Bond Pearce and Finers Stephens Innocent have been ditched by Virgin Group following the annual review of its legal panel.
Virgin’s general counsel Helena Samaha, who led the review, told The Lawyer that the move to cut the group’s legal panel follows a decision to focus on its core businesses, including transport, mobile telephones, entertainment and financial services. “We’re retaining the firms that have advised us on our core businesses,” she said.
Historically, Bond Pearce and Finers advised Virgin principally on property and HR matters.
Virgin set up an 11-firm panel, from which the group’s companies had to select advisers, two years ago. Before that, Virgin had a core panel of four firms for the central group and the subsidiary companies used their own firms.
But unlike most other large retail groups, Virgin conducts a full review of its legal panel annually. Last summer, for instance, Virgin dropped Hammonds from its legal panel following a similar exercise.
The eight remaining firms on the Virgin panel are: Allen & Overy, Ashurst Morris Crisp, Denton Wilde Sapte, DLA, Eversheds, Herbert Smith, Harbottle & Lewis and Macfarlanes.
Specialist professional indemnity (PI) and large loss practice Plexus Law has hired two Eversheds lawyers as partners.John Eastlake and Claire Swift have both left Eversheds’ PI practice to join Plexus, which was formed two years ago.Neither were partners at Eversheds.