Legal Business Blogs

‘Knowhow and track record’: Magic Circle dominates new panel as seven firms dropped in government legal services revamp

Magic Circle firms constitute four of the nine advisers appointed to the government’s new finance and complex legal services panel with seven law firms left out after a reboot of its legal services framework continues.

Freshfields Bruckhaus DeringerLinklatersSlaughter and May and Clifford Chance are part of the new panel advising on matters including finance, refinancing, capital markets, corporate transactions, projects and regulation.

Dentons, Ashurst, Berwin Leighton Paisner, Hogan Lovells and Simmons & Simmons will also sit on the Crown Commercial Services’ advisory group, which will replace the finance and regulation panel when this expires in January next year.

Addleshaw Goddard, Allen & Overy, Burges Salmon, Mills & Reeve, Nabarro (now CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang), Pinsent Masons and Squire Sanders (now Squire Patton Boggs) were on the previous panel but have not been named this time around.

The contract runs for two years from 21 August, with an option to extend for up to 24 further months.

Dentons will offer an integrated service in Scotland through its recently announced merger with Maclay Murray & Spens, while sub-contractor Brodies will support Simmons on Scottish law. Another sub-contractor, Bates Wells Braithwaite, will give Simmons additional public and administrative law support.

Christopher McGee-Osborne, who led Dentons’ panel bid, said the appointment of the firm, which has advised the government for more than 30 years, demonstrated it has ‘the public sector knowhow and track record to deliver the best advice and service to central government’.

Helen Hancock, a finance partner at Simmons & Simmons said: ‘As a firm we have had a strong focus on government and public sector work for many years. We were on the previous panel, and this new panel arrangement is an opportunity for us to build on our track record in what we see as a focus for us going forward.’

Other recently announced panels replacing parts of the government’s legal services framework include rosters for general legal services and rail legal services.

In March 2016, the government announced an initiative to cut down the number of go-to-firms it uses for external advice by almost 40%. The reduction formed part of a bid to improve legal services delivery across the public sector.