Freshfields loses FTSE 100 client

Freshfields is losing a major client – aerospace giant LucasVarity – following its takeover by US-based autoparts and space group TRW.

TRW completed its take-over of FTSE 100 company LucasVarity this month. Virtually all corporate legal work will now be US-based, although the operations side of the business is not affected, says LucasVarity's general counsel and company secretary Russell Kelley.

Freshfields handled LucasVarity's corporate work. Allen & Overy is likely to mop up what corporate work there is left in the UK as it represented TRW in the takeover talks.

Kelley says: “The corporate work will largely disappear as we are no longer a UK company.” He says he is facing an “uncertain” future: “My situation is yet to be resolved.”

LucasVarity's legal director Paul Almond and the remaining 13 lawyers in the US and Europe, who handle the operations side of the business, will retain their jobs.

LucasVarity spends u1m-u2m per year on outsourced legal advice. However, Kelley refuses to reveal the value of LucasVarity's account with Freshfields.

He says he expects TRW, which has a 45-strong team of in-house lawyers in the US, Germany and Brazil, will continue LucasVarity's use of Eversheds and Pinsent Curtis to advise the company on its UK operational work.

Freshfields corporate partner Julian Francis says: “LucasVarity was a significant client and I spent 25 per cent of my time on them, but there is no shortage of clients.”