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Technology group Linde has kickstarted a sweeping review of its external legal advisers following its takeover of industrial gases giant BOC Group last summer.
The review, which was launched last week, will result in Linde slashing its law firms from more than 100 to fewer than 20. Linde was advised by Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer on the BOC takeover, while Slaughter and May acted for the target.
Nick Deeming, the general counsel of the legacy company BOC who was appointed to lead the merged legal function of both groups, is spearheading the review.
Deeming told The Lawyer that one of the drivers of the review is to deliver permanent savings on the overall cost of the group's external legal spend and to develop more meaningful relationships with law firms.
"This is about building sustainable, long-term partnerships with a few trusted firms. The firms will become, in effect, an extension of the in-house team and must reflect our values," said Deeming. "They must also share our desire to save costs and time wherever it is sensible to do so."
The review is expected to be concluded in early 2007.