Barlows loses place on Cap Gemini panel

Cap Gemini Ernst & Young has ditched Barlow Lyde & Gilbert after a UK panel review in which conflicts of interest were a key issue.

The firm’s new general counsel for the UK and Ireland Barry Wong, who joined from IBM in December, and his deputy Jane Bevan have conducted a full review over the past three months.

“Conflicts were a crucial issue,” said Wong. “It is important we didn’t instruct a set of lawyers who had access to confidential data and then one week later advised a rival.”

While Wong denied this was the reason for dumping Barlows, the City firm also advises Cap Gemini rivals IBM Global Services and Fujitsu Services. To confuse the issue further, EDS adviser Denton Wilde Sapte was hired to the panel for the first time.

“The Law Society guidelines are clear and Chinese walls don’t absolve firms of responsibility,” said Wong.

Wong and Bevan wanted to broaden the firm’s existing three-firm panel, which comprised IT boutique Technology Law Alliance (TLA), Wragge & Co and Barlows.

Wong’s hire and the subsequent panel review were triggered by his predecessor Gavin Wakefield jumping ship for TLA, which will be relieved to retain its place on the panel.

Wragge & Co also retained its place, while Bristows was added for the first time. Blake Lapthorn Linnell completes the five-firm list.

Barlows declined to comment.