Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein in City law firm shake up

Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein is backtracking on its strategy towards external legal advisers as it sets up its first ever panel of law firms.
It is understood that Allen & Overy, Ashurst Morris Crisp, Clifford Chance, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Linklaters and Slaughter and May have all pitched for a place on the panel.
Despite current relationships, neither Norton Rose nor Lovells have so far been invited to pitch.
There are expected to be 10 firms on the panel, half for core corporate and finance work and half will be specialist firms to advise on areas such as environmental, intellectual property and IT.
The panel will include both corporate and banking work and it is understood that all UK instructions will go to the successful firms.
A source close to the process said: “It relates to the London network. The intention is to be more scientific about legal services and I presume it also has something to do with cost-cutting.”
The move has been initiated by the procurement department, which sees the panel as the most successful way to maximise the potential of its legal advisers. It is understood that the initiative is being rolled out across the bank and will include all external suppliers.
Firms have been asked to pitch over the last month and are expecting to hear the results this week.
The initiative on the legal side is being led by head of legal Stephen Lowe. He confirmed to The Lawyer that the panel process was underway. “We’re considering it, but it hasn’t been done yet,” he said.
The move follows in the footsteps of Deutsche Bank, which also set up its first panel of external legal advisers this year (The Lawyer, 18 February).
However, while both German banks move to consolidate their legal advisers, Citigroup has given the green light to firms that are not on its panel to develop relationships (The Lawyer, 25 February).