London Development Agency to cut £3m from legal spend

The London Development Agency (LDA) is preparing to overhaul its legal team and slash its panel from 18 to five firms, as part of an efficiency drive.

LDA legal chief Debbie Adams is looking to recruit nine lawyers and cut £3m from its legal spend in the run up to big projects such as the Olympics, the Thames Gateway project and Crossrail.

Adams is now interviewing for candidates for a new internal team to handle projects, planning and property work.

She said: “Currently a large part of that work is outsourced to our panel. As soon as the team is in place here we will be reviewing the panel, cutting down from 18 firms to five. It will be much more manageable.”

Firms such as DLA Piper, Eversheds and Bircham Dyson Bell are on the LDA’s panel at the moment and will be fighting for places on the revamped roster.

Adams intends to make more changes, such as standardising LDA contracts and putting them into plainer English to make them more user-friendly. The newly-recruited lawyers can also look forward to an expanded training programme.

“We’re going to be putting on a considerable amount of training. Lawyers are always an overhead so we have to be quick and efficient,” said Adams. “I want to make sure the legacy for London is right, creating more jobs, more facilities and regenerate areas of the city.”