Ashurst and Bird & Bird among firms to win Santander panel spots

While so many in-house teams seem to be cutting the number of firms appointed to their legal panel, Santander has been doing exactly the opposite. The bank has upped the total number of firms on its main roster from 24 to 30.

But that doesn’t mean it’s been giving lawyers an easy ride. The bank reportedly used a reverse auction process, pitting firms head-to-head in a bid to encourage them to reduce their hourly rate lower than their rivals.

This time round firms including Ashurst, Bird & Bird, Nabarro and Slaughter and May are thought to have won coveted spots on the panel.

And Santander isn’t the only group that’s prioritising fees. European investment group Aurelius has kicked off its first UK panel review, with a view to appointing a handful of firms to its informal legal roster.

Its recently appointed UK legal chief Kimberley Whitaker said: “Given the type of deals that we work on, we didn’t want really big firms and the burden of huge legal fees.”

It’s good to know that some things never change.

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