The Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) has dropped Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) and Shearman & Sterling from its new-look panel.
Director of legal services Juliet Lazarus has appointed Norton Rose alongside two London boutiques, Ingram Winter Green and Waterfront Solicitors, following a review of legal advisers.
The ORR is the government body charged with regulating the rail industry. It spends around £400,000 a year on external law firms.
Norton Rose has been one of the ORR’s core advisers for several years. The firm, led by relationship partner Michael Grenfell, was appointed to the last panel in 2005 and in 2006 represented the regulator in a judicial review against a decision to grant the Grand Central Railway Company a licence to operate services on the East Coast Main Line.
Shearman & Sterling missed out on a panel spot despite advising the ORR regularly on antitrust issues in recent years.
Relationship partner Matthew Readings worked with Lazarus in 2006 on the decision to refer the market to the Competition Commission for leasing rolling stock.
The panel contracts will run for five years.
Former Linklaters consultant Lazarus was appointed as head of legal services at the ORR in 2004. The previous guise of the department, the Office of the Rail Regulator, did not have an in-house lawyer and used Norton Rose as its external legal adviser.