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Credit Suisse First Boston's (CSFB) investment banking division has successfully negotiated discounts from firms which want a place on the bank's list of external lawyers that are approved for global work
The bank is still finalising the details of the approved list, which covers aspects of the firms' work including debt, securitisation and M&A. The Lawyer also understands that at least one of the UK's top law firms has missed out on a place. It is also understood that Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Linklaters and Herbert Smith are definitely on the list. CSFB began a review of its global advisers 18 months ago. It has since been in negotiations with the firms over the scope of the financial arrangements. Many firms signed up to the agreement immediately, but it is understood that some UK firms were admitted to the list as recently as this month. Law firms doing mainly M&A work for CSFB were less troubled by the agreement, because for this type of work a flat fee is paid, which is passed on to the client. However, for those doing corporate work for CSFB itself, the original terms of the agreement were a real concern because they were so complex. The in-house legal team at CSFB refused to comment, but a source inside the bank conceded that "a couple of firms have recently decided to sign the agreement. It's of the kind that it is perfectly reasonable for a company of our size to request, given the considerable amount of work we generate." The CSFB legal team has not skimped on quality; it has managed to squeeze concessions out of top law firms. According to a lawyer at a US firm used by CSFB: "The bank is not one of those that is silly about fees, and they only use the best lawyers." The firms on the panel have agreed to offer credits against future work, whereby the more work a firm does for the bank, the better deal it will give.