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From GE’s competition for its US panel: fewer firms, no auction, four-year terms, and mid-point fee reductions

An item in Legal Week, March 29, 2007 at 6, outlines changes in General Electric’s revamped procedure to select its US panel of advisors. A number of those changes deserve special mention.

GE shrank the total panel of 94 by 32 law firms, “ditching 44 firms and adding 12 new names to the roster.” It also dropped its notorious e-bidding process (See my posts of July 30, 2005; Sept. 4, 2005; Feb. 1, 2006; and March 12, 2006 – all on electronic bids and auctions.). Third, “Panel firms have pledged to offer GE alternative fee arrangements where possible and will provide a regular core team of lawyers.” In a final turn of the screw, GE has doubled the contract length, to four years, and required its firms to “renegotiate reduced fees halfway through the agreement.” Apparently billing rates are still the centerpiece of the selection criteria.