Firms out, chambers in as T-Mobile rethinks panels

T-Mobile is planning to cut law firms from much of its disputes work as it embarks on a cost-cutting drive that will include the formation of an informal panel of barristers’ chambers.

T-Mobile UK general counsel James Blendis said he preferred to go directly to barristers for contentious work and was strengthening ties with sets, including Essex Court Chambers, Devereux Chambers and Monckton Chambers.

Blendis added: “We’ve developed a lot of relationships?with?barristers’ chambers and we’re looking to do more. We see a lot of pre-litigation, or ‘minor spats’ as I call them. Everyone assumes a panel just consists of law firms, but it’s really cost-efficient to go straight to the chambers.”

The mobile operator has restructured its UK legal team following the decision to combine its mobile network with Hutchison 3G, losing three lawyers in the process.

T-Mobile and 3 merged their?mobile?networks to reduce running costs, creating a new slimmed-down combined networks legal team.

Blendis has also taken on the T-Mobile international legal team, which used to be a separate unit based in Hammersmith.

The company has separated the consumer and commercial legal groups, creating general counsel roles for both. Guy Perring has taken over as consumer legal head and Regpal Dhanjal now heads the commercial team.