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US heavyweights big contenders in TransferWise external counsel review

Payments company TransferWise is in the process of finalising its first ever roster of firms in what general counsel Jenifer Swallow describes as a ‘non-panel, panel review’.

TransferWise said in the next quarter it will pick a select group of firms to be preferred advisers on a loose roster.

Firms that the fintech has previously relied upon include Magic Circle firm Allen & Overy and Paul Hastings for regulatory work, transatlantic tech specialist JAG Shaw Baker for corporate work and Olswang for a variety of matters.

In addition, Swallow (pictured) said US firms Fenwick & West, Gunderson Dettmer, Morrison & Foerster, and Latham & Watkins are among the contenders for the revised set-up, alongside DLA Piper, UK-based Keystone Law and AndCo Law, a European firm comprised of ex-Yahoo general counsels (GCs).

Swallow added: ‘At TransferWise we know finding the right answers takes work. We’re not looking for law firms to provide an insurance policy, what we want is to work with people who have the curiosity to find new ways to look at important questions, rather than falling back on traditional assumptions. I like firms that think in a disruptive way, in the way that TransferWise does.

‘TransferWise is a very fluid and dynamic place to work. We work at a fast pace, so if you haven’t responded to my question within the hour it’s probably gone somewhere else. Our keyboards are constantly burning. We need to have people that can thrive in that environment.’

TransferWise, named as an emerging company in the GC Powerlist 2017, was given ‘unicorn’ status in 2016 for being valued over $1bn, achieving the benchmark in less than five years.

The company claims to offer ‘the real exchange rate’ by transparently displaying the full fee upfront and sending the money at the real Reuters exchange rate. The upfront fee is deducted before conversion.

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