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Ashfords and Pannone have signed a deal with Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) to pick up the referral work from the Thames Water outsourcing deal.
The regional firms will handle the full spectrum of mid-market and volume work for Thames Water, which recently sent its legal function to BLP in a contract worth £5m per year.
The two firms will carry out property, planning, leasehold, litigation and claims work, but high-value work, including securitisation activity, is thought to be among the matters to be retained by BLP in London.
Neither of the referral firms had prior relationships with BLP, which picked them following a competitive pitch process.
It is understood that the tenure of the referral contract is more flexible and shorter than the five-year deal signed between BLP and Thames Water.