GE Euro review puts firms on tenterhooks

Firms throughout Europe will be crossing their fingers next week as General Electric (GE) powers into the second phase of a series of European panel reviews.

The company aims to send out requests for proposals (RFPs) to law firms in 17 European countries before the middle of December, inviting them to a number of beauty parades.

GE European general counsel Mark Elborne said: “The news is that we’ve received back the information from the law firms. We’re on the way to have panels in place in 2008. If we can we’ll send the RFPs by the end of next week, or at least the week of 10 December.”

GE will create local panels for corporate and commercial matters in each of the European jurisdictions in which it operates, including France, Spain and Germany.

The process of sifting through the initial information from law firms is yet to be completed, with the firms expecting a decision before Christmas.

The panel reviews are part of a Europe-wide review of external counsel.

Last month GE unveiled its first European M&A panel, handing coveted places to Allen & Overy, Ashurst, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Slaughter and May and Weil Gotshal & Manges.

Slaughters’ best-friend firms, including Bredin Prat, Bonelli Erede Pappalardo and Hengeler Mueller, also won roles.