Law firms battle it out as BP’s new GC launches panel review

by |

Top law firms are currently competing against each other to secure their place on BP’s panel of legal advisors. This is the first review of the panel since 2014 and the first under new global general counsel Eric Nitcher, who was appointed last month.

Addleshaw Goddard, Ashurst, CMS Cameron McKenna, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Herbert Smith Freehills, Linklaters, Olswang (which has since decided to merge with CMS and Nabarro), Norton Rose Fulbright, Pinsent Masons, and Simmons & Simmons are currently on the panel, which will expire in July, according to a report from Legal Business.

Last year, the oil giant said that matters valued at more than $1m will require law firms to pitch for the mandate, a move intended to slash the company’s legal spend. Rupert Bondy, the former global GC of the firm, reportedly favoured alternative tender methods and chose the current selection of firms by holding a reverse auction in 2014. Fieldfisher did not make the cut that year, while Addleshaws, Ashurst and Simmons & Simmons were added.

Nitcher, the former GC of BP America, will oversee the selection of legal advisors. Sources tell Legal Week that cost pressures and a growing lawyer headcount may push BP to reduce its panel of outside law firms.  

Related stories:
Over a third of GCs expect to axe underperforming firms this year
Most firms lack cybersecurity crisis management playbooks, GCs reveal