Healthcare giant Bupa is undertaking a wholesale panel review aimed at cutting panel firm numbers and slashing overall legal costs.
Group legal director Paul Newton said he is reviewing the firms for M&A, litigation and NHS procurement, with the intention of reviewing areas such as IT later in the year.
“The review is to streamline the panel and get the existing law firms to sharpen their pencils on fees and think about service delivery,” said Newton.
Newton plans to cut that number to nine, with three covering each area, and is considering holding an e-auction for firms to bid against each other once he has finalised a shortlist.
“The only problem I have with that is that buying legal services isn’t like buying paperclips,” he told The Lawyer. “With legal services you don’t always go for the cheapest firm, you go for the one that represents best value for money.”