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Australian firm Freehills has secured a place on Deutsche Bank's A panel.
The firm has been raised from its B panel status as the Australian arm of Deutsche Bank increases the amount of work contracted out to law firms. Deutsche Bank chief general counsel in Australia Robert Pride commented: "We wanted to expand the panel and Freehills was the logical choice for that expansion. We've always known that Freehills is one of the premium firms in Sydney." He added that Deutsche Bank concentrated its legal outsourcing on a small number of top-tier firms. Freehills joins Allens Arthur Robinson, Clayton Utz, Mallesons Stephen Jaques and Minter Ellison on the five-firm panel. A banking and finance partner at Freehills, Mark Rigotti, explained the appeal of Freehills over the firm's niche practice rivals: "We're obviously very pleased. It's a good appointment for us and we can offer them everything they need." The firm had to meet a number of testing pre-conditions before it could accede to the A panel.
"We wanted to expand the panel and Freehills was the logical choice. We've always known Freehill is one of the premium firms in Sydney" Robert Pride, Deutsche
During the past year, the bank has bought two businesses and sold two businesses. This acquisition activity, coupled with concerns about conflicts of interest within the bank's smaller panel, led to the decision to increase the number of firms to include Freehills. Deutsche Bank's in-house capability, under the guidance of Pride, consists of 15 lawyers. The in-house counsel are able to handle half of the bank's legal work, while the remaining half is referred to a panel firm. The elevation of Freehills from the B panel is the second time this year that Deutsche Bank has increased the number of firms in its stellar panel. Minter Ellison, too, was promoted to the A panel in May.