BLP, Morton Fraser and A&O land roles on Heathrow panel

Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) and Morton Fraser have won new spots on Heathrow Airport Holdings’ legal panel following a review by the company formerly known as BAA.

The duo are among nine firms appointed to the airport operator’s adviser roster after the first rejig since the group rebranded as Heathrow last October and sold Stansted Airport earlier this year.

Existing panel members Allen & Overy (A&O), Blake Lapthorn, Brodies, Eversheds, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) and Pinsent Masons have been re-appointed to the list, which has increased in size by one.

No firms have left the panel, with the only deletion coming in the form of longstanding adviser McGrigors, which merged with Pinsents last year.

The company now operates 11 sub-rosters for set practice areas, down from 9 before the review. The new areas are corporate, finance and taxation; regulation, competition and procurement; commercial, IT/IP and construction; trademarks/IP registration; litigation; property and planning; property management; employment and pensions; debt collection; routine commercial; and Scottish airports.

It has merged corporate (including M&A) with finance and taxation; added procurement to regulation and competition; combined commercial, IT and IP with construction; added planning to property; and combined employment and pensions.

Pinsents and Eversheds both increased their allocation of sub-panel spots, with the former earning positions on nine lists and the latter on six.

Aside from these, Blake Lapthorn and HSF have won the most positions with five each, followed by Freshfields on four, new panellist BLP on two and A&O, Brodies and new member Morton Fraser on one.

Morton Fraser merged with fellow Scottish firm Macdonalds earlier this year. Its addition is for Scottish airports, on which it will advise alongside Brodies, while BLP’s new role is in regulation, competition and procurement and property and planning.

Although firms have been informed of their roles, their appointments are subject to formal agreements being signed, a process expected to be completed by the middle of this month.

The review was carried out by general counsel and executive director Carol Hui, who joined BAA from construction company Amey in 2009 (17 March 2009).

Hui kicked off the revamp in November and later shortlisted and interviewed candidates, with added-value demands including secondments, training sessions and seminars and a telephone hotline for free advice.

She told The Lawyer: “Central to this review have been legal expertise combined with a commercial, practical approach, value for money and additional services such as the provision of secondees, training and free helplines.”

It is understood the latest process was less intensive for existing panel members than the last review in 2010, which was the first time BAA had set up a formal roster (15 April 2010).

The terms of the three-year 2010 panel expire this month. The latest appointments also last for three years. Heathrow also has the option to extend the new panel for two years and terminate firms’ appointments at any time.

The news follows Heathrow Airport’s sale of Stansted Airport, with Freshfields advising Heathrow on the disposal (21 January 2013).

In 2009 the Competition Commission ordered BAA to dispose of Gatwick Airport and and Stansted, as well as a Scottish airport, with Freshfields also advising on the 2009 sale of Gatwick to Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP) (21 October 2009). GIP also bought Edinburgh Airport in 2012, with McGrigors acting for BAA.

Freshfields also recently advised Heathrow Airport shareholder Ferrovial on the sale of a 5.7 per cent stake in the company to China Investment Corporation, which was advised by Clifford Chance (1 November 2012).

Heathrow Airports Holdings’ legal panel in full:

Corporate, finance and taxation

Pinsent Masons

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer

Allen & Overy

Herbert Smith Freehills

Regulation, competition and procurement

Berwin Leighton Paisner

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer

Eversheds

Herbert Smith Freehills

Commercial, IT/IP, construction

Pinsent Masons

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer

Blake Lapthorn

Eversheds

Trademarks/IP registration

Eversheds

Litigation

Pinsent Masons

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer

Blake Lapthorn

Herbert Smith Freehills

Property and planning

Pinsent Masons

Berwin Leighton Paisner

Eversheds

Herbert Smith Freehills

Property management

Pinsent Masons

Blake Lapthorn

Eversheds

Herbert Smith Freehills

Employment and pensions

Pinsent Masons

Eversheds

Debt collection

Pinsent Masons

Blake Lapthorn

Routine commercial

Pinsent Masons

Blake Lapthorn

Scottish airports

Pinsent Masons

Morton Fraser

Brodies