Novartis unveils panel designed to build ‘long-term partnerships’

Novartis has announced the results of its first panel review since the company’s $40bn takeover of Alcon, with three magic circle firms – Allen & Overy, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Linklaters – securing spots on the global roster along with two US firms.


Pharma company Novartis’s new panel, called the legal preferred firm programme, is comprised of 25 firms divided into four groups – global firms, US country firms, US country specialist firms and US country specialist intellectual property firms.

The shake-up is intended to help Novartis develop long-term strategic partnerships with law firms and is one of the first changes under group general counsel Felix Ehrat, who joined the company from Swiss firm Bär & Karrer in October 2011 (31 October 2011) after the incumbent – Thomas Werlen – left for Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan.

US firms Morrison & Foerster and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett join the magic circle firms on the global firm panel. The global firm line-up is almost unchanged since the company’s previous panel review in 2009 (28 September 2009) except that Simpson Thacher, which was an Alcon panel firm, has replaced White & Case.

White & Case did, however, make the company’s US country firm panel, along with Arnold & Porter, Cravath Swaine & Moore and Kaye Scholar.

“We believe the programme’s renewed focus on relationships creates a win-win environment,” said Ehrat. “The commitments we’re making will lead to increased efficiency and effectiveness.”

Under the preferred firm programme, panel members will be required to come together once a year at an annual summit to “further relationships and develop a deeper understanding of Novartis business”.

The panel in full:

Global firms: Allen & Overy, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Linklaters, Morrison & Foerster and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett.

US country firms: Arnold & Porter, Cravath Swaine & Moore, Kaye Scholer, White & Case.

US country specialist firms: Bartlit Beck Herman Palenchar & Scott (litigation), Covington & Burling (regulatory), Faegre Baker Daniels (product liability), Greenberg Traurig (product liability), Hogan Lovells (regulatory), Hollingsworth (product liability), Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan (litigation), Seyfarth Shaw (employment) and Smith Gambrell & Russell (false advertising and commercial litigation).

US country specialist intellectual property firms: Fitzpatrick Cella Harper & Scinto, McDermott Will & Emery, O’Melveny & Myers, Rakoczy Molino Mazzochi Siwik, Williams & Connolly, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale & Dorr and Winston & Strawn.