Eversheds Sutherland has been appointed as the sole global legal adviser to Turkish Airlines for an initial three-year period.

The contract, effective from 1 January this year, will see Eversheds work on a fixed-fee basis. There will be a single retainer fee billed monthly throughout the three-year term.

Eversheds partner and head of global client development Stephen Hopkins will lead the relationship alongside a team of lawyers both from Eversheds and its global network of relationship firms.

The airline previously used a range of 120 firms globally, with branch managers responsible for legal procurement. It did not operate a formal panel under this arrangement. The selection process to find a sole legal adviser was undertaken during 2016.

Turkish Airlines chief legal counsel Ali Uysal said: “I am confident that they will not only provide efficiency and cost certainty, but will be key to helping us address any business challenges we may face.

“Making the decision to move from over 120 firms to just one was a big step for us and we truly believe that this approach will bring real benefit to our business and importantly, to our customers.”

Hopkins added: “This is a sole provider relationship with Eversheds overseeing the quality of legal solutions around the world. The offices used will be those we have worked with for more than 10 years and in some cases newer offices who have the skillset we need in the relevant jurisdiction. There is a single bill provided by Eversheds to the client, giving certainty of pricing.”

Eversheds will cover all of the airline’s day-to-day legal needs across its flight network of 116 countries. The type of work it will offer includes technical and complex aviation advice, IP matters, and support for the airline’s branch offices on urgent issues.

However, domestic Turkish work has been carved out of the transaction. This work will continue to be done by Turkish Airlines’ in-house team.

In a similar deal in 2014, Eversheds secured a primary legal adviser relationship with the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

Hopkins said: “One part of us getting this contract was through our relationship with the IATA, that goes back four years, and the procurement professional Richard Stock, who helped on that deal. He was also employed by Turkish Airlines to do their consolidation, so he knew about the model and what it delivered.”

Other examples of Eversheds’ sole provider relationships include a partnership with security systems company Tyco, which dates back to 2006 and has also seen Hopkins play a key role.

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