Panel conference brings Sainsbury’s XI together

Sainsbury’s has hosted its first panel conference in a bid to increase firms’ knowledge of the supermarket chain and gauge their commitment to the client.

Head of legal services Nick Grant invited his 11 panel firms to bring up to seven lawyers apiece and warned he would be taking a critical look at who firms chose to represent them.

“It’s partly about developing younger lawyers. Firms with younger lawyers are those that will be there for the long haul. Seniority is no guarantee of quality,” Grant told The Lawyer.

The event comprised speaker sessions, opportunities for networking and a Q&A on how firms can help Sainsbury’s achieve its objectives.

Mark ;Stamp, ;lead partner at Linklaters, which is advising Sainsbury’s on corporate, commercial and competition matters, said: “It’s threatening coming face-to-face with all ;your ;competitors ;- we don’t normally do that.”

Grant pointed out that the impetus for the conference came out of the tender process, when firms said they were hungry for information about Sainsbury’s.

He told delegates: “A traumatic year for Sainsbury’s could be a great year for your firm, [providing] complex work or litigation. If that happens, my department has to deal with it and you get work. We have to acknowledge that mismatch.”