The Treasury Solicitor’s Department (TSol) is preparing a major shake-up of its panel arrangements as the squeeze on the public sector continues to bite.
The proposals could see TSol’s ’Lit-Cat’ panel merge with the panel of firms appointed under the Government’s legal services framework agreement, known as Catalist. At present the 40 firms on the Lit-Cat panel offer advice on contentious matters, including employment, personal injury and debt recovery.
A total of 48 firms make up the seven sub-panels appointed under the legal services framework, covering areas such as commercial law, corporate and finance work, IP and IT. A review of the panels was due earlier this year, but was postponed in the summer.
Only nine firms – Blake Lapthorn, Eversheds, Gateley, Nabarro, Shoosmiths, Squire Sanders Hammonds, Veale Wasbrough Vizards, Weightmans and Wragge & Co – have places on both the Lit-Cat and Catalist panels.
Treasury Solicitor Paul Jenkins QC told The Lawyer that the department had been looking at several ways to improve its efficiency, most recently by investing in a case management system as well as cutting and freezing fees.