Barclays’ revamped panel: simplicity is the ultimate sophistication

There was a time when Barclays’ legal panel made for complicated reading. With over 100 firms featuring across a general advisory roster and 15 sub-panels, it took some getting to grips with.

But, no more. After eschewing biennial reviews at the start of last year, the bank has unveiled its first new roster since 2011 and it’s gone from one extreme to the other.

Having slashed the panel by 30 per cent, the new-look roster is simplicity itself, featuring just two lists – one made up of general or preferred advisers and the other of specialist, approved advisers.

But the real beauty of it is that the bank’s in-house team passed the burden of the review process onto the firms vying for spots. As part of the review process panel firms such as Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Linklaters were asked to team up with smaller firms to create a single unit that could provide shared letters of engagement, single bills and, crucially, single relationship partners.

Reviewing Barclays’ panel used to be an administrative nightmare for the bank’s lawyers, but as deputy general counsel Michael Shaw tells us, the new system sees the firms doing the hard work instead.

Now that’s what we call sophisticated.

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