2013: the year of panel reviews

As 2013 comes to an end, news arrives of yet another panel review. Investment bank Nomura reappointed Allen & Overy, Ashurst, Linklaters, Mayer Brown and Travers Smith and also cheekily added Osborne Clarke, which had been dropped in 2010. The review follows last year’s restructure of its legal team.

The year has seen a number of panel reviews by big names. Some, including General Electric, Citigroup and Hiscox, chose to cut their rosters this year.

Balfour Beatty and Eon went a step further, plumping for a single firm in the shape of Pinsent Masons for their day-to-day legal work.

But not all companies cut their panels. Shell increased the size of its panel this year from just five to more than 150 firms, while BT appointed over 140 firms to its new global ‘network’ of advisers.

Insurance giant Aviva’s latest review revealed the extent to which firms are willing to slash fees when a sought-after panel position is at stake, with one firm shaving 40 per cent off its fees.

Despite the various approaches, the trends remain largely unchanged – clients want low-cost, integrated corporate legal advice and the competition to offer the best combination of those two fundamental needs has never been greater.

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