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Items of interest from the law-firm panel practices of BT

The law department of BT, the 150 or so lawyers worldwide who serve the $38 billion telecoms giant, conducted its first panel review in 2002, according to PLCLaw Dept. Quart., Vol. 3, Jan.-March 2007 at 31. Based on that case note in the Quarterly, I extracted some points of interest about panels (See my post of June 18, 2007: law-firm panels with 13 references.).

After a second panel review led by BT’s group general counsel, Anne Fletcher, took place in April 2006, BT had a general panel of four firms (Linklaters, Bird & Bird, Addleshaw Goddard, and HBJ Gately Waring) alongside a specialist panel (Freshfields, Gilbert and Tobin, Pinsent Masons, Paul Weiss, Reed Smith, and Hogan & Hartson.). As befits a global company headquartered in Britain, the generalist firms are all UK based, whereas the specialist firms include two from the UK, one from Australia firm, and three from the United States.

Each firm entered into a formal engagement agreement, which were likely quite similar to each other aside from the scope of work. Additionally, “each law firm has a corresponding relationship partner in the BT legal team” (See my post of May 18, 2007: inside counterpart to firm’s relationship partner appointed for each major firm; and July 26, 2008: relationship partners with 8 references.).