Learning to love procurement
Roll over long-lunch panel reviews – the procurement department is now central to the process, so you’d better get used to it
It used to be so simple. Perhaps a lunch or even a spot of supper down the club; a quiet chat between chaps in an environment replete with the whiff of panelled oak and sturdy well-worn leather.
Cutting deals between a corporate or banking head of legal and the senior partner at an external law firm of favour was a wholly civilised and discreet affair, polished off with liberal dollops of port, brandy and a firm handshake.
At least that’s the myth. It may never have been quite so cartoonishly stereotypical, but without doubt the appointment of external advisers has a long history of being reliant almost exclusively on the unquantifiable element of personal relationships.
But that approach may as well be ancient myth now. Law firm partners can confidently forget about invitations to London’s clubland when putting themselves forward for top-tier and multinational corporate instructions. Panel reviews and formal tendering exercises have been de rigueur for at least a decade, and the past five years of global financial hardship have only escalated moves towards more scientific and objective methods of appointing external counsel.
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