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Pearson eyes cost reductions with rejigged legal panel

Education company Pearson has consolidated its legal adviser panels into new ‘preferred’ and ‘general’ rosters, moving away from specialised panels to help reduce costs.

Fourteen firms have been appointed to a new ‘preferred’ panel, which will cover what Pearson describes as ‘day to day requirements’, as well as new areas not formerly covered by external counsel such as US immigration and US employment work. A ‘general’ panel has also been introduced, consisting of 13 firms Pearson has a long-standing relationship with.

The review, led by general counsel (GC) Bjarne Tellmann, placed a premium on the respective firms’ experience, flexibility in billing and diversity. The review process was also overseen by deputy GC Michael McQueeny and senior counsel and vice president Karen Abraham.

Among the firms appointed to the preferred panel were Charles Russell Speechlys, DWF, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, HSF, Littler Mendelson and Morgan Lewis & Bockius.  For the general panel, Bird & Bird, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, DLA Piper, Pinsent Masons and Sullivan & Cromwell were among the firms appointed.

Tellmann said the review was ‘part of Pearson’s ongoing efforts to reduce costs, simplify the business and ensure we are running a world class operating company.’

He added: ‘Running a periodic review is also good business practice, ensuring we have the scaffolding in place to help Pearson achieve its strategic objectives as well as maximize value and meet budgets.’

In 2016 Pearson reviewed both its US corporate and US litigation panels. Sullivan & Cromwell was among the firms selected for the corporate line-up while Goodwin Procter was among the firms appointed to the disputes roster. Meanwhile, the publisher’s IT and commercial panel was last reviewed in 2015.

Firms appointed to the panels include:


  • Ballard Spahr
  • Charles Russell Speechlys
  • DWF
  • Fieldfisher
  • Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
  • Goodwin Procter
  • Herbert Smith Freehills
  • Jackson Lewis
  • Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton
  • Littler Mendelson
  • Morgan Lewis & Bockius
  • Nielsen Merksamer Parrinelo Gross & Leoni
  • Oppenheim + Zebrak
  • Quarles & Brady


  • Bird & Bird
  • Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton
  • Davis Wright Tremain
  • DLA Piper
  • Dorsey & Whitney
  • Gray Plant Mooty
  • Kemp Little
  • Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler
  • Pinsent Masons
  • Shapiro Arato
  • Steptoe Johnson
  • Sullivan & Cromwell
  • Woodhouse