Revealed: Barclays kicks off delayed panel review with new-look structure

Barclays has launched its general panel review after a 12-month extension, introducing a two-pronged structure that will feature preferred and approved legal advisers. 

The revamp is the first time the banking giant has reviewed its list of advisers since 2011. The review was initially scheduled for June 2013, but Barclays announced in January that it was scrapping its practice of reassessing law firm rosters on a two-yearly basis (14 January 2013). 

The panel is one of the biggest in the country, containing more than 100 firms across a general advisory roster and 15 specialist sub-panels.

However sources told The Lawyer that the next list of advisers, to be announced in July 2014, will fall under two arms – a roster of general advisers, to be called preferred advisers, and a roster of specialist firms, to be called approved advisers.

Insiders have insisted that the new structure is simply an “evolution” of the current general advisory concept and is not about cutting costs. The bank would not comment on how many spots were available.

The last review, which ended in June 2011, saw a growth in the number of sub-rosters and the addition of a specific panel of US firms to reflect the bank’s increasing stateside activity (1 July 2011).

Those on the current general advisory panel include Addleshaw Goddard, Allen & Overy, Clifford Chance, DLA Piper, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Hogan Lovells, Linklaters and Simmons & Simmons, as well as for US roster members Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, Shearman & Sterling and Sullivan & Cromwell.

The bank’s shift away from its biennial cycle of panel reviews is thought to be related to the high volume of administrative work associated with running the tender process, as well as the market tendency for rivals to carry out their reviews at least every three years.

Barclays confirmed the review had begun but did not provide further comment.