In-house lawyers take textbook approach to art of legal panels

A group of leading in-house lawyers is launching a start-to-finish guide to creating a legal panel, which is to be offered free to members.

The Chief Legal Officers (CLO) ;programme ;is intended to create a standard model for appointing a panel and remove the cost of outsourcing the process.

It will draw on six years of research by CLO members and include details of recent developments in billing, such as ITV general counsel Andrew Garrard’s fixed fee-only panel.

John Jeffcock of networking company Winmark, which is running the CLO scheme, said it would enable company legal chiefs to get the best out of law firms.

He told The Lawyer: “If you’re a good law firm this is fantastic news. But if you’re a bad law firm it’s going to be a nightmare.”

The CLO counts more than 100 general counsel among its members, including in-house lawyers from such blue-chip companies as Barclays, British Airways, Nike and Telefonica.

Sandie Okoro, the new chair of the CLO and head of the legal function at ­Baring Asset Management, said: “We don’t have a ­textbook on panel reviews saying, ‘this is how you do it’. This is going to standardise the process.”

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