Government streamlines £400m legal panel as Linklaters, PwC and Hogan Lovells win new roles

London

The UK government has significantly cut the number of law firms on its central legal panel after an overhaul of the panel’s structure, with Hogan Lovells, Linklaters and PwC winning new spots.

In total, 18 firms have been appointed for two-year terms on the new panel for “general legal advice services”, which has an estimated value of £400m. The new appointments took effect on 28 February.

The previous panel, which ran from February 2013 until the end of January this year, was structured under eight ‘lots’. Six of these lots have now been combined to form the new panel, with the remaining two – finance and regulation, and major projects – extended until 31 January 2018 and the existing firms reappointed.

The newly combined panel is split into two tiers, with those in the first tier taking priority over tier two firms, which will handle work that tier one firms are unable to accept.

The 12 tier one firms include Pinsent Masons, Bond Dickinson, Linklaters, Dentons and DLA Piper, while the six tier two firms include Fieldfisher, Hogan Lovells, Simmons & Simmons, and Slaughter and May (see full list below).

Linklaters and PwC are new appointments to tier one, having not been on the previous panel, while Hogan Lovells has taken a new spot on tier two.

PwC has been appointed as part of a four-firm consortium alongside Holman Fenwick Willan, Howes Percival and Sharpe Pritchard.

The tender process, which kicked off in March last year, was handled by the Crown Commercial Service, the government’s procurement arm.

The process was run in three stages. The first stage required firms to complete a questionnaire that assessed their professional capabilities and financial standing. The second evaluated their quality of work (weighted at 70%) and price (weighted at 30%), with firms required to submit two case studies. Twenty-four firms then progressed to the third stage of the process, which looked at factors such as compatibility, quality and pricing.

UK public sector bodies that use the panel include the Bank of England, Competition and Markets Authority, NHS England and the security and intelligence services. The panel also covers services such as health, education, energy, and international trade.

Tier one firms Bond Dickinson Burges Salmon DAC Beachcroft Dentons DLA Piper Eversheds Sutherland Gowling WLG Linklaters Mills & Reeve Pinsent Masons PwC, Holman Fenwick Willan, Howes Percival and Sharpe Pritchard TLT

Tier two firms Bevan Brittan Browne Jacobson Fieldfisher Hogan Lovells Simmons & Simmons Slaughter and May