The decision to appoint a formal panel of 11 firms was driven by the need to streamline the external provision of legal services from the 20 firms with which ad hoc relationships had existed.
Head of legal Nick Grant told The Lawyer: "We're pleased to have selected firms who endorse and reflect Sainsbury's' values. The review has given us an opportunity to think through and specify a fresh set of service expectations."
Around two-thirds of Sainsbury's' £13m legal spend will be on property-related matters. Addleshaws will advise on property and commercial work, Bond Pearce and Charles Russell on regulatory developments (with the latter focusing on pharmaceuticals), Camerons and Lawrence Graham will advise purely on property work, while Dentons is instructed on commercial work and Linklaters on corporate and competition.
Croner will deal with employment matters, L'Estrange will manage Northern Ireland-related issues and Shepherd and Wedderburn those in Scotland. Although Winckworth Sherwood is a parliamentary agent, it will advise on licensing matters.
Shepherd and Wedderburn is the only one of the 11 with which Sainsbury's had no previous relationship.
The change comes at the end of a three-year recovery plan. Firms will be on board for the next three-year expansion programme, with a review at the end of the period.