Firms to be tested on a project-by-project basis; A&O, Freshfields and Lovells scoop top-tier work
Land Securities Trillium (LST), the property outsourcing arm of Land Securities, is set to review its firms on a project-by-project basis after setting up its first formal panel. Mark Norris, new business director at LST, has structured the new panel in line with the company's business strategy, targeting deals with the public and private sectors and with the intention of maintaining a high level of competition between firms. He told The Lawyer: "We want everyone on the panel to have experience of working with us over the next year. We want to work with each set of lawyers on real projects. We can then have a post-project review to assess how things have really worked in practice." For transactions involving major portfolio outsourcings by corporates, it has chosen Allen & Overy (A&O), Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Lovells. "If there were another BT, then we would use one of these firms," said Norris. In this top tier, A&O is the only firm new to LST. Freshfields has enjoyed a near monopoly on the Trillium work since the inception of the Goldman Sachs Whitehall vehicle, which was acquired by Land Securities in late 2000. It has hung on to the role, despite its relationship becoming vulnerable when key contact and founder of Trillium Manish Chande suddenly resigned from Land Securities last December. Most recently, it advised on the massive BT and BBC outsourcing deals. Lovells was brought in to advise on the now aborted London Underground outsourcing project when Freshfields was conflicted. Norris said: "Given that the relationship with Freshfields goes back to Trillium coming into being, Freshfields has done much of the work in recent years. It is still an important relationship. We value them very highly as a firm, but as the number of projects increases and with it the need to continuously bring fresh thinking to what we are doing, we want to broaden the base." He added: "Freshfields won't get all the work. It will go across the panel." The next tier is made up of smaller practices and is aimed at medium-scale corporate transactions. Tite & Lewis and Olswang are both forging new relationships with the company after winning places in this category, while Richards Butler is expanding on its relationship, which was previously limited to advising on service contracts. The third category is geared to public sector outsourcing deals. Nabarro Nathanson is the only firm named, but Norris said he will also look at categories one or two for this kind of work. "The reason it won't just be Nabarros is that they might be conflicted and because we want to get value for money, so there needs to be competition," said Norris. The appointment is nevertheless a coup for Nabarros. It advised longstanding client Land Securities on its acquisition of Trillium, but has not advised the Trillium side of the business since then.