BAE Systems Capital has spent more than £3m in legal fees over the past 12 months purely on law firms with pro bono schemes
The capital division of BAE Systems, the world's largest defence contractor, has only been operational since January this year but was born last June of the Systems 2001 Asset Trust.
At the time, Clifford Chance and Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy worked on a $2.1bn (£1.3bn) structured bond issue for Systems 2001, giving them the lion's share of the multimillion-pound fees.
Terence Black, managing director of BAE Systems Capital, was previously head of legal at BAE, where he instituted a system of selecting law firms with good pro bono schemes. BAE Systems Capital does not have a formal panel but has also used Allen & Overy, DLA, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Linklaters in the past year.
"We use firms that are suitable for the work we do," said Black. "But we always find that every firm we use has a strong professional ethic. It's a standard guide to the quality of a law firm. If a firm has an ethos of doing pro bono, it's going to be a good law firm."