Irwin Mitchell kicked off National Grid panel after Jackson prompts early review

The National Grid has kicked Irwin Mitchell off its debt recovery panel and replaced it with Shakespeares ahead of a full-scale review to take place this summer.

The firm has been ejected from National Grid’s debt and damage panel a year before the company puts in place a new full roster in April 2015.

A spokesperson for the utility giant said its debt and damage legal service provision had been re-tendered early due to the implementation of the Jackson reforms last year. The new regulations aimed at overhauling the costs of civil litigation altered the recovery of legal costs in litigation and prompted National Grid to review the spot ahead of its seven other sub-panels.

Shakespeares litigation partner Dianne Bennett will take over the relationship with the company on 1 April 2014. She will join colleague and relationship partner for property work Janet James, who has advised National Grid for over 10 years. 

Irwin Mitchell won its first appointment to the panel in 2011 to advise on debt recovery when National Grid slashed its advisers by a quarter (28 January 2011). Allen & Overy (A&O) replaced Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer as one of the company’s two corporate advisers.

The National Grid’s last review was conducted by general counsel Helen Mahy, who stood down in July 2012 (9 July 2012) to be replaced by Alison Kay.

The current panel review is being overseen by UK general counsel Karen Clayton. Clayton is also in talks with Dundas & Wilson and CMS Cameron McKenna over who will represent the soon-to-be merged firm in its relationship with the company (17 February 2014). CMS sits on the utility’s commercial panel after being selected in 2011, while it sends Dundas key property and planning work in London.

Clayton said: “I would like to thank Irwin Mitchell for all their support over the years. We will be conducting an open market review of all our externally placed legal services in the summer to go live in April next year, and this award will tie in with this bigger review piece.”

A spokesperson for Irwin Mitchell said: “We are of course disappointed with National Grid’s decision but our business legal services team is continuing to expand and recently it has won work from a number of significant new clients.”

The current National Grid roster:

Commercial, construction and disputes: Berwin Leighton Paisner, CMS Cameron McKenna, Eversheds

Corporate: Allen & Overy, Linkaters

Debt recovery: Irwin Mitchell, to be replaced by Shakespeares on 1 April

Employment: CMS Cameron McKenna, Eversheds

Energy and regulation (including competition): CMS Cameron McKenna, Dundas & Wilson, Linklaters, SGH Martineau, Dentons, Walker Morris

Health, safety and environment: CMS Cameron McKenna, Squire Sanders

Property and planning: BLPBircham Dyson Bell, BrookStreet des Roches, DLA Piper, Dundas & Wilson, Field Fisher Waterhouse, Squire Sanders, Needham & James, Shakespeares

Trademark and patents: Squire Sanders