Royal Mail renews 13-strong panel until 2018

Royal Mail group general counsel Maaike de Bie has announced the extension of the postal company’s legal panel for an additional year until 2018.

The company last renewed its panel in 2014, with the option of extending the standard three year-term by up to two years. It could therefore extend it again for another 12 months in 2018 under the current panel terms, which include a ‘+1, +1′ option.

The company’s panel is comprised of 13 firms including Addleshaw Goddard, Ashurst, Bristows, CMS, DAC Beachcroft, DLA Piper, Dentons, Herbert Smith Freehills, Macfarlanes, Michael Simkins, Slaughter and May, Strata Solicitors and Weightmans.

The firms were appointed after the first panel review since Royal Mail went public in 2013.

Panel firm Slaughter and May took the lead in advising Royal Mail on its initial public offering (IPO), while Freshfields acted for the government, advising on a restructuring of the company’s pension liabilities ahead of the IPO.

De Bie joined Royal Mail in 2014 and became permanent general counsel in April 2016, following a brief period as interim general counsel after Neil Harnby stepped down.

Prior to joining the company, she held roles as GC for the Europe, Middle East and Africa division of GE Capital Commercial Distribution Finance, a financial services unit of the General Electric Company. She also worked previously at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Ernst & Young and White & Case.

In 2016, Royal Mail began a recruitment drive to hire 15 junior lawyers to handle work that otherwise would have been handed out to its panel. The move was hoped to allow more senior members of the legal team to take on more strategic roles, while proving a pathway for more junior staff.

In June, the Royal Mail Group was awarded the In-house Legal Department Innovation Award at the Legal Week Innovation Awards.

Photo: Monica Arellano-Ongpin