Bradford & Bingley reveals new panel

Hammond Suddards, Addleshaw Booth & Co and Kennedys are the victors in Bradford & Bingley's bulk work panel cull.

The cull, by the UK's second-largest building society, which is also in the process of converting to a bank, was far more extreme than was expected.

Last February, Bradford & Bingley announced plans to cut the number of its outside legal advisers on its bulk work panel from about 30 to six.

It has now done so, but in two stages. The first stage was a cut from 30 to 15, which took place last September.

A tender document was then sent to the remaining 15 firms in an attempt to whittle them down to six.

But only Hammonds, Addleshaws and Kennedys were eventually chosen.

Hammonds and Addleshaws will advise on an equal share of mortgage possession work, the resulting conveyancing work and loss recovery work. Addleshaws will also take on the building society's day to day title rectification and reconstruction work.

Kennedys will act on all professional negligence work for both claimant and defendant.

Paul Jordan, Bradford & Bingley's head of litigation, says: “The new panel of three legal suppliers will give Bradford & Bingley considerably more control over its legal services, increase the service levels and efficiency of our operations and over time deliver marked cost savings.”

Jordan is now drawing up plans to cut the building society's commercial panel.

He says that over the next few months this panel will be reviewed. It is said to include firms such as Slaughter and May, Freshfields, Denton Hall and Clifford Chance.

The building society is thought to have an annual budget of approximately £3m for external fees.