Addleshaw Goddard, Pinsent Masons and TLT have all secured places on the Co-operative Group’s slimmed-down commercial legal panel.
The three firms will be primary advisers to all Co-op subsidiaries, including Co-operative Financial Services (CFS) and the Co-op retail chain.
The panel review was kicked off earlier this year in an effort to save costs after the group inherited a number of legacy firms through its merger with Somerfield and CFS’s tie-up with Britannia Building Society.
The group began culling the inherited CFS panel just weeks after the merger with Britannia completed last August, terminating the contracts of 3,600 sole conveyancers who sat on the panel. CFS, which is also the parent to online bank Smile and Co-op Insurance Group, said it had pulled the panel because its insurance provider had refused to give mortgage fraud insurance cover if it was maintained.
Addleshaws was one of three firms to be called in to advise the Co-op on its £1.57bn takeover of Somerfield, alongside Allen & Overy and Clifford Chance. The firm has been an adviser to the Co-op since 2006 with managing partner Paul Devitt acting as client relationship manager.
“We’re proud and delighted to have been chosen for this panel once again,” said Devitt.
TLT has been a preferred supplier of corporate and commercial legal services to Somerfield for more than 10 years, most recently advising the retailer on all of its property matters during its takeover by Co-operative. The firm will advise the retailer in a wide range of areas, including employment and pension incentives, competition work, financial services regulation and data protection.
For Pinsents it is a new appointment, with the Co-op commending the firm on its “ability to provide the breadth of services required”.
It is a major contract win for all three firms, with the Co-op Group posting an annual turnover of £14bn.