T-Mobile imposes legal budget cuts

Telecoms giant T-Mobile has halved its legal spend and cut the number of law firms it uses in a company-wide bid to slash costs.

During the past six months, the company has reduced its external counsel from 15 to six, driven down fees and secured discounted rates as part of a legal budget overhaul.

The review comes a year after T-Mobile restructured its in-house legal department into separate practice areas and regulatory units.

T-Mobile has refined its list of firms to Allen & Overy, Bird & Bird, Eversheds, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Kemp Little, Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Nicholson Graham and Winckworth Sherwood.

Firms such as Linklaters and Reynolds Porter Chamberlain were hit by the cuts, but T-Mobile has not ruled out seeking legal advice from the firms if required.

T-Mobile legal director and company secretary James Blendis said the legal spend was halved because more work was being handled in-house.

“We used to have a list of about 15 law firms that we would go to on an ad hoc basis, but now we’ve tightened that up and slimmed down on the number of firms we use,” he said. “We’ve also specified practice areas for each firm so things are more pragmatic.

“Also, as our in-house lawyers get more senior, we’ve been able to take on more work ourselves.”