Burges Salmon, Farrers, Norton Rose, Ward Hadaway and Wragges all on panel

Bond Pearce has been dropped from the English Heritage legal panel in favour of South West rival Burges Salmon. Farrer & Co has also won a place on the panel for the first time.

Farrers beat off competition from Denton Wilde Sapte and SJ Berwin to win the new appointment. Norton Rose, Ward Hadaway and Wragge & Co were all reappointed to the panel, making Bond Pearce the only firm to lose its place.

English Heritage legal director Nigel Hewitson said he decided to go with Burges Salmon because the firm offered a “better balance of price and quality”.

He added: “Burges Salmon have worked with English Heritage before and impressed me with their enthusiasm. Their experience in the museums sector means they have a good fit with the work of our properties and outreach group.”

English Heritage has an annual legal spend of around £750,000. Hewitson said the choice of firms ensures it is represented in Newcastle, Birmingham and the South West, the three business centres across the nine regions in which the public body operates.

The panel review coincides with a modernisation drive at English Heritage. “My challenge is to provide a seamless, quality, cost-effective legal service to English Heritage at a time of great change for the organisation,” said Hewitson. “The panel of firms chosen will support me in this.”

Farrers has been brought on principally to advise English Heritage's commercial arm on its extensive intellectual property portfolio as well as employment and personal injury law. James Thorne, head of Farrers' commercial team, will act as the relationship partner.

The other panel firms will advise English Heritage's regional offices on a range of matters, but principally on statutory planning and property management issues.