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In-house: EDF Energy pulls plug on eight firms in reduced legal roster

EDF Energy, one of the UK’s big six energy suppliers, has nearly halved its UK legal panel and added two new faces as it looks for ‘deeper and broader’ relationships with a smaller number of firms.

CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang and Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner  (BCLP) were added to the new panel of eight firms, which has been cut from the previous panel’s 14.

Baker McKenzie, Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF), Pinsent Masons, Eversheds Sutherland, Squire Patton Boggs and Burges Salmon all retain their places on EDF’s panel, while Clifford Chance, Dentons, TLT, Osborne Clarke, Veale Wasbrough Vizards, Kennedys, Weightmans and Foot Anstey have lost their spots.

The review of the panel – which will run until 2020 – was led by EDF chief legal officer Guido Santi. Its reduction in size was to bring EDF closer to firms which could advise across the various businesses it has within the energy sector, including nuclear power stations and supplying electricity and gas to businesses and homes.

He commented: ‘We believe that building deeper and broader relationships with a smaller number of panel firms will help ensure we get effective, strategic legal advice, and cost efficiencies too. This has not happened by accident; it is the positive outcome of a very complex process that has required a lot of dedication, planning and forward thinking but has had the ultimate advantage of bringing us closer to our preferred firms with a better understanding of their expectations.’

One of EDF’s more high-profile transactions in recent years was the UK government’s game-changing 2013 decision to build the first nuclear power plant in a generation, in what was a £16bn agreement to build two European pressurised reactors at the Hinkley Point C site in Somerset. HSF advised EDF on the deal, which was the culmination of two and half years of negotiations.