Freshfields pinpoints referral firms ahead of upturn

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has started informal talks with ’two or three’ national firms about establishing a referral framework to improve efficiency ahead of an uptick in dealflow.

Discussions are already believed to be underway with Bristol firm TLT Solicitors, while the magic circle firm also confirmed that it would not enter into relationships with more than two partners.

Freshfields London managing partner Tim Jones said the firm was “talking to a few firms” about creating “a framework for ad hoc referrals”, but insisted that the firm was not setting up a Lovells-style ’Mexican wave’ arrangement.

“It’s about establishing informal relationships,” he added. “It’s part of planning for the upturn. We want to know that, if and when we have more demand, we have places to go where there are people we know.”

TLT managing partner David Pester confirmed that the firm has had “an initial exploratory conversation” with the City firm.

“We’ve not undertaken any significant project work with Freshfields as yet,” he said, “but we see real ­opportunity in law firms collaborating to deliver high- quality legal services in a way that’s as efficient, and therefore as cost-effective as possible, for the client.”

Freshfields has already made plans to handle an expected increase in transactional work by tapping into its network of alumni.

The ’Fresh Work’ scheme will allow the firm to bring in part-time or short-term former Freshfields lawyers during busy periods.