InBev brews up first-ever adviser review in bid to slash legal spend

InBev, the world’s largest beer company, is conducting its first global panel review.

Under the supervision of global general counsel Sabine Chalmers, senior in-house lawyers from the company’s five global zones are holding a beauty parade which is expected to slash legal spend, which last year amounted to E10m (£6.9m) for Western Europe alone.

Chalmers joined InBev last year from fellow drinks giant Diageo.

Deepak Malhotra, InBev’s general counsel for Western Europe, told The Lawyer that the review would be based on “risks, capability, experience and questions of how firms charged, and whether they are willing to be innovative in their charging”.

Malhotra said the company will be looking for firms that are also able to demonstrate “proactivity”.

“External firms will need to know our business,” he said. “When they understand us and have had a lot of contact, they should be in a position where they can make best practice suggestions.”

InBev currently uses dozens of firms around the world. In the UK it instructs DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary and Simmons & Simmons, among others.

Malhotra was unable to confirm how long the panel appointments would last, but said the company wanted relationships with the successful firms to be “longstanding”.

InBev resulted from the merger of Interbrew and Companhia de Bebidas das Américas (AmBev) in 2004. Its brand portfolio includes international names such as Bass, Becks, Stella Artois and Brahma, a Brazilian brand that is the world’s eighth best-selling beer.