Legal panel reviews are a well-established way for corporate legal teams to formally appoint a group of law firms to their panel, establish common ways of working and benefit from more competitive rates and volume discounts. While the purposes of a panel review may be well understood, panel reviews are complex projects that require thoughtful planning and handling.
The legal services marketplace
Changes to and disruption within the legal marketplace, arguably long overdue, continue at pace, and General Counsel (GCs) find themselves with far more options to consider when looking at how to get their legal work done. They can distribute their budget far more widely than ever before, choosing the right provider to perform the right service with the right people in the right location.
Setting strategy and planning the review
Getting the right result from your panel review requires strategic thinking. A GC needs to assess the work coming into the legal team and consider how best to deal with it. They must also devise a plan for the review itself. Any legal panel review needs to be planned meticulously and resourced adequately, as its success will often hinge on how successfully all relevant stakeholders have been engaged and brought into the process. Their buy-in can be crucial.
Updated legal panel review materials
I have been working with Practical Law to update its materials on sourcing legal services, to ensure that they reflect best market practice in 2021. The revised materials comprise four practice notes:
- Legal panel reviews: an introduction considers the reasons why an organisation might choose to establish or refresh a legal panel and highlights the practical considerations around timeframes and resourcing.
- Legal panel reviews: determining how to deal with the legal team’s workload looks at the options available to a General Counsel when they are in the process of deciding how to deal with the legal team’s workload.
- Legal panel reviews: a step-by-step guide to the process provides a step-by-step guide to the legal panel review process and includes practical guidance at each stage.
- Legal panel reviews: implementing a new panel successfully outlines how to implement a new legal panel successfully. It also examines how to end a panel relationship in the right way.
Practical Law has also published a series of panel reviews in practice case studies to accompany the notes, featuring: