Barclays plans law panel cull

Barclays Bank is planning another cull of its law firm panel.

The high street bank is reviewing its main panel of legal advisers and also plans to cut the number of other law firms it instructs.

The only external legal advisers that will not be scrutinised are the ones on the bank's corporate recovery panel, which was cut from 13 firms to five last year (The Lawyer, 5 July).

The bank's main panel – which it calls The Matrix – consists of 11 firms. It is understood that the panel includes Clifford Chance, Allen & Overy, Slaughter and May, Freshfields, Lovells, Dibb Lupton Alsop, Pinsent Curtis and Eversheds.

Barclays also instructs Herbert Smith, Nabarro Nathanson, Macfarlanes, Simmons & Simmons, Edge Ellison, Garretts, Hammond Suddards, Plymouth-based Bond Pearce, Birmingham firm Gateley Wareing and Scottish firm Shepherd & Wedderburn WS.

All of the above firms will be included in the review, but only firms that are members of The Matrix have been contacted at this stage. The restructuring will be carried out this summer.

An insider at Barclays says: “It is time to spring clean again. We are looking at the whole thing again in an attempt to tidy it up.

“We want to develop a coherent structure. Leaner relationships are better. It is easier to manage just a few firms.”

He adds: “The firms currently in The Matrix are expected to provide for a good range of things from advice to Barclays Capital to retail banking.

“There are a lot of things happening regionally and locally. There are too many firms in the whole empire. The Matrix may get smaller, but we do not know yet.”

However, he also says that some firms outside The Matrix may be brought into it.

The Lawyer revealed that the winners after the corporate recovery cull last year were Dibb Lupton Alsop, Hill Dickinson, Salans Hertzfeld & Heilbronn HRK, Bristol-based Lawrence Tuckett and Watford practice Matthew Arnold & Baldwin.