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Panel review – Aviva reveals new look line up

Global law has largely won the day for Aviva as it today (30 August) announced that Latham & Watkins, Ashurst, DLA Piper, Linklaters, Pinsent Masons and Addleshaw Goddard have won a place on its panel for international and UK work.

Slaughter and May and Allen & Overy (A&O), appointed in April as the company’s most senior legal advisers to the Aviva board, were automatically included in the eight-firm line up. However, Clifford Chance, which lost its place as a board adviser to A&O in April and was invited to tender during this latest stage, has not been selected for the new-look panel.A&O and Slaughters will take their place alongside Latham, Ashurst, DLA and Linklaters for international work, while Pinsent Masons and Addleshaws will assist Aviva with lower-cost national work.

This core group of advisers represents a coup for global law, after Aviva asked 35 firms to pitch from jurisdictions including the UK, Ireland, Italy, Spain, France and Poland.

However, the FTSE 100 insurer, which obtained a discount of between 15-40% on its advisers’ headline rates during the tender process, has also made a number of appointments for discrete specialisms and three additional jurisdictions.

Reinsurance work – which saw a specialist panel put together in 2012 with the work awarded to CMS Cameron McKenna and Clyde & Co – has been brought under the new umbrella panel but only Clyde & Co has been instructed going forward.

Meanwhile, Matheson and Arthur Cox have won roles to advise in Ireland, Garrigues in Spain and Bonelli Erede Pappalardo in Italy. Appointed to advise Aviva Investors on specialist funds work are Nabarro, Berwin Leighton Paisner, Field Fisher Waterhouse and Proskauer Rose. Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan has been appointed to advise the group on dispute resolution matters; Mills & Reeve on employment; Willkie Farr & Gallagher on US matters and Appleby for offshore work.

One of the reasons for keeping panel numbers small is to obtain the maximum volume discount and Aviva’s in-house lawyers will have to follow a set protocol if they wish to instruct firms outside of the panel and justify their reasons for doing so.

All of the firms invited to pitch had an existing relationship with Aviva and, according to group general counsel Monica Risam (pictured), who led the rigorous panel review, chemistry and the relationship with Aviva was an important factor in the process, which saw firms graded on a number of other key criteria, including market leadership and positioning, evidence of their capability to fulfil the proposed services, relevant experience with Aviva, suitability of proposed lawyers, relationship management proposition and discount levels.

Risam, who reviewed each individual panel pitch alongside Aviva’s procurement team, said: ‘Delivering cost savings was a huge priority but our priority is quality and for every piece of work multiple firms will be asked to provide a quote so we can spread the work around.’

The panel appointment is for two years.