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Sourcing legal services in 2021: updated legal panel review materials

By Sarah Barrett-Vane, SBV Consulting.

This article first appeared in the Thomson Reuters Practical Law In-House Blog on 26 November 2021.  I have updated and revamped the previous articles I wrote for Practical Law in March/April 2020.

The full articles referenced here have been published on the Thomson Reuters Practical Law website and require a subscription to view in full (links open in new tabs).

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:

Sourcing Legal Services in 2021: Updated Legal Panel Review Materials

Author: Sarah Barrett-Vane
Sarah Barrett-Vane is a legal operations and legal procurement consultant providing consultancy services and interim assignments for in-house legal departments and other clients through

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