BNP Paribas to expand legal panel in latest review

BNP Paribas has launched a review of its global panel with more than 20 firms invited to pitch for places on an expanded roster.

Georges Dirani
Georges Dirani

The global review will be the first since Georges Dirani, former head of Herbert Smith’s Paris banking practice, took over as general counsel of the French-headquartered bank last year (26 April 2010).

All firms currently on the advisory panel have been invited to pitch, including Allen & Overy, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, Clifford Chance, Hogan Lovells, Linklaters and White & Case, as well as the bank’s main French adviser Gide Loyrette Nouel.

Other firms understood to be pitching include Ashurst and Herbert Smith, which regularly advise the bank in the UK and France, and Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy, Morgan Lewis & Bockius, Sidley Austin and Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom, which advise on US matters.

An adviser close to the process said BNP Paribas’s plan to increase the size of its global roster matched other recent panel reviews among banks and financial institutions.

“Having a larger panel can become an administrative issue but several banks have decided to expand their panels to get the best advice and have specialists in certain areas,” he said. “International banks are also keen to grow their panels to give them reach into other jurisdictions. They want advisers who have a network that matches their own network.”

Herbert Smith is tipped as a hot contender in the latest review because of Dirani’s connection with the firm and its current advisory work for BNP Paribas in 10 different jurisdictions.

The review comes after Barclays (1 July 2011) and Banco Santander recently completed reviews of their global and UK legal panels respectively. HSBC has launched a review of its Middle East panel, with firms expected to pitch in September (11 July 2011).