Eversheds picks up UK Akzo Nobel role

Eversheds picks up UK Akzo Nobel role” />Dutch chemicals giant Akzo Nobel is to unveil its first-ever global panel after slashing the number of firms it uses by more than 90 per cent.

The company is putting the final touches on phase one of its legal review, in which it selected one or two key relationship firms in 12 major jurisdictions.

Loek Penders, business manager for legal and IP at Akzo, said: “We used to work with between 300 and 400 law firms and the general counsel [Jan Eijsbouts] decided this was not an effective way to provide legal services.”

Eversheds has scooped the UK panel role and will be supported by Addleshaw Goddard.

Penders said: “We deliberately took Eversheds on board for its international spread and interest in our target market.”

He said firms had to be willing to give fixed prices for legal matters, not hourly rates, to allow the company to draw up accurate legal budgets.

Akzo uses the Hildebrand triangle system to categorise the legal work as ‘bet the company’, ‘bread-and-butter’ and ‘commodity’.

The in-house team will handle the commodity work. Specialist firms, which may be chosen from off-panel firms, will pick up the most important cases and panel firms will do the bread-and-butter commercial work.

Akzo selected De Brauw Balckstone Westbroek and Dirkzwager in the Netherlands, Loyens in Belgium, Garrigues in Spain, Bonelli Erede Pappalardo in Italy, CMS Hasche Sigle in Germany and Vinge in Sweden.

Six firms make up the US panel. These include Baker Botts, Shook Hardy & Bacon, Nelson Mullins and Fulbright & Jaworski.

Akzo has already started on phase two, researching firms in Australia, Japan, Argentina, Mexico Norway and Denmark, and is due to finish by the middle of next year.

The company’s internal legal structure, served by 110 in-house lawyers and 90 support staff, remains unchanged.