Pinsent Curtis taken on as sole employment adviser to M&S

Pinsent Curtis is understood to have won an exclusive place on troubled retail giant Marks & Spencer's panel to provide employment advice.

The panel place is a coup for Pinsents, which has been developing its employment group under the leadership of national practice head John McMullen. Other clients of the firm include Argos and the Spring Group.

The issue of employment was raised last week when Marks & Spencer announced that its senior staff would receive contracts for the first time in the company's history.

During the last 12 months the company has axed six board directors and a quarter of its senior management.

Earlier this year, Marks & Spencer told The Lawyer that it would be reviewing its legal function, including its use of external law firms (The Lawyer, 5 April). Firms currently providing advice include Denton Hall and SJ Berwin for property work and Freshfields for corporate.

Marks & Spencer 's head of legal Robert Ivans refuses to confirm which law firms are on the panel.

But he adds: “We constantly review the firms that do work for us. We do not say: 'Right, let's look at our panel.' It is an on-going process.”

The company issued its most recent profit figures earlier this month when it reported a 43 per cent fall in first-half profits.

Pinsent Curtis declines to comment.