Linklaters and Sullivan left out in cold by Soc Gen cuts

Linklaters and Sullivan & Cromwell are the biggest casualties as Société Générale streamlines its legal panel, The Lawyer can reveal

The French bank has slashed its panel from 24 firms to just 14, with Denton Wilde Sapte, Herbert Smith, Lovells, Norton Rose and Watson Farley & Williams gaining a place for the first time.

Linklaters has advised the firm on structured finance matters in london and Paris for at least four years, while Sullivan has provided the bank with equities advice in Paris and New York. Simmons & Simmons, Jones Day, Mayer Brown Rowe & Maw and Willkie Farr & Gallagher have also been axed from the panel.

The panel will have 10 international firms retained for their full service capability, which can be used by any part of the Société Générale group in any part of the world. These are: Allen & Overy, Clifford Chance, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Shearman & Sterling, White & Case, Dentons, Herbert Smith, Lovells, Norton Rose and Gide Loyrette Nouel.

De Pardieu Brocas Maffei & Leygonie, Moquet Borde & Associés and Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom have been retained solely to advise on French law. Skadden has only worked for Société Générale since it hired Pierre Servan-Schrieber from Sullivan & Cromwell.

Skadden and Sullivan may yet get the opportunity to advise the bank in the US. The panel's international firms will be used for US work but the bank's New York legal and purchasing departments are devising a list of four or five firms solely to advise in the US.

Watson Farley has won a place on the panel to advise on UK matters.

The legal and purchasing departments took around six months to complete the review. Société Générale is hoping to take advantage of the discounted rates offered by its preferred suppliers, aiming for 70 per cent of the bank's legal spend to go to firms on the panel rather than the current 40 per cent.