Energy giant National Grid has launched its first UK wide panel review for five years and is considering shrinking its current roster, Legal Business has learned.
Fifteen firms including Allen & Overy, Linklaters, DLA Piper and Eversheds currently sit on the panel, which was established in 2011 after National Grid cut its roster by 25%. The panel was originally in place for three years, but was extended on an annual basis over the last two.
While expressions of interest were sought in early March, the British multinational went out to tender last Thursday (7 May) with an end date scheduled for the summer. The review will be led primarily by UK general counsel (GC) and company secretary Rachel Davidson, however group GC and company secretary Alison Kay (pictured) will be heavily involved, especially regarding firms which have corporate mandates.
Speaking to Legal Business, Kay said: 'The review is an appraisement of the relationship. I would also like to reduce the number of firms, I have been very clear about that. But I won't do that just for the sake of doing it. I would like to introduce different firms and different types of alternative firms into the mix. That's where I think we can really start adding value so we are getting the right firms doing the right sort of work.'
Additionally, this time around, the panel will be in place for a two-year period with an option to extend it by a further two years. According to Kay this reflects how 'the legal services market is changing beyond all recognition in the way external firms provide and charge for services.'
'I just think that hooking us in for longer than two years at the moment may not be sensible,' she added. 'We've got the option to go for longer but we don't have to.'
In addition to the UK panel, National Grid also has a panel in the US which Kay will continue to assess.
The full list of fifteen firms on the current UK panel is as follows:
Allen & Overy
Berwin Leighton Paisner
Bircham Dyson Bell
BrookStreet des Roches
CMS Cameron McKenna (Legacy Dundas & Wilson was also named to the original panel)
Squire Patton Boggs