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Large firms set to lose out as Kingfisher seeks legal savings

Home improvement giant Kingfisher is planning to slash the number of large law firms it uses, as part of a panel review intended to help the company maximise its legal spend.

Kingfisher, which owns brands including B&Q and Screwfix, is mid-way through the review, which is expected to see the company scale-back the number of leading international law firms on 
its roster from 10 firms to around four.

It has yet to decide how many firms it will appoint to its overall roster, which currently comprises around 20 firms working across eight jurisdictions worldwide: the UK, China, Russia, Poland, France, Spain, Turkey 
and Brazil.

Norton Rose and Hogan Lovells are among those 
invited to pitch for the first 
time, as well as some existing panel firms. Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Allen & Overy, Clifford Chance, Bond Pearce, Wragge & Co, Addleshaw Goddard, Macfarlanes and DLA Piper 
are among those on the exist-
ing roster.
Kingfisher’s group head of legal, Clare Wardle, is leading the review. Wardle joined Kingfisher last summer, having previously served as head of legal at both Tube Lines and Royal Mail.
Wardle, who is now planning to review the company’s legal needs in specific practice areas, expects the full line-up to be completed by the end 
of the year.

She commented: “We operate in eight main countries so it is quite a major exercise. We will be looking to use local firms in international markets as well as practice-specific firms, while reducing the number of major international firms that we work with in a bid to maintain value.”

Kingfisher has a small 
over-arching in-house legal function as well as separate legal teams working within its individual brands.
In addition to UK household names such as B&Q, the group owns overseas DIY outlets such as Castorama and Brico Depot. In total, the group employs 78,000 people.

Source : Sofia Lind -

30 June 2011
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