BP completes panel review with two firms losing spots

BP has completed a review of its UK and international legal panel, with three firms losing their spots and six gaining new places.

Fieldfisher and Reed Smith were cut from the panel, while Atma Partners, Dentons, Euclid, Hill Dickinson, Hogan Lovells and PwC Legal were all added to the roster.

In total, there are 18 firms on the roster including several reappointments from the previous 2014 lineup. The law firms that retained their spots were Addleshaw Goddard, Ashurst, Baker McKenzie, CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Holman Fenwick Willan, Herbert Smith Freehills, Linklaters, Norton Rose Fulbright, Pinsent Masons, Simmons & Simmons and Three Crowns.

Although Sullivan & Cromwell is not on the panel, it is used as board counsel for disclosures on US security laws and occasional M&A work.

The panel will go live from January 2018 and will be in place for a three-year term. It covers the UK and the rest of the world excluding the US, which has its own panel. The process was overseen by BP’s associate general counsel for special projects and chief of staff, Jens Bertelsen.

The cost of the legal work given to the panel is expected to amount to approximately £30m per year and will mainly cover litigation and M&A.

The day-to-day legal work is mainly covered by BP’s 500-strong legal function, which is made up of about 350 lawyers.

Bertelsen said: “All the selected firms demonstrated a commitment to quality and value that is critical for BP Legal. The outcome of the selection process reflects the willingness of each firm to agree a rate card and other terms that meet our requirement for a high-quality service allied to highly competitive pricing, in an environment of strict cost control across BP.”

Some of the firms have been added to the roster on a ‘full-service, all locations’ basis, while others will be instructed on more specific niche matters only. BP will also run ‘mini tenders’ and may go off panel for certain pieces of work. All panel firms agreed to this in their contracts with BP.

In previous reviews, BP has opted to use a reverse auction tender process, however during this review it used a traditional tender process. The process was cost and quality led, while also looking at firms’ technology offerings.

The panel review was delayed earlier this year after Rupert Bondy, the oil giant’s previous GC, left to join Reckitt Benckiser, with Eric Nitcher taking on the top legal role.

Meanwhile, Watson Farley & Williams were reappointed to BP’s separate Investment Management panel.

The panel in full:

Linklaters

Freshfields

Herbert Smith Freehills

CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang

Norton Rose Fulbright

Addleshaw Goddard

Baker & McKenzie

Simmons & Simmons

Ashurst

Pinsent Masons

Three Crowns

Atma Partners

Euclid

PwC Legal

Holman Fenwick Willan

Hill Dickinson

Hogan Lovells

Dentons