Bank plans to reduce legal spend by £300m-plus; local firms will still be used
Deutsche Bank is proposing to set up its first panel for cross-border transactional work in a bid to dramatically cut its legal spend. It is understood that the bank intends to reduce its legal spend by as much as DM1bn (£311.8m). One source said: "There have been discussions going on for some time. There's been a complete reorganisation of the legal department and now there's the intention to revisit legal spend." The bank currently uses several hundred firms worldwide, but is believed to now wants a more rigid system in place. The panel would not be exclusive, though, and local law firms would still be used for local law. It is also likely that there will be a more structured approach to instruction, which would curtail the number of people involved in the decision-making process. However, one of the problems the bank has come up against is that some jurisdictions are unable to calculate their legal spend, and from now on there will be more emphasis on collecting reliable figures. Allen & Overy (A&O) and Clifford Chance were recently appointed as preferred advisers for the bank's banking and finance work, with White & Case getting a foot in the door when both firms are conflicted out. Other firms with strong relationships include Linklaters, Hengeler Mueller, Cravath Swaine & Moore and Davis Polk & Wardwell. So far there is no official panel process, but one partner close to the bank said that Deutsche is coming under mounting pressure, given the fact that the other international banks are streets ahead in terms of organisation. Setting up a panel would allow the bank to use its purchasing power to its full potential. "If a firm gets the benefit of being on the panel, then certainly, the bank will want to punch its weight in purchasing power," said the source. "And it has huge purchasing power." The changes are part of a massive overhaul at Deutsche which saw the bank split its corporate investment business from its private client and asset management activities. At the end of September, it listed on the New York Stock Exchange and switched to US accounting standards. Then in October it appointed the former US Securities and Exchange Commission enforcement director Richard Walker in a newly-created position as general counsel of the bank's global investment business. Last week, The Lawyer revealed Credit Suisse First Boston's legal panel for global investment, which includes A&O, Clifford Chance, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Linklaters, Herbert Smith, White & Case, Latham & Watkins, Gleiss Lutz Hootz Hirsch, Stibbe and Irish firm A&L Goodbody. Deutsche Bank declined to comment.