German firm Hengeler Mueller retained its role acting on company law issues, including shareholder matters and the annual general meeting. Simpson Thacher was retained for strategic corporate work in the US. Shearman & Sterling will handle Linde’s US antitrust matters.
The radical move to cull its legal panel from more than 150 to just five is Linde’s attempt to deliver permanent savings on the overall cost of its legal spend. It is also aimed at establishing closer relationships with its core law firms.
Nick Deeming, the general counsel of the legacy BOC who was appointed to lead the merged legal function of both groups, told The Lawyer: “The reason we see the appointment of DLA as radical is because we have gone for just one global firm advising on all matters other than corporate.”
The approach was “key” to Linde’s broader strategic goal of delivering world-class legal services internally, added Deeming. “We will use the model to fundamentally reshape the approach to legal issues in our key markets,” he said.