Setting sole-provider trends, Pinsents style

There’s something of a trend going on for sole-provider deals, and if any firm is at the forefront of this particular fashion it’s Pinsent Masons.

Though Eversheds was a sole-provider first-mover through its deal with engineering conglomerate Tyco, Pinsents has won a number of eye-catching mandates in the past two years starting with Balfour Beatty in 2013.

The infrastructure group’s general counsel Chris Vaughan agreed a fixed fee with the firm for all business-as-usual work and put the onus on Pinsents to drive efficiencies.

The firm must have been doing something right because just a few months later it beat 40 other firms to take on sole responsibility for energy company Eon’s day-to-day work.

And now trade union Unite has appointed the firm as sole adviser for its £800m pension scheme for staff and officers.

When he signed the deal with Pinsents two years ago, Balfour Beatty’s Vaughan hailed it as a “much more commercial way of procuring legal services” – and others have followed his lead.

But that doesn’t mean the trendsetter will win every time: despite both Eversheds and Pinsents being frontrunners to win a sole advisory mandate from drinks giant Heineken, neither was ultimately successful.

Also on TheLawyer.com:

  • Cinema chain Vue Entertainment International hires Tui Travel’s aviation, hotels and emerging markets general counsel as its own legal chief
  • Microsoft’s China general manager and assistant general counsel quits in-house for private practice, joining PRC firm Gaopeng & Partners
  • And, it’s not all good news for Pinsents, which lost its spot on the Ministry of Defence’s projects panel at the end of 2014
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