Firms in bidding scrum for first AES global panel

Energy giant AES Corporation is overhauling its relations with external lawyers and establishing its first ever set of legal panels.

Currently the US-based company has relationships with numerous firms. In the UK Clifford Chance, Norton Rose and Slaughter and May are among some of the many firms that have ties with AES. AES assistant general counsel Brian Miller, who is running the review, told The Lawyer: “There are very few [firms] we don’t have a relationship with.”

AES has invited a significant number of firms to pitch for a place on one of its panels, which will be split according to practice area and geography.

Miller hopes that cutting AES’s number of advisers will help “obtain a more efficient management of law firms in order to get a better service and to reduce cost”.

The firms are being tested using several criteria, including level of expertise, geographical presence, breadth of service by location, the make-up of client teams and fee structures. Miller said that AES wants firms to offer discounts on their hourly rates, or to provide advice on a contingent or success fee basis.

Miller is reviewing firms’ submissions, from which a shortlist will be drawn up.