Legal Business Blogs

Pinsents, Bond Dickinson and ShepWedd take panel spots for Severn Trent and United Utilities JV

Pinsent Masons, Bond Dickinson and Shepherd and Wedderburn have all won places on Water Plus’ legal panel. The new business water retailer is a joint venture launched by FTSE 100 water company Severn Trent and United Utilities.

Following a process led by Water Plus head of legal and company secretary Kristin Garrett, the LB100 firms have won a places on the panel lasting two years.

Stoke-on-Trent based Water Plus launched in June last year to provide services for business customers when new competition rules are introduced from April 2017. The new rules will allow eligible customers to switch water providers.

Bond Dickinson will provide advice across commercial, competition, regulatory and commercial disputes. Energy partner Ian Newcombe said: ‘The new competition rules coming into force in April 2017 will impact all UK businesses looking to switch providers and will come with a number of legal challenges as well as opportunities.’

Eversheds is Severn Trent’s sole adviser, renewing for a five-year term in 2015. The water company had considered appointing at least two firms to its roster with the company’s review taking proposals from a total of 13 firms across five different areas: debt recovery, employment, general quality regulation, property and combined competition/commercial economic regulation.

Earlier this week Legal Business revealed utilities giant National Grid has reorganised its in-house legal function following the £13.8bn separation of its gas distribution business.

The new business, National Grid Gas Distribution, has appointed National Grid’s former legal business partner Mark Cooper as its general counsel and company secretary.

National Grid Gas Distribution will retain the same panel arrangements with its main law firms, meaning firms will now sit on two panels. The panel was reduced in August 2015 following a review, with Herbert Smith Freehills, Irwin Mitchell and Addleshaw Goddard all winning places alongside incumbents Eversheds, Linklaters, CMS Cameron McKenna and DLA Piper.

Read more:‘A buyers’ market – The trends and traumas in adviser reviews’