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In-house: ITV launches panel review with plans to extend roster by 50%

The legal team at ITV, led by general counsel (GC) and company secretary Andrew Garard (pictured), has launched a panel review with plans to extend its current roster of eight law firms by up to four more.

For the first time the panel will be expanded to include more of an international element, with local firms in countries such as the Netherlands – where the British company recently acquired Talpa Media – expected to be among the new additions.

Speaking to Legal Business, Garard said: ‘We have been operating internationally for many years, but what we haven’t done is put the international firms on ITV’s standard engagement terms. We do already use Squire Patton Boggs, DLA Piper and Olswang in a number of countries, and where we believe they have the right expertise we will use the office of one of the international firms. Where however we need specialist advice, then we will go to the best person for that advice.’

The broadcaster’s current panel consists of Charles Russell Speechlys, DLA, Hogan Lovells, Olswang, Reed Smith, Slaughter and May, Squire Patton Boggs and Wiggin, and has been in place for three years. The review will be the third for the TV network, with Addleshaw Goddard and Goodman Derrick losing spots last time around. However, according to Garard, there is unlikely to be much change among the current roster of eight firms: ‘How much work you get is largely dependent on how much you push yourself forward. This works for most of the firms, if not all of them on the panel.’

Garard added: ‘The changes we had from panel one to panel two really reflected the fact that certain firms weren’t really getting their fair share of work. We make demands on the firms on our panel – things like bespoke training, hotlines, etc. I don’t think it is fair to make people meet those demands if you are not giving them enough work.’

The FTSE 100 company has a reputation as a progressive legal client, becoming under Garard one of the first major clients in the UK to champion a substantive move away from hourly billing. The legal team was one of 50 cited in Legal Business’ GC Power List 2015.

The review is being led by Garard with support from director of legal affairs Barry Matthews, plus the director of legal and business affairs for global entertainment and international studios at ITV Studios, Paul Lewis and Andrew Clayton, who runs the central legal team. Successful firms will be notified of a place in July this year, with the new panel set to begin in September 2015.

For more on the changing legal environment facing GCs working in television see: The court of King Content – the lawyers making their mark in the high end TV