GDF Suez to formulate inaugural legal panel

GDF Suez is set to appoint its first-ever global panel of external law firms, having chosen until now to instruct lawyers on an ad hoc basis for deals such as its £17bn venture with International Power earlier this year.

The French multinational energy giant, which has a worldwide legal department totalling 550 lawyers, is in the early stages of forming its inaugural panel, which is expected to be in place by the end of the year.

The company’s IPR-GDF Suez arm, which was formed out of the merger between International Power and the international energy division of GDF Suez in February, will also be serviced by the new panel.

London-based IPR-GDF Suez general counsel ­Francois Graux, who works closely with Paris-based GDF Suez general counsel Sandra Lagumina, said the combined company ­currently holds “privileged relationships” with Clifford Chance, Linklaters and Shearman & Sterling, but uses a wide range of firms across the globe.

“At the moment we work on a project-by-project basis and we select law firms based on either a beauty contest or because we firmly believe one firm is best for the job,” he said.

Graux said the GDF Suez legal department would manage the panel selection process in collaboration with legal representatives from all of the company’s business lines, including International Power.