Avis, particularly in the US, where Washington DC-based partner William Kirk is known to provide lobbying advice.

Other recently concluded panel reviews include Siemens, which reappointed Eversheds and Osborne Clarke, while adding Addleshaw Goddard to its list of preferred firms, and Credit Suisse which appointed Ashurst along with the big four of the Magic Circle to its panel.