ABN’s new legal chief set to roll out law firm panel overhaul

ABN Amro is poised to launch a full-scale review of its law firm roster following the appointment of the Dutch investment bank’s new legal chief last year.


The panel review will be led by ABN’s new global head of legal John Collins, who succeeded Laurie Adams in October 2004. Adams quit ABN last September to pursue other interests after four years with the bank.

According to a source close to ABN, the panel review could be kick-started as early as this summer, with firms being notified of the process over the coming weeks.

Commenting on the process, the source said the current panel system was always set up with a view that it would be reviewed after three years. The last time ABN carried out a review of its external legal advisers was in early 2003 by Adams.

ABN currently has a global panel and national panels in each of the jurisdictions in which the bank has operations. The global panel comprises Allen & Overy (A&O), Clifford Chance, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Linklaters.

Ashurst, Davis Polk & Wardwell, Denton Wilde Sapte, Norton Rose, Slaughter and May and White & Case, as well as the global advisers, all have a place on the UK panel. White & Case and Davis Polk advise the bank on UK and US law respectively.

Although ABN has yet to decide on the structure of the panel review, the process is expected to be reasonably formal and firms are likely to be asked to submit tender documents.

The bank also has an employment panel comprising A&O, Simmons & Simmons and SJ Berwin, although it remains unclear whether this will be affected by the review.

ABN declined to comment.

l See bank panel analysis page 2