Co-op Group overhauls legal panel with seven firms appointed to new combined roster

The Co-op Group has selected seven law firms for its newly-restructured legal panel, with Fieldfisher and Squire Patton Boggs winning new appointments to the roster.

The group has combined its corporate and commercial and property panels in the first review of its external advisers in more than seven years.

Addleshaw Goddard, Pinsent Masons, Hill Dickinson, Brodies and southeast firm Paris Smith have all been reappointed after a competitive tender exercise, with the new panel arrangement set to run for three years.

The review, which kicked off last summer, was led by the group’s head of in-house legal operations Helen Lowe and head of legal for retail and digital Peter Horsfall, assisted by procurement manager Peter McHugh.

Addleshaws and Pinsents were previously on the group’s corporate and commercial panel, with Hill Dicks, Brodies and Paris Smith sitting on the property panel.

Allen & Overy (A&O), the Co-op’s primary City adviser, was not involved in the review, while the group also has separate arrangements with a number of firms that provide employment law advice, which were also unaffected.

A Co-op spokesperson said: “Following an extensive panel review, the Co-op has appointed seven law firms with a wide range of specialist knowledge and legal expertise in the areas of commercial, litigation, property and corporate matters to support its in-house legal team. They join Allen & Overy, the incumbent City firm.

TLT previously held a spot on the corporate and commercial panel, with Weightmans sitting on the property panel. It is not known whether either firm tendered for places on the new panel.

The Co-op Bank, which split from the wider Co-op Group in 2013, has a separate panel, which was first put together in 2015, with A&O, Clifford Chance (CC), Berwin Leighton Paisner, Mishcon de Reya, Bates Wells Braithwaite, Hogan Lovells, Pinsents, TLT, Eversheds, DLA Piper and Matthew Arnold & Baldwin all winning spots.

CC, A&O, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Linklaters and Paul Hastings all took roles last year on a £700m rescue deal for the bank after it put itself up for sale but failed to find a buyer.