Christie’s legal roster put under hammer

Auction house Christie’s has slashed its legal advisers from more than 70 to 13 in a radical reshaping of its global law firm roster.

Nick Deeming

Auction house Christie’s has slashed its legal advisers from more than 70 to 13 in a radical reshaping of its global law firm roster.

DLA Piper and Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom have been appointed as key advisers within the company’s first global panel.

General counsel Nick Deeming is also appointing firms to a new art law panel, with Stephenson Harwood winning a place as UK counsel.

Deeming is overhauling the way in which Christie’s pays for legal advice. He has asked panel firms to come up with alternatives to hourly billing and is considering the use of a ­single annual rate for all legal advice and fixed rates for certain mandates.

Deeming told The Lawyer: “I think both sides can win from this sort of arrangement. I’ve always championed that hourly billing doesn’t necessarily give you ‘value add’.”

The global panel will handle the bulk of the company’s legal needs, including corporate law, finance and litigation.

Skadden will advise on US matters, while DLA Piper will handle the choice instructions for the rest of the auctioneer’s legal work across the globe.

The art law panel has not yet been completed, but Stephenson Harwood will coordinate the other 10 members in France, Switzerland, Italy, Dubai, Russia, the Netherlands, Germany, Spain, the US and Hong Kong.