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In-house: DWF leads as Eversheds loses sole adviser role on Severn Trent’s expanded panel

Eversheds Sutherland has lost its sole-adviser mandate to Severn Trent after the FTSE 100 water company appointed five firms to its new panel, with listed firm DWF the big winner.

Severn Trent, which had run a sole-adviser mandate with Eversheds for more than a decade, has appointed DWF as its retained provider of legal services to its operational businesses, including areas such as construction, commercial, employment, regulatory, disputes and litigation, intellectual property, and planning and real estate.

DWF was also appointed to the regulated business panel alongside Eversheds and Burges Salmon, and to its renewables and services business panel with Eversheds, Penningtons Manches Cooper and Shakespeare Martineau.

The panel will run for five years, having last been reviewed in 2015. Herbert Smith Freehills will continue to provide corporate and treasury legal services at Severn Trent following its appointment in 2018.

Severn Trent head of legal Shazadi Stinton commented: ‘It was a very competitive tender and we firmly believe we’ve picked the firms that can help us drive costs down for our customers while also offering us the benefits of their experience and innovative ideas. On top of that, we’re delighted to be working with them to promote inclusion and diversity in the legal industry which is something that we’re extremely keen to support.’

The company opened the tender process for the £8m legal panel in July last year, with group general counsel and company secretary Bronagh Kennedy (pictured) telling Legal Business at the time she would be keeping an ‘open mind’ as to how many firms could be appointed on the revised panel.

In the 2019 GC Powerlist, she said her former arrangement with Eversheds provided cost certainty for Severn Trent but that she was increasingly expecting more training and market insight support from the firm.

Ben McLeod, co-head of water and utilities at DWF, commented: ‘We are delighted to have been chosen to fulfil a key role in providing the legal services retainer for Severn Trent as well as panel appointments to work with its regulated and services businesses. Severn Trent’s legal team have an impressive reputation in the market and we now look forward to working with them to support the achievement of strategic objectives and common goals for our communities.’

DWF became the UK’s sixth and largest law firm to list on the London Stock Exchange in March last year. The firm’s first major post-IPO client win was a high-profile managed services deal with BT last summer, while more recently it acquired Chicago-based managed services company Mindcrest in a £14.2m deal.