Healthcare giant Setons shakes up legal provision

Healthcare giant Seton Scholl International (SSL) is set to radically shake up its legal provision.

Jonathan Jowett, company secretary and legal director, says that in the next 18 months the company will create an international panel as well as boosting its in-house provision.

Beauty parades and pitches will be ditched in favour of meeting firms and forming one-to-one relationships.

Jowett says: “My starting point is always 'how is the relationship going?' Then you ask about rates, how they deliver and so on. But the starting point has got to be 'is it working for the business?'.”

The Cheshire-based company is also in the process of widening the amount of firms it uses in the North West.

Although it will continue its long-term relationship with Manchester practice Kuit Steinart Levy, it is currently using Dibb Lupton Alsop and Garretts on a trial basis.

Jowett says: “We are trying two other firms in Manchester over the next 18 months on the basis that while Kuits' provides an excellent service it makes sense to get another law firm in the frame.”

Jowett worked with Dibbs' Birmingham office in his previous Midlands-based job. Garretts was selected by the group because Arthur Andersen is its auditor.

SSL will also be talking to leading north-west firms Hammond Suddards and Addleshaw Booth & Co about establishing a relationship.

The company was created last year out of the £1.4bn merger of Seton Scholl and London International Group (LIG) and has a market capitalisation of £1.04bn.

It uses City firm Allen & Overy for major transactional work.

Although Slaughter and May was used by LIG during the merger, a decision was made at the end of last year to drop it in favour of Allen & Overy.

Jowett says: “We already had the relationship with Allen & Overy. It had been adviser to Scholl and was appointed by the board after the merger [with Seton] so it was natural to keep that team after this merger.”

SSL has four UK-based lawyers and one in Paris.