Legal Business Blogs

Going mainstream: Barclays breaks ground to forge first contract lawyer panel

After establishing a global two-tier panel last year, Barclays has launched a procurement process to formalise its flexible resourcing usage and establish its first contract-lawyer only panel.

A spokesperson for the bank confirmed the review was underway and the outcome was likely to take ‘months rather than weeks’. The panel will be used globally across the US, UK and Asia, but not all firms will necessarily serve all three markets.

Legal Business understands that the idea for a standalone contract lawyer panel was first mooted last year alongside the global panel review, however it was delayed due to time constraints and a heavy workload.

Over the last few years there has been an increased prevalence of contract lawyer services including Axiom, Berwin Leighton Paisner’s Lawyers on Demand and Pinsent Masons‘ Vario. It is understood that this is the first contract lawyer only panel arrangement for the bank, which previously used flexible resourcing on an ad hoc basis.

Following its global panel review last July, Barclays cut its global legal roster by 30% and moved to a streamlined two-tier system of ‘preferred’ and ‘approved’ firms running until 30 June 2016. Firms who made the list included a raft of US advisors such as Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom and Latham & Watkins.

Eversheds, TLT and Matthew Arnold & Baldwin were also appointed to Barclays’ preferred panel, which included all 11 firms that were previously on its mainstream ‘general advisory’ panel, namely Addleshaw Goddard; Allen & Overy; Clifford Chance; DLA Piper; Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer; Hogan Lovells; Linklaters; Simmons & Simmons; Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton; Shearman & Sterling; and Sullivan & Cromwell.

The review also saw Barclays shake up how it interacts with its external advisers with the introduction of corporate value accounts. The initiative, incorporated in the panel arrangements, allocates law firms an annual sum representing the value of legal services they must provide through various services, primarily legal advice and secondments and if in deficit by the end of the term they must repay the amount owed to the bank.