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Shell slashes global panel from 11 to six post-BG merger

Shell has slashed its global panel from 11 firms to just six, with Eversheds and Reed Smith newcomers to the panel. Clifford Chance, Allen & Overy, Baker & McKenzie and Norton Rose Fulbright have been reappointed.

Dentons, Simmons & Simmons, CMS Cameron McKenna, Debevoise & Plimpton, Holman Fenwick Willan, King & Spalding and Linklaters are among those not named on the multinational oil and gas firm’s global panel.

A spokesperson for Shell told Legal Business the firms were chosen for their broad range of service and experience across sectors that were relevant to the company. Shell will still maintain ‘flexibility’ to use other firms, with the oil giant’s 980 strong legal team split over 45 countries still using over 100 firms. The panel will next be reviewed in four years, although Shell said it expects to review its panel rates half way through the term.

The review comes after the company finalised its £47bn takeover of BG Group in February this year. Shell obtained 83% shareholders’ approval at a specially convened general meeting at The Hague in January after the deal received regulatory approval at the end of last year. BG’s general counsel (GC) Tom Melbye Eide was appointed to the role of executive vice president and GC for the upstream business at Shell in February. He indicated to Legal Business earlier this year that post-merger Shell’s legal panel would dominate over BG’s. BG’s panel had comprised Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, CMS Cameron McKenna and Clifford Chance.

Shell’s legal director Donny Ching said: ‘The new firms bring with them a combination of strong legal experience and expertise, global reach, and flexibility with regards to cost arrangements that will help Shell achieve a higher standard of performance for our organisation, maintaining a strong and growing long-term position in the competitive environments in which we operate.’

Ching, who is featured in this year’s GC Powerlist said his priority is to align the team as closely as possible with the business, a move to help manage spend on legal advisers.