Bakers dropped as McLaren turns to Norton Rose Fulbright for legal advice

Baker & McKenzie has been bumped as McLaren Group’s global legal adviser after the conglomerate formed a new relationship with Norton Rose Fulbright.

In a further blow to Bakers, which has been advising McLaren since the 80s, Norton Rose Fulbright has also picked up a corporate partnership with the McLaren Mercedes Formula 1 team. 

Sources close to the situation say that a number of firms pitched for the mandate, which this year was understood to include a sponsorship package worth around £5m. Norton Rose Fulbright did not comment on the sponsorship and McLaren declined to confirm the figure. 

McLaren’s group legal director Timothy Murnane made the final decision on which firm should win the mandate. The group does not have a formal legal panel, instead opting to use one main legal adviser for non-specialist work.

The firm will work closely with Murnane and his legal team, providing a range of services including corporate and M&A, contractual and intellectual property, real estate and employment law.  

In a statement the Norton Rose Fulbright chief executive Peter Martyr said the firm and McLaren were already discussing the idea of a joint corporate social responsibility (CSR) project.

Murnane said: “McLaren Mercedes consistently challenges itself, embraces change and maintains clear focus on the only goal that matters – to win. We see Norton Rose Fulbright as one of the leading global legal practices, combining a lengthy history with an appetite for change and a pursuit of excellence which resonates with our own corporate ideals.”

Bakers and Norton Rose have gone against each other in the past. In 2010, Bakers was appointed global legal counsel to Danish brewer Carlsberg, which had been a key corporate client for Norton Rose (2 December 2010).