United Technologies Corporation (UTC) has chosen a small Lincoln's Inn firm as its preferred counsel for the UK.
Edwin Coe, the 21-lawyer firm instructed by UTC, said that the appointment was made in the face of stiff opposition from a "group of magic circle firms". Edwin Coe has worked on an ad-hoc basis for UTC for some time and, according to partner Peter Loose, the relationship had a major bearing on the appointment. Loose said: "This marks the culmination of 15 year's work for UTC and its subsidiaries." Loose led the pitch together with partner Peter Kinch, who says Edwin Coe beat off several magic circle firms and another small Holborn-based firm.
Edwin Coe expects an increase in work as a result of the appointment
UTC, a US-based industrial conglomerate, has four major UK subsidiaries: Pratt & Whitney, Carrier, Otis and Sikorsky. The subsidiaries have substantial activities in the UK, but no in-house legal team. In-house counsel is based in Paris and in the US. The appointment is not exclusive, but is across most legal areas. The firm will be preferred for M&A, property, employment, litigation and UK competition law. Only for intellectual property work will another firm be preferred. Several magic circle firms have denied pitching for the work, as has US firm Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, which has completed significant amounts of corporate and competition work for UTC in the past. Although the appointment may have been a cost-cutting exercise on the part of UTC, it is a major coup for Edwin Coe to beat off such stiff competition. The firm clearly expects an increase in workload as a result of the appointment because it is looking to make several new appointments at associate level to service the client.