Deutsche expands adviser line-up and sets up Berlin 'near-shoring' arm

Banking giant extends adviser roster after using online tendering

Deutsche Bank has expanded the number of external law firms with which it has formal relationships, with the news coming as the bank’s in-house legal team prepares to set up its own low-cost legal processing centre in Berlin.

The German-based investment bank has added Hogan Lovells, Simmons & Simmons, CMS Cameron McKenna and Ashurst to its EMEA roster of preferred legal advisers, with Slaughter and May, Clifford Chance, Linklaters, Allen & Overy, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and White & Case all retaining spots.

The roster is non-exclusive, with Deutsche retaining the right to instruct any firm making the lowest bid for a piece of work through its internal online tendering system, Click for Legal.

It is understood that the 10 firms chosen for the roster are Deutsche’s biggest-billing firms through Click for Legal over the last two years.

As previously reported by Legal Week, the adviser review, led by London-based director of legal Jason Williams and overseen by UK and Western Europe general counsel Emma Slatter, saw Deutsche calling on its advisers to increase their use of legal process outsourcing in a bid to drive down costs.

Deutsche is also upping its own use of lower-cost centres for legal work, with the bank in the process of setting up a ‘near-shoring’ arm in Berlin.

The centre, which will initially house 10 staff, is expected to be up and running within months. It is intended to relieve the pressure on staff in higher-cost locations by sending some high volume work to Berlin, but is not expected to result in legal redundancies elsewhere.

It will operate in addition to Deutsche’s existing low-cost centres in Birmingham, Jacksonville and Mumbai but, unlike the other centres which also carry out broader banking work, will focus only on legal work. Berlin is one of the cheapest German business locations, with much lower real estate rates and salaries than locations such as London.

One City banking partner commented: “It makes a lot of sense for banks to do their legal work that doesn’t need to be done in London or New York in lower-cost jurisdictions.”

Deutsche declined to comment.

Deutsche’s decision to set up a near-shoring venture in Berlin comes as growing numbers of banks look at setting up cheaper offices to deal with volume legal work. Citi, for example, set up a support centre in Belfast in 2007.