Sidley & Austin UK loses final telecoms partner

Sidley & Austin has admitted that it has failed to form a telecoms group at its London office after the departure of the group's only remaining partner in the capital.

Communications and internet lawyer Gill Andrews will join Bird & Bird's IT department after leaving Sidley & Austin. The move comes just two months after Sidley & Austin's ex-London managing partner John Edwards joined Taylor Joynson Garrett.

His successor Drew Scott says: “Gill was very well liked here and we are sad that things did not work out. We wish her well at Bird & Bird.”

He says he would be looking for a lawyer with more of a commercial law focus as a replacement and that talks were underway.

Scott says: “Originally [the department] was given a particular focus on telecoms. Our shift in focus has not been intentional, but rather as a result of what has happened. It did not succeed as a telecoms group.

“I think in terms of its future, our group's work is now very much more e-commerce-related and it is functioning as a general commercial group working alongside the corporate team, so we will be looking for a different kind of lawyer who specialises in this field.”

Andrews, who takes up her new post in September, had been with Sidley & Austin since 1994, and has extensive experience both in the UK and internationally, advising clients in the e-commerce, telecommunications and IT sectors.

Ex-colleague Edwards quit Sidley & Austin in the autumn last year and joined Taylor Joynson Garrett's IT telecoms and internet group as a partner in March.

His decision to go left Andrews in charge as the remaining partner in Sidley & Austin's information industries group in London, which Edwards had led since his arrival from Clifford Chance in 1994.

Andrews says: “Bird & Bird's clearly defined sectoral focus and growing international reputation is proving to be a winning combination. I am very much looking forward to working in such a dynamic and progressive environment.”

David Kerr, Bird & Bird's executive chairman, says: “With the breadth and depth of her experience in convergent sectors, Gill will be a major addition to our communications team.”