Balfour Beatty to slash legal spend by 30 per cent in panel review

Construction giant Balfour Beatty is looking to save up to a third of its external legal spend by packaging certain areas of work and tendering it out to the lowest bidder.

Chris Vaughan
Chris Vaughan

The plans come as the company’s legal team begins to review its panel of external advisers, with an insider at the business saying the team is trying “innovatively” to cut external legal spend by outsourcing low-value work instead of cutting panel firms altogether.

Areas that will be classed as low value are likely to be repetitive, low-cost work such as employment, construction and property contracts. The work will be packaged off and tendered to the lowest bidder, be it an LPO provider or a law firm, with a final decision expected to be made in the next few months.

The aim is to cut up to a third of the company’s external legal costs while increasing efficiency for the in-house legal team, which is headed by global general counsel Chris Vaughan. Vaughan declined to comment on the proposed changes as the review is in its early stages.

Firms currently on Balfour Beatty’s panel include Berwin Leighton Paisner and Pinsent Masons, which also declined to comment.