Commerzbank reviews legal panel

Commerzbank is conducting a review of its preferred legal advisers just a year after setting up the panel.

The move coincides with the German bank instructing Lovells for the first time when the firm advised on its role as arranger and underwriter on Vaillant's bid for UK engineering group Hepworth (see page 13).

Because of conflicts, the bank's main corporate advisers – Clifford Chance, Allen & Overy and Linklaters & Alliance – were unable to act. Commerzbank also uses Theodore Goddard and CMS Cameron McKenna.

Susan Cooksley, head of legal for corporate finance at Commerzbank, says: “Usually the end of year tends to be really frantic, so we decided to look at the firms in January.” However, she declines to comment on whether Commerzbank would consider adding Lovells to its panel after its work for the bank.

The panel was set up a year ago in an attempt to bring some unity to the legal advisory process. Cooksley says: “Before that there was no procedure for the way that law firms were instructed and it was the bankers that were deciding which law firms to use.''

When asked why the bank chose to go outside its panel for the Vaillant deal rather than use Camerons or Theodore Goddard, Cooksley says: “It's because [Lovells'] German office had a higher profile on this type of work than either of the other two firms that we use.”

But a Camerons spokeswoman says the firm provides advice on a range of other issues.

see Deals, page 13