A&O and Freshfields win places on Strategic Rail Authority panel

Allen & Overy (A&O) and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer have benefited from the chaos in the rail industry to secure places on the Strategic Rail Authority (SRA) panel.

The magic circle firms join the SRA’s existing advisers Brodies, Clifford ChanceEversheds, Hollingworth Bissell and Linklaters.

The SRA appointed A&O and Freshfields to work on specific projects and both firms have been rewarded with places on the full panel. This gives the firms
the opportunity to pitch for all outsourced work.

Freshfields has been advising the government agency on the creation of
a new template for its franchise agreements as the existing franchises come up for renewal.

“Because of changes in the economics of the industry post-Hatfield, it was felt that the old contracts didn’t work. There was a feeling that we had a new chairman, new policy, new contract, [so] let’s try a new firm,” a source at the SRA told The Lawyer.

A&O has been advising the SRA on the refinancing and restructuring of Network Rail.

Large transactions account for around 90 per cent of outsourced work, with a specific need for corporate, banking and asset finance advice. Scottish firm Brodies is on the panel to advise on the SRA’s relationship with ScotRail, and Hollingworth is a transport boutique.

The review completes a busy year for the SRA, which recruited Pinsents partner Cameron Woodrow last February as its new director of legal services, reporting to general legal counsel Tim Reardon. The team has since doubled in size to 10 lawyers.