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De Beers has bucked the trend of companies bringing employment law in-house by outsourcing its work to DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary after the diamond company reshuffled its in-house capability.
Barlow Lyde & Gilbert has also benefited from De Beers' move to widen its network of external advisers, with the firm now being used for small amounts of commercial work.
De Beers legal services manager Merlie Calvert said: "It's nice to experiment with different firms [and] it makes good economic sense to not use a top magic circle firm for bread-and-butter work."
Calvert, who retains a team of 14 lawyers, said a restructure of the company's HR function earlier in the year and a need to broaden external advisers had led to the move.
"We used to do all our employment work in-house, but we recently decided not to continue with that following a reorganisation of our HR function," Calvert said.
The move is a boon for DLA Piper's Leeds-based employment partner Adam Hartley, who has benefited from additional work.
De Beers continues to use long-term counsel Linklaters for competition and regulatory advice. The company also uses Osborne Clarke and SJ Berwin for commercial advice.
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