While single service retainers appear unlikely to become a broad fixture of the legal market, Eversheds continues to push on with the model having sealed a multimillion-pound deal with valve manufacturer and Tyco spin-off Pentair Flow Control to take over all its routine legal work in the EMEA region.
In a two-year, fixed-fee contract, the UK top 10 law firm has secured the right to carry out all routine litigation, certain intellectual property (IP) and commercial work and some premium work including major litigation, M&A and antitrust work. Pentair merged with Tyco Flow Controls after the three-way split of Tyco in October last year.
As part of the deal, Eversheds will carry out a similar model to the one it renewed with Tyco in April this year. Although the value of the deal has not been disclosed, it is thought to be worth slightly less than the around £13m, two-year contract agreed with Tyco.
Eversheds head of global client development, Stephen Hopkins, who worked out the deal with Pentair’s associate general counsel, Marek Tapsik, (formerly at Tyco), said: ‘We had good relationships with the team at Tyco which was spun off, including Marek Tapsik. Pentair valued the cost certainty and control we were operating and it was agreed we would implement the system that we’d adopted at Tyco post-acquisition at Pentair.
‘The model will be very similar to the Tyco arrangement, but the Tyco model has evolved a lot over the last five or six years, therefore each one of these reflects the specific needs of the client. This one is unusual because we’ve already got part of the Pentair business operating on quite a controlled project-managed basis and we are still working with the Pentair businesses to bring them to the same sort of platform.’
Eversheds, which has provided industrial conglomerate Tyco with a range of exclusive fixed-fee contracts for legal services across EMEA since 2006, utilises advanced technology – particularly its Global Account Management System – to manage the contracts.
Hopkins added: ‘Data and management information will still form a significant part of the overall process. Utilising e-billing systems such as Serengeti, being used by Pentair, enables Eversheds to analyse risk issues, implement efficiencies and move towards a single fixed fee for Pentair’s work in the region.’
Since 2006, Eversheds has signed several similar fixed-fee deals for legal services with other large business including water company Severn Trent, telecoms group Orange (now part of Everything Everywhere) and Italian energy company, Eni.
The slow but steady growth of these retainers is in contrast with Berwin Leighton Paisner’s managed legal services division, under which the firm anticipated taking over the in-house legal operations of corporates and absorbing their staff, which is now focused on its original client only, Thames Water.
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