Pearson is gearing up to appoint up to five firms to its new labour and employment panel, as it looks to finalise its first UK legal roster by the end of the year. 

The FTSE 100 publisher intends to select between two to five firms to its employment panel, tasked with supporting the company’s human resources (HR) legal capability. 

A number of HR lawyers already work in-house at Pearson and are therefore involved in running the panel process, along with New York-based general counsel Bjarne Tellmann and deputy GC for litigation and regulatory affairs Mike McQueeney. 

The panel process was started in late summer, just after invitations for tender were sent to firms wishing to win places on Pearson’s corporate and IT and commercial panels. 

As yet, no firms have officially won spots on the labour and employment panel, with plans to conclude the process before the Christmas break. 

The panel is part of a wider strategy to analyse Pearson’s global external relationships in a way that the company has not really done before. Back in January, Tellmann said the company was redesigning “the entire legal function” and moving it into a “cluster Matrix structure, working across geographies with a much closer focus on the business.” 

Seven firms recently won places on the publisher’s first corporate and IT and commercial panels, including Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Herbert Smith Freehills, DLA Piper and Pinsent Masons. 

A separate panel process is currently underway in the US, with longstanding advisers such as Morgan Lewis & Bockis expected to make the grade.