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Yorkshire firm Gordons Cranswick has fended off competition from DLA and Edwards Geldard to win work from Bass Brewers.
The firm has gained an exclusive contract to act for Bass in all its lending work throughout England and Wales. Bass has taken the ultimate step in rationalising its use of external advisers. Its panel of three preferred firms for lending work has been reduced to just one. It was only four years ago that the work was shared nationally between 20 firms. Gordons Cranswick partner Paul Ayre said of the Bass decision: "They preferred the general efficiency of having one supplier of legal services." Bass has been a client of Gordons Cranswick for more than 15 years. Paul Hamnett, investment risk manager at Bass, who worked with Steve Fanar on the deal, said: "Outsourcing loan administration to one of our panel solicitors was an ideal solution to enhance the finance offering from Bass Brewers to our customers." The lending work in question is a reciprocal arrangement which allows people looking to purchase leisure outlets to arrange to finance the acquisition with assistance from Bass. In return, the new owner will sell Bass-branded products. On current lending figures, the Gordons Cranswick team will initially handle approximately 1,000 cases. Gordons Cranswick and Bass have entered into an agreement whereby lending work and some loan administration have been outsourced to the law firm's Bradford office. Gordons Cranswick will also take on a number of Bass employees who were formerly responsible for this lending work at Bass. The team dedicated to the work will total five. Edwards Geldard partner Michael Jeffs said that he remained fairly upbeat about the loss of the free trade loan work from Bass. He added that Bass's cost-saving decision to favour Gordons Cranswick looked inevitable. Given the geographical proximity of the firm's Bradford office to Bass's lending base in Leeds, and that staff would be moving to the selected firm, it was understandable that those located nearest would gain the work. "Nothing stands still and lawyers need to innovate to meet the changing requirements of clients," said Ayre. "I'm hoping it's the first step in a series of such relationships."