T-Mobile is set to renegotiate terms with its UK panel firms in an effort to drive down costs in response to the economic downturn.
A source said the in-house team, which now numbers 30 lawyers, is in a position to take on more work. Earlier this year T-Mobile’s four-lawyer international legal team was merged into the UK group.
It ;is ;thought ;that T-Mobile will still use external lawyers for specialist advice on Ofcom regulatory issues, VAT matters and consumer affairs.
The ;renegotiations could mean that next year’s scheduled UK panel review will be postponed.
T-Mobile has also saved money in other areas, going directly ;to ;barristers’ chambers such as Essex Court, ;Devereux ;and Monckton for regulation and litigation advice.
Earlier in the year the company separated its consumer and commercial legal ;groups, ;creating general counsel roles for both. Guy Perring took over as consumer legal head and Regpal Dhanjal now heads the commercial team.
T-Mobile UK general counsel James Blendis has also taken responsibility for the T-Mobile international legal team, which used to be a separate unit based in Hammersmith.
T-Mobile’s move comes as UK telecoms rival O2 overhauls its legal function, installing Herbert Smith and Clifford Chance as sole advisers for the UK, Ireland, Germany, ;the ;Czech Republic and Slovakia.