Building giant Lafarge dumps City firms for regionals

Construction and building materials giant Lafarge UK has slashed all top 20 firms from its legal panel in favour of regional firms in a bid to slash its legal spend.

The company held the tender to cut down on its sprawling list of external advisers, which ran to around 80 firms, including five to eight top 20 firms.

Lafarge UK’s legal spend ran to at least £1.5m last year.

Legal director and company secretary Deborah Grimason said: “Rather than having the big hitters in London, we thought outside of the City, using local firms which had the niche expertise in our sectors.”

The new panel is made up of East Anglia-based Birketts, Thames Valley-based Clarks Legal, East Midlands-based Freeth Cartwright, Anglo-Scottish HBJ Gateley Wareing, Birmingham-based Martineau, Nabarro, Nottingham-based Roythornes and Northhamptonshire-based Tollers.

Grimason said she had been particularly looking for all the panel firms to work together closely. To that end, she will hold six monthly conferences with all panel firms and internal strategic business heads. The first such conference will be hosted in November by Freeth Cartwright.