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This is Nationwide’s first general panel review since its inaugural panel launch in 2009, when A&O, Burges Salmon, Eversheds, Nabarro and Olswang all obtained places (14 July 2009). It is not known if Burges Salmon and Olswang will continue to be used for off-panel work.
Eversheds won a place on the initial list despite being sued by Nationwide in 2007. The building society had alleged that the firm did not give sound advice on whether to lend money to a property company in South Wales (26 September 2007).
The building society sent tender invitations to firms at the end of September to fill the coveted spots on its panel following the decision to delay the process back in March (4 March 2013).
Kelly, who was appointed general counsel in 2007, announced her exit shortly after the panel review kicked off but stayed in the role to oversee the process (22 October 2013). A replacement has not yet been chosen. Kelly’s second in command is deputy general counsel Claire Morris.
Kelly said in a statement: “Following a rigorous tender process, we have really challenged firms to showcase their ability to deal with a wide range of issues. We have selected those firms which demonstrated that they were not only able to respond to the work and challenges we face as a organisation, but additionally offered the best value to our members and were a natural fit to Nationwide’s culture and business.
The building society’s legal team consists of around 50 lawyers, with Kelly in charge of eight departments - these being corporate, employment, litigation, capital markets, property retail and commercial, consumer finance and membership issues.
For more on Nationwide, see The Lawyer’s 2012 interview with Kelly, Mutual Benefits.