Ford forces firms into bidding war

The Lawyer has learnt that Ford Motors has asked 20 firms to pitch for its new panel as it battles to curb its £10m annual legal spend and improve the quality of service it receives.

According to a City source, the ailing automotive giant has said it is determined to slash its annual UK legal outlay to £7m. Its largest spend on any single provider is currently £3m a year.

Those firms asked to pitch for the new panel are: Allen & Overy, Ashurst Morris Crisp, Berwin Leighton Paisner, Brindley Twist Tafft & James, Clifford Chance, Collier Bristow, Eversheds, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Gordons, Lewis Silkin, Linklaters, Lovells, Macfarlanes, Merricks, Salans, Shearman & Sterling, Slaughter and May, Vizard Wyeth, Wortley Byers and Wragge & Co.

The deadline for pitches is at the end of the month. As revealed last week, lawyers were invited to Ford en masse at the beginning of October when news of the cuts was broken. The unprecedented meeting marked the start of a process expected to dramatically reduce the number of external suppliers. Ford is understood to be carrying out a similar process in Europe.