J Sainsbury’s has put its three-year general panel out to tender, with existing advisers vying to gain spots on the new roster.
This panel review, led by Sainsbury’s head of legal Nick Grant, will conclude in the spring.
Sainsbury’s has not confirmed whether it plans to cut the number of advisers on its panel, although it is understood that current advisers have been asked to pitch for places.
The last panel review in 2014 saw a total of 13 firms appointed to the panel, with TLT and King & Wood Mallesons (then King & Wood Mallesons SJ Berwin) winning spots for the first time.
The other advisers appointed were Addleshaw Goddard, Bond Dickinson, CMS Cameron McKenna, Charles Russell Speechlys, Croner Group, DWF, Dentons, Gowling WLG (then Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co), Linklaters, Shepherd & Wedderburn and Winckworth Sherwood.
This is the first panel to launch since Sainsbury’s bought Home Retail Group last year.
Grant took over as head of legal in 2005 and re-organised the legal team into five discrete departments which comprise property, commercial, trading, employment and civil disputes, litigation and regulation.
He also oversaw Sainsbury’s first formal panel, a competitive tender process lasting seven months, which saw 30 firms pitch for business and 11 appointed. The decision to appoint the £13m formal panel was driven by the need to streamline the external provision of legal services from the 20 firms with which ad hoc relationships had existed.
A Sainsbury’s spokesperson said: “We carry out a panel review every three years as part of our normal processes.”