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Four oddities from one UK in-house update

To blog well is to read widely. As I read a roundup of items from the UK, courtesy of The, Feb. 7, 2008, four items cried out for blogging.

First, when Wanadoo lost its legal director to another company, “the company’s senior lawyers assume[ed] more responsibility for their own departments… They now have final responsibility for the legal function, with Wanadoo’s financial director reporting on their activities to the board.” No general counsel, but a council of generalists!

Travelocity’s new general counsel accounted for the second quirk. “His first task in the new role has been to cut out client-facing work, handing the contentious matters straight over to the customer service department.” If lawyers were fielding hum-drum customer complaints, good riddance; if customers’ “contentious matters” threaten litigation, bad move.

Third, T-Mobile “has halved its legal spend, and cut the number of external advisors it uses from 15 down to six.” Whoa there – by half? What is the secret? And for the “telecoms giant” to use only six law firms, at “budget rates” no less, is startling.

My fourth comment derives from the brief item that disclosed that ABN Amro hired its first in-house employment lawyer, “giving the firms on the bank’s employment panel plenty of food for thought.” It startled me that such a huge company had no resident European employment lawyer.