08 February 2017

New BP general counsel kicks off panel review

New global general counsel Eric Nitcher has launched the first review of the oil major's roster of legal advisors since 2014.

By Kathryn Higgins

Trevor Benbrook

With its current roster of advisors set to expire in July this year, BP has invited firms to pitch for spots in its first new line-up in three years. Currently, the firm’s panel is comprised of Linklaters, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Herbert Smith Freehills, Norton Rose Fulbright, CMS Cameron McKenna, Ashurst, Simmons & Simmons, Pinsent Masons, Olswang and Addleshaw Goddard.

The review comes less than a year after BP announced it would require external advisors to pitch for all instructions worth more than $1m in legal fees, an initiative designed to cull back the company’s total spend on outside counsel.

Overseeing the new panel review will be former BP America general counsel Eric Nitcher, who relocated to London to take on the oil major’s global general counsel role last month. In the company’s last review, only one firm (Fieldfisher) lost its spot on the panel while three new firms (Addleshaws, Ashurst and Simmons & Simmons) were added.

However, sources close to BP have suggested that mounting cost pressures combined with the company’s growing in-house headcount and resources might whittle down the size of the panel selected this year.

Sources: Legal Week; Legal Business

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