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Slaughters, Linklaters and RPC win places on RSA’s reduced legal roster

Slaughter and May, Linklaters and RPC have all won spots on insurance giant RSA Group’s legal roster, following a review which saw the number of panel firms reduced from five to three.

The group legal panel, which was last reviewed in 2011 had also included Allen & Overy, Ashurst and Norton Rose Fulbright.

RPC already sits on the group’s separate UK panel which handles smaller projects and niche insurance work, alongside Pinsent Masons and Hogan Lovells. The firm will continue work across the two panels.

The process was led by managing counsel Jonathan Cope, with assistance from chief legal officer and company secretary Charlotte Heiss, and head of financial crime Peter Townsend. The length of term of the panel, which had a delayed review following a shake-up of the insurer’s senior management team, has not been finalised.

Speaking to Legal Business, Cope (pictured) said that that pitches were limited to two per law firm:

‘We kept it short, the process, the pitches and the documents, we wanted to keep it as short and as focused as possible.

‘One was focused on the law firm more generally, we had a discussion of various issues, focused on the relationship with RSA including non-chargeable benefits, secondees, training, diversity, technology, online portals, what know how and free chats we could have. That provided a good opportunity to meet the key people from each law firm and have an informal discussion about topical issues and understand how RSA can get the benefit of a range of services they can offer.

The second pitch was more technical and was focused on specific areas of expertise we think will be more relevant to RSA in the short to medium term.’

In February this year RSA’s longstanding group general counsel and company secretary Derek Walsh exited the company after six years, with Heiss succeeding him in the new role of chief legal officer and company secretary.

Heiss joined the group executive team and reports to Hester, while group chief risk officer William McDonnell assumed responsibility for the compliance function.

Featured as a rising star in the Legal Business 2014 GC Power List, Linklaters-trained Heiss joined the company as legal counsel in 2010 and was rapidly promoted to the position of head of group legal by September 2011.

In other recent panel news, Standard Life Investments (SLI) added two firms to its real estate panel, with Maples Teesdale and Shepherd & Wedderburn joining CMS Cameron McKenna, Herbert Smith Freehills and Addleshaw Goddard. Meanwhile, a quintet of firms including Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton and Sullivan & Cromwell won places on publishing giant Pearson’s US corporate M&A panel.