Major Bank Insists on E-Billing, Innovative Pricing and Diversity

In addition to pushing firms to be more flexible and competitive on fee arrangements, the Barclays Bank has rolled out an e-billing system across all 11 of its panels, and asked all of its newly-appointed panel firms to sign up to a range of diversity initiatives, according to an article in Legal Week.

The bank has more than 1,700 branches in the UK and some 2,000 more in Europe, Africa, Asia, and the US. General counsel Mark Harding confirmed that he has asked all of the firms on its main panel, as well as those on its 10 specialist panels, to confirm to the bank their diversity and inclusion policies, including details of how they measure and manage diversity.

The move expands on Harding's policy, introduced in 2006, to ask main advisers Allen & Overy, Clifford Chance, DLA Piper, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Linklaters, Lovells and Simmons & Simmons to supply the information.

The diversity program is one of a number of initiatives Barclays has introduced as part of its latest review in order to cut costs and strengthen relationships with panel firms. The e-billing is designed to allow the bank to more closely monitor external legal costs.

Harding told Legal Week: "Through the panel process we have naturally reviewed projected rates and have focused on firms that are not only competitive but that can also demonstrate innovation in the way that they approach a range of pricing arrangements."

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