Barclays has once again hacked back its legal panel, heralding a 'new era' in how legal suppliers are managed. The banking giant announced today that it is moving to an 'enhanced relationship model' based on an 'active and ongoing management' of relationships with law firms.

Current panel members will remain in their seats until June 2021. Their performance will be reviewed against the bank's strategic objectives, legal needs and against six 'expectations of law firms': legal advice; thought leadership; collaboration and teamwork; value for money; diversity and inclusion; and innovation.

Focus areas under the new model include reducing the proportion of work carried out at hourly rates and increasing the proportion of effective fee arrangements.

In 2016 Barclays reduced its panel by nearly two-thirds. Earlier this year it began what it called the 'last formal refresh' of its global panel. The bank said at the time that changes to its panel framework had been so successful that there was 'little value' in putting the firms and Barclays through the 'laborious process' of completing panel refresh procedures every few years. 

Today it confirmed that the panel has been trimmed back further. The bank said the new approach 'allows for greater flexibility in managing the size and composition of the panel, and firms can be added and removed as appropriate'.

Bob Hoyt, Barclays general counsel, said: 'Commercial innovation is the driving force behind how we work with our law firms and our latest panel represents a major step towards these goals. We believe our new arrangements will deliver commercial benefits for us, our partners and, ultimately, the industry more broadly.'

Stephanie Hamon, head of the external engagement team, global legal, said panel members will know how they are performing 'and how we can best achieve win-win outcomes' through the bank's ongoing review process.