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Seven firms land spots on Heathrow’s reduced legal roster

Heathrow Airport has completed an overhaul of its legal panel, with Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Allen & Overy among those re-appointed to a reduced roster.

Heathrow has slimmed down its legal panel from nine to seven firms and restructured it from 11 sub-panels to a main general approved list. Pinsent Masons, Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner and Eversheds Sutherland were also awarded spots, alongside City outfit Towerhouse and Thames Valley firm Owen White.

The panel will run for three years, effective from the start of 2019. The review was led by Heathrow’s chief of staff and general counsel Carol Hui, whose role was in 2017 expanded to include chief of staff, making her responsible for internal and external communication functions.

Herbert Smith Freehills, Brodies, and Morton Fraser were among the firms to lose their panel spot. Blake Morgan, meanwhile, was not appointed to the position its legacy firm Blake Lapthorn won in 2013, when Heathrow last reviewed its panel.

Hui told Legal Business: ‘It was a very competitive process and we selected the firms that really had an appreciation of Heathrow as an organisation and understood what our pressure points and priorities are. We’re a multifaceted company and the firms appointed were particularly sensitive to our requirements.’

The panel is distinct from one advising Heathrow on its controversial third runway, which saw Pinsent Masons and legacy Berwin Leighton Paisner win spots.

Hui added: ‘We look forward to partnering with these law firms who have been chosen for their strength and breadth of experience and who will support us during this exciting period for our airport.’