Legal Business Blogs

New year, new broom as in-house teams unveil fresh external adviser panels

The results of a handful of legal panel reviews have been announced in the first week of 2018 by Lloyds Banking Group, the Pension Protection Fund (PPF), Metro Bank, and the Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL).

Linklaters, Clifford Chance, CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang, Eversheds Sutherland, Herbert Smith Freehills, Bates Wells Braithwaite, Osborne Clarke, Ashurst, Hogan Lovells, and Reed Smith have all won spots on Lloyds’ commercial banking pass-through panel.

The panel, which was appointed in December, followed what a spokesperson described as a rigorous and competitive tender process: ‘The panel will include a range of firms that are able to offer specialist services which are fully aligned to our needs in the context of commercial banking client transactions and supporting the group’s pledge in Helping Britain Prosper.’

The bank’s appointment of its pass-through panel comes after it finalised its specialist sub-panel in February last year, which featured 24 firms. This sits below the bank’s main core roster of eight firms – chosen in 2016 – and includes Addleshaw Goddard, Allen & Overy, Ashurst, CMS Cameron McKenna, Eversheds, Herbert Smith Freehills, Hogan Lovells and Linklaters. DLA Piper and Norton Rose Fulbright both lost spots on the downsized core panel, in a process led by group general counsel Kate Cheetham.

Elsewhere, Metro Bank has nine new firms on its lending and securities panel, as the total number of advising firms rose from 14 to 18. The bank, which listed in early 2016, said the upsizing since its last review in 2014 reflected its growth and involvement in more complex transactions.

CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang, Charles Russell Speechlys, Bates Wells Braithwaite, DMH Stallard, Gateley, Seddons, Abrahams Dresden, Birketts, and Woodfines joined Blake Morgan, Hugh James, McMillan Williams, Eversheds Sutherland, Dentons, EMW, Herrington Carmichael, Howard Kennedy, Lawrence Stephens on the panel.

Metro Bank now intends to move onto reviewing its commercial panel, established in 2013, in a process expected to be completed in May.

Moving the other way, PPF has reduced its legal panel from 23 to six firms, with Gowling WLG, DWF, Herbert Smith Freehills, Hogan Lovells, Mayer Brown and Osborne Clarke being selected. Gowling, DWF, and Osborne Clarke will also provide specialist services to schemes in PPF assessment, which removes the need for a separate panel.

PPF director of legal, compliance, and ethics Dana Grey said: ‘Our new streamlined legal panel will allow us to develop better working relationships with each of the successful firms to not only improve the quality of the service we receive but also to ensure we get the best value for our spend on legal services.’

Finally the SPFL, formed in 2013 as a merger between the Scottish Premier League and the Scottish Football League, has appointed a new part-time legal counsel and a panel of four external firms.

Rod McKenzie, who has been its principal legal adviser for 16 years while at Harper Macleod, has joined SPFL as part-time legal counsel, following his retirement from the Glasgow-based law firm. His appointment was coupled with Brabners, Fladgate, gunnercooke, and Shepherd and Wedderburn winning places on SPFL’s new panel. The tender process included pitches from more than 10 firms across the UK.