Barclays unveils slimmed down corporate panel

Barclays' corporate recovery department has chosen a new streamlined panel of firms in its latest cull of legal advisers.

The panel, which has been trimmed down from 13 firms to five, comprises national firms Dibb Lupton Alsop and Hill Dickinson, international firm Salans Hertzfeld & Heilbronn HRK, Bristol-based Lawrence Tuckett and Watford practice Matthew Arnold & Baldwin.

The axed firms are thought to be Hammond Suddards, Eversheds, Edge Ellison, Dickinson Dees, Bond Pearce, Shoosmiths & Harrison, Langleys and Mills & Reeve.

Hammonds has made four insolvency lawyers redundant in the wake of being cut from the panel.

The firms remaining on the panel will now be paid via block contracts rather than on an hourly rate.

A spokesman for Mills & Reeve says: “We voluntarily cut ourselves from the panel.”

However, an insider says the firm withdrew because it would have failed the selection procedure and its work for Barclays was gradually being reduced.

Edge Ellison strongly disputes it has been cut from the panel. The firm maintains that it will continue to work for Barclays, although it admits it will do so only on an ad hoc basis.

A Barclays spokesman says the panel was chosen to reflect a spectrum of firms across the country.

He says: “The main reason was that we had 13 firms on our list. That was quite a handful for a specialised area of the bank, and was not very good value for money.”

Its selection procedure for the panel included a detailed quality audit, a user survey asking Barclays in-house lawyers whether they were happy with the service they received from each firm, and – for those firms that passed the first two tests – a six-month-long beauty parade.