Sema Group to slash 15-strong legal panel

Anglo-French IT & business services giant Sema Group is cutting back its UK external law firms from 15 to just one or two.

FTSE 100 company Sema, which recorded a 25 per cent growth in turnover to £669m for the first six months of this year, is to put its external legal work out to tender.

Sema refuses to name the firms it employs, but The Lawyer understands it uses Nabarro Nathanson as its principal law firm, as well as Clifford Chance and Lovell White Durrant. Sema is yet to decide when the beauty parades will take place but it is likely to be in the next couple of months.

Sema is a global provider of telecommunications, finance, energy and transport services with more than 17,000 employees worldwide.

The Lawyer understands Sema wants to concentrate its entire legal outsourcing work in the hands of just one or two law firms, which would take care of employment, pensions, property, corporate and commercial law, and IT work.

A Sema source says: “If we just use one or two firms we will be able to negotiate much better rates.

“We will want them to provide skills right across the board, but whoever wins the tender will have IT as a key skill.”

Lovell White Durrant corporate partner Andrew Pearson says: “Sema Group is an important client. I would like to think of this as an opportunity rather than a threat.”

Pearson says Lovells is currently completing some work for Sema.