The University of Ulster has ditched long-time adviser Carson McDowell in favour of Irish firm Arthur Cox following a cost-cutting panel review.
The institution has instructed Carson McDowell for well over a decade on all types of legal matters, including property and employment, but has now switched to Arthur Cox.
A Carson McDowell spokesperson said: “Understanding market conditions, we cut our costs from the previous contract rates. We were surprised at the gap between our proposal and the successful tenderer.”
A spokesperson for the university confirmed that the legal services contract had gone out to tender at the end of the previous five-year contract. The contract with Arthur Cox runs for four years, with an option to extend for a further year.
Arthur Cox Belfast managing partner Alan Taylor said: “We have a strong tradition of advising clients in the education sector and are looking forward to developing our relationship with the University of Ulster over the coming years.”
Meanwhile, Queen’s University Belfast is due to put its legal services out to tender this month. The university has traditionally instructed firms including Carson McDowell and McGrigors, which picked up the relationship through its 2009 merger with L’Estrange & Brett.