BP has kicked off its first UK legal panel review since March 2011, as the current roster’s three-year mandate draws to a close.
The panel is currently home to eight firms, including Linklaters and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer. CMS Cameron McKenna, Field Fisher Waterhouse, Herbert Smith Freehills, Norton Rose Fulbright, Olswang and Pinsent Masons also have spots on the roster.
In addition, a number of specialist firms advise on niche areas for the oil giant.
At the last panel review in 2011 (26 May 2011), sources described cut-throat bidding by firms during the review. FIrms including Allen & Overy, Baker & McKenzie, Clifford Chance and Eversheds were among those which submitted bids but were ultimately unsuccessful.
Since then, Linklaters has taken a key advisory role for BP on a number of matters including its £16.8bn sale of its stake in TNK-BP to Rosneft in 2012 – the third biggest oil acquisition in history (17 May 2011). Last May, the firm advised BP on allegations of oil and biofuel price fixing by the European Commission.
Freshfields has been close to BP since helping the company ward off a takeover bid in the wake of its Gulf of Mexico oil spill, led by corporate partner Mark Rawlinson. More recently, Freshfields’ Dusseldorf corporate partner Hildegard Bison left to take a senior in-house role with the company’s European arm (13 November 2012).