The Legal Services Board (LSB) has rejigged and expanded its legal advisers panel, although its two previous main sources of external advice – City firm Hogan Lovells and London chambers 39 Essex Street – have retained their places on it.
The LSB previously supplemented these two providers with five specialist advisers, but it has now appointed six law firms and three chambers to the new panel out of 24 applicants. All are based in London.
They are: Bates Wells & Braithwaite, Bircham Dyson Bell, Eversheds, Field Fisher Waterhouse, Herbert Smith Freehills, Hogan Lovells, 1 Crown Office Row – specifically, Philip Havers QC, Robert Kellar, Alasdair Henderson and Karwan Eskerie – 39 Essex Street and 11 King’s Bench Walk.
Firms and chambers could submit applications to provide advice in any of four areas – advice and assistance (public law), advice and assistance (private law), legislative drafting and litigation support – and all but one of the successful applicants (one of the chambers) went for all four.
In a statement, the LSB said: “We are pleased that during this process, we have been able to attract a number of high calibre applicants with demonstrable experience in the public and regulatory sectors. We believe the appointees to the panel will be able to assist the LSB in delivering its work programme by offering high-quality services representing value for money.”
Mr Havers was one of the previous specialist advisers, while the other four were public law barrister Louise Jones of Temple Garden Chambers; Helga Breen, an employment law partner at City firm Lawrence Graham; Stephanie Grundy, a former parliamentary counsel; and Trading Terms Ltd, a legal practice that primarily provides locums for in-house legal teams and in-house secondees on behalf of law firms.
The LSB and Hogan Lovells were criticised by the Bar Council  last year for the firm’s role in advising the board on proposed changes to the cab-rank rule when Hogan Lovells had previously responded to a Bar Standards Board consultation on the issue. Both robustly defended the City firm’s continuing role.