BP unveils trimmed-down roster of 26 panel firms as it seeks to 'consolidate external spend'

Some 26 firms appointed globally following competitive tender that assessed candidates' D&I and energy transition capabilities
Wellington, New Zealand - March 14 2020: BP Retail Gas Station sign with blue sky in the background. BP is One of the World's Leading Integrated Oil and Gas Companies

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BP has slimmed down its roster of legal advisers selecting 26 law firms across four panels after a competitive tender that assessed candidates' diversity and inclusion and 'energy transition' capabilities 

Six firms, including longstanding advisers Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Linklaters, have been selected for the oil giant’s global panel, which also includes Norton Rose Fulbright, Herbert Smith Freehills, Sullivan & Crowell and Arnold & Porter. 

Covering the company's regional operations is an 11-strong US panel, a UK roster comprising eight firms while five firms have been selected in Singapore. The panels are set to go live in 2022 and run through 2024. 

The latest refresh comes a year after the energy giant elected to extend its legal advice panels' three-year term for 12 months amid disruptions brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020.

The selection criteria resulted in fewer firms being allocated to the legal advisory panels than in previous years as the company “aims to realise value through closer and more strategic relations and continuing efforts to consolidate external spend”, a spokesperson said, adding that the selections were made following a competitive bid process focused on rates, commitment to diversity and inclusion and capability relevant to the energy transition. 

The eight-strong UK panel comprises Addleshaw Goddard, CMS, Dentons, HFW, Pinsent Masons, Simmons & Simmons and arbitration specialists Three Crowns. Ashurst, Dentons, Pinsents and Simmons also make the Singapore panel, alongside Baker McKenzie.

The US group, meanwhile, includes national giants Kirkland & Ellis, Baker Botts, Morgan Lewis, Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe, Greenberg Traurig, Reed Smith as well as Davis Graham & Stubbs, Hamilton Miller & Birthisel, Hunton Andrews Kurth, Liskow & Lewis and Maron Marvel Bradley Anderson & Tardy.

When it comes to selecting panel firms based on diversity and inclusion principles, BP is not alone. Earlier this year, Vodafone unveiled its refreshed global legal advice panel in April, selecting firms based on a shared commitment to promoting diversity targets and environmental, social and governance best practices. 

And just a month later, Nokia launched an equity, inclusion and diversity (E,I&D) scorecard system in May to assess its six panel law firms quarterly and annually in order to determine whether they have taken steps to implement effective E,I&D strategies.

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