Morgan Cole bags spot as Wales’ largest university establishes first formal panel

The University of South Wales has launched its inaugural panel after it was created following the mergers of Glamorgan and Newport universities last year.

The university, now the sixth largest in the UK with around 33,000 students, has appointed Hugh James, Morgan Cole, Veale Wasborough Vizards, Capital Law and Clarkslegal to its roster.

It is not known how many firms pitched for the mandate, but those that made it on to the panel scored highest on pricing and legal expertise.

The majority of the scoring, 35 per cent, was evaluated on fees and charges, with 25 per cent on legal expertise, 15 per cent on service delivery, 15 per cent on the interview and presentation, five per cent on relationship management and just 2.5 per cent on management information. A final 2.5 per cent was awarded to “additional services”. 

The contract is understood to be worth around £900,000. Previous legal costs over the three years for the combined former institutions was between £250,000 and £400,000 per year.

Each firm has been appointed for a three year term and will advise the university on a range of areas including employment, students, corporate, governance, commercial, property and health and safety.

Both Cardiff-based Hugh James and Morgan Cole made it on to the slimmed-down panel advising the Welsh Government in February 2012 (8 February 2012). The two firms then landed a place on Cardiff University’s revised legal panel last January (28 January 2013).

The appointment comes months ahead of Morgan Cole’s July merger with Blake Lapthorn to create a £72m combined firm (20 March 2014).

University secretary William Callaway said: “The very diverse nature of higher education requires the provision of legal advice across a broad spectrum of subjects. All firms have a clear understanding of the education sector and are well positioned to support our position as a major player in the national and global higher education sector.”

The university has a turnover approaching £200m and has five main teaching campuses in Treforest, Caerleon, Newport, Cardiff and Glyntaff. It also has two wholly owned subsidiary colleges in the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama and The College Merthyr Tydfil.