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Nomura International, the European arm of the Japanese investment bank, is to demand priority access to its panel firms’ best lawyers as part of a drive to stop the top City firms “taking it for granted”.The move will form part of a three-month review of the way the bank instructs outside advisers that will also see it examining the feasibility of moving away from chargeable time to a model based on the value given.And the bank intends to stop sending international work to the foreign offices of City firms.A Nomura source said that the company believed that some firms were “taking its work for granted”.The bank is understood to be concerned at the level of fees being charged by its advisers.The top tier of firms instructed on a regular basis include Linklaters, Allen & Overy, Freshfields and Clifford Chance.The London office of US firm Weil Gotshal & Manges, headed by ex-Clifford Chance banking partner Maurice Allen, is also instructed.The fees paid to outside firms last year are believed to total between £30m-£35m.Nomura will be looking at the amount of work given to each law firm, with the aim of redistributing the balance of work.However, it does not aim to reduce the number of firms instructed and has not ruled out instructing new firms.Nomura will be asking firms to be open about how important its work is and will be seeking an assurance that it will have access to the best quality lawyers.The company is also looking at the basis on which it instructs firms in global transactions.It currently tends to instruct the office of the UK firm in the jurisdiction in question, but in future will instruct the best law firm in that country.Allen said he supported payment on the basis of quality rather than hours charged.Nomura International chief general counsel Stephen Ball was unavailable for comment.

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