Novartis unveils panel designed to build ‘long-term partnerships’

Novartis has announced the results of its first panel review since the company’s $40bn takeover of Alcon, with three magic circle firms – Allen & Overy, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Linklaters – securing spots on the global roster along with two US firms.

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Pharma company Novartis’s new panel, called the legal preferred firm programme, is comprised of 25 firms divided into four groups – global firms, US country firms, US country specialist firms and US country specialist intellectual property firms.

The shake-up is intended to help Novartis develop long-term strategic partnerships with law firms and is one of the first changes under group general counsel Felix Ehrat, who joined the company from Swiss firm Bär & Karrer in October 2011 (31 October 2011) after the incumbent – Thomas Werlen – left for Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan.

US firms Morrison & Foerster and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett join the magic circle firms on the global firm panel. The global firm line-up is almost unchanged since the company’s previous panel review in 2009 (28 September 2009) except that Simpson Thacher, which was an Alcon panel firm, has replaced White & Case.

White & Case did, however, make the company’s US country firm panel, along with Arnold & Porter, Cravath Swaine & Moore and Kaye Scholar.

“We believe the programme’s renewed focus on relationships creates a win-win environment,” said Ehrat. “The commitments we’re making will lead to increased efficiency and effectiveness.”

Under the preferred firm programme, panel members will be required to come together once a year at an annual summit to “further relationships and develop a deeper understanding of Novartis business”.

The panel in full:

Global firms: Allen & Overy, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Linklaters, Morrison & Foerster and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett.

US country firms: Arnold & Porter, Cravath Swaine & Moore, Kaye Scholer, White & Case.

US country specialist firms: Bartlit Beck Herman Palenchar & Scott (litigation), Covington & Burling (regulatory), Faegre Baker Daniels (product liability), Greenberg Traurig (product liability), Hogan Lovells (regulatory), Hollingsworth (product liability), Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan (litigation), Seyfarth Shaw (employment) and Smith Gambrell & Russell (false advertising and commercial litigation).

US country specialist intellectual property firms: Fitzpatrick Cella Harper & Scinto, McDermott Will & Emery, O’Melveny & Myers, Rakoczy Molino Mazzochi Siwik, Williams & Connolly, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale & Dorr and Winston & Strawn.