BLP victorious in battle for GIB UK

Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) has triumphed over a host of firms, including Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, Linklaters and Simmons & Simmons, in the race to replace Dechert on the UK panel of Gulf International Bank (GIB).

GIB UK head of legal and compliance Dominic Bacon invited pitches for the bank’s investment funds business after dumping Dechert from the panel late last year.
The bank’s current panel firms were also invited to pitch for the work.

The UK panel also includes Allen & Overy, Barlow Lyde & Gilbert, Coudert Brothers, Slaughter and May, Morgan Lewis & Bockius and Norton Rose.

Bacon told The Lawyer: “It was important that [the firms pitching] were willing to provide a personalised service, as there are a number of firms who profess experience in this area but in reality all they do is rehash the last set of documents that they used.”

While Bacon has admitted that GIB UK is too small to be an attractive new client for a magic circle firm, he said that the company’s hedge funds work is valuable and has a legal budget of around £500,000, which is more than half of GIB UK’s annual legal spend.

BLP head of corporate finance David Collins and hedge funds partner Timothy Spangler, who joined the firm last year from Latham & Watkins, led the pitch team, which emphasised the value of BLP’s alliance with New York firm Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel.