MoD bucks trend with plans to boost panel

Government legal spend is high on the agenda, so it’s interesting to see the Ministry of Defence (MoD) – which increased its spend on external lawyers from £3m to £10m in 2012/13 – buck the cost-cutting trend by looking to expand its number of advisers.

The department has set a 31 July deadline for expressions of interest and will kick off a panel review with plans to beef up its roster next month. 

“We’ve said we want up to 10 firms this time,” MoD commercial lawyer Andrew Fox told The Lawyer. “That’s because we would like a bit more choice. Some have been conflicted out in the past and having seven firms has meant we’re limited for choice.” 

So which firms will win the three new spots? The MoD has a history of handing places back to firms that have previously been boosted off its panel, with Simmons & Simmons returning to its roster in 2007.

If that pattern follows, then those chopped from the last review in 2010 – Burges Salmon, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Herbert Smith Freehills – all stand a good chance.

Start the sweepstake now.

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