Christie’s general counsel Nick Deeming has begun the process of constructing the auction house’s first legal panel and has written to a number of firms inviting them to tender.
Although Christie’s does not have a formal panel, Deeming regularly works with Linklaters, Stephenson Harwood, Stevens & Bolton and US firm Hughes Hubbard & Reed. The intention is to have possibly just one firm providing all the company’s legal services.
Deeming said: “It would be nice to just have one firm but I’ve got to be realistic. I’ll probably get one firm in the US and one firm co-ordinating legal advice in the UK and Europe.
“We’re hoping that from the responses we get we’ll be able to work out the best way of doing this.”
Deeming, who joined Christie’s last October, months after resigning from the top legal job at energy company Linde, carried out a similar review at his former employer.
“We appointed DLA Piper as our primary adviser at Linde,” Deeming said. “This will be a similar process only, because Linde was a lot bigger, it won’t be so comprehensive.”
Deeming admitted that the review was being driven partly by a need to cut costs, adding: “It’s good to make sure that you get the right deal, but that’s just part of the equation.
“I’m looking to see how we can use firms more efficiently and how we can bring the right skills on board.”
It is expected that the review process will finish by February.